Caney Creek Winery is located in Grapeland and is owned by Bill and Rebecca Gayle. They planted four acres of vineyard in 2006 and two more acres later. The winery was bonded June, 2012 and opened July 4, 2013 as the first winery in Houston County.
I had followed Bill Gayle on Twitter for a while so it was going to be an interesting visit, especially after hearing how they had done so well at their first wine festival. When I reached Grapeland, it was very easy to find the winery out of town as there were little signs along the road leading the way. This was great because even when following a GPS, confirmation you are going in the right direction is always helpful.
I entered the tasting room which was still under construction as they had recently opened. I noticed the gift shop has clothing available for sale while waiting, and Bill and Rebecca soon joined me as I sat at the tasting bar to taste their wines. There is a tasting fee for the four available wines, or you can pay separately per wine or dessert wine. The bottles have corks and they use measured pourers. You can also buy wine glasses. Crackers are available for cleansing your palate during the tasting.
The four wines to taste were:
- Blanc du Bois dry white
- Blanc du Bois semi-sweet white
- Blanc du Bois Por`Tejas white port
- Por`Tejas red port
Caney Creek Winery uses only 100% Texas grapes and they are trying to use only estate grapes. Their 6 acre vineyard has Blanc du Bois, Lenoir, Malbec, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Aglianico, Grenache, Muscat Canelli, Orange Muscat, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Mourvèdre.
They produced 500 cases of wine in 2012. It will be less this year because their Blanc du Bois got hit with freezes this year, but they were able to get Black Spanish from Carrabbas Vineyard in Crockett which is managed by Cherie Carrabba.
I had a great conversation with Bill and Rebecca and as expected, they were a lot of fun. I learned Bill is a pilot for UPS when he is not making wine. They had turned their guesthouse into the tasting room and were in the final stages of completing it. They have blueprints on the wall which show the plans they have to expand the winery which will be built in five phases. Eventually the winery will be 14,000 square feet which will include a banquet room, events center, two tasting rooms, and more. This will all be built on their 250 acre ranch. It looks like a fabulous project and I wish them well.
If you get the chance to get to East Texas, definitely stop by and visit with Bill and Rebecca Gayle at Caney Creek Winery.