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Tips for Taking a Tasting Tour in the Texas Hill Country

Singing Water WineryThe Texas Hill Country is becoming famous for wineries, breweries and distilleries. Who better to give recommendations for planning an awesome tasting tour than a TOUR GUIDE & DRIVER? Here are the nitty gritty details and some great insider tips that will make your next trip into the hills a five-star day for you and your crew!

 

Wine TastingWho would enjoy taking a scenic drive into the Texas Hill Country and tasting some of the most incredible and award-winning wines, beers, and spirits? 

The real question is, WHO WOULDN’T?  A common misconception about tasting tours is that they are for the big drinkers … the party crowd … bachelorette parties with boas and matching tees.  While those can be fun times, a tasting tour is more suitable for the adventurous couple, family members visiting town, a close group of friends, or just those with sophisticated pallets wanting to broaden their horizons.  Believe it or not, some people never drink a drop of alcohol and still have a wonderful time experiencing something new and different with people they love.  A tasting tour really is something everyone enjoys!!

LukenbachWhat should we bring?  

A quick stop into a local visitor’s center is a great place to pick up maps of the hill country and brochures for some great tasting rooms you can visit on your tour.  I know first-hand that the sweet people at the Boerne Visitor Center will load you up with great information and send you off with helpful hints.  Once you have a good plan of attack for your tour, bring plenty of water, some good snacks or a picnic, phone chargers or extra power sticks (you’ll find your phone is constantly roaming for a signal in the hill country), an ice chest to keep your purchased bottles in so they don’t spoil or turn in a hot car, a blanket you can throw down for an impromptu picnic, and some cold, hard cash for food trucks, tips, etc. 

Most places do allow you to bring your picnic lunch onto the grounds, or they have food trucks cooking up amazing food and filling the air with heavenly smells. However, never bring outside alcoholic beverages into a tasting room, and please don’t show up too inebriated to truly enjoy the tasting experience.  Trust me…it’s very frowned upon.

Sister Creek VinyardsWhen should we take a tasting tour?

Wine, beer, and spirit tasting rooms are open all year round.  In my experience, the busiest times of year will be fall and spring, when the weather is just right for sitting on a patio sipping a cocktail.  Of course, it’s also busiest on the weekends.  If you’re planning on going with a big group, (usually 8 or more) reservations are always recommended. If you prefer a slower pace, try visiting during an off season or midweek.  Just make sure you use all the helpful brochures you picked up at the visitor’s center to check the hours of operation.

Most hill country tasting rooms also have websites or social media pages you can follow.  This is a great way to see when events are scheduled so you can plan your tasting trip accordingly.  We’ve taken groups to vineyard grape stompings, lavender festivals, live music shows, food pairings, and holiday events at tasting rooms because they’ve kept up with events and planned their trip just right.

Kinematic Brewing Co.Where should we go?

If you’re staying in Boerne, do yourself a favor and check out our very own breweries and tasting rooms.  Say “Hey”, to Fred and the guys at Boerne Brewery or “What’s up?”, to Jon and his fam at Kinematic Brewing Company.  Their tasting rooms are open Fridays and Saturdays. 

We are also HUGE fans of Cibolo Creek Brewing Co.  These awesome peeps, right on Main St., are open every day but Tuesday.  While this is a restaurant, not a tasting room, they have a fabulous brewery with incredible craft beers, and it’s a great place to get a bite to eat while touring. The Dodging Duck Brewhaus is also a restaurant+brewery combo worth visiting. They are the most seasoned of the Boerne breweries at 15 years old.

We do love Fredericksburg wineries, but have to give mad props to the little town of Comfort.  This town is growing, and has got it going on!  Only a gorgeous 20-minute drive north, it’s full of charm and southern hospitality. Our absolute favorite wineries are Singing Water, Newsom Vineyards and Bending Branch Tasting Room on High St. We also love our friends at Sister Creek Vineyards over in Sisterdale. Also a quick 20-minute drive from Boerne.  Hill Country DistillersAmazing people, amazing wines, and always so welcoming to our groups.  They’ll take the time to really talk to you about the wine, and you’ll enjoy the rustic ambiance.

You’ll also find Hill Country Distillers in Comfort.  Makers of the best moonshine this side of the Guadalupe. With their Prickly Pear or Jalapeno Moonshine, they concoct the best mixed drinks in the cutest copper mugs garnished with herbs fresh from their garden.  Hill Country heaven!!

The Shabby BusWhy would we want to take a tasting tour?

Most of our groups use a tasting tour to celebrate a special occasion.  We have been blessed to experience milestone celebrations with so any amazing people. If you have an upcoming anniversary, birthday, bridal shower, retirement, or just want to have a fun and unique day trip, consider a tasting tour.  A lot of people like to hop in a car or two, and caravan out to the tasting rooms with a designated driver.  Another option is the make arrangements with a shuttle/tour service. Such businesses will help you plan the perfect itinerary for your group and take on all the driving responsibilities. It’s a fabulously fun road trip either way. 

 

However you decide to get out there, “Let the adventure begin!”, and “Cheers”, from The Shabby Bus.