Living where we do, the eastern part of West Texas, wineries are not as abundant as in other areas of Texas. Aside from our one local winery in Abilene, The Winery at Willow Creek, there are six other wineries that are between one to two hours away. As my relaxation to a long, sometimes crazy work week, I love to hit the country roads and visit the wineries in our area.
One Saturday while spending a few hours at our local hangout, the ladies working asked if we had been to Cockrell Vineyards since it was in Comanche and they knew we loved to day trip. They mentioned the owners, Craig and Tammy Cockrell, were friends of Kimberly Scalf, co-owner of The Winery at Willow Creek, and their tasting room had only been open a couple of months. Of course, when I found out there was a new winery in our area, I was excited and knew we had to check it out.
When planning a day trip, I always look for a road warrior to go with me. Myself, my mother Irene Powell, and fellow Texas Wine Lover (TWL) Amanda Cole decided on a Saturday girl’s road trip for our first visit to Cockrell Vineyards, which was preceded by a stop at one of our favorite places, Spirit of Texas Winery in Early. It was an easy 40-minute drive from Spirit of Texas Winery to Cockrell Vineyards. With all of the rain we had been having, everything was lush and green with colorful flowers everywhere. It was the perfect day for checking out a new winery!
As we pulled into the driveway at Cockrell Vineyards, we could see a sizeable, covered patio area on the west side of the building that would be a perfect place to spend some time after our tasting. As we entered the tasting room, the polished, concrete floor was highlighted by all of the natural light coming from the windows along the tasting room walls and the corrugated steel ceiling with canister lights. There is a tasting bar to the right made from wine barrels and a wood counter, with a tin wall, and hanging wine glasses highlighted by blue lights behind it. Scattered throughout the tasting room were several wine barrel tables with glass tops and seating, which will be perfect for those hot summer days. We were greeted by Craig and Tammy Cockrell, who I had notified we would be stopping by, as I wanted to get a picture of them to go along with an article I promised to write for TWL.
During the course of our tasting, we visited with Craig and Tammy asking some of our usual questions. One thing I am always curious about is how/why someone decides to go into the winery business, especially in the area they chose. It seems the common response for couples is that they were looking for something to do together; however, what points them in the winery direction varies. I found Craig’s response quite interesting as it was due to a previous job in the car industry. He mentioned that at times he would take clients out to eat, and when it came to the wine aspect of the meal, he really didn’t know much about wine and that is what started it all. Craig and Tammy started planting their vines in 2016, opened the tasting room in February 2019, and recently finished planting their third varietal. They now have a total five acres of Tempranillo, Tannat, and Nebbiolo. They currently do not make their wines; however, they are 100% Texas and they are looking forward to the day when they will be serving their wines. While I have yet to see them in person, there are two longhorns roaming the fields surrounding the winery. It is Texas, so who wouldn’t love a good longhorn photo opportunity?
There is a fee for tastings, which consists of five wines, and there are an additional two wines available for purchase only.
- 2017 Roussanne
- 2017 Rosé Gewurztraminer
- 2017 Pinot Noir
- 2017 Grenache
- 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2018 White Gewürztraminer Bubbly
- 2018 Rosé Gewürztraminer Bubbly
They also offer food for purchase such as a great meat and cheese plate, or you are free to bring your own food.
After taking pictures and enjoying a tasting while visiting with Craig and Tammy, we settled on a bottle of Roussanne and Pinot Noir to be accompanied by a meat and cheese tray. We headed outside to relax and enjoy the beautiful Texas afternoon while enjoying our purchases. Unfortunately, we had a 1½ hour drive back home, so after finishing our wines we thanked Craig and Tammy for their hospitality and headed home.
A couple of weeks later, I made an unannounced second trip out to Cockrell Vineyards. This time my road warriors were my parents, Richard and Irene Powell. Again, we were greeted by Craig and Tammy as we entered the tasting room. We enjoyed a tasting while visiting with Tammy and then decided on a bottle of Rosé Gewürztraminer and Cabernet Sauvignon accompanied by a meat and cheese tray. It was another beautiful Texas afternoon, so we were able sit outside and enjoy the day on the patio. After a few relaxing hours, we said our goodbyes and hit the road to our next stop.
With Cockrell Vineyards being so new, I am looking forward to watching them grow and anticipate great things for them! Be sure to stop by if you are ever in the area.