Sunday, January 30, 2011

"Winter Escape" on the San Gabriel Wine Trail

     Yesterday, the wineries on the San Gabriel Wine Trail hosted their "Winter Escape". Wine lovers boarded buses, vans and limos to tour and taste the offerings at five Texas wineries and one wine bar. The crowd was estimated at well over 300 participants with each person receiving a souvenier glass, a wine bottle carrying bag and three tastings at each location complemented with free food pairings. Live music at two of the locations added to the fun.
     We started at Inwood Estates in Florence where Dan Gatlin, the proprietor, was on-site to answer questions and show the facility. They have been making wine in Texas since 1981 and are well-known for their outstanding Tempranillo and Tempranillo blends. From here, we walked to the adjacent property, The Vineyard at Florence. Dan is the winemaker for this label, as well, for neighbor/owner Kambrah Garland and her partner Kris Davis. These ladies have created a beautiful space with their Villa Firenze. This building has a large tasting room, a cafe, spa, art gallery and event rooms. There are also free-standing villas overlooking the vineyards for overnight stays.
    
     From here, we went to Salado Wine Company. This is a new winery and they are still waiting for government approval for their labels so we were not able to sample their own wines. They instead served three wines from other Texas producers from their wine shop. The next stop was down the road at the Salado Creek Winery where we were offered a Pinot Grigio blend, Cabernet and a sweet red wine blend.
     Then it was time to head south to the Georgetown Winery. Winemaker and owner, Dan Marek, was there pouring his White Merlot, Cabernet and Chocolate-Cherry Port-styled wine. The Texas music was playing and the crowd was a rambunctious mix of locals and trail-goers. Our last stop was the Silver & Stone Restaurant and Wine Bar located on the 4th floor of a building in historic Georgetown. Groups of people from the wine trail took their final three tastings outside on the terrace patio with views of the town.
     The weather was fantastic, the trail-goers were excited to try the wines and a wonderful time was had by all with whom I spoke.