Texas Wine Country

We started taking winery tours during the 1980's in Northern California when we lived in the Bay Area.  Julia went on so many of the tours with family and friends from Wisconsin that she was sometimes recognized by the tour guides.  "Hey, weren't you here last month?"

Back then, the tastings were free, and pours were generous.  Many of the wineries were on two lane rustic roads.  We spent many weekend afternoons on the picnic grounds of a selected winery, enjoying fresh sourdough bread, brie cheese, and a bottle of wine. Eventually, Napa became popular and more expensive.  We began visiting wineries in Sonoma county and then Mendocino county,  searching for that undiscovered gem.  I don't think there's much undiscovered wine country in California anymore. 

Fast forward to March of 2021.  On the way back from the Texas gulf coast, we decided to stop in Texas wine country.  I can tell you that Texas is trying really hard to emulate California wine country.  Tastings were $15 to $20 at the places that we tried.  One difference we noted right away is that many of the wineries are located along a four lane highway, and many of the vineyards are not located at the same location as the tasting rooms.

Our Airbnb was, well, I'm not going to even tell you how much that cost.  I will admit that I couldn't find anything under $125/night.  The place was called Cowboy Orchard's Guesthouse.  It was very nice in a quaint Victorian way.  We enjoyed the front porch swing and the backyard space.

 Fredericksburg itself is a charming, historic town.  We spent a lot of time just walking around and taking in the views.


Our first wine tasting was downtown at the Fredericksburg Winery.  The tasting room host was delightful and an excellent saleswoman.  I didn't care for the wine a bit; Julia thought it was tolerable and bought two bottles. For whatever it's worth, Julia is much more of a wine connoisseur than I am. 

After that experience I was ready for a beer.  We headed over to Altdorf Biergarten and Restaurant for German food and beer with outdoor dining.  


On the next morning, we needed to walk off some of that rich German food and drink.  We started with Cross Mountain which turned out to be a very short uphill hike and then a short nature trail hike near the trailhead.  We then headed for the Fredericksburg Nature Center.  We enjoyed these short trails also but still needed to walk around the adjacent park to get some more steps in.  

Julia was now ready to begin wine tasting in earnest. Since I was going to be the designated driver, she tossed me a bone and agreed to first have lunch at Pecan Street Brewing in Johnson City, Texas.  After lunch and a beer on the backyard patio, I was ready to assume my duties.

 We then visited two wineries.  The first was Hilmy, and it was lovely.  The wine was delightful (red and white), and we enjoyed the on-site vineyard.  The tastings were held outside.

The second winery was Messina Hof.  Tastings were held outside here also.  Julia enjoyed the wines here, but preferred Hilmy.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Fredericksburg.  If money were no object, we would probably return often.  I did note that there was a municipal campground near the Fredericksburg Nature Center.  



  1. Yep, Fredericksburg is a popular place, but I don't know squat about the wineries and breweries because - yep, I'm one of those dry people - - - Next time you're there and need to get in some walking Enchanted Rock, a granite dome just to the north might fit the bill

    1. Enchanted Rock State Park would have been our first choice, but we were in the area on a weekend, and reservations to enter the park weren't available. Maybe next time. We really enjoy the Texas gulf area, so chances are it won't be too long before we are back through there again.

      Nothing wrong with dry people. I've had too many friends for whom alcohol and life mixed poorly.

  2. Great photo of Julia next to the barrels and the last of you together. Has she tried getting her hair layered cut?

    1. I'm not sure. I've learned to say, "it looks great" or nothing at all are my best strategies.

  3. Replies
    1. I've owned that hat a long time. It doesn't get worn often, but I kinda like it for the few times that it does. It's safely sitting on the back of the shelf now--until the appropriate time comes again.

    2. I have a pair of Easter-egg purple shoes One El talked me into buying back in my youth. They spend a lot of time in the cedar closet but every now and then...

      So, I know what you mean.


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