This happens so many times. You have a group of four or six people and want to go wine tasting. However, there is always someone who is NOT a wine drinker. Yes, that happens. The Vineyard II may be your answer. In this tasting room, you can get a wine tasting or wine by the glass but you can also get beer! In fact, while we were visiting, just about every group had some tasting wine and some tasting beer.
The Vineyard II is located in downtown Eagle Lake, Texas and opened in November 2015. While some may consider it off the beaten path, it is really not a far detour off I-10 coming east from the San Antonio area to Houston or coming Northeast on 59 from Victoria. It’s a relaxing drive when you know that the freeway will be backed up in Columbus or Sealy. Our smartphone GPS found it easily so there is no need to worry about finding it.
When we arrived on a Saturday evening, we were greeted as soon as we entered by Steve Bullard, co-owner along with his wife Kathy. We were offered a table or a seat at the granite bar. We chose a table for our tasting. The tasting room is well decorated with a mix of modern flair and some old world elements, along with some HDTVs over the bar. There is a small gift shop, outdoor patio, and a private meeting room. Very inviting and comfortable. During our visit, we had time, or I should say Steve and Kathy had time to talk about their business and how they got into it.
The name “The Vineyard II,” is named after their rice farm that goes by “The Vineyard.” Steve said they decided to open the tasting room after a visit to Wedding Oak Winery in San Saba with their family, some of which have strong ties to the winery. They were so impressed that they thought it would be a great idea to have a place in Eagle Falls to serve wine and beer tastings. When I asked what was one thing they would like people to know, Steve’s response was, “Tell them we’re ‘Hill Country fun, closer to home.'” It really is closer to home for those of us in Houston, only about an hour and five minutes from the Houston Galleria area.
The tasting menu consists of wines from six Texas wineries, which makes the Vineyard II a great place to taste a good cross section of Texas wines. Wineries represented in their tasting room are:
- Majek Vineyard and Winery – Schulenburg
- Texas Hills Vineyard – Johnson City
- Becker Vineyards – Stonewall
- Wedding Oak Winery – San Saba
- Pedernales Cellars – Stonewall
- Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards – Pittsburg
They also serve up a great selection of Texas craft beers. Beers from nine Texas craft breweries and several different styles are available. The breweries represented are:
- Guns & Oil – Austin
- Pedernales Brewing – Fredericksburg
- Huff Brewing – Bellville
- Alamo Beer Co. – San Antonio
- Real Ale – Blanco
- Karbach Brewing – Houston
- Goliad Brewing – Goliad
- Independence Brewing – Austin
- Twisted X Brewing – Dripping Springs
Wines are served seated at the bar or at a selection of tables. They use a combination of measured or open pours into souvenir wine glasses. Beers are poured from a tap or bottles into a souvenir glass. Wines can be purchased by the glass or bottle, and beers by the bottle. Bottles can be consumed on site or taken home. In the tasting room, they have a popcorn maker offering complementary servings and a small selection of cheese and crackers for sale. They welcome patrons to bring their own food and there is a pizza parlor right across the street. Steve and Kathy stated they hope that the tasting room and the restaurant across the street start a revitalization trend in downtown Eagle Lake.
If you want to taste some great Texas wines and cannot get all the way to Fredericksburg, then The Vineyard II is one good alternative. They are open Thursday 5-9 p.m., Friday 4-10 p.m., and Saturday 3-10 p.m.