On January 19 we celebrated five years since we met and started dating. We actually met through eHarmony and had been going through the stages of communication on there for quite some time (because I wasn’t a paying member and we had to keep waiting for free communication weekends…). We were both living in the same city and finally decided to meet in person. We planned for a date at Starbucks- my favorite place in the whole world (and I later found out that Michael was not a Starbucks person…). I was pretty nervous about meeting this man from the internet and had two friends go with me as secret bodyguards. Michael found out about them several months later and that’s been a a funny story ever since. Obviously the date went really well and here we are five years later and three years married!
Each year on the 19th we celebrate through small gifts, doing something fun, and of course going to Starbucks! We are now living again in the same city where we met so we get to back to the exact one. They have remodeled, but we try to sit in the same area and we reminisce about that evening.
This year, a wine trail fell on the same weekend as our anniversary so we decided to do that. For a few years we have been getting into wine as a hobby. Neither of us particularly likes wine or knows a whole lot about it, but we enjoy touring the wineries, doing tastings, and learning more about how it’s made. (In fact, a college near us offers a degree in winemaking. I realllyyyy want to do it, but everyone is telling me that my two bachelor’s degrees and master’s degree are enough school for now. Rude.) Our first wine tasting experiences were actually in Grapevine, TX while celebrating six months of marriage. We enjoyed it so much and have just continued to seek out wineries. It’s been a fun hobby to do together.
Texas is really becoming a huge player in the wine industry and has many fabulous wineries, especially in the hill country area. Several months ago I stumbled across the San Gabriel Wine Trail. Six wineries in central Texas, close to where we live. For $30 you got three tastings and a snack at each winery, coupons, and a special tasting glass. Perfect! It was such a fun two days visiting the wineries, trying new wines, and seeing some great parts of Texas! (Make sure to read about all six because our favorite was the last one!)
Winery #1: Lakeview Winery in Oasis
This is such a cute place nestled near The Oasis restaurant right on Lake Travis. Gorgeous view. It has a nice, large bar area along with a little room with tables and chairs to sit and relax and enjoy the wine. The staff were very friendly and made conversation even in the midst of a day filled with over 200 customers. We enjoyed all of our wines here, but the one that stood out was their Longhorn Reserve- a chocolate and orange port. (Well, this was my husband’s fave, it was too strong for me!).
Winery #2: Georgetown Winery in Georgetown
This winery is right on Main Street in downtown Georgetown and had such a great atmosphere. I really want to go back on a day when there isn’t a trail going on- it was very crowded! We both stuck to only the sweet wines here, they had so many fun options. Our favorite was the “Funky Monkey”- a banana and pineapple wine. It mainly tasted like pineapple and was very refreshing. Michael branched out a tried their Jalapeno wine, and didn’t enjoy it much. I’m hoping to go back another day and sit at one of their outdoor tables and enjoy a glass while people watching.
Winery #3: Grape Creek in Georgetown
This tasting room is also located on Main Street in Georgetown, just down the road from Georgetown Winery. Grape Creek’s main location is in Fredericksburg and we toured and tasted there about a year ago and had a wonderful experience. They have some really outstanding wines. But sadly, our experience at the Georgetown location just wasn’t that great. It wasn’t very crowded, we just didn’t feel like they cared about us unless we were going to purchase some bottles or join their wine club. But I highly recommend the Fredericksburg location if you’re in the hill country!
Winery #4: Rising Star Vineyards in Salado
Love this place in the heart of downtown Salado. A very cute and spacious tasting area and shop. The couple who (I’m assuming) own it were so very friendly and sweet and allowed us to taste more than our allotted three. It is a smaller winery and thus they have limited production and a short list of wines- but all were delicious. I especially enjoyed the White Merlot and Rustler’s Red (it’s rare I find a red wine that I like!).
Winery #5: Salado Creek in Salado
A great space with lots of room and lots of tables and seating areas. Seems like it would be a fun place to hang out with some friends. The wines were really delicious and I found my favorite of the whole trail- their Sweet Blush. They had some interesting and different wines like lime, lemon, and chocolate. We enjoyed this place.
Winery #6: Dancing Bee in Rogers
Hands down our FAVORITE of the trail. Rogers is a VERY small town kind of in the middle of nowhere… but it is well worth making a trip to Dancing Bee. The owners also produce honey (Walker Honey Farm) and so most of the wines are honey-based, making for a different taste and experience than just “normal” wines. They have meads (honey wine), melomels (honey and fruit), and metheglin (honey and herbs/spices). Our favorite was the Sweet Raspberry Melomel. They very recently built and opened a new building and it’s so cozy and welcoming. The wines were great and the staff were very friendly. It’s the only place that we enjoyed a glass of wine after our tasting (and that’s saying a lot because we are cheap!).
Overall it was a great weekend and we had such fun on the trail. We hope to do more of the trails around Texas. There are lots!