Fort Worth native Robbie Hyde founded Casual Friday Wines to bring Texas wine to local drinkers in an engaging and non-pretentious way. He wants the wines and Fort Worth tasting room to be unstuffy, just like casual Fridays. From whimsical wine labels to approachable pricing, Casual Friday Wines delivers on its motto, “When in doubt, keep it casual.”
Tucked into an industrial warehouse district in west Fort Worth, Casual Friday Wines’ tasting room replaces Robbie Hyde’s previous business, a metal fabrication shop. Now the tasting room sits where the company offices once operated, and a production facility lies just behind the bar. By design, there are no views and no vineyards. Robbie hopes that this no-frills approach will appeal not just to wine drinkers, but also to those who wouldn’t normally visit a tasting room. Open since June 2019, traffic to the tasting room is slowly developing.
Inside the tasting room, a large wine menu features over 15 wines to be sampled as part of a tasting flight, by the glass, or by the bottle. Visitors can also purchase cheese and meat platters to complement the wines. Clever t-shirts feature the Casual Friday Wines branding. The welcoming space is available for private parties and events, and an outdoor tasting area in the rear of the property will debut soon.
Tasting room visitors can actually sample wines from four brands. Three of them, Casual Friday, Cattlebaron, and R.A. Hyde Wines, are Robbie’s projects. Additionally, two wines from Texas Hills Vineyard are on the menu.
Casual Friday wines includes a white blend (50% Pinot Gris/50% Viognier), a Rosé (80% Viognier/10% Malvasia Bianca/10% Sangiovese), and a red blend (75% Sangiovese/15% Malvasia Bianca/10% Dolcetto). The white blend is the bestselling wine currently offered. Future plans include expanding this label with two Bordeaux-style blends.
These three wines feature eye-catching label art designed by Austin-based Five & Four. The Casual Friday wines are available in Central Market in Fort Worth and in Fort Worth area Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods. Retail prices range from $12.99-$13.99.
Cattlebaron is the second label available in the tasting room. Robbie bottles Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Dolcetto, and Tempranillo, plus a sweet Sangiovese, under this brand. These wines are available through the tasting room, festivals, and on the website, but not in retail locations.
The final label, R.A. Hyde Wines, is specifically for white wines. It features Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Malvasia Bianca, plus sweet Orange Moscato and sweet Pinot Grigio. Like the Cattlebaron label, these limited production white wines aren’t available at retail.
I tasted eight dry wines, four white, and four red. My favorites were the Casual Friday wines. Perhaps the cute labels swayed my opinion, but I found these wines to be well balanced and easy to drink. Robbie works hard to keep his wine prices low, and these wines definitely deliver in the $12.99-$13.99 price range.
While Robbie maintains a small vineyard at his home in Parker County, most of his grapes are procured from Texas grower Vijay Reddy. Wine production is approached in a unique way. Three different winemakers make the wines at three different facilities. Daniel Bingham of Bingham Family Vineyards handles most winemaking efforts. Gary Gilstrap of Texas Hills Vineyard and Bénédicte Rhyne of Kuhlman Cellars make other wines in the lineup. Wine arrives at the Fort Worth facility in industrial grade totes, then is transferred into stainless steel tanks before blending and bottling. Robbie determines the final blends. Total production is around 800 cases of 100% Texas wines.
Look for these wines at local festivals this fall. Robbie says he has plans to attend 1-2 festivals a month. Better yet, head over to the tasting room in Fort Worth to meet Robbie and taste through a flight. Follow Casual Friday Wines on Facebook and Instagram for upcoming events and hours of operation.