Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wine Tastin' In Our Backyard

It's funny how I've lived in this area for 5 years now and have never ventured over to the wineries in Grapevine (which is a short drive from our apartment).  Chris decided to book the Grapevine Wine Tours which included tastings at 3 local wineries and a fabulous Italian dinner.

There is actually only one vineyard that grows grapes, which we didn't get to tour because it closes at 5 pm, sad face :(  The wineries that we did visit, with our group of 12, were all refreshingly different from the next.

We started off at Homestead Winery which is a set of tasting rooms located in a 1890s Texas Victorian folk-style home.

This quaint home was full of Texas hospitality!  Unlike most tastings where you select a handful of wines based on your taste preference, we were able to try as many different wines as our tour time allowed.  This probably wasn't the smartest idea since we had yet to eat dinner, but I loved branching out and trying more dry wines with my usual sweets.

Sweet & Specialty Wines

Dry Wines

The vineyard originated on the family farm in Ivanhoe, Texas so several of the wines today are named for that area.  Our favorite reds were the Ivanhoe Trio (a blend of Petite Verdot, Zinfandel and Ruby Cab), Ivanhoe Knights (a Ruby Cab), and the Homestead Red (Blend of Merlot, Ruby Cab and Pinot Noir).  Chris enjoys the dry reds much more than I do, but I really enjoyed these blends.  

The top white wines at this stop were the Prairie Rose, the Sweet Home Ivanhoe (a Muscat Canelli) and the Moscato.  The specialty, or Piney Woods Country wines, were a hit with some of our tour members but I can't say I was a big fan.

The Blueberry wine wasn't too bad, but the Cherry Chocolates aftertaste reminded me a little of cough medicine.  We selected the Prairie Rose and Ivanhoe Trio to take with us and boarded the bus for the next stop Su Vino Winery which was all decked out for Halloween.

This was our favorite stop of the trip, as evident from the 6 bottles that we left with!  According to their website, Su Vino is the first "custom winery" in Texas with grapes that are grown in a variety of locations and the wines custom made in Grapevine.  They allow guests to participate in the wine making process by bottling, corking and personalizing the labels.  This would be great for wedding favors or Christmas gifts! 

With 6 selections each, Chris and I made sure to share with each other.  While Chris picked from the red wines, champagne and after dinner indulgence, I stuck to the crisp & fresh and summery refreshment sections.  Those summery refreshment wines were AMAZING!  We loved each of those four different wines!  I asked what happens after the summer to these wines, and Jean informed us that they make them year round.  They also have holiday selections, so I knew Chris would go for the Bat Blood.  We might have to come back in December for the Tipsy Reindeer.

 The six bottles we walked out with were:
*Strawberry Blonde - Strawberry White Merlot
*Bat Blood - Halloween Sangria
*Peachy Keen - Peach Apple Chardonnay
*Summer Rain - Green Apple Riesling
*Island Paradise - Kiwi Pear Sauvignon Blanc
*Cheeky Monkey - Banana Pineapple Viognier

With all of these tastings and no dinner, we were eager to get off at our final stop Farina's Winery and Cafe

We had an option of tasting 3 different wines, or one glass of our selection.  I opted for the one glass of the Stella Rose, while Chris went with the smaller tastings.  One of his wines was from Messina Hoff the winery located near College Station, TX which brought back fond memories of my time at A&M.  

For dinner we started off with a tasty Italian salad with pepperoni, green olives, artichokes, kalamata olives & pepperoncini peppers.  I don't know if it was really amazing or we were all just so hungry from all of the wine, but everyone at the table knocked off every last bite of salad.  Chris selected the baked lasagna with a family recipe that has been served in Farina's restaurants since 1951. 

My mouth watering entree was the baked white fish, fresh Basa filet baked in a roasted garlic lime sauce served with grilled asparagus and penne pasta tossed with a pine nut basil pesto sauce.

This was an incredible meal that I could not leave anything behind, it was that good!  After cleaning off that plate, there was no way I could stomach any more food, so Chris enjoyed the Coconut pie on his own.

This tour was definitely not something that we could do every week (it was a little pricey), but was an enjoyable night and I am so glad that Chris suggested it!

Our take aways from the wine tour

Are you a wine fan?  Have you toured any vineyards or wineries in your area?


  1. I'm not a wine drinker, but I love going on winery tours with friends. Looks like a fun day! :)

  2. what a fun evening! i love the halloween decor at su vino. sounds like you found some great wines and had a wonderful time!

  3. That looks like so much fun! I was just thinking about how much I miss visiting Messina Hoff and how we need to find a good winery near us in Austin that we can go visit!

  4. I will definitely be adding Messina Hoff as a stop when I go back to CS! I actually only went a handful of times, including the weekend of my graduation.

  5. So fun!! I've never been to the vineyards in Grapevine either, but they look great. I'll have to go sometime. And the food looks so yummy!

  6. Wine tasting in your backyard is the best! We have huge vineyards just 3 miles south of us and we head down to the tasting rooms on random weekends (usually when friends are in town). Our other big wine areas are the foothills to the east and Napa to the west, both about 45 min away, and we probably venture to one or the other every month.

  7. Very jealous! Chris would love a trip to Napa!

  8. Mmmm, wine! I definitely miss living near wineries when we were in Cali, because North Carolina does not have good wine (of the two I've tried anyway). Going wine tasting is so much fun though, but you're right, it can be pricey! I think the last time we went to Sonoma we came home with 18 bottles!