Dry Comal Creek Vineyards and Winery is located in New Braunfels and is owned by Franklin and Bonnie Houser. The winery gets its name from the creek that feeds the Comal River and runs through New Braunfels.
The Housers first planted vines in 1992 on their 103 acre land as an experiment and after success, the following year they planted 4,000 vines of Vitus vinifera. The first harvest was in 1995 and the first wine was produced in 1998 along with the tasting room being opened.
Unfortunately in 2000 tests confirmed the vineyard was infested with Pierce’s disease, a bacterial pathogen that kills grape vines. They twice had to rip out entire crops of diseased vines. After some research, Dry Comal Creek then started planting the resistant grape Black Spanish (Lenoir). Today this is the only grape Dry Comal Creek Vineyards and Winery grows.
When you arrive at Dry Comal Creek, the large vineyard is in front of the multiple winery buildings. 5 1/2 acres of Black Spanish grapes is grown by the winery. The percentage of Texas grapes used varies every year while other grapes come from New Mexico and California. The winemaker at Dry Comal Creek is Joe Donnow and 10,000 cases of wine are produced a year.
The last time I visited Dry Comal Creek Vineyards and Winery was to take what they call a Winery U wine class. These classes are held monthly on various topics. The class I chose to take was “Growing Grapes and Making Wine” and was taught by David King. It was an excellent class and I highly recommend taking any of the Winery U classes offered at the winery.
After the class we went to the tasting room to of course have a tasting. There are two rooms in the tasting room with the front room having a tasting bar and gift shop and the back room with a number of tables making it ideal for more people. This is where we sat with the group from the class who wanted to do a tasting.
Sabrina Houser (daughter and manager) started us on our tastings but had to leave to give a tour, so tours are available to the public. David took over as our tasting guide.
There is a tasting fee for 10 wines. Ports are tasted separately for a different price per port. The uncorked bottles are poured with a measured pourer. Crackers and jam are available to cleanse your palate. For an additional $3 you can keep the tasting glass.
Dry Comal Creek makes sparkling wines, one being a dry wine with French Colombard and another demi-sweet with French Colombard and Muscat of Alexandria grapes. They also make a mulled wine and sangria is available. You can also be adventurous with a Shootin’ Blanc which is Sauvignon Blanc and a jalapeño in a frozen shot glass. Another adventurous option is the Spicy Diver which is Sauvignon Blanc and four sweet jalapeño peppers.
There is a very nice gift shop with cigars, wine accessories, wine glasses, clothing, and other gifts. A wine club is available at Dry Comal Creek.
Live music takes place at the winery and you can sit under an outside covered patio to listen to the music. Other events including a grape stomp are held at the winery. Weddings, receptions, rehearsal dinners, and bridal showers are also held.
Visit Dry Comal Creek to visit who has become known as the “pioneers” in Texas of Black Spanish wine. Dry Comal Creek Vineyards and Winery is on the Texas Hill Country Wine Trail.