Looking for something new to explore in the Texas Hill Country wine region? There is definitely something new awaiting at the former location of 1851 Vineyards now called Slate Mill Wine Collective. The Hollimon family who started the winery sold the business to retire. The Jones family are the new owners who bought the business and are taking a bold new approach to help make Texas wines more approachable to consumers. This new vision entails offering custom crush and vineyard services provided by this very experienced and creative team of wine industry professionals bringing new life and vision to this business via the Slate Mill Wine Collective. They are also offering the opportunity for boutique wine labels to produce their wines onsite and offer their wines at the tasting room.
Slate Mill Wine Collective is a different concept than most wineries with a number of well-known industry folks signing on to help create this new mark on the Texas wine scene. The winery is expanding the grapes and varieties planted at the site and is continuing production of the 1851 wine brand with new labels featuring lovely photos of flora taken on the estate. In addition, a team of wonderful winemakers will be working to produce a number of brands of wine for consumers to come and sample at this location. At the helm of the winemaking team is Tim Drake, the Director of Winemaking.
The tasting room has been expanded to hold much larger crowds and events, and the outdoor patio area has been expanded to offer multi-level areas for entertainment plus fire pits to enjoy when it’s cooler outside. Work is being done to restore the historic stone buildings near the entrance to the winery. This will be a very unique place to come and experience a melding pot of different styles and products by different producers in the state.
Something unique to this site is the collective of wines and winemakers you will find here. In addition to the 1851 line, you can also currently taste and purchase wines crafted by four other labels, offering Tatum Cellars wines, C.L. Butaud wines, Dandy wines, and Farmhouse Vineyards. The goal is to offer spaces for smaller boutique labels to have their own tastings on premise and help incubate the next generation of winemakers in the industry. There are plans for additional spaces to be built on the property to continue to expand options for these future winemakers to use.
If that wasn’t enough, the group is also making gigantic changes to the footprint of another former winery property purchased on highway 290, which will be called the Slate Theory Winery and is planned to open sometime in 2021. This site is currently under major renovations as a wine cave is being dug to allow for an entirely new experience with different events and activities in the planning stages of this very creative team of wine artists.
This team is pumped with enthusiasm for the future they have planned and are energized by the interest they are seeing from folks in the industry and consumers. The grand opening held on Saturday, February 15 was attended by an estimated 400 plus people with both industry people and consumers braving a cold, windy gray day to enjoy the festivities. Paella was served on the outdoor patio and a glass noodle dish was served inside the winery tank area along with 1851 wine pairings offering a variety of tasting stations for guests to visit.
There was a palpable air of excitement in the air among attendees. A number of guests shared that they appreciated being able to stop at one location and try so many different brands and types of wines. It is definitely a fun way to learn and try more of what the state has to offer without driving all over to do so. Original 1851 winery club members also enjoyed seeing the changes being made and learning what was in store for the site and winery.
The tasting room is spacious with lots of tables and ample seating along with opportunities for guests to sample 1851 wines and wines from the collective brands. They also offer a wide selection of food items from boxes of charcuterie and cheese, crackers, chocolates, assorted nonalcoholic drinks, and snacking options for guests to purchase. There are shelves featuring gift and souvenir items from T-shirts, caps, wine glasses, growlers, candles, coasters, note cards, and wall art.
Stop in to visit and see for yourself all the changes underway. Chat with the staff and find what wines are your favorites, so next time you stop by you can see what else has evolved and add to your list of favorite wines. Better yet, join the wine club and get access to discounts on everyone’s wines and fun food pairing parties for members. The future is looking bright for this group and we cannot wait to see the changes in store as they march into their bright future ahead.