Looking for some fun that’ll keep you on your toes? For three weekends in August, nine local wineries (Westcave Cellars, Becker Vineyards, Pedernales Cellars, Texas Hills Vineyard, Fall Creek Vineyard, Messina Hof Hill Country, Hye Meadow and Dry Comal Creek) will be hosting grape stomps (William Chris Vineyards will be doing grape punch-downs). You get to jump in barefooted, squish grapes, then leave your mark on commemorative white t-shirts. There’ll be live music, foods like barbecue and pizza, and of course, wine. Click here for a link to times, places and more info, or visit individual winery websites. Then get ready for the thrill of de feet!

Grape stomp tshirts at Becker Vineyards near Fredericksburg, Texas


Deep Eddy Vodka cocktail at the new tasting room in Dripping Springs, Texas

(map)┬áDive in! To the delicious new tasting room at the Deep Eddy distillery in Drippin’. The tasting room is industrial-chic, furnished with comfy couches for lounging with your friends, drinks in hand, of course. To order, you choose your glass, then choose from See More »

(map) Fans of the true Chicago hot dog say there is nothing else like it. A unique combo of Vienna beef, tomatoes, dill pickle, bright-green sweet relish, chopped onion and pickled peppers, it must be served on the classic poppy-seed bun. Until Chi-Town opened, our only option for true authenticity was a ticket to the Windy City, but now, See More »

(map) Most people think of ziplining as belonging to exotic locales like Costa Rica and New Zealand. But did you know you can try it right here in Spicewood? One visit and you’ll be hooked. Our group of six included See More »

(map) With all the fancy new contemporary restaurants popping up lately, it’s comforting to soak in the old-school Austin vibe of the Nutty Brown. Known as an outdoor live-music venue hosting such big names as Dwight Yoakam, Clint Black and See More »

hill country food truck festival in luckenbach, texas

(map) In two weeks, the “little town where everybody’s somebody” hosts one of the best events out West. Nine wineries, 12 food trucks, and five bands will take the stage August 1st from noon till 7 pm. For tickets, click here.

This park gets 300,000 visitors a year, and it’s easy to see why. It’s beautiful and beautifully maintained. Mansfield offers shaded picnicking, swimming and camping areas across 71 acres on one of the most scenic spots on Lake Travis. There’s a designated swimming cove, with shallow areas for See More »

Calais Winery

In: Drinking

16 Jul

Ben Calais of Calais Winery on the 290 wine trail

(map) What do you say to a French winemaker who loves the grapes of Texas? “Ooh-la-la!” Ben Calais’ new winery on Wine Road 290 is not officially open, but he is doing tastings by appointment in his “cave.” That’s right, his tasting room is actually underground, and plans are for it to cellar his wines in future. His wines are made in the traditional French style from 100% Texas grapes, and are selling fast.

Photo courtesy of Jodi Bart, of TastyTouring.com

Wine Taster Extraordinaire Denise Clarke chats with Chef Chozet of William Chris Vineyards. It’s a close-knit wine bunch out here! Below, Texas wine writer Russ Kane trades notes with one of Ben’s grape growers, here to taste the fruits of his labor. The walls of the cozy cellar are lined with reclaimed wood.

Wine writer Russ Kane at the new Calais Winery in Hye, Texas

Calais Winery website

(map) If you’re in the vicinity of Perissos Vineyards (right across the road), you owe it to yourself to taste the famous burgers at this little down-home cafe. One-third-pound, hand-formed beef with the works: lettuce, tomato, cheese, pickles and either regular or seasoned fries. The buns are what make the burger. They’re sweet-and-sourdough buns all the way from Sweet Mesquite in Houston. Great atmosphere, too! On our visit, the Redneck Channel was showing “Smoky and the Bandit.”

(map) This is a cool place to visit – literally. It’s a constant 68 degrees underground year-round, which makes it a welcome break from our blazing heat. Formed by an underground river over millions of years, the cave is by turns spooky, then whimsical, then See More »


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