Texas wineries are once again welcoming guests to their tasting room, and I am here for it! Recently we traveled to Hye, Texas, just outside of Johnson City, to visit Allan and Margaret Fetty’s new location for Westcave Cellars Winery & Brewery. It has been a bumpy nine months of change, but the result is a sleek and open new ranch-style tasting room featuring beautiful views of the 30-acre winery property, just off 290 but secluded enough to make you feel truly out in the country. The property also features a future bed and breakfast (the Hye Moon HYE-daway), a small covered pavilion for live music, and a large metal building for wine and beer production and storage. Though they farmed their location in Round Mountain for 20 years, the Fettys have no plans at present to add a vineyard to the new property.
We sampled three wines: the Sangiovese Rosé, which was on tap, the 2018 Spectrum White (a blend of Viognier, Muscat, and Muscat Canelli), and a sneak peek of a 2019 Montepulciano. There are two 100% Texas wine menus which you can sample inside of the tasting room or take individually packaged samples outside. The variety wine tasting menu includes:
- 2016 Chenin Blanc
- 2018 High Cross Viognier
- 2018 Blanc du Franc Rose
- 2017 High Plains Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2017 Merlot (the one wine aged in an American oak barrel)
- 2017 Cabernet Franc (from Bella Vista Ranch vineyard and managed by Allan)
The red wine tasting menu includes:
- 2017 High Plains Malbec
- 2016 High Plains Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2016 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2016 Estate Vigneron (Petite Sirah, Syrah, Malbec)
- 2017 Estate Petite Sirah
Other wines available for bottle sales include the 2018 Horny Red blend, the 2017 Allamar (Merlot-centric), the 2017 Estate Tannat, a 2018 Estate Marallan (Vermentino aged on French Oak), a 2017 Sangiovese, and the Spectrum Red blend – a personal favorite!
On the Adelsverein Bier und Ale side, there is Freethinker (blond ale), Mainz Dopplebock (double bock), and Sunday House (pale ale), all on tap. Another beer, the Prince Carl Porter was currently sold out. All beers are brewed with 100% Texas hops from Pat Vanderwilt in Central Texas and are exclusive to Westcave Cellars.
All tastings include a logo glass for you to take home. Stainless steel growlers and wine tumblers are available for purchase for wine or beer on tap, and gift selections are available as well, including scented candles, seasoning mixes, logo wear, and handmade wine barrel wall crosses. Since Westcave offers live music every Sunday, we settled in under shady trees in the expansive backyard and enjoyed folk music by Jim and Hillary. Reservations are recommended for inside seating and walk-ins are on a first come basis, but there is 500 square feet of outside seating.
Outside food or drink is not allowed, so we ordered two plates from their small bites menu which included:
- Gourmet charcuterie tray
- Brie Bites (filled flaky pastry shells – the bacon maple one was amazing!)
- Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
- Mississippi Sin Sip Sliders (a sausage and cheese dip)
- Shrimp Crostinis
- Sips and Dips (variety wine flight and dips infused with wine)
- Seasoned pretzels
All but the pretzels are, or can be, gluten-free on request, and our bites were freshly prepared and brought out to our table.
Westcave Cellars continues to be dog and kid-friendly and is following all current guidelines for masking and occupancy. A Grape to Bottle Tour of 1½ hours is available by reservation, and Westcave regularly participates in wine trail events. Additionally, three wine club levels are offered with all reds or a variety selection and include a complimentary glass of wine or tasting each visit, access to special releases and events, and discounts on bottled wine and non-wine merchandise. Margaret and Allan, along with tasting room manager Whitney, and wine club manager Diana, are off to a strong start at the new location. Go see them and say “Hye, ya’ll!”