Mentioning the Chisholm Trail conjures up visions of the Old West. Today, you can find a modern version of the frontier path near Fredericksburg, Texas–not so different in its rural setting, but with a final destination far removed from the rough and tumble establishments of that era.
Follow a long country road through the woods, past Longhorn cattle grazing freely and quarter horses roaming the open range (with a couple of llamas and potbellied pigs around, too) to a small valley nine miles westof Fredericksburg in central Texas. Set in a quintessential Western landscape, Chisholm Trail Wineryis as fine a place to spend a lazy afternoon while sampling delicious wine as you’ll find anywhere.
Escape city chaos with a picnic by Spring Creek, located on the Chisholm Trail property; then stroll to the winery’s tasting room for a refreshing glass of Ghostrider, their most popular variety, and a taste of Jackass Blush or Lone Wolf.
Chisholm Trail is the creation of Paula Williamson and Harry Skeins, two former attorneys, who purchased the property in 1992 with the dream of making quality wines in Texas using only Texas grapes. They spent three years learning vineyard techniques and wine making, including many hours under the tutelage of master wine maker Vernon Gold, and planted the first five acres in 1994 with Cabernet sauvignon plants and released its first wines to the public in 2001. Today, the winery has tank space for 15,000 gallons.
Featuring premium estate bottled wines in a beautiful Hill Country setting, Chisholm Trail Winery offers a fun atmosphere in which to enjoy the products. No snobby people sniffing and swirling here. On the day of my visit, Paula, wearing a bright turquoise shirt and matching band on her cowboy hat, poured samples into Longhorn logo glasses, while live music entertained guests on the tasting patio.
Winesare given names that combine Western heritage with contemporary panache. Dry reds include Diablo, Silver Spur, Lil’s Red Satin, and a port called Almages, named for a lost mine. Membership in the Stetson Wine Club is free and allows for discounts and advance notice of special events.
Check www.texaswinetrail.com for details about the Holiday Wine Trail, held the first three weekends in December. This is a great day trip from Austin, just over an hour’s drive, or a weekend getaway–plenty of wonderful accommodations and restaurants in Fredericksburg.
Photos by Beverly and Larry Burmeier
Read more travel articles by Beverly at www.goingonadventures.com and www.stripedpot.com