Vintner’s Vault located in Hye has been a very popular store for winemakers since 2015. Now owner Ryan Horn is ready to expand at the location with Horn Winery and Azeo Distillery. A soft opening started April 6 for Horn Winery with a full opening scheduled for May.
Upon entering the building, you see a tasting bar straight ahead with the production area visible through windows right behind the tasting bar. It is a very large tasting room that will probably need the space once the winery and distillery are in full operation. Wine tastings are done in the first room, and to the right is an enclosed room which is the distillery tasting room complete with another tasting bar. That tasting room has comfy couches and a still right next to the tasting bar.
Currently all wines are made in Paso Robles and the winemaker is David Vondrasek. Texas wines are currently going through the production process and will eventually be available. Another part of the business Horn Winery is offering is custom crush, and there are wines currently being made for others. Winemaker Rachel Cook is on hand to help with custom crush and the rest of the business.
Horn Winery has a musical theme with its wines that also extends into the tasting room. Wine tastings are done while standing at the tasting bar and the wines are poured using measured pourers. There is a tasting fee for your choice of six wines and crackers will be available to cleanse your palate.
These are the wines that are currently available:
- 2014 Verismo (Chardonnay)
- 2014 Segue (Rosé)
- 2014 Aria (Cabernet Sauvignon)
- 2014 Crescendo (Merlot)
- 2014 Duet (50% Petite Sirah, 50% Syrah)
- 2014 Melody (35% Merlot, 32.5% Petit Verdot, 32.5% Cabernet Sauvignon)
- 2014 Rhapsody (Petit Verdot)
- 2006 Portamento (Touriga Nacional dessert wine)
Not available for tasting, but available for purchase, is a bottle of hard cider called Fiddle, also made by Horn Winery and David Vondrasek. While you enjoy a wine tasting, food can be purchased such as a cheese and charcuterie plate or olives. The winery has wine accessories and clothing for sale too. A wine club will also be available for you to join.
Moving into the distillery side with Azeo Distillery, there will be three stills on site for distilling spirits. These are the spirits that we were told will be available:
- Vodka from apples
- Vodka from grapes
- Barrel aged rum
- Brandy from apples
- Black label brandy from grapes
We were able to taste the vodka from grapes, and it indeed was very smooth just like another Texas vodka made from grapes at Kiepersol. We are definitely looking forward to returning when the other spirits will be available for tasting. Talented David Vondrasek also makes the spirits.
Behind the tasting bars was seasoned veteran Brandon Bownds. I visited along with Gloria’s brother and sister-in-law, Lucho and Patricia, and they commented how the experience was so great that they will definitely be returning later. I even got some time to throw a few horseshoes outside, and it has been a long time since I was able to do that with my father.
I would recommend to keep watching for the opening of Horn Winery and Azeo Distillery in May, as this will be another great addition to Hye America, Texas.