Texas hills unfurl before Wimberley Valley Winery, gently guiding guests to the winery’s stock of wines. Since 1983, the winery’s resident winemaker has created a range of classic varietal wines in addition to offering wines from around the world. While the winemakers weave their magic in the cellar, the remainder of the winery’s staff entertains customers in the elegant tasting room. Here, an expansive stone fireplace steals the attention from sunny yellow walls, and granite counters hide bottle after bottle of wines waiting to be sampled. While tasters sink into cushy leather couches, the staff explains the flavor profiles of wine types and divulge tips for pairing wine with the right food or crazy straws.
Mouthwatering aromas of smoked pork and brisket commingle with the distinct smell of hops at Uncle Billy's Brew & Que, a barbecue spot that teams up delicious sandwiches and entrees with a signature collection of beers brewed on-site. Diners can bask in the sunlight on large patios while perusing the menu, which boasts such down-home favorites as a crisp fried-pickle starter ($6.99) and chicken-fried chicken ($9.99–$10.99) dappled with house-made gravy. Teeth chomp to the rhythms of live music on weekends, settling into a savory groove on Billy cheesesteak sandwiches ($7.99–$9.99) that pile brisket, pulled pork, or smoked chicken on a hoagie roll with queso, peppers and onions. Hearty appetites scale one-pound mountains of pork ribs ($9.99) and half-pound foothills of lean or moist brisket ($6.99–$8.79), which can be topped off with a snowy peak of beer foam (alcohol not included in this Groupon).
More than 30 wineries dot the idyllic Texas Hill Country, the historically rich backdrop for ARC’s Wine Plus’s tours. The company’s signature excursion, the wine tour, makes stops at three or more wineries, where guests can swig samples as guides share facts about wines, specifically those born in Texas. Brew tours, on the other hand, showcase Texan beer and its history. During tours of local breweries, groups can soak up the guide’s exhaustive knowledge with their brain sponges while sampling local suds.
The culinary ideology behind MAX's Wine Dive lies in a simple slogan: "Why the hell not?" With the gourmand irreverence to unite fried chicken with champagne, chili dogs with an Australian shiraz, and grilled cheese with a French sauvignon blanc, chef Clint Connaway's menu of both eclectic and seasonal dishes has earned MAX's a spot on 10Best's Top Bar list.
Though the cuisine evokes the flavors of a rustic diner, the ingredients are all gourmet—chefs spangle dishes with fresh seasonal produce, piquant cheeses, and unique sauces such as chipotle aioli and smoked jalapeño honey crème fraiche. Meanwhile, an extensive inventory of world wines pours regularly, sending selections to tables by the glass even when the menu lists a varietal as bottle-only, thanks to the restaurant's two-glass commitment policy. On weekends, brunch bravely blends fried chicken and pancakes, available in traditional or red velvet, and the signature MAX 'n cheese puts a twist on an original in a more critic-friendly manner than editing a high-speed chase into Casablanca. MAX's can also comfortably accommodate large gatherings in their semi-private dining area.
Executive Chef Scott Boone’s seasonal menus of duck, salmon, and steak dishes are each constructed with a complementary wine pairing in mind. Protein-packed entrees share plate space with such sides as gruyere scalloped potatoes, creamy polenta, and braised chard. The kitchen staff also festoons sourdough pizza crusts with meatballs, eggplant, and sun-dried tomato pesto. Xenophiles can enjoy more than 60 wines by the glass, 300 wines by the bottle, and one wine by the wheel barrel from locales that include California, Spain, and Germany.