Westcave Cellars Winery is located in Round Mountain and is owned by Allan and Margaret Fetty. Allan is also the winemaker. They opened the winery in May 2011 but that was not the start of their Texas wine experience.
Allan and Margaret started their vineyard in 1999 by planting three acres of cabernet vines. After three years, they began selling their grapes to local wineries. A number of years later, they decided they could make wine themselves from their grapes. They started making wine in 2010 and officially opened the winery on Mother’s Day 2011. Westcave Cellars Winery on their 65 acre property now has about 7 acres of vineyard.
The winery is open Friday through Sunday but will open by appointment only on the other days. On the way back from Fredericksburg, we stopped on a Sunday to visit the winery. With the help of our GPS, the winery was easy to find on a country road. When you drive through the gate, you are greeted with a large vineyard to the right. A house and the winery are located to the other side of the driveway.
When we walked into the winery’s tasting room, another couple was already enjoying the Texas wine at the bar and Allan and Margaret greeted us. Margaret started a tasting for us while we enjoyed a nice conversation with both couples.
The wine bottles are corked and you taste while seated at the tasting bar. There is normally a tasting fee for 5 wines, but the day we were there they let people taste all 7 of their current wines. The tastings are poured from the bottle and you get to keep the free glass. Private tastings with the winemaker can also be held for a higher fee. Crackers are available to cleanse your palate during your tasting.
Westcave Cellars Winery uses 100% Texas grapes including about 30% of their own grapes. They are hoping to continue using 100% Texas grapes but the Merlot grapes which they get from the Tony Hendricks Vineyard, which Woodrose Winery also uses, might be tough to get in 2012.
Tours can be reserved for 6 or more people. If it is a slow day and Allan is around, it might be possible to take a tour for less people. That is what happened when we arrived on a wet and cold day. Allan showed us the back room where the wine production is done. It is a small room so they have to move equipment around depending on what they need at the time. For example at bottling time, they open the doors and set up the bottling line. Some equipment is stored upstairs in the production room. A recent equipment purchase from Grape Creek Vineyards has made their production time a lot easier and faster.
An adjacent room has the wine barrels and stainless steel tanks. Allan explained he only uses French oak barrels because after some experimenting with American oak, he believes it gives their wines a softer finish. He hopes to expand the production part of the winery someday. They do not have plans on becoming a much bigger winery though and will continue to concentrate on making great Texas wine.
In 2010 they produced 1,300 cases of wine including varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Merlot, Tannat, Muscat Blanc, and Vermentino. They produced 800 cases of wine in 2011 due to the Texas draught reducing the grape yields.
I really wanted to try their Tannat, but we were unable to try it when we visited since the following Wednesday they were doing a wine education class with just a Tannat tasting. They held one case of their Tannat back for the event and other Texas wineries Brushy Creek Vineyards and Winery provided their Tannat in addition to Bending Branch Winery. They would also have a California and French Tannat available to taste for the event.
They were going to have a contest among different art work to decide what to use on the next label and we saw the original art which could be used. They were wondering about their label which has a matte finish, but we both agreed it was definitely a nice looking label and unique from most labels which have a glossy finish.
Live music is held with a barbecue under a nicely shaded area of oak trees. They have seating for about 60 people with picnic tables and chairs, and do what they call “Grillin’ and Chillin’ with Friends” where they supply all the food and sides just for donations and grill barbecue. The large grill is also used to roast a whole hog for certain occasions. You can bring a picnic, sodas, water, and chairs too for enjoying a relaxing day. Other special tasting events are held throughout the year.
There is a small gift shop with wine accessories and nicely made up baskets with wine and other items. A wine club is available called the Cellar Dwellers which includes four shipments of wine per year plus other benefits and discounts.
Westcave Cellars Winery is on the Texas Hill Country Wine Trail. It is definitely worth a trip to find this up and coming winery on the back country roads.