I am pretty sure I have said this before, but I will say it again. I always love finding out about a new winery or tasting room that is within my day trip radius of approximately two hours each way. Unlike some lucky people, I do not live in an area with many wineries or tasting rooms in close proximity (we have one local winery), so when I want to spend a few hours relaxing and enjoying great Texas wine, I usually hit the road. I work in an office with no windows all week so I enjoy day tripping, but it does hinder my ability to visit wineries as much as I would love to; although, my checkbook probably appreciates that.
Anyway, I recently learned of a new tasting room in Brownwood called 10 Mile Productions, so of course, I immediately started researching to see what I could learn about them while planning my first visit. Through my research, I found that I was actually already familiar with winemaker and co-owner, Hayley Fowler, as she had previously worked at a couple of semi-local wineries. I say “semi-local” because they were between 1 to 1½ hours away. I remember Hayley helping us in the past with tastings at Brennan Vineyards in Comanche and later seeing her at Rancho Loma Vineyards in Coleman where she was a winemaker. It was interesting to learn that she had moved on to making wine at Kerrville Hills Winery in Kerrville and was now going to be showcasing her wines at her tasting room. Hayley worked with co-owner Sara Cox to open the tasting room in Brownwood.
On my first trip to 10 Mile Productions, I was accompanied by Amanda Cole, my best friend, and frequent wine road warrior. It was an easy 1½ drive into Brownwood where we were able to locate the tasting room without issue. 10 Mile Productions is a quaint tasting room situated on the corner of Center Avenue and W Anderson Street in Brownwood in what used to be the Southern Hotel and then Wittig Jewelers. One thing we noticed as we entered the tasting room was the terrazzo tiles, which were original to the building and in exceptional condition considering they had been covered with different floorings over the years. As we entered the tasting room, there was a tasting bar to the left, several tables and chairs, and a few seating areas with cushy chairs and sofas. Beyond that was an intimate seating area separated from the rest of the tasting room by a half wall and to the right of that was a room full of wine-filled racks.
Although they have only been opened a short time (they opened April 16, 2021), they already have plans for changes. There is an old vault in the building they want to turn into a private tasting area. They want to add an additional tasting bar in the back and have a small area for local vendors to sell their goods. Hayley and Sara have immersed themselves in the local community which is great since downtown Brownwood is going through a revitalization. They display art from local artists throughout the tasting room, have industry appreciation nights, participate in local events, and regularly have live music sometimes coupled with a food truck. As a matter of fact, the night of my second visit they were having a live DJ and taco truck. What I find interesting about all of this is that their original plan was to self-distribute for a while, but during the COVID pandemic they ended up opening a tasting room. One would think the timing was off, but they obviously made the right decision.
During our conversations, I learned that Hayley’s interest in wine really peaked during her time working in the tasting room at Brennan Vineyards, so she enrolled in Texas Tech’s Texas Winemaking Certificate Program. While completing the program, she moved onto Ranch Loma Vineyards where she started making wine and then later moved onto Kerrville Hills Winery where she was an assistant winemaker. Sara’s venture into the wine industry took a different path as she originally served in the military as a means to travel the world. Upon leaving the military, she worked for an electrical company and along the way she met Hayley, who got her more interested in wine. Being immersed in the wine industry alongside Hayley, Sara became increasingly vested and is currently enrolled in Texas Tech’s Viticulture Certificate Program.
Along with showcasing their wines, 10 Mile Production also features other Texas wines as well as Texas beers and ciders. The selections rotate, so what is available one week might not be available the next week. I personally like this as it will give patrons the opportunity to try a broader variety of wines, beers, and ciders that they might not have otherwise been able to try. There is a tasting fee for six wines and beers/ciders are available for purchase by the glass. They have a nice charcuterie board—we loved the stuffed peppers— but they also allow outside food which is a bonus if you plan on spending any amount of time there.
During our visit we tried the following wines:
- Newson Vineyards 2017 Late Harvest Orange Muscat
- Rustic Spur 2019 Semillon
- 10 Mile Productions 2020 Blanc du Bois (Their first labeled wine that just happened to win bronze at the 2021 TEXSOM International Wine Awards). This one was so different from other Blanc du Bois! Effervescent and off-dry with notes of tropical fruit and citrus.
- Cheramie 2019 Riesling
- 10 Mile 2020 Arellana Tempranillo Rosé (on tap). This was quite interesting. Made using the saignée method, this one was fruit-forward with notes of leather and oak.
- Siboney Cellars 2018 Coral Rosé (Mourvèdre)
- Rustic Spur 2017 Gramps (Tannat)
- Newsom Vineyard 2015 Merlot
- 10 Mile Productions Dry Orange Muscat (on tap)
Although we couldn’t try it, I decided to buy a bottle of their Alicante Bouschet Petillant because I had never tried a Pét-Nat. This one was a collaboration between 10 Mile Productions and Fly Gap Winery. It was a beautiful color and the flavor kind of reminded me of prickly pear, a little tart, and fruity.
I’d like to give a shout-out to Shay who did our tasting as she was great! I think we amused her with our back-and-forth banter trying to figure out what we tasted and smelled. We can be a fun handful sometimes in a good and amusing way. As previously mentioned, I have already made a second trip to 10 Mile Productions and need to make a third as they just released their second wine, Texzen Zinfandel.
Even though I have been to 10 Mile Productions twice, I get so caught up in tastings and general conversation that I forgot to ask a few questions, so Hayley graciously agreed to a quick follow-up call with me. I asked about their short-term and long-term goals already knowing they have plans for changes to the tasting room. Within the next few years, they hope to plant a vineyard or two in the Brownwood area, to continue releasing more of their wines, and continue to build relationships within the Texas wine industry. Hayley mentioned 2023 was already looking promising for their red wines. Longer-term goals were to build a production facility in Brownwood, but that seems to be on the back burner. They are currently utilizing the production facility at Fly Gap Winery in Mason, with who they collaborated with on the 10 Mile – DANK Pét-Nat, and they really enjoy working alongside owner and winemaker Brock Estes. Liking what Brock is doing in the way of wine and enjoying the collaboration, the need for building their own facility does not seem as imminent.
If you are ever in the Brownwood area, I definitely recommend stopping by 10 Mile Productions for a tasting, glass, and/or bottle of great Texas wine! And remember to tell them I sent you, so they know people are spreading the word.