The weather is warm and the vines are alive. There’s no better time than now to get out for the day or the weekend to visit wineries.

With the explosion of new wineries that have opened in our state, I thought I would share some of the ones that are on my list to visit to review that have actual tasting rooms.

With wineries starting up at fast rates, many do not have all have the equipment and are using Texas crush facilities, but they are offering 100% Texas wines.


Ab Astris

320 Klein Road, Stonewall 78671

With a Texas-modern tasting room and patio overlooking the newly planted vineyard, you'll definitely want to stop in and try the wines that are being raved about.

They are offering nine wines with grapes sourced from Newsom, Reddy and local Texas vineyards.

The estate vineyard was planted in 2018 predominantly in Tannat, in addition to Souzao, and Clairette Blanche. This year they will be adding Petite Sirah and Montepulciano.

Tasting room hours: noon to 5 p.m. Thu, Fri, Sun;

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sat.

830-644-8369


Bull Lion Ranch and Winery

8216 County Road 539, Hico 76457

With this one located here in Central Texas, there’s no reason why we can’t grab the keys and take the drive.

Run by Chuck and Cindy Tordiglones, everything exudes the family’s Italian heritage. Known for raising registered red Angus and performance paint horses, they took the plunge in 2010 into wine following a family tradition that’s 100 years old.

Located near Chalk Mountain, they grow 90% of their grapes and outsource 10% from other Texas vineyards. They are showing 16 labels, including the Texianti they’ve become known for.

Tasting room hours:

11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fri, Sat;

1 to 7 p.m. Sun.

817-201-1291


Horn Winery

9953 W. Highway 290

Hye 78635

This place a little for everyone, and is a great place to bring a group. Their tasting room is more like a venue offering nine wines, a hard cider and a fully operational distillery offering vodkas, rum and brandies.

Located in Hye, outside of Johnson City where they first started the business Vitners Vault, which helps other Texas wineries with production supplies.

Tasting room: Call to schedule tasting, or go to website and choose time and day and book.

844-493-4676


Saint Tryphon Farm and Winery

24 Wasp Creek Road

Boehner 78006

Saint Tryphon was an ancient Christian, and is the patron saint of wine growers, gardeners and birds.

The Bradford family strives to honor his patronage. Their overall goal is to create wild and authentic Texas wines through minimal intervention in the cellar, or vineyard -- aka rural wines.

Currently, Saint Tryphon winery is offering five releases. The tasting room is next door to the historic 1880s home.

Tasting room hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon-Sat; noon to 5 p.m. Sun.

830-777-6704


Signor Vineyards

10984 E. Highway 290

Fredericksburg 78624

Set in a majestic plantation-style home, Oregon meets Texas. Extending three generations of family friendships, two sons, one from each side, has moved back from Oregon, bringing with them vast experience and knowledge that has quickly set them apart.

Their Sangiovese took sixth out of 27 entries in the Battle of the Texas Sangiovese. Pretty impressive for the newcomers.

Because theirs is a family winery in Oregon, not all wines in the tasting room are Texas. They have five Texas labels currently.

Tasting room hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thu-Sun; noon to 5 p.m. Mon.

830-304-7446


290 Wine Castle Winery

101 Durango

Johnson City 78636

Sitting high above 290 is a castle I’ve been watching as it was being built and it’s finally open. The 290 castle sits on 11 acres of planted vines that include Cabernet, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.

While their extensive selection includes many Texas labels, they also deem themselves as workaday and are making wine from juices around the world to round out their selections.

Tasting room hours: noon to 5 p.m., Mon-Fri; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sat, noon to 5 p.m. Sun.

512-790-2654


Wine in Review

Pinor Noir_1.jpg

J Russian River Pinot Noir 2016

J Russian River Pinot Noir 2016

Cost: $35.

Availability: Purchased at Spec’s Temple location or at

There are some wines that stand out and never leave your mind. Recently we were sitting with friends from all over the state and California. Everyone brought a cache of wines. However, it was the 2016 J Russian River Pinot Noir that stood high above the others.

Even after emptying a dozen different wines (yes, I have good taste; and I bring good wine; LOL), the J RR Pinot Noir is delicately crafted; it's earthy, yet it’s soft and supple with pomegranates and strawberries. Pair with smoked cheeses, any kind of meat, or simply enjoy it sitting on your back porch!

Lorrie Dicorte has been in the wine business for 37 years and her family for 90 years. Her grandfather, Billy Dicorte, and cousin, Tony LaBarbera, were the first to import fine wines such as Ch Lafite Rothschild. Lorrie has served on international wine competition judging panels, and is known for her keen smell and taste.