It was one of those Sundays where half the day is gone and suddenly you realize that you’ve nearly wasted your entire weekend and have nothing to show for it. It was also a beautiful sunny January day — far too nice to spend indoors.
But it was already 1:00 p.m. Where can we go nearby and make it feel like we are taking a day trip? Well, lucky for us, Lake Travis is right outside our backdoor! We told the kids we were going to play at the lake. We didn’t mention that we were going to check out Lakeview Winery too. Sometimes what they don’t know won’t hurt them.
Update: Lakeview Winery has closed but the owners have opened KFire Winery and Vineyard
There are several Travis County Parks on Lake Travis near our house. There is something about seeing a large body of sparkling water that rejuvenates the soul. It’s a trip we make often. But this time, rather than just driving straight to the Lake, which is less than a 10 minute drive, we decided to take the long way around for the scenery; and to make it feel like we were going somewhere.
Taking Lime Creek Road through the Village of Volente, there are several parks on the East side of Lake Travis to visit. Admission to all the Travis County Parks on the Lake are $10 a car. We learned that the Pass is good for any of the Travis County Parks all day too, so we could have visited more if we had more time. There is also the small Volente Beach Waterpark if you make the trip during warmer months. You can also rent boats and jet ski’s in Volente.
Making our way down 2769, we turned right on Bullock Hollow Road towards FM 2222. After a few scenic twists and turns you will reach Oasis Bluff Drive on your right. At the end of Oasis Bluff Drive, you can turn left to go to the famous Oasis Restaurant or you can turn right to access more lakeside parks. We drove down to Bob Wentz Park at Windy Point and paid our park admission. We drove out onto the little island and parked. The views were amazing and the boys loved wading around in the water, collecting rocks and watching dogs fetch sticks in the water. However, we didn’t come prepared with towels and a change of clothes, like usual…but it was still fun.
From Bob Wentz Park you can see the Oasis perched on top of the rocks in the distance. There was just something about that view, the warm sun, and shimmering water that was screaming Margarita Time! I guess everyone in the area had the same idea, as there was an hour wait for a table when we arrived at The Oasis around 3:30 p.m.!
We didn’t mind the wait because we knew exactly where to kill some time. Lakeview Winery. Luckily there are some fun stores and great views, so our oldest daughter took her brothers to look at some stores and play on the “time machine.”
When we went in, we were the only ones there, which was surprising since there was an hour wait for a table. There is a bar with a view next to the Oasis that was pretty crowded though, so maybe people were taking advantage of the perfect weather.
Since neither of us had ever tried the wines at Lakeview, we were looking forward to the tasting and getting to know the owners. Luckily, Kenny and Gail Fowler, the owners, were both there. We learned that Kenny is a retired Firefighter, hence the fun firehouse themed decor for sale. And we learned that one of Gail’s hobbies is making fun, bedazzled wine themed t-shirts, also for sale in their tasting room.
In their cozy and quaint tasting room, they also have a nice selection of cigars and an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting bar featuring Heart of Texas Olive Oil. There is plenty of seating in the room adjacent to the tasting room; perfect for intimate gatherings and private parties with your wine enthusiast crew. We talked to them about having our local wine friends over for a tasting and to hang out. Call them to book the room for your next gathering.
Kenny and Gail are very proud of their wine awards and they are avid supporters of the Texas Wine Industry. They have received numerous awards from the Lonestar International Wine Competition in 2012 and 2013, and the Houston Rodeo in 2012, 2013, and 2015.
Unfortunately, we had to do a quick tasting because our buzzer for a table at the Oasis went off faster than expected! It was great getting to know Kenny and Gail and taste some of their well made wines. Our favorite was their Texas Chardonnay, a nice surprise considering Chardonnay is not known to be an easy grape to grow in Texas. We bought a couple bottles to enjoy at home. Since Lakeview Winery is so close to home, we will definitely go back (without kids) and bring some friends too.
If you live anywhere near NW Austin, don’t forget about all the fun you can have minutes from home. There is so much to do right around the Lake and the Oasis has been adding new stores, bars, and activities since lake levels have risen.
Note: Lakeview Winery is now closed and reopened as KFire Vineyard and Winery