Eden Hill Vineyard is located in Celina and is owned by Linda and Clark Hornbaker. Their son Chris Hornbaker is the winemaker. The winery opened January, 2010.
I first got a chance to meet the Hornbakers in the High Plains in April and then taste some of their wine for July 2013’s Twitter Tuesday when their 2012 Albarino-Viognier was featured. After tasting the award winning wine, I knew I had to make a trip to North Texas to visit the winery.
I visited with my usual winery visiting friends, the Potters and Wares. The tasting room at Eden Hill is only open on Sundays so that limited the time we could visit. The Hornbakers live on the premises and since the tasting room is also the event room, they hold events on Saturdays. That leaves the tasting room for opening on Sundays only. Fortunately I was in the area with my friends when we could all visit on a Sunday.
We arrived at the winery and Linda Hornbaker greeted us in the tasting room and led us to a table where we could do a tasting. The tasting room is large with many tables and you can also do a tasting at the tasting bar. The bottles use corks and the tastings are poured from the bottle.
There is a tasting fee for all available wines which at the time was eight when we visited. The tasting fee is waived with a two bottle purchase. The wines we tasted were:
- 2011 Blanc du Bois (dry)
- 2012 Albarino-Viognier
- 2012 Roussanne
- 2011 Tempranillo
- 2011 Tempranillo/Cabernet
- 2011 Blanc du Bois (sweet)
- 2012 Orange Muscat
- 2012 Roussanne (dessert)
Breadsticks and chocolate almonds are available to cleanse your palate or enhance the wine during the tasting. You can also buy a snack plate with meats, cheeses, dips, and more.
During our tasting both Clark and Chris Hornbaker came over to say hello to us. Chris promised to give us a tour after our tasting of the production area.
Fresh vegetables out of Eden Hill’s garden is usually available for purchase. Besides the winery, Eden Hill is also a working farm that harvests farm fresh fruits and vegetables. They do not use pesticides in the garden and they practice sustainable farming methods.
Speaking of farming, Eden Hill has a two acre vineyard which was planted in 2008. Varieties grown include Tempranillo, Cynthiana, Blanc du Bois, and Orange Muscat. The 2012 Orange Muscat we tasted used estate grapes. The 2011 estate Tempranillo was lightly oaked with French and American barrels for 6 months.
It may sound like Eden Hill makes a lot of Texas wine and indeed they do as all wines use 100% Texas grapes. The grapes for their award winning 2012 Albarino-Viognier came from the Smith Estate Vineyard. That would be Dr. Bobby Smith’s vineyard at La Buena Vida Vineyards in Springtown. That wine produced only 80 cases. The 2012 Roussanne wine was picked late so it has a higher alcohol level of 17.4%. The Cabernet Sauvignon came from Ironbird Vineyard in Whitesboro.
Eden Hill Vineyard produces 500 cases of wine a year with a maximum right now of 1,500 cases possible. They realize that is not a lot of wine but their goal is to make great approachable Texan wine, not make a lot of wine.
Eden Hill’s event area is available for rental and has many amenities. They host a variety of weddings and events, including indoor/outdoor tent weddings, receptions, anniversaries, parties and business meetings, not to mention wine dinners.
After our tasting we were given a tour of the production area as Chris Hornbaker promised. Even better was a special tasting of a wine from the tank which was a blend of Albarino, Pinot Grigio, and Orange Muscat. We could all predict it is going to be great, but unfortunately there is not going to be a lot of cases. The wine will be called Divine White because “that’s all that God gave us.” Hopefully I’ll be able to buy a bottle of the wine when it’s complete!
The winery was now past closing time so we all made our purchases, said our goodbyes, and promised we would be back again.