So, do you like a little whine with your wine? Apparently we do. After a long week of working, chauffeuring, meetings, school events, practices, and homework, we think it’s nice to spend a Saturday or Sunday doing something different with the kids, something we enjoy too.
Yes, in the not so distant past, we were once cool and carefree visiting California wineries sipping and relaxing, taking in vistas, and feeling the cool breeze as it rustled the vines next to our beautifully displayed picnic. Ah, those BK (before kids) days are just a hazy memory that lack of sleep has long erased.
But who says our lives have to be relegated to the soccer field every Saturday? Are we forced to partake in bouncy house parties weekend after weekend? Shouldn’t stepping on a Lego at 4:30 a.m. be enough punishment for any parent to endure?
We are the adults around here, we should make the decisions. We should be able to do what we want, when we want. Hang on… I am being summoned… someone is hungry or broke something. Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah, we want to have fun too!
Now that we are living in the Austin suburbs with a minivan, two kids, and two cats our lives are not quite as spontaneous and romantic as days gone by. But our kids are very happy and healthy and life is good, but different.
As our family grows, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day routines of life, however we have tried to continue pursuing our passions and interests, with kids in tow. It takes a little more effort and a lot more patience, but it can be done.
Our kids happen to think it’s perfectly normal to go to a winery. When we say let’s go visit a winery this weekend, they usually whine a little, (mainly because we are forcing them to turn off the Xbox and see the light of day) but once we are on the road with a DVD and a bag of snacks, all is good. We usually take Grandma too.
Strategy for stress-free wine tasting with kids:
- Take Grandma or Big Sister
- Only visit one winery
- Take Grandma to lunch
- Add in a fun activity
- Buy kids some candy
If you don’t have a spare Grandma, there are some wineries that are better than others for visiting with kids. Our favorite is Perissos Vineyard and Winery in Burnet where we have been members for over a year. The owners Seth and Laura Martin have five kids of their own, as well as chickens, horses, and a cute dog. It’s a very family friendly atmosphere with plenty of room for the kids to run and play.
And bonus – the wine is some of the best in Texas!
As we approach our destination, the kids get the behavior run down. “Remember there are adults there trying to relax and have a peaceful afternoon, so don’t act like wild animals. If you can refrain from acting like caged baboons, we will stop at the convenience store on the way out and get you a treat.” Yes, bribing works and we are not above it.
We have been taking the kids to restaurants, wineries, and events since they were babies, so they are pretty well behaved and know the drill. But, they are kids. This is where the patience part comes in.
As we sit with our wine glass at the picnic tables overlooking the meticulously maintained vineyards, pretending to look relaxed, we occasionally have to say “put down that rock…sand doesn’t belong on the table…there are plenty of sticks, you don’t have to fight over that one.” Oh, and we visit the bathroom at least four times. Alas, the usual kid business aside, we always manage to have a fun, and dare I say, a relaxing time. Wine helps.
The kids always enjoy a picnic and we enjoy sitting under the tall oaks with a nice glass of wine at one of Perissos many scenic tables. The boys love to see the chickens and feed hay to the horses too. Their patience and ours is generally limited to one tasting (the fun Perissos staff will pour outside too) or we get a glass of our favorite, which is hard to choose at Perissos. Just enough to soothe the soul.
Sometimes we stop to eat along the way before we get there. Kids with full bellies are usually more tolerable. Not scientifically proven. Our favorite place to eat is right outside the Perissos entrance, at a little place called Hoover Valley Country Store. It is attached to a convenience store/gas station (a.k.a. treat stop for good behavior). The atmosphere is quaint and the owner Lou Wells, is as charming as she can be. You must try her famous chicken salad! They also have some interesting photos around the restaurant about the History of Hoover Valley.
Another great place to stop for lunch on the way is Cafe Twenty Three Hundred in Burnet on Hwy 29. This roadside diner seems to be a local favorite and you can tell everything is fresh and homemade. They even have a small gift shop in the restaurant selling artsy treasures and trinkets.
Also on our list in Burnet to try on one of our next outings are Crazy Gal’s Cafe and Aranya Thai. If we take the Marble Falls route there are a lot more dining options there like Blue Bonnet Cafe or River City Grille for water views.
Depending on the season and the mood, we also like to add in a little adventure. Two fun outings, minutes from Perissos, are Inks Lake State Park, where we did a short hike and watched brave teenagers jump off a high rock into the water below, and Longhorn Caverns. We took the cavern tour one day which was amazing and the kids definitely loved it! Little tip, there are no bathrooms half a mile below the Earth’s surface. Thankfully we have a boy and we had a water bottle.
So you see, if you can put up with a little whining, you can have your wine too. With a little planning and a sense of adventure, you can have a fun family outing and visit some amazing Texas wineries along the way. There are many more to discover. Stay tuned for more of our Whine Adventures.