Nestled among the wooden corrals and brick façades of the historic Fort Worth Stockyards district, Cowtown Winery pairs meats and cheeses with red, white, semisweet, and dessert wines handcrafted by an in-house vintner. Amid shelves stocked with emerald rows of bottles, the winery’s tasting bar hosts daily samplings of premium wines such as the tart Silver Spur red and a pinot grigio with subtle aromas of apple, pear, and aged stetson hat. Live acoustic music on the weekends helps to inspire first-time winemakers as they consult with vintners to design custom labels and concoct up to 29 bottles of their own signature wine.
Gene Estes suspects that growing up in the "dry" precinct of Abilene, Texas, may have inspired his alcohol-based ingenuity; he crafted his first batch of wine from Concord grape juice when he was just 23. Years later, after holding various pharmaceutical jobs and putting to use his Masters in Microbiology, Estes's interest in wine re-emerged with a full and passionate force. Today, as the president and vintner of Lost Oak Winery, Gene works alongside resident winemaker Jim Evans to craft a host of award-winning wines. Among them is the 2012 Viognier, which scored a double gold in the renowned San Francisco Chronicle International Wine competition—meaning all five judges awarded the varietal with top scores before gilding the bottle twice in molten gold.
The winery itself offers both guided and self-guided tours, offering visitors a glimpse into the wine-making process complete with samples straight from oak barrels. Additionally, special events draw guests to the lush grounds for live music and wine club events.
When Birgit and Bruce Anderson first purchased their 2-acre property in Burleson, Texas, the new surroundings where they grew vegetables and raised farm animals reminded them of the then-popular television show Little House on the Prairie. The couple—who originally trained as a tax agent and sociology professor—and their daughters farmed the land for several years before a 1995 trip to Napa Valley seduced them into the vineyard lifestyle. After 10 years of studying grape-growing and winemaking, the Andersons opened Sunset Winery, which they've nicknamed and trademarked "The Best Little Wine House in Texas."
Since opening, the late-blooming winemakers have established themselves by winning multiple prizes for their wines and drawing a steady stream of visitors each year. Sunset's lauded bottles include Moon Glow merlot and Twilight Tango malbec, the latter of which won top accolades at the 2009 GrapeFest People's Choice Wine Tasting Classic, edging out other malbecs and a chagrined Susan Lucci.
Located on Main Street of Grapevine, Texas, Grape Vine Springs Winery treats visitors to countless varieties of wine paired with savory cheese and charcuterie plates. In the tasting and dining area, honeycombed wine racks and wooden barrels line the earth-toned walls, allowing visitors to imagine they've been swept away to the rustic cottage of a Tuscan vintner or the panic room of a billionaire.
Guests sip house-made sauvignon blanc, malbec, and fruit-infused wine, while customers consult with wine representatives on creating a personalized label for any occasion.
Gabe Parker's grandfather began farming in North Texas more than a century ago. Wanting to continue that tradition, Gabe and his wife, Barb, planted their own crops in the rich soil of Ivanhoe—only instead of corn and wheat, they cultivated grapes for chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon.
Gabe and Barb's Homestead Winery has since built a reputation for producing rich, full-bodied flavors and award-winning wines. Their main production facility still resides in Ivanhoe and is open for tours and other events, but additional locations in Denison and Grapevine invite guests to taste and purchase Homestead's wines inside historic and charming venues.
30-minute tours educate guests on how Delaney’s wines go from grape to glass and end with a tasting of five of the in-house vintages. On Thursday nights, the winery also hosts a “Rhythm and Wine” event where couples can sip wine and tap their feet to the sound of live music.