Western Trips

Western Trips

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Texas Hill Country Wine Tour

The Texas Hill Country is found across the undulating Edwards Plateau. Austin is to the east and San Antonio to the south. You'll find plenty of attractions in the Texas Hill Country region and we are featuring in this article one of those popular attractions.

The Hill Country might very well be the most popular part of the large state of Texas and some will tell you like nowhere else in the world. Limestone hills, winding creeks and rivers carve out this unique part of Texas. Oak trees and mesquite offer welcomed shade in the spring and summer. Beautiful bluebonnets, poppies and other wildflowers cover this hilly countryside

bell springs winery
Bell Springs Winery tasting room
These days wineries are almost as numerous in the Hill Country as ranch windmills. The Texas Hill Country is the third-largest American Viticultural Area. It's said larger than any in California.

Bell Springs Winery

Our tour of the Texas Hill Country wineries takes us to the Bell Springs Winery located just west of the town of  Dripping Springs. The winery is only about a 28 mile drive west of downtown Austin.

To reach Bell Springs Winery from Austin, take Highway 290 West towards Dripping Springs/Fredericksburg.  Take a right turn at Bell Springs Road (just past middle school on your left).  Bell Springs Winery will be 3 miles up on Bell Springs Road on your left hand side.

texas hill country wineries
Tables among the trees at Bell Springs Winery
Bell Springs Winery is owned and operated by a husband and wife team. The wine offered is excellent and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable.

The winery and tasting room sits on the lower part of the property, with great views of the hundreds of  oak and cedar trees.  Visitors can stroll around the grounds or relax the afternoon away on Bell Spring's covered deck or concrete patio. Bell Springs Winery also offers a calendar of live music performances on generally a once a week basis.

Visitors are encouraged to bring along a lunch and relax and enjoy the outdoor patio area. Bell Springs Winery also offers a fine selection of olive oil. You'll also be able to find locally made candles and soaps, books about the Austin area and several great wine lover gifts.

Texas Hills Vineyard

Located near Johnson City, Texas in the Pedernales River Valley, the Texas Hills Vineyard utilizes sustainable organic methods to grow their vineyard. The tasting room itself was built employing environmentally friendly methods. It is very worth going a bit out of your way to visit this absolutely gorgeous vineyard and winery outside Johnson City. The outdoor patio is nicely shaded for hot summer days, and the grounds are beautifully kept. The enclosed patio seats up to 65 people with picturesque views overlooking the Vineyard.

Texas Hills Vineyard
Texas Hills Vineyard produces a full range of award winning wine. They planted their vineyard in 1995 and the winery opened in 1999. Texas Hills Vineyard utilizes only Texas sourced grapes for their wines. Texas Hills features 100% Texas grapes.

There was one  wine offered that was a collaboration with another Texas winemaker.  Grapes grown in their vineyard include Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, Orange Muscat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Syrah.

The tasting room consists of a medium sized circular bar surrounded by a gift shop and a section with some refrigerated snacks. Texas Hills Vineyard also has a full calendar of events open to the public. Locally made artisan cheeses and crackers are available in the tasting room.

You may also enjoy the Western Trips articles on the links below... 

Dripping Springs and a Pioneer Texas Settlement

Visit Historic Llano Texas 

See the Bluebonnets of Burnet Texas 

Visit San Angelo / A West Texas Adventure

There are several good books on the market regarding Texas Hill Country wine. Some of these include...The Texas Hill Country: A Food and Wine Lover's Paradise, 2nd edition, by author Terry Thompson-Amderson. Another is...The Wine Roads of Texas: An Essential Guide to Texas Wines and Wineries, by author Wes Marshall.

 texas wineries
Grounds overlooking vineyard
The Texas Hill Country features many unique wineries that make excellent weekend trips or parts of longer vacations.Bell Springs Winery and Texas Hills Vineyard are but two. A good resource for maps of Texas wine tours including those in and outside of the Hill Country is website...http://www.texaswineandtrail.com/driving-maps/

The Texas Hills Vineyard is located about a 25 mile drive west of Bell Springs Winery in Dripping Springs and about a 53 mile drive west of Austin. Their address is 878 Ranch Road 2766, Johnson City, TX. 

From Austin you would drive west on Hwy 290 through Dripping Springs and west to Johnson City. Turn right off of Hwy 290 to Hwy 281. Drive north on Hwy 281 to Robinson Rd (FM 2766). The entrance to the winery is just about one-half mile down Robinson Rd. on the right hand side. 

(Article and photos copyright 2014 Western Trips)

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