Tag Archive | "Texas wine"

Got Your Tickets for the Gruene Music and Wine Fest? Better Hurry.

The 27th annual Gruene Music and Wine Fest gets under way Thursday with That’s Right — It’s Not from Texas, a tasting of 30 German and New World wines and plenty of live music on the side.

logGrueneoBut if you want tickets for Friday’s Rockin’ With Texas Wine & Food, you’re out of luck. They’re all gone. So are tickets for Friday’s concert with Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell.

The good news is that you can get tickets for Saturday’s and Sunday’s big tastings, which take place at various spots in Gruene, just outside of New Braunfels.

The Thursday night tasting event, hosted by Kevin Geil of Two Tons of Steel, is from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Grapevine Garden. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door.

Saturday brings Texas Tastings & Tunes from noon to 6 p.m. You can taste more than 80 wines from more than 25 different Texas wineries. (Look for a list of participating wineries below.) Plus, you can taste the cuisine from the DUK truck, Institute of Chili, Where’s That Truck and Saweet Cupcakes. Tickets are $20 in advance or $30 at the door. Admission includes a souvenir glass and five drink tickets.

At 6 p.m., Charlie Robison will have a free and open sound check and meet-and-greet at Gruene Hall. That will be followed Robison in concert at 9 p.m. with tickets priced at $25 apiece.

On Sunday, the morning starts with a Gospel Brunch with a Texas Twist at 10:30 a.m. The event, catered by the Gristmill River Restaurant, is held in Gruene Hall. Tickets are $30 apiece.

From 1 – 6 p.m, the Grapevine Grounds will be the site of Brew-n-Que will feature the best in beer paired with Texas barbecue from Rudy’s, The Smoke Shack, Big Daddy BBQ, The DUK Truck and Institute of Chili. Original Texas tunes showcased live throughout the day. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door.

Meanwhile at Gruene Hall from 2 – 10 p.m., you can enjoy eght full hours of the best in Americana music on two stages. The lineup includes Cory Morrow, Ray Wylie Hubbard (acoustic), Cody Canada (acoustic), Stoney La Rue (acoustic), Micky & the Motorcars, Band of Heathens, Sons of Fathers, The Trishas and more. Tickets are $30 apiece or $40 at the door.

Ticket sales go to benefit United Way of Comal County. For more information or advance tickets, click here.

bending branchConfirmed wineries for Saturday include:

  • Bell Springs Winery
  • Bending Branch Winery
  • Bernhardt Winery
  • Blue Lotus Winery
  • Fall Creek Vineyards
  • Fawncrest Vineyard
  • Fiesta Winery
  • Georgetown Winery
  • Grape Creek Winery
  • Haak Vineyards
  • Hilmy Cellars
  • Inwood Estates Vineyards
  • Kerrville Hills Winery
  • Llano Estacado Winery
  • Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards
  • Maydelle Country Wines
  • Pleasant Hill Winery
  • Rohan Meadery
  • Salado Creek Winery
  • Santa Maria Cellars
  • Seifert Cellars
  • Three Dudes Winery
  • Texas Hills Vineyard
  • Texas Mead Works
  • Val Verde Winery
  • Wedding Oak Winery
  • Woodrose Winery

pedernalesConfirmed beers and other beverages for Sunday include:

Tenth & Blake

  • Third Shift
  • Batch 19
  • Strawberry Redd’s

New Belgium

  • Seasonal Brew
  • Rampart
  • Shift


  • Purple Haze
  • Harvest Pecan
  • Turbodog

Mike’s Hard Lemonade

  • Seasonal Pink
  • Cider
  • Strawberry

Blue Moon

  • Seasonal Brew
  • Rounder
  •  Shortstraw
  • Vintage Crimson Crossing
  • Vintage Golden Knot
  • Graffiti series

Smirnoff Ice

  • Light & Soda Black Cherry
  • Apple Crisp
  • Screwdriver


  • Krombacher Pils
  • Krombacher Dark
  • Krombacher Hefeweizen

Pedernales Brewing Company

  • Pedernales Lobo Lito
  • Pedernales Lobo Negro
  • Pedernales Classic Hefewiezen

Tri City Distributing

  • Shock Top Pumpkin
  • Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat
  • Stella Cider
  • Pacifico Clara
  • Negra Modelo
  • Modelo Chelada

Boulevard Brewing Co.

  • Unfiltered Wheat
  • Bob’s 47 Oktoberfest
  • Long Strange Tripel

Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co.

  • Hoppin Helles
  • Orange Shandy
  • Big Eddy Wee Heavy Scotch

Horny Goat Brewing Co.

