Red House Winery is located in downtown Nacogdoches and is owned by Jacob and Rikki Leigh Willoughby. The couple started planning the winery in 2015 and it opened May 2, 2018.
The winery is easily found and has a large parking lot in addition to parking across the street. This was good because they day we were there, parking was a little full. I was worried the tasting room would be full too, but there was a downtown festival taking place nearby, and people apparently park wherever they want in Nacogdoches.
We met Jacob Willoughby and soon Rikki Leigh arrived. The inside of the tasting room is beautiful. It is a 120-year-old building and still has the original wood floor and original windows complete with bullet holes. There is a large tasting bar in the front, plenty of seating as you move toward the rear of the building, and the last room is a large private room for wine club members, complete with fireplace. I really fell in love with the remodeling that was done with the tasting room, including the large red fire door hanging over the door to the case storage.
Now it was time to belly up to the tasting bar to enjoy a tasting. Red House Winery is an incubator for Wedding Oak Winery, and the wines are made by Wedding Oak Winery’s winemaker Penny Adams. So, I knew we were going to have a great tasting.
There is a tasting fee for six wines and the wines are poured with a measured pourer. Oyster crackers are available to cleanse your palate between tastings. These are the wines we tasted, all award-winning wines:
- 2017 Roussanne
- 2016 1779 (Riesling, Orange Muscat, Muscat Canelli)
- 2017 Tempranillo
- 2016 Sangiovese
- 2016 Rebellion Red (45% Dolcetto, 55% Montepulciano) – 3% residual sugar (RS)
- 2016 Sweet Azalea (Riesling, Orange Muscat, Muscat Canelli, touch of Tempranillo for color) – 6% RS
All wines are made with 100% Texas grapes. So far, the winery has produced 1,500 cases of wine.
The winery has a gift shop selling items such as olive oil direct from San Saba. Various foods like meats, cheeses, crackers, and more are available for a Build Your Own Charcuterie Plate. Sodas can be purchased for those who do not drink wine.
The winery treats its wine club members well, and not just with the large private room, as there is wine club member only events held. Other events are available for everybody like showing movies outside.
If you were not aware, Nacogdoches is the oldest town in Texas. Jacob and Rikki Leigh were trying to decide on a name for their new winery, and then they finally paid attention to the historical marker across the street. It states:
On this site stood The Old “Red House”
Headquarters of Colonel Jose de las Piedras, commander of the Mexican garrison in Nacogdoches, 1827-1832. The property, after the Texas Revolution, of General Thomas J. Rusk served as classrooms for the University of Nacogdoches, 1845-1852.
That was the “sign” needed as it made an obvious name for the winery, Red House Winery.
I had been wanting to visit Red House Winery since they entered their Sangiovese in Texas Wine Lover’s Battle of the Texas Sangiovese earlier this year. Needless to say, at the end of my visit, I bought a bottle of the Sangiovese to enjoy at home.
If you have visited Nacogdoches before and thought there wasn’t much to do, now you know you have a place to go with Red House Winery.