Sunday, October 5, 2014

Texas Wine Month has Started!

The greatest celebration of Texas wine is upon us. October is Texas Wine Month, and wineries throughout the state are celebrating with special events and festivals. For me, that means a trip to the Texas Hill Country Wineries and 31 days on the annual Texas Wine Month trail.

For those that do not know, the wine trail allows those who purchase passes to sample wines from all 42 participating wineries -- without any additional charge. For $35 for an individual pass and $60 for a couple, this is an incredible deal.

When on the trail, guests an enjoy up to 4 full tastings a day. There was some complaint about it at first, as those that can't regularly be in the area would not be able to visit many wineries. This is true, but by moving to 4 a day, they can no offer full tastings (rather than the typical 3), which makes for a more thorough experience. I have already enjoyed my first trail day, and I can say that 4 full tastings is an ample amount. To complete that Herculean task, we devoted almost 6 hours to make those four visits to wineries that were very close to one another (someone within sight distance).  I can honestly say that I enjoyed the fuller tasting; it forced me to slow down and enjoy the wine and the company. Best of all, it allowed me to real get a full measure of what each winery had to offer.

The other new change is the use of a tasting booklet. In years past, trail goers took their paper ticket to each of the wineries. At each winery the ticket was stamped to track each guests' visits. After awhile, the ticket could get full, and so many of the stamps were hard to read. The new book provides four spaces for each of the 31 days of the trail; there is no problem with keeping track. In addition to tracking visits, the book becomes a souvenir.

In addition to the trail, the wineries host a kick-off party during the first weekend. This year it was moved to Saturday, which made it easier to actually come. So from 6-8 on the 3rd, guests enjoyed the beauty of Hye Meadow and drank wines from the host, as well as Alamosa, Bending Branch, Lewis Wines, McReynold's, and Messina Hof. Live music from the Flying Pig provided the evening's soundtrack, and KHill Barbeque served up great food. This night ended up being perfect, with the moon raising on side and the sun setting on the other.

Luckily, this adventure is just getting started. There are still many days to visit the wineries and a second party on Saturday the 25 at Driftwood.To join the fun, head to the Texas Hill Country website and grab a ticket; they may just sell out. And then, let the Texas wine drinking commence.

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