  • Horny Blonde Lager
  • Exposed Cream Ale
  • Watermelon Wheat

Heineken USA

  • Strongbow Cider
  • Newcastle Brown Ale
  • Amstel Light



Posted in EventsComments Off

Meet the Makers of Texas’ Wines and Beers

redwine1On the third Thursday of each month, The Grapevine in Gruene invites visitors to meet the people who are responsible for making some of the finest wines in Texas.

Now you have the chance to meet the folks behind the growing craft beer movement in the state as well.

The dual tastings will be featured in the Grapevine, 1612 Hunter Road, New Braunfels.

Each event will be held on The Grapevine’s outdoor patio and garden and will be uniquely designed around the featured winery and brewery, providing an intimate setting for each representative to tell about how they craft their wines and make their beers. Complementary tastings will be offered of the craft beer and three of the winery’s latest releases, top-selling and hardest to find wines. You can also sample the food that is for sale.

This a great opportunity to learn direct from these craftsmen, engage with other visitors interested in wine and beer and enjoy the natural surroundings and all the other offerings of Gruene Historic District.

Each event features Ryan Waguespack’s Classical & Spanish guitar duo or French bistro music by Rumbullion, both local artists. Giveaways include wine, Grapevine merchandise and possibly gift certificates for wine tours, resort accommodations or winery merchandise.

beer icyThe lineup of wineries for the rest of the year will include the following:

  • April 18 – Pedernales Cellars
  • May 16 – Haak Winery
  • June 20 – Bell Springs Winery
  • July 18 – Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards
  • August 15 – Fiesta Winery
  • September 19 – Duchman Family Winery
  • October 17 – McPherson Cellars
  • November 21 – Westcave Cellars
  • December 19 – Grape Creek Vineyard

For more information, call (830) 606-0093 or click here.





Posted in Daily Dish, DrinksComments Off

Get a Taste of Italy in the Hill Country – Duchman Vermentino 2010

duchmanBy Cecil Flentge

Duchman (pronounced Duke-man) Family Winery in Driftwood, Texas, specializes in wines made of grapes commonly thought of as Italian. Sangiovese of Chianti fame and Montepulciano, which is grown extensively in the Abruzzo region, are two examples. Their Vermentino (pronounced ver-mehn-TEE-noh) follows in the same vein. Most famous in northern Sardinia, this Texas edition is both a surprise and a delight (pronounced Good!). It is available at Twin Liquors for about $12.


Made from 100 percent Texas grapes grown in the Texas High Plains AVA (American Viticultural Area), this robust white evokes lime and citrus blossom on the nose. It has the appropriate mouthfeel, a smooth viscosity found in classic Vermentino wines, and the flavors flow to pear, lime and grapefruit with a nice minerality lingering in the finish. The alcohol does not give any harshness, even though it is high at 14.4 percent, and that is a side benefit of the rich presence of the grapes’ glycerol. Overall, a nice Vermentino from a new area.


This so calls to be a brunch wine! Delicate enough to caress lobster or shrimp salads, robust enough for a plate of braised clams, and crisp enough to mingle with the tastes of the sea in oysters on the half shell. But just chill it and taste the welcome that it gives.

Cecil Flentge is a San Antonio wine educator for professionals or novices and a restaurant/bar consultant. Questions? Email



Posted in Wine ReviewsComments Off

Texas Hill Country Wineries Are Awash in Medals

Bending Branch is just one Hill Country winery to be honored recently.

Bending Branch is just one Hill Country winery to be honored recently.

It’s award season in the wine industry, and that means wineries across the Texas Hill Country are bringing home the gold, silver and bronze.

According to the Texas Hill Country Wineries’ March newsletter, the following wineries brought home some medals for their efforts, and we can second a number of the awards. Just this Wednesday, we sampled the Grand Star and gold medal-winning Bending Branch Winery 2009 Tannat RF Silvaspoons Vineyard with a bison ribeye and a short rib tamal. They pairing was a thing of beauty.

The 2010 William Chris Cabernet Franc, Dry Comal Creek’s 2009 Petit Verdot and Pedernales Cellars’ Texas Viognier are a few others that will show you just how good Texas wines are.

So, sample your way through the list, and enjoy some Lone Star treasures.

