Question: What happens when you take a guy with a passion for wine and flair for DIY, a gal with the same passion and great marketing and business skills, and turn them loose on a piece of farmland in North Texas?
Answer: You get Wintergrass Vineyard and Winery.
This unassuming little winery just south of Cleburne is run by the husband-and-wife team of Tyler and Amy Bower and is already making waves on the Texas wine scene. But don’t look for a fancy tasting room or ornate vanity gate at the front entrance. In fact, the only indication that there’s a winery in the area is a small sign at FM 174 and Fox Run Rd. that simply says, “Winery open today.” But that’s no indicator of what you’ll find when you visit.
What you will find is a couple with an unbridled enthusiasm for their craft and a “whatever it takes” attitude. This is clearly reflected in the tasting room, which at this time doubles as the winery’s production space. On one side of the room is a bar with a cozy group of tables for guests. On the other side, you’ll find all the paraphernalia that goes into winemaking, from oak barrels to a blending bench to a hand-operated bottle labeling machine. This is a winery created from hard work, tenacity, and a whole lot of love. Even their website declares Tyler as a hardcore DIY guy. If he needs something, he builds it from scratch. Amy, on the other hand, would rather pay someone to do the job. Ya gotta love this confluence of personalities!
Why the name “Wintergrass?” According to Tyler, this was the predominant type of flora found on the property when they bought it, so they thought it appropriate. Their logo of a single blade of grass reflects this simple and elegant approach.
The Bowers planted their first vines in 2017 on what was formerly ranch and farmland consisting of heavy clay at an elevation of 770 feet. They currently have two acres of Petite Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Syrah planted to determine what grows best at their locale. They hope to release the first batch of estate wines within the next couple of years. In the meantime, the winery’s first release was in 2019 with the tasting room opened during the pandemic in 2020.
Which brings us to the wines – and, oh my! For a relative newcomer to the Texas wine scene, this couple is doing amazing things. I am seldom impressed by any winery’s entire catalog, but Wintergrass is most definitely an exception. Each wine has its own character reflecting its unique “North Texas” terroir. Tyler’s winemaking philosophy is for minimal intervention whenever possible. He prefers to let the wine speak for itself.
The tasting room is only open on Sunday but can be made available during the week by reservation. Wintergrass is also a member of Harvest Host and can accommodate RVs of nearly any size.
Wintergrass currently offers the following wines by the glass or bottle (as of June 2022):
- Malvasia Blanca
- Sangiovese Rosé
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Red Trend Blend (aged in whisky barrels)
Two sparkling wines are also offered by the glass only.
Wine club members receive their choice of red or white wines (minimum of two bottles) every other month. They also enjoy a 50% discount on tastings, a 20% discount on wines, a 10% discount on merchandise, a complimentary glass of wine or tasting at club events, and free use of the venue for special events (winery schedule permitting).
Wintergrass Vineyard and Winery is most definitely a winery to put on one’s radar. If today’s production is any indicator, we should look for even greater things from them in the future.