Whistling Duck Vineyards & Winery is located in Weimar and is owned by John and Kari Cooke along with Stan and Mary Beth Johnson. The connection between all is John and Mary Beth are siblings. The winery had a soft opening on February 28, 2014 and April 26 will be their grand opening.
In traveling the back roads of the Weimar area, we eventually found Whistling Duck Winery. Walking up to the winery we noticed the vineyard with some concrete sidewalks. Hmm, there’s a story there. Also on the front porch with many tables was a musician playing live music.
When we entered the winery, the tasting room was already full so instead of trying to squeeze in someplace, we looked around the room at the gift shop and other items. The gift shop has wine accessories, jellies, jams, sauces, and clothing. People were soon finishing up their visit and we had a spot at the tasting bar.
As I described, tastings are done while standing at the tasting bar. There are a few tables inside if you want to enjoy a glass of wine. There is a tasting fee for five wines and a higher tasting fee includes the wine glass. The uncorked bottles are poured using measured pourers. Oyster crackers are available to cleanse your palate and chocolate is provided for their Cattle Guard Red wine. Snack trays are also available for purchase.
Behind the counter was John, the winemaker, Stan, the vineyard manager, and his wife Mary Beth. We had everybody helping us with a tasting and everybody, as usual in the Texas wine industry, were excited, enjoyable, and fun.
We learned that like some other new wineries, their wines are being made with the help of Texas Custom Wine Works (TCWW). What a great plan for starting a winery and making sure you offer quality Texas wines initially.
The wines which were available for tasting were:
- Blanch du Bois (dry)
- Viognier (dry)
- Blanch du Bois (semi-sweet)
- Pura Vida (Muscat Canelli – sweet)
- Sunset Rosé (dry)
- Cattle Guard Red (sweet)
One fun and educational thing added to the tasting menus is phonetic spellings of the wines so people can learn how to pronounce grapes. For example, Viognier was listed in parentheses as “Vee-on-yay”. They have a sense of humor too as the Cattle Guard Red was listed as “You got this one.” Also included on the tasting menu was a description and tasting note for each wine.
During our tasting, Stan took us out to the vineyard to show us what he had. It is a four acre vineyard and they started planting 50 vines in 2007 with Blanc du Bois and Lenoir. Today on site they are also growing Villard Blanc. In a vineyard in Stephenville, they are growing Tempranillo, Viognier, and Malbec.
Okay, it was time to find out about the vineyard with sidewalks. Stan explained it was simply a previous mobile home location and was their experimental vineyard. Vineyard sidewalks, now there’s an idea.
We went back into the country barn-style tasting room to finish our tasting. Whistling Duck Winery has a wine club you can join. The winery is planning on events like an annual crawfish boil and wine festival. Oh, if you’re wondering about the name Whistling Duck Winery, there really is a type of duck called the Whistling Duck. Do a web search.
We had an enjoyable time at Whistling Duck Winery and the Weimar area is turning into an area people want to visit for multiple wineries with great Texas wine.
Whistling Duck Winery is a member of the growing Texas Independence Wine Trail.