Bending Branch Winery

2012 Lone Star International Wine Competition

  • Grand Star/Gold Medal – 2009 Tannat RF Silvaspoons Vineyard
  • Bronze Medal – 2009 Tannat RF Bella Collina
  • Bronze Medal – 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition

  • Silver Medal – 2010 Picpoul Blanc
  • Silver Medal – 2009 Petite Sirah
  • Bronze Medal – 2009 Tannat RF Silvaspoons Vineyard

2013 KLRN San Antonio International Wine Competition

  • Silver Medal – 2010 Petite Sirah
  • Silver Medal – 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Newsom Vineyards
  • Bronze Medal – 2010 Tempranillo, Newsom Vineyards
  • Bronze Medal – 2010 Texas Tannat

Chisholm Trail Winery

2012 Lone Star International, Texas Division

  • Grand Star/Gold Medal – 2011 Belle Starr Blanc du Bois

Driftwood Estate Winery

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition

  • International Class Champion, Double Gold – 2010 Alamo Red
  • Texas Class Champion, Silver – 2010 Lone Star Cabernet
  • Texas Class Champion, Silver – 2011 Muscat Canelli
  • Silver – 2012 Viognier
  • Silver – NV Syrah
  • Bronze – 2010 Longhorn Red

2013 Dallas Morning News & TexSom Wine Competition

  • Silver – 2012 Viognier
  • Silver – 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Silver – 2012 Orange Muscat
  • Silver – 2010 Longhorn Red
  • Bronze – 2010 Lone Star Cabernet Sauvignon
Vineyards has some medal-winning wines waiting for you.

Singing Water Vineyards has some medal-winning wines waiting for you.

Dry Comal Creek Vineyards

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition

  • Silver – 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Dallas Morning News and TexSom Wine Competition

  • Gold – 2009 Petit Verdot

2013 KLRN San Antonio Wine Competition

  • Gold – 2009 Petite Verdot
  • Bronze – 2010 Demi Sweet French Colombard

2012 San Antonio Rodeo Wine Competition

  • Best of Class, Silver – 2009 Petit Verdot
  • Silver – 2010 French Colombard Demi Sweet
  • Silver – NV White Black Spanish
  • Bronze – NV French Colombard Demi Sweet Sparking
  • Bronze – NV French Colombard Bone Dry Sparkling
  • Bronze – NV Comal Red X
  • Bronze – 2010 French Colombard Bone Dry

Fiesta Winery

2013 KLRN San Antonio Wine Competition

  • Bronze – Savannah Rose
  • Bronze – Back Porch Sittin’

Grape Creek Vineyards

San Francisco Chronicle

  • Silver – 2011 Cuvee Blanc
  • Silver – 2011 Viognier, Lost Draw
  • Silver – 2011 Cab Blanc
  • Silver – 2011 Grand Rouge
  • Bronze – 2011 Riesling
  • Bronze – 2011 Pinot Grigio
  • Bronze – 2011 Muscat Canelli
  • Bronze – 2010 Bellissimo
  • Bronze – 2010 Rendezvous
  • Bronze – 2010 Mosaic

2013 KLRN San Antonio Wine Festival

  • Silver – 2011 Merlot
  • Silver – 2010 Mosaic
  • Silver – 2010 Cabernet/Syrah
  • Silver – 2010 Bellissimo
  • Bronze – 2010 Cab Trois
  • Bronze – 2011 Pinot Grigio
  • Bronze – 2011 Riesling
  • Bronze – 2011 Viognier, Lost Draw

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition

  • Reserve Class Champion, Gold – 2011 Cabernet Blanc
  • Texas Class Champion, Silver – 2011 Grand Rouge
  • Silver – 2010 Mosaic
  • Bronze – 2011 Viognier
  • Bronze – 2010 Serendipity
  • Bronze – 2010 Rendezvous
Many Hill Country wineries were honored in this year's KLRN San Antonio Wine Competition.

Many Hill Country wineries were honored in this year’s KLRN San Antonio Wine Competition.

Kerrville Hills Winery

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition

  • Silver – 2007 American Merlot
  • Bronze – 2009 Purple Cab (Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • Bronze – 2009 Gold Cab (Cabernet Sauvignon)

2013 KLRN San Antonio Wine Competition

  • Silver – 2009 Purple Cab (Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • Silver – Gold Cab (Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • Silver – American Merlot

Pedernales Cellars

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition

  • Top Texas Wine, Class Champion, Texas Class Champion, Double Gold – 2012 Texas Viognier
  • Gold – 2010 Texas Tempranillo
  • Texas Reserve Grand Champion, Silver – 2011 GSM

2013 KLRN San Antonio Wine Competition

  • Silver – 2012 Viognier
  • Silver – 2011 GSM
  • Silver – 2012 High Plains Tempranillo
  • Bronze – 2012 Texas Tempranillo
  • Bronze – 2010 Reserve Tempranillo

Singing Water Vineyards

2013 San Francisco Chronicle International Competition

  • Gold – 2010 Vintner’s Reserve
  • Silver – 2010 Freedom
  • Bronze – 2011 Merlot

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition

  • Silver – 2010 Freedom
  • Silver – 2011 Pinot Grigio
  • Bronze – 2010 Vintner’s Reserve
  • Bronze – 2011 Merlot
  • Bronze – 2011 Sweet Lupe

2012 Lone Star International Wine Competition

  • Silver – 2009 Freedom
  • Silver – 2010 Merlot
  • Bronze – 201 Vintner’s Reserve
  • Bronze – 2010 Pinot Grigio
  • Bronze – 2011 Sauvignon Blanc
  • Bronze – 2010 Sweet Lupe

Solaro Estate

2013 Dallas Morning News & TexSom International Competition

  • Bronze – 2011 Reserve GSM

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition

  • Gold – 2010 Tempranillo
  • Silver – 2011 Sangiovese
  • Bronze – 2010 Tempranillo

2012 Fingerlakes International Wine Competition

  • Bronze – 2010 Mourvedre
  • Bronze – 2009 Bordosso 27

2012 Denver International Wine Competition

  • Gold – 2011 Sangiovese
  • Gold – 2010 Tempranillo
  • Gold – 2011 Reserve Montepulciano

2012 Vineyard & Winery Management International Women’s Wine Competition

  • Silver – 2010 Tempranillo
  • Bronze – 2011 Miscela Bianco

2012 Dallas Morning News & TexSom International Wine Competition

  • Bronze – 2010 Lisse
  • Bronze – 2010 Montage

Stone House Vineyard

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition

  • Texas Reserve Class Champion – 2010 Claros

San Diego International Wine Competition

  • Gold – Claros
  • Silver – The Survivor

Riverside International Wine Competition

  • Gold – Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Silver – Claros
  • Silver – Riesling

Dallas Morning News International Wine Competition

  • Bronze – Claros

Pacific Rim International Wine Competition

  • Silver – Scheming Beagle Port
  • Silver – Angela’s Wish

Lone Star International Wine Competition

  • Silver – Riesling

San Francisco International Wine Competition

  • Silver – Angela’s Wish
Texas Hill Country wineries have won plenty of awards lately.

Texas Hill Country wineries have won plenty of awards lately.

Texas Hills Vineyard

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition

  • Silver – 2009 Newsom Vineyard Cabernet Franc
  • Silver – 2010 Merlot
  • Silver – 2010 Orange Moscato
  • Silver – 2009 Newsom Vineyard Toro de Tejas
  • Bronze – 2008 Port Rubino
  • Bronze – 2010 Newsome Vineyard Sangiovese

Texas Legato

Houston International Wine Competition

  • Texas Class Champion – 2009 Family Reunion
  • Bronze – 2010 Merlot

2013 KLRN San Antonio Wine Competition

  • Bronze – 2009 Family Reunion
  • Bronze – 2010 Merlot

2012 Wines of the Southwest Competition, Knoxville, TN

  • Silver – 2010 Malbec
  • Silver – NV GCP Mirtillo

William Chris Vineyards

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition

  • Double Gold & Best of Class – 2010 Cabernet Franc
  • Silver – 2011 Emotion
  • Silver – 2011 Mary Ruth
  • Silver – 2011 500 Block Merlot
  • Bronze – 2011 Malbec
  • Bronze – 2011 Jacquez

2013 KLRN San Antonio Wine Competition

  • Silver – 2011 Hunter
  • Bronze – 2010 Enchante

Dallas Morning News and TexSom Wine Competition

  • Silver – 2012 Blanc du Bois
  • Bronze – 2011 Artist

Jefferson Cup International Wine Competition

  • Silver – 2011 Emotion
  • Silver – 2011 Mary Ruth
  • Silver – 2010 Enchante

Woodrose Winery

Lone Star International Wine Competition

  • Silver – 2010 Cab/Syrah
  • Bronze – 2009 Tempranillo

Indy International Wine Competition

  • Bronze – 2009 Tempranillo

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition

  • Gold – 2009 Tempranillo
  • Texas Class Champion, Silver – 2010 Cab/Syrah

For information on Texas Hill Country Wineries, including special events, click here.

Posted in DrinksComments Off

‘The Wineslinger’ Is Combining a Book Signing with Some Liquid Fun

To celebrate Texas Wine Month, the Westin La Cantera is hosting Russ Kane, who has recently written perhaps the most comprehensive guide to wine the state that has appeared to date.

