Bull Lion Ranch and Vineyard is located in Hico and is family owned by Chuck and Cyndi Tordiglione. Famed Texas winemaker Patrick Johnson rounds out the team. Bull Lion Ranch has been a working horse and cattle ranch for over 25 years and in 2010, they decided to enter the wine business and started a vineyard. They started making wine five years ago, and their tasting and barrel room opened in May 2018.
When you plan your trip to Bull Lion Ranch and Vineyard, make note of the route you will take. I was coming from the west and my GPS brought me directly there, but along a back dirt road. If you look at the map instead prior, you will find the entrance to the winery is closer to TX 220 which is via a nice paved road.
After arriving to the entrance, I found the tasting room by following the signs to the parking lot. The tasting room is large with two tasting bars and has room to handle all visiting wine lovers. On a Sunday afternoon, the customers congregated to one tasting bar. At that bar is where I met Chuck and Cyndi Tordiglione, and where I would do my tasting.
Chuck explained how they only use 100% Texas grapes and 90% of their wines are estate made from their vineyard. They primarily have red grapes in their vineyard and source white grapes from the High Plains. Their vineyard is growing Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Tempranillo, and Pinot Grigio. The vineyard soil is a mix of limestone, fossil shale, and black soil and is rich in high minerals.
There is a tasting fee for your selection of five wines, and the wines are poured using a measured pourer. While you are tasting, you can purchase a cheese tray to enjoy. And even better, once a month on Sundays complimentary food is available. I happened to coincidentally select the right Sunday, but I had previously eaten lunch, so I was not hungry.
There is a large selection of Texas wines to select from and they make around 8,000 cases a year. Here are just some of the wines that were available at the time of my visit:
- Yellow Rose of Texas (Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay)
- Trebbiano Dry
- Sangio Rosato (Sangiovese Rosé)
- Texianti 2016 (Montepulciano, Sangiovese)
- Sangiovese 2015
- Montepulciano 2015
- Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
- Tempranillo 2016
- Malbec 2016
- Amore Di Texas (sweet red from Montepulciano)
One interesting thing about the wine bottle labels is they tell a story about their family, not necessarily about the wine. For example, one label tells how the Tordiglione family moved to Framingham, Massachusetts in the early 1900s from Italy, where their great grandfather started a small backyard vineyard and a winery in the basement. Speaking of vineyards, Montepulciano, Malbec, and Tempranillo grow great in the soil at the winery and the wines I tasted show that result.
There is a small gift shop at the winery with olive oil, tumblers, candles, and logoed merchandise. A wine club is available for you to join. Events are held at the winery like live music and dinners.
Bull Lion Ranch and Vineyard will be opening a new tasting room soon in Glen Rose, so if you are near Glen Rose, you will have a new place to enjoy wine. The Tordigliones do not sit around as they also organize the Aledo Wine & Art Festival, and this year they are going to hold the first ever Glen Rose Wine & Art Festival.
One of the things I enjoy about traveling around the state of Texas visiting wineries is meeting new people and finding wineries I want to take my friends and family to visit. I look forward to returning to Bull Lion Ranch and Vineyard.
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