Around harvest time on Rising Star Vineyards' verdant acres, vines of chardonnay, merlot, and other Old-World grapes hang heavy, ready for their transformation into the small-batch wines the vineyard is famous for. As detailed in the Abilene Reporter-News, the grapes are trellised several feet off the ground, which owner Michael Oubre says “produces superior fruit” for their distinctive blends of Old-World flavor and Texan style. Their Salado cheesery and tasting room serves salads and sandwiches on locally baked bread for lunch, while vending cheese and other sundries exclusively made by Texas producers. In addition to cheese plates featuring fresh chevre from Bonney Goat Cheeses and Watonga flavored cheddars, the shop serves frozen wine margaritas to sip as talismans against the Samarian curses of the hot sun. The winery also holds regular wine-education and tasting classes, from a basic Wine 101 session to a food-and-wine-pairing session.
In Focus: Georgetown Winery
Open: Tuesday through Sunday
Vineyard: More than 3,000 vines across four acres
Grape varieties grown: tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon, lenoir, and concord
Award-winning wines: dozens of awards, including an ice wine that won Texas Class Champion in 2012
Red wines sold: include Capitol Red, pinot noir, and merlot
White wines sold: include chardonnay, pinot grigio, and viognier
Sweet wines sold: include apple, blackberry, pear, and blueberry
Dessert wines sold: include ice wine and jubilee reserve
Wine club membership: gets you two exclusive wines per quarter of the year
Dan Gatlin is a bona fide pioneer in the field of Texas winemaking. His father owned a chain of convenience and wine and spirits stores, which meant Dan was closely attuned to the rise of winemaking in California in the 1970s. In 1981, Dan took a shot at spurring the same type of enterprise in Texas, opening a small vineyard that would one day grow into the successful Inwood Estates Vineyards. Today the winery produces red and white wines that take advantage of Texas's distinctive terroir, or soil, to produce complex flavors.
After 22 years in the air force, Water 2 Wine–founder John McFadden established his first custom winery in San Antonio seven years ago. Already the business has spread as far as Milwaukee to the north and Denver to the west, bringing the country's vinophiles more than 100 wines, each of which are fermented on site and available for tastings every day. Those who want to get more involved in the crafting process may sign up to make their own wine and steep themselves in each step of the operation, from selecting the grape varieties, beginning the fermentation process, withstanding a wait of about 45 days, and finally christening their creation by smashing a tiny boat against the bottle. All custom-made wines are plastered with personalized labels made from one of Water 2 Wine’s templates or images that customers design from the ground up.
Italian favorites are tweaked at this trendy Allandale location, where visitors rave about Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar's five-star dishes.
The restaurant's menu includes an exquisite selection of pizzas and pastas.
Ordering a gluten-free meal isn't difficult at Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar.
Pair your entree with a glass of wine or draft beer — this restaurant has a fully-stocked bar to complement your meal.
Having trouble finding that family-friendly restaurant everyone will love? This restaurant serves all ages, so little ones are welcome to come along, too.
Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar's happy hour is filled with food and beverage deals.
Patio tables and chairs are ready for Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar diners who prefer their meals al fresco.
Access the Internet free of charge via Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar's complimentary wifi.
Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar is a dog-friendly establishment, so bring your pup along.
Reserve your table ahead of time if you're heading over to the restaurant on a Friday and Saturday — it can get quite crowded during the weekend.
Good luck spotting a suit and tie at Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar — casually-dressed diners are the norm here.
Dining out isn't your only option here — pickup is available, too.
Impress the visitors at your next gathering by calling in Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar for catering.
Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar's diners can make use of nearby parking lots.
For those who prefer to travel by bike, Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar is a great option due to its generous bike parking options.
The average check at Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar will stay below $30 per person, so it's a relatively affordable option.
So come to Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar, where they've put a trendy twist on classic Italian cuisine.
For a lovely Italian night out, look no further than Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar.
When in Rome, you do as the Romans do. When at Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar, you eat as deliciously as the Italians do.
Fork & Vine: A User’s Guide
Austin-Inspired Cuisine | Wine Pairing | House-Made Bread | Charcuterie | Gluten-Free Menu | Sunday Brunch | Atrium and Patio Dining
Appetizer: mycella cheese plate with Danish bleu cheese, honey comb, and pecan
Entree: snow crab and fried chicken with crab gumbo
Dessert: maple creme brulee with candied bacon
Where to Sit: either the half-outdoor atrium or the fully-outdoor patio—a rustic deck with foliage and strung lights
When to Go: weekday dinner. Chef Camden Stuerzenberger told the Austin Chronicle that his goal was to create an upscale but laid-back neighborhood spot where locals could enjoy fine wine and food without having to commute.
What the Critics Say: The Chronicle’s food critic applauded a pairing of arugula salad with a French rosé, as well as the red snapper crudo—a medley of textures and flavors that includes radish slices and tortilla-chip crumble.
Fork & Wine’s liquor license allows restaurant customers to purchase bottles of wine to bring home. Take advantage of sommelier Chris Howell’s menu of hard-to-find wines.
The staff has been explicitly trained in wine pairings, so don’t be shy about asking for advice.
How to Get Closer to the Wine Cellar: Get privileged access to the selection of roughly 200 fine wines through events held in the tasting room.