Kane will be signing copies of “The Wineslinger Chronicles: Texas on the Vine” from 5 to 6 p.m. Friday in the resort’s Steinheimer’s Lounge. Kane is also the author of the wine blog, VintageTexas.

That’s also the time that the resort’s sommelier, Steven Krueger, shares his passion for local pours, so you can sample a flight of four 2-ounce Texas wines for $10.

Kane will be glad to answer any questions you have about the wines you’re sampling or the Texas wine industry in general.

The Westin La Cantera is at 16641 La Cantera Parkway. For more information, call (210) 558-6500.

Posted in Daily DishComments (4)

‘Wine and Food – Something We Can All Enjoy’

This Friday and Saturday brings  the second annual San Antonio Cellar Classic, sponsored by Max’s Wine Dive and the upcoming Boiler House Texas Grill.

More than 80 wineswill be poured during the event, which brings together additional restaurants, all in an effort to showcase how well wine pairs with food.

Max’s executive chef, James Moore, sat down recently with chef de cuisine Clint Connaway, wine sales manager David Hood and online wine director Greg Steiner to discuss the event.

Q: What wines will be featured at Cellar Classic?

Hood: We have one of the most carefully constructed wine lists in the city, with more than 150 varieties from around the world, and we’re always adding more wines to that list, some of which we’ll be debuting at Cellar Classic. We’re working with more Texas wines, like Bending Branch — we’re the only San Antonio restaurant where you can find them. There’s a lot going on with Texas wines. We’re seeing a departure from conventional varietals and more experimentation with reds and whites like Picpoul Blanc, Tannat and Petite Sirah. Texas wineries are looking at other parts of the world, matching soils and climate to what we have here and venturing into those areas. It’s not just Chardonnays or Cabernets — they’re playing it less safe and we’ve got some interesting things to feature for Cellar Classic.

We’re also adding more Spanish wines to our portfolio, and we’ll be featuring those at Cellar Classic. But people shouldn’t come to Cellar Classic just to taste one wine or because we’re featuring a certain winemaker — they should come because we’re featuring so many wines and winemakers, names they don’t know but will want to once they taste them.

Q: How do you select the wines for Cellar Classic?

Steiner: Our staff works with wineries, importers and distributors to see what’s available, what’s hot and what we like, and we select from there. We leverage our buying power to come across opportunities that others can’t offer and ultimately, the deals are terrific. Our volume drives great prices, so if someone tastes something they like at Cellar Classic, they can take it home for a great deal.

Our buying power also means that we have the chance to work with wineries to make specific requests — for instance, maybe we ask them to leave the wine in oak for a little longer, or they create labels specifically for us. At times, we’ll even buy out an entire vintage, so there’s no where else you can get that wine other than from us. We work so closely with them — our relationship with them is truly a partnership that can create unique wine finds for our guests.

And of course, we like to feature things that are unique and cool: we’ll be including a Vicius Albariño that’s been aged at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The movement of the ocean actually helps the aging process and there is an ever so slight impartation of ocean salt water flavor that finds its way into the cork and therefore in the wine which gives the wine an amazingly addictive salinity. The result is maybe the greatest bottle of Albariño wine you will find. That’s something you won’t see at a typical wine tasting! It’s also one of the reasons that Cellar Classic is great place to discover new wines to add to your collection or the perfect spot to start a collection of your own.

Q: Why does Cellar Classic feature food alongside the wine tasting?

Moore: Food and wine are the perfect marriage because they enhance each other so well. Characteristics in wine change the flavors and dynamic of food while you’re eating and food can bring out nuances in wine. Wine that might taste flat in one note changes when paired with the right food. The right pairing can make the wine more full-bodied and more dynamic. We wouldn’t think of doing a wine event without including food.

Q: What makes Cellar Classic so great?

Moore: Cellar Classic is helping establish and nurture a culture in San Antonio that hasn’t existed before — featuring food and wine in one event. Being such a wine-centric company, hosting an event of this nature allows us to share our exploration and appreciation of wines and how they accompany food.

Connaway: It’s far from the typical wine tasting. I’d say it’s the antithesis of the typical wine tasting. And it’s a window into what we do and what we’re about. Cellar Classic gets people out sampling wines in a cool atmosphere, outside of a restaurant setting in a fun, free-flowing event. Food, wine and music — it doesn’t get better than that. And you can take home the wines you like.

