February 2023 marks the one-year anniversary of Cedar Hollow Winery & Vineyard. One of the newest additions to the burgeoning north Texas wine scene, Cedar Hollow is conveniently located just off US-380 east of Farmersville between the cities of McKinney and Greenville. Owners DeWayne Hill, who has extensive experience in the food and beverage industry, and Amy Hill, a nurse by trade who also oversees tasting room operations, selected the site after a lengthy search for a property suitable for planting Vitis vinifera and which they could grow into as their business matured. The property also has an important personal connection for DeWayne and Amy who were married on the estate just four days after the purchase in December 2020. Cedar Hollow is not only a product of their passion for wine, but also for each other.
After entering the gates to the property, guests travel down a gravel driveway towards the tasting room surrounded by cedar trees. Freshly tilled Houston black clay soil, which is prevalent throughout the property, provides a striking contrast to the surroundings. DeWayne recalls discovering many unique relics of the past while cultivating the property which sits on an old creek bed long filled by erosion including old machine parts and the frame of a Model A Ford. Beware too as Sasquatch has been known to frequent these parts and seems to have an affinity for wine (an inside joke for those who have been to visit!).
The large covered front patio adjacent to the parking lot is popular with guests and is also used to host local musicians. The tasting room and wine shop itself occupies the preexisting home. This space features various hardwoods on the walls, floors and ceiling, cowhide chairs, and a stone fireplace that provide a rustic, yet homey and comfortable feel that can accommodate roughly 20 guests.
The Hills currently offer 24 wines under the Cedar Hollow label in addition to offering other selections from Italy, France, and Argentina. The Cedar Hollow selections currently include five white wines, eight reds, five fruit wines, and six dessert wines. DeWayne, a self-taught winemaker, personally crafts all wines on site. While he sources juice from various locations, predominately California, he insists on fermenting all wines in house to maintain complete control over the winemaking process. All wines are small-batch, fermented in stainless steel tanks and then stored in approximately 200 six-gallon glass carboys. This allows DeWayne to produce a wide range of wines while managing production costs. He uses minimal additives and bottles on demand, often without fining or filtering, but is able to keep wines fresh and clean.
All wines may be purchased by the glass or by the bottle with most ranging between $20-$45. In addition to three preset wine flights, guests may customize their own flight from the Cedar Hollow collection. Each flight features four wines and are presented in miniature wine glasses. I preferred to pour each into a larger glass but thought the smaller glasses were creative and fun. Customers can also select from the “Bold and Beautiful” flight which currently includes a Châteauneuf-du-Pape and an Italian Barbera, a flight of wines crafted by friend and colleague Ty Canton from the Moon Mountain District of Sonoma Valley, and a flight of Syrah and Petite Sirah.
Most recently, Cedar Hollow’s “Amarone” style wine, made with Corvina from California, received a “Best of Class” award at the 2023 San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition. A best seller and one of Amy’s favorites, the Broken Rocker Red, a Malbec dominated blend, was also awarded a platinum medal at the 2022 Great American International Wine Competition in New York.
While it would be great to see more vintage dating on bottles and more information regarding the provenance of the wines on the menu, I found each wine enjoyable (tasting notes below) and could connect with the measured approach being taken to sustainably grow this new wine company. Both Amy and DeWayne are hands-on and can be found entertaining guests, serving wine, and preparing tasty bites from their considerable food menu which includes an assortment of pizzas, hummus, charcuterie boards, sandwiches, and desserts.
With a year under their belts, the Hills have big plans for Cedar Hollow including an addition to the tasting room to increase seating capacity, planting 6.5 acres of vines for future estate wine production, building a covered outdoor stage for events and entertainment, and expanding their ecommerce channel. Cedar Hollow Winery & Vineyard is a prime example of the passion, ingenuity, and drive possessed by those in the Texas wine industry. I look forward to seeing their project progress and hope you will visit them in Farmersville soon!
Wines Sampled (All Cedar Hollow Crafted)
- Sauvignon Blanc: Medium-bodied and crisp with tart citrus flavors of lemon curd, pineapple, and melon along with herbal notes.
- Chardonnay: Balanced flavors of vanilla and citrus fruits with accents of flint and cream. Medium-bodied with a round finish.
- Montepulciano: Medium-bodied, showing flavors of dark cherry, raspberry, cedar, and an undertone reminiscent of smoked meat. This wine possesses good acidity with light tannins making it very easy drinking.
- Broken Rocker Red: Medium(+) bodied with ripe red fruit. It is rich in flavor with soft tannins and a smooth finish.
- Vanilla Bourbon Port: A fortified wine displaying rich dark fruit characteristics of black cherry and blackberry complimented by vanilla bean, finