Driftwood Estate Winery is located in Driftwood and is owned by Gary Elliott. The 20 acre vineyard was planted in 1998 with 14 acres currently growing seven grape varieties. Their first commercial wine was bottled in February 2003 and they opened the winery in March 2003. Their first year production totaled about 1,200 cases and included five different wines. Today they produce over 4,500 cases of Texas wine.
A visit to Driftwood Estate Winery will show you what we consider arguably the most beautiful view among the Texas wineries. When we gave our first TX Wine Lover awards, we decided they had to be rewarded for the “Best View” award.
The only issue with getting to see the beautiful view is driving up a winding rough dirt road. One time we even came across a deer next to the road so you need to be careful while making the climb to the top of the hill. As you walk to the view overlooking the hillside, you will see a 1,100 square foot deck overhanging the bluff on the left, the view straight ahead overlooking the vineyard, and the winery, tasting room, and new pavilion to the right.
The last time we visited Driftwood Estate Winery it was crowded as usual at the tasting bar, but we were able to find a spot to stand. Mario was our wine pourer and started our tasting. The tastings are poured with measured pourers but occasionally the tasting was poured from the bottle. Since the tasting room was fairly full, sometimes new bottles had to be uncorked to replace an empty bottle.
There is a tasting fee for your choice of five wines. A higher tasting fee will allow you to take a souvenir logo glass home. Crackers are provided to cleanse your palate during the tasting.
Driftwood Estate Winery specializes in Mediterranean varietals such as Syrah, Viognier, Sangiovese, Muscat as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. They used to use all Texas grapes in their wine, but with recent harvests they have had to use some out of state grapes. They hope to soon be back to 100%.
Tours are possible if you time it right, but the last time they were in the middle of fermentation so they were unable to give a tour. A nice gift shop with wine accessories plus food like jams and jellies is available. Driftwood Estate Winery has a wine club, and weddings and private parties are also held at the winery.
After a tasting, you are very likely to buy a glass of wine to take outside and enjoy on the grounds. Tables and chairs are available along a wall overlooking the vineyard. The perfect time to sit and enjoy the view is at sunset with a cool breeze helping you relax.
One tidbit of information is owner Gary Elliot is also the President of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association. The Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association is comprised of more than 400 members representing winemakers and grape growers. The organization is an excellent source for Texas wine industry information at their website: http://www.txwines.org
The next time you are in the Driftwood area, make sure to stop by Driftwood Estate Winery. Driftwood Estate Winery is part of the Texas Hill Country wine trail.