Hood: We’re in a unique position: we order and sell a lot of wine. In fact, we are one of the largest purchasers of wine in Texas, so we have the opportunity to feature wines that you wouldn’t see in other places. You can explore different grapes, different makers, and wines from different parts of the world all in one building. Cellar Classic lets us feature the unexpected and wines people haven’t had the chance to experience. And our team will walk you through what you taste and what to look for in the wines we’re featuring. It’s sampling wine and great food with very knowledgeable wine friends and even though it’s only the second year to hold it here in San Antonio, we know it’s already become a tradition.

Q: What are the rules of wine today?

Connaway: The idea of whites with fish and pork, reds with beef—all of that is gone. A really nice light red could go with salad or fish . . . the way we’re cooking these days, its more variety. At Max’s Wine Dive we have big, bold flavors, so you need wines that can stand up to that.

Of course, you can’t serve dessert wines with dinner, but as far as reds and whites, you could have a fish dish that’s blackened that goes well with red. There are Sauvignon Blancs that hold up to a steak dinner or a burger.

Moore: You have to pair based on the components and structures of the dishes, not because someone thinks you should. But you need to drink what you like: there are so many different wines and grapes; it’s about your preference and personal tastes.

Q: What’s the Cellar Classic Reserve Dinner?

Moore: The dinner is an opportunity to expand what we do every day — pair great food and wine — and raise it to a different level. With five courses, we can explore more pairings and flavors. It’s not just each course, but how the courses all work together.

Connaway: With five courses, it’s more expansive than what we normally do at Max’s, but it’s going to be fun to do that within the Max’s environment. It’s going to be something unexpected from us—we’re really looking forward to it. I like to heat things up with spices and then cool them down building up to the entrée. We may even toss in a palette cleanser with a surprise sixth dish. I like to mess around with the senses. Sweet and savory, hot and cold . . . it’s another play on juxtapositions which is what Max’s Wine Dive is all about.

Q: The Grand Tasting includes other restaurants rather than just featuring MAX’s and the new Boiler House Texas Grill. Why?

Moore: Events like this help expose more people to better restaurants, different cuisines, chefs they haven’t experienced, so we want to share this opportunity with other chefs and restaurants. This event is not about us, it’s about the culinary scene in San Antonio. An event like this can expose you to a wider audience. By including other establishments, it helps them gain exposure and talk about what other wines they have as well and maybe reach a different audience than what they may usually see.

Connaway: It’s a way we can work together to build more interest, support and appreciation of wine and food — something we can all enjoy. It’s also fun to get out of the kitchen, walk around the “yard,” visit with the other chefs, see what they are doing, and talk with our guests. Cellar Classic is a celebration of food and wine for the staff as well, we enjoy it just as much as our guests. San Antonio is a cool city and we need a food scene that matches that — Cellar Classic helps better define us as a destination for great food and wine.

San Antonio Cellar Classic’s reserve dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Max’s Wine Dive, 340 E. Basse Road. The price is $125 per person or $225 per couple and is limited to 40 guests. Saturday’s grand tasting is at the stable at the Pearl Brewery from 1 – 4 p.m. Wine, food and music will be available. Tickets are $40 per person for general admission or $90 per person for VIP. For more information, click here.


Posted in NewsComments Off

Griffin to Go: Finding Comfort

Bending Branch Winery near Comfort.

The plan was to have breakfast before heading out to a couple of the wineries in Comfort, which open at 11 a.m. on Saturdays.

The patio at Bending Branch is great for relaxing over a glass of wine.

So, a group of eight of us made a quick stop for some fortification at the Flagstop Cafe along I-10 in Boerne before tasting any wine. Then, armed with a Google map, we made it to Comfort and immediately got lost.

Bending Branch cork trivet.

The wineries in Comfort, it seems, are not marked with the same plethora of signs that guide people from the interstate, such as those beckoning people to Sister Creek or those along Highway 290 through Hye and Stonewall. Nor was the Google map right: You do not have to go through the German retirement community to get there.

You do have to take a few twists and turns, which reminded me a little of the roads in Italy. That comparison was further reinforced by the beauty of the scenery, which had a Tuscan feel that could be seen in the hilly view that rises opposite Bending Branch Winery, our first stop.

Grapes growing at Bending Branch.

This charming winery is relatively new on the growing Texas wine scene and features an attractive tasting room with plenty of covered porch space, if you want to enjoy more than a sip after, the work of tasting all of the wines. (If you want an accurate map of how to get there, check out the winery’s website.)

For $10, you can taste the winery’s seven selections. Whites include the 2010 Vermentino, a clean, refreshing quaffer that has plenty of citrus flavor and touch of minerality, and the 2009 Picpoul Blanc, with its sting of citrus and spice among its qualities. Reds included the velvety 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2009 Tannat. If you’re not familiar with Tannat, it’s a hearty grape, inky and bold; it’s also the wine world’s equivalent of a superfood with its high concentration of resveratrol.

