Valle della Pace is located in Garden Valley and is owned by Donald (Don) and Andrea Clark. Dr. Don Clark is also the winemaker. The winery first planted their vineyard in 2011 and today grows Blanc du Bois, Muscat, Shiraz, Sangiovese, and Ruby Cabernet. They made their first wine in 2013, a Blanc du Bois, and entered it into the 2015 Wine Maker International Amateur Wine Competition; the wine won a Gold. Valle della Pace opened the winery in January 2017.
I talked to Don and Andrea Clark at the Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association (TWGGA) conference while we were waiting for a seminar to begin. I mentioned that in a couple weeks, we would be making a trip to East Texas and were hoping to make a point to stop by and visit their winery.
Fast forward two weeks, and I was in East Texas with Gloria and her brother Lucho, and we did visit the winery. Directions were easy to follow, so we arrived at the winery with no problems. The vineyard is outside the winery and while we were looking at the vineyard, Don came walking to the winery to greet us.
Once inside the tasting room and settled at the bar, Lucho and I looked at the tasting menu while Gloria decided to be the designated driver for us. Tastings are $1 for each tasting, so you can taste as many of the wines on the menu as you would like. The uncorked wines are poured from the bottle as oyster crackers are available to cleanse your palate as needed. Chocolate is also available for those wines which pair well with chocolate.
These are the wines that were available to taste at the time of our visit:
- Blondie (dry Blanc du Bois)
- Pinot Grigio
- Vino Rosso (Sangiovese and Merlot nicely oaked)
- Ram (Shiraz)
- Ruby (semi-sweet Ruby Cabernet)
- Moscato (sweet)
- Peaches (sweet Blanc du Bois naturally flavored)
Most of the wines are 100% Texas. Besides the wines made from the estate vineyard, the grapes come from the Texas High Plains, except the Sangiovese which is California. All the wines are made at the winery though. The winery does have the capacity to make up to 1,500 cases of wine a year.
During the tasting, we learned the Pace in Valle della Pace is pronounced Paché, which in Italian means Valley of the Peace. I asked about the Shiraz being grown in the estate vineyard and being used to make the Ram. I wondered why they called it Shiraz instead of Syrah, and Don replied that the varietal clone they received for the vineyard was called Shiraz.
The tasting room has a small gift shop with items such as pecan oil, wine pourers, and BBQ sauce. Event space is in the rear of the tasting room, and there are plans for events coming up such as a chocolate and wine pairing event, plus more. A wine club will be coming soon. Tours are available at the winery if they are not busy, or make an appointment to ensure you can get a tour.
Next time you’re in East Texas, make a point to visit one of the newest local wineries.
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