A few years back, Fiesta Winery opened a tasting room in San Antonio in historic Market Square. Due to some unseen circumstances earlier in 2016, they looked to close the location. However, two of the staff—Carla Adams and Cricelda Cristan—decided to take over the establishment. Before long, they became The Rustic Grape Wine Cellars.
Making the change from Fiesta Winery to Rustic Grape had a few challenges. When Carla and Cricelda bought the tasting room, they quickly found out that it was operating under a retail license and not a winery license. They had 48 hours to make necessary changes. They realized they could remain a retail location if they carried wine from more than one winery. With a new license, they sought out new wineries.
Fiesta wines remain an important part of the tasting room, but they are not alone. As of the Grand Renaming, the Rustic Grape offers wines from four different Texas wineries: Fiesta Winery (Lometa), Singing Waters Vineyards (Comfort), Majek Vineyard and Winery (Schulenburg), and Texas Legato (Lampasas). All four wineries are known for making wines from Texas grapes, which is an important part of the Rustic Grape. They wanted to offer locals and visitors alike a true taste of Texas wine. In the future, they plan on adding more wineries; Messina Hof is scheduled to join their line-up later in 2016.
One of the man aspects of the Rustic Grape is tastings. While situated in a brightly colored and decorated main room, reminiscent of the other locales in Market Square, visitors can enjoy tastings along the seated bar or, when available, other seating throughout the room. The tasting includes six wines of the guest’s choice from all wineries. The tasting comes with a souvenir stemless glass that encourages guests to keep drinking Texas wine (guests can also choose from a variety of colors).
During a tasting, the staff works diligently to meet the needs of their guests. In some cases, the staff provides a more hands-on and social tasting, acting as a guide and host. In other cases, staff will allow a group a bit more privacy. Whatever the guests need, the friendly staff does what they can to accommodate.
Due to the location, the tasting room offers far more than just tasting. Guests can enjoy wine by the bottle and glass. In fact, guests can buy a glass in a “reusable porch pounding” glass made of plastic. After the first glass, refills are available at a lower cost, even at later visits. And the reusable glass makes it legal to consume wine outside the tasting room in Market Square, as well as on the river level of the River Walk. (Please note that much of downtown San Antonio prohibits public consumption; however, a few designated areas allow for public consumption if the alcohol is in a plastic or paper bottle or cup.) Frozen Sangria, for those hot days, is also available.
The Rustic Grape Wine Cellars hosts a variety of events, both public and private. Every Friday is Paint Night, a regularly scheduled public event. Guests to Paint Night can enjoy a discount on all wine during the event. Private events are also available. Often, they host bachelorette/bridal parties.
For those looking for more entertainment, the Rustic Grape’s location in Market Square is ideal. Numerous locally owned restaurants and food stalls are found throughout the area, including San Antonio landmark Mi Terra. The tasting room’s neighbors include a variety of shops as well. During weekends and events, live music and other performances abound. The young, and young at heart, can find much to delight them as well. Face painting, caricatures, and similar fun can be found throughout Market Square. And for those playing Pokemon Go!, a Pokestop is available while visiting the Rustic Grape, while the entire area boasts a large quantity of Pokestops and Pokemon.
The one issue with visiting can be parking. A number of lots surround Market Square, including a designated Market Square garage, and pricing ranges from $5 and up. Though in many spots in and around downtown San Antonio, parking is available under the highways; that is not the case here. The parking found under the highway is for UTSA students, staff, and faculty; it is best not to park in these lots without a permit.
Finding Texas wine throughout San Antonio can be difficult, as many restaurants and bars do not carry any (and those that do have a very limited selection). Luckily, the Rustic Grape Wine Cellars works to remedy that. With four wineries and counting available, anyone can find the Texas wine, or wines, to fit their taste.