Bending Branch Winery was started by Dr. Bob Young. At the present time, all of his wines are made with grapes purchased from either the Texas High Plains, used in the rosé, or California’s Central Coast. All of the grapes have been planted on the property, using sustainable  methods, and will eventually be used. The first to mature, the Picpoul Blanc, is expected to be used in the next bottling.

A wine tasting at Singing Water Vineyards.

Around the corner and about two miles away is Singing Water Vineyards, which is a touch more rustic with its red barn look, but it is no less friendly. Dog lovers will especially enjoy the gentle Labrador retrievers on the property, including Lupe, whose picture adorns the label for the Sweet Lupe, a semi-sweet dessert wine.

You can taste the lineup for $6, which also includes the 2011 Pinot Grigio, which has a delightful almond flavor mixed in with a good level of acidity, and the 2010 Vintner’s Reserve, a Cabernet-Merlot blend with a buttery oak level and nice level of red fruit flavor. The 2010 Freedrom is a Syrah-Cabernet-Merlot blend that is rich with dark berry flavors, a slightly peppery quality and smooth oak; part of the proceeds from the sales of this wine benefit a scholarship fund for children of veterans.

You can’t go to Comfort without checking out the antiques, which is the town’s main attraction. So, we headed to High Street where we strolled from store to store to admire the treasures, many of which brought back memories of our childhoods. There were plenty of kitchen and foodie items that caught the eye, including an old Charles Chips cannister, an old-fashioned milkshake maker and various sets of china.

Comfort Pizza is in a converted gas station.

We also happened in on the Comfort Meet Market, a cool place for a beer or glass of wine adorned in all manner of Beatles and VW Beetle memorabilia as well as a wall of glass soda bottles through the years that included my childhood favorite, Wink.

We ended our stay with a trip to Comfort Pizza at one end of High Street, which offers mesquite-fired pizza in a renovated gas station from the 1920s. The dining area is outdoors under umbrellas that cover retro white metal tables with colorful chairs.

The drink list includes a variety of organic and natural sodas. There’s also a BYOB policy written out on the menu, in which the corkage fee is waived if you bring in any of the local wines.

The Bubba Supreme

But the real star is the near-perfect pizza on a thin but sturdy crust  that gets good and charred from the heat. We had the Bubba, which is real meat-lover’s treat, as well as the Bubba Supreme, in which the meats are crowned with a few vegetables that somehow don’t manage to get in the way. Tomato, meats, spices were all excellent, but it’s the slightly smoky flavor in the crust that is the real standout.

Comfort has more dining choices, including an old-favorite, 814 A Texas Bistro, and we heard praise for the Plaid Goat among others. Plus, there are many more antique shops to browse and even another winery, Comfort Cellar. So, a return trip is in order.


Singing Water Vineyards

Bending Branch Winery
142 Lindner Branch Road, Comfort
(830) 995-2948

Singing Water Vineyards
316 Mill Dam Road, Comfort
(830) 995-2146

Comfort Pizza
802 High St., Comfort
(830) 995-5959

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4.0 Cellars, a New Winery and Tasting Room, Opens in the Hill Country

4.0 Cellars is in the Texas Hill Country.

Three Texas wineries have joined forces to create a new winery and tasting room in the Texas Hill Country. It is called 4.0 Cellars and it showcases the wines of each partner as well as a new lineup under the 4.0 Cellars label.

The wineries are Brennan Vineyards of Comanche, Lost Oak Winery (formerly Lone Oak Winery) of Burleson and McPherson Cellars of Lubbock, and they have built their new home on Highway 290, which is the second most traveled wine trail in the United States.

“Brennan Vineyards, Lost Oak Winery and McPherson Cellars have long-established roots in other parts of Texas, but we want to share our wines and passion for Texas wine with travelers and other wine enthusiasts who visit the beautiful Texas Hill Country,” says Pat Brennan of Brennan Vineyards. “We created 4.0 Cellars with a distinctive level of personal service combined with comfort that will give our guests a special Texas wine experience.”

There are plenty of spaces at 4.0 where visitors can enjoy wine.

