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Comanche Trace

Collect the Whole Set

Posted by Margaret on October 1, 2013 at 3:08 AM

Do you need to restock you wine glass selection?
October, Texas Wine Month is the perfect time to do so.

In its fourteenth year, Texas Wine Month is bigger than ever featuring festivals, concerts, food pairings, cooking demonstrations, 5K races, grape stomp competitions, art shows, fundraising events, and of course, plenty of wine tastings in beautiful locations across the state. And nearly every event comes with a commemorative wine glass. There is little more rewarding than opening a cupboard to lots of good memories gathered in those glasses and enjoying them again over a bottle of wine. How many can you collect this year?

Lucky for the residents of Comanche Trace, the biggest event of the month is in your backyard. Throughout all of October, the thirty-six members of Texas Hill Country Wineries are celebrating with a special self-guided Texas Wine Month trail stretching from Kerrville to San Saba and all points in between.

It kicks off with a party at Fiesta Winery in Lometa on October 4 from 6-8 p.m. Set on a large working cattle ranch passed along through Stephen Baxter’s family for six generations, he and his wife Sally literally welcome you into their home and family at Fiesta. Their son and daughter, Shane and Savannah, and their children’s spouses Weston and Stephanie, are all involved in the business, helping with everything from the winemaking and bottling, to label design, bookkeeping, marketing, deliveries and customer service. At the winery, Sally and Stephen converted their game room into the tasting room and you can put your feet in the pool, or sit by the fountain on their beautiful covered patio and watch deer gather in the backyard. The whole space is decorated in bright colors, welcoming flowers, and family memorabilia and their number one priority is to help guests take it easy and have a good time.

For the kickoff event, they will be joined by four other north Hill Country wineries: Alamosa Wine Cellars, Pillar Bluff Vineyards, Texas Legato and Wedding Oak, all offering tastes and information about their wines. It is only an additional $15 to join the party if you purchase with a trail ticket in advance ($30 at the door, if it is not sold out) and a party ticket includes a commemorative wine glass, ten free tastings and light appetizers. Walking S Wagon will be providing barbeque plates, including Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler for only $10. It is a good excuse to spend a weekend in the high Hill Country and explore all that area has to offer. On October 5-6, local wineries will have food trucks onsite, offering fun food pairing ideas and participating wineries will acknowledge your kickoff ticket and offer an additional 15% discount on three-bottle purchases. For ideas on places to stay, eat and discover, visit www.lampasaschamber.org and www.sansabachamber.com.

The month-long trail pass is $25 per person and includes the chance to visit all 36 members of the Texas Hill Country Wineries. Tickets offer goers one to three free tastes at each winery and a discount of 15% off three-bottle purchases. You can use your ticket for just one day, or make an extended vacation of it and taste free wine all month long. Take the souvenir wine glass you collected at the kickoff event, or buy new ones along the way and put on some good memory miles as you travel between each unique destination.

To support Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Texas Hill Country Wineries association is pairing up with Susan G. Komen San Antonio and donating $5 from every ticket to their cause. In 2012 the trail raised $4000 and plans to far exceed that amount this year. To buy tickets to the trail, support a good cause and secure a limited spot at the kickoff party, visit texaswinetrail.com and click on the Wine Trails link.

Ready for more stellar events and souvenir glasses?

Here is a list of other trails and festivals around the state.

Wine and Sausage Trail, Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail

October 5-6 and 12-13
Tickets: $30 for one person, both weekends; $50 for two people, both weekends
-Tour the nine wineries on the Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail and at each stop you will receive two wine tastings paired with a unique sausage dish. Goers will receive that commemorative wine glass at the first winery, a wine bottle tote with the trail logo at the sixth winery and a professional souvenir wine key at the ninth winery. To buy tickets and learn more about the Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail, visit www.texasbluebonnetwinetrail.com.

Gruene Music and Wine Festival, Gruene

October 10-13
General Admission: Each day purchased separately

That’s Right, It’s not from Texas,

Thursday, October 10: $15, including souvenir wine glass, one door prize raffle ticket, three wine tasting tickets and live music.

The Mavericks at Gruene Hall,

Thursday, Oct. 10: $40 Rockin’ with Texas Wine and Food, Friday, Oct 11: General Admission $100, Reserved tables starting at $700. General admission includes private show and Meet and Greet with Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, catered dinner by Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar, wine tasting and a celebrity guitar auction with guitars autographed by legends like Willie Nelson, George Strait and Chris Isaak. To attend the Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell show is only $75.

Texas Tasting and Tunes,

Saturday, Oct. 12: $20 (advanced purchase encouraged), including souvenir glass and five wine tasting tickets

Los Lonely Boys at Gruene Hall,

Saturday, Oct. 12: $35 Brew-n-Que, Sunday, Oct 13: TBD (advanced purchase recommended), including five tasting tickets for beer and wine and the opportunity to purchase food from several barbeque vendors and local food trucks. -The Gruene Music and Wine Festival has grown exponentially since its kickoff in 1987. Originally designed to raise money for United Way in Comal County, they have maintained their charity focus and donated over $125,000 to the cause last year. What started as a one-day event, now spans across four, offering several different activities and concerts attracting top talent from around the nation. The events are so diverse and detailed, it is worth visiting their website to gather all the necessary information and choosing the ones that appeal to you most: www.gruenemusicandwinefest.org.

Texas Mushroom Festival, Madisonville

October 11-12
General Admission: free
Wine Tasting/ Cooking Demo: $15, includes a commemorative glass, mushroom cooking demos, and Texas wine tastings
Grape Stomp Competition: $20 per two-person team
Shitake 5K Run: $25 before October 12, $30 day of race
Gala Dinner: $100, sold out
-Madisonville, the mushroom capital of Texas, is hosting a festival featuring Texas wine tasting, a grape stomp competition, mushroom cooking demonstrations from chefs around the state, a Shitake 5K run, an automobile show and a mushroom art exhibition. The event kicks off with a sold out Gala dinner on Friday night, then continues on Saturday with events and tastings starting at 10 a.m.. For more information, times, and to register for activities, visit www.texasmushroomfestival.com.

Autumn Art and Wine Festival, Old Town Spring

October 12-13
General Admission: free
Wine Tasting Tickets: $25, including a commemorative wine glass. $1 for each taste. Parking: $7 with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Knights of Columbus
-The festival is spread along the tree-lined streets of downtown Old Town Spring. Taste wines and handcrafted food from around Texas and peruse original works from local artists. Over 150 local shops will also be open to visitors. For more information and tickets visit www.winefesttexas.com.

Wine in the Pines, Mount Vernon

October 25-26
General Admission: $5, $1 for each tasting
-One of the two wine festivals hosted in Mount Vernon each year, Wine in the Pines is held every fourth weekend in October. It runs Friday night and all day Saturday, featuring wines, art and food from all over the state of Texas. The surrounding area boasts Lake Cypress Springs, named one of the most beautiful lakes in Texas, West End Nature Preserve and the Dupree Park Nature Center. For more information, visit www.mtvernonwine.com/Wine-in-the-Pines.html.

Fredericksburg Wine Festival, Fredericksburg

October 26
General Admission: $20 for adults, including souvenir wine glass and six tasting tickets (for three 2-oz samples or one glass of wine), $5 for minors and free for children under the age of 12.
Patron Party Pass: $100 (advanced sale only), including souvenir wine glass, gourmet brunch with wine, twelve tasting tickets, VIP badge and commemorative pin.
Thursday Locavore at Messina Hof Hill Country: $60 (advance purchase only), including souvenir wine glass, meal, entertainment and wine (festival admission not included).
Friday Evening Celebration at Red Bird Golf Course Grill: $75 (advanced purchase only), including souvenir wine glass, heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine, entertainment and general admission to Saturday festival.
Cooking School Sessions: $10 per person, per session. Two sessions total during the festival, each featuring three chef demonstrations. Price includes food, wine samples, and printed recipes. Seating is limited to 150 people per session.

-This is the 23rd annual Fredericksburg Wine Festival, held on Marktplatz in downtown Fredericksburg. The festival itself is on October 26, and has two events leading up to its kickoff: Locavore at Messina Hof Hill Country on Thursday, October 24 and the Friday evening celebration at the Red Bird Golf Course Grill. General admission to the festival gives you access to try Texas wine, beer and food, as well as the opportunity to shop and admire specialty products from local vendors and artists. For more information and to register for events, visit www.fbgfoodandwinefest.com.

Margaret Shugar
When not leading cycling tours around the U.S. and France, Margaret Shugart is writing for local publications including The Austin Chronicle and The Wine Roads of Texas, or traveling our Lone Star state falling in love with beautiful Texas wineries. She has an M.A. in nutritional anthropology from the University of Colorado and is a Certified Sommelier through the Master Court of Sommeliers. Contact: margaret@ thewineroadsoftexas.com, @shugartm on Twitter.

Margaret

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