The new winery and tasting room offers several areas where visitors can relax, enjoy wine and take in the Hill Country scenery, including:

• A 5,000-square-foot tasting room with concrete counter top, stained concrete and bamboo floors to accommodate groups

• A private tasting room that can be reserved for tastings, wine pairings, wine dinners and other events

• An outdoor, covered front porch for enjoying wine and summer breezes

• An outside full-service wine bar to order wines by the glass or bottle to enjoy on the spot, adjacent to the special events pavilion

• A special events pavilion for weddings, receptions, and parties, which has an outdoor fireplace for cool winter days, stained concrete floors, exposed cedar ceilings and steel beams

• Casual seating under a canopy of large oak trees adjacent to the tasting room

The winery also includes a 2,006-square-foot wine storage facility and space for making the 4.0 Cellars wines, the first of which will be a sherry that will be produced in Lubbock by Kim McPherson and bottled at 4.0 Cellars.

The Hill Country landscape provides a beautiful setting.

“Together, we bring more than 50 years of winemaking experience and hospitality to this new venture, which will introduce travelers and wine enthusiasts to our high-quality wines,” says Gene Estes of Lost Oak Winery, which just won a Double Gold Medal for its 2010 Viognier at the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition and Gold (and Texas Champion) at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition.

All three wineries are well-known for their award-winning wines, with the 2010 McPherson Roussanne awarded Best in Class and Gold at the 2011 Pacific Rim Competition and Gold at the Lone Star Wine Competition, and the 2009 Brennan Viognier taking home Gold medals in both the 2011 San Francisco Chronicle International Wine and 2011 Dallas Morning News Competitions.

“Coming together to create 4.0 Cellars grew out of all three of us having a dedication to making the best wine from quality Texas fruit, and making wines from warm-climate varieties, such as Viognier, Roussanne, Albariño, Sangiovese and Tempranillo, that do well in Texas,” says McPherson.

The winery will charge $10 for a tasting of six wines plus a featured wine of the week, which includes a complimentary wine glass. The tasting fee is refunded with a purchase of two or more bottles of wine. A selection of domestic and international cheeses and deli meats will be offered with seasonal fruit and a sampling of Fredericksburg chocolates.

4.0 Cellars is the latest addition to the Highway 290 wine trail.

In the coming months, the winery will host live music and other special events. Its Dean’s List and Honor Society wine clubs offer members discounts on wines, first opportunities to taste and purchase new releases, complimentary tastings and other special benefits.

4.0 Cellars is at 10354 E. U.S. 290, Fredericksburg. Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, go to or call the winery at (830) 997-7470 or toll free at  1-855-480-WINE (9463).

You can follow 4.0 Cellars on Facebook and Twitter @FourPointWine for news about events and new wine releases.


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It’s Wine and Wildflowers in the Hill Country

Who can resist bluebonnets?

The bluebonnets are gorgeous this year, thanks to the rain. And the wineries throughout the Hill Country are waiting for you to show up and celebrate. Here are a few events being planned that allow you to mix wine and wildflowers.

The three B’s

The second annual Bluegrass, Bluebonnets and Barbecue at Becker Vineyards takes place March 17-18.

The Wood Street Bloodhounds will play music from 1 to 4 p.m. Riley’s Custom Catering will offer barbecue from noon to 5 or until it is sold out. You can get at two-meat plate with two sides for $12.50 or a barbecue sandwich and chips for $7.50.

The vineyard is located off Jenschke Road in Stonewall. Saturday hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday is noon-6 p.m. Visit or call (830) 644-2681, ext. 302.

Wine and wildflowers, a perfect pair.

Head to the Hills

The Wine & Wildflower Trail through the Hill Country will be April 13-22 and will feature 33 wineries this year.

Tickets cost $40 per couple and $25 per person. Tickets include:

  • 1-3 complimentary tastes of wine at each winery
  • 15 percent discount on 3 bottle purchases at each winery
  • One bluebonnet gift bag per ticket
  • One rain gauge per ticket
  • One wildflower seed packet per ticket

For a list of participating wineries and more information, click here.

WOW’s wildflowers

The Way Out Wineries, those in the more northern part of the Hill Country, in towns such as Lampasas and Comanche, will celebrate the wildflower season April 13-15. For tickets and participating wineries, click here.



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Celebrate the Holidays with a Free Glass of Texas Wine at Antlers

Enjoy a glass of Texas wine at Antlers.

As the days dwindle down to Christmas, it’s time to take a few moments off to enjoy a good dinner and a relaxing glass of wine.

The folks at Antlers in the Hyatt Hill Country, 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive, are helping you do just. From Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 22-24, the restaurant is offering a free glass of Texas wine as part of a promotion to show you how they are using the best local and sustainable ingredients available. And what better to enjoy with local foods than a glass of local wine?

Just print out this story and bring it with you to the restaurant for your free glass. Limit one per adult.

For more information, call the restaurant at 210-520-4001 or visit for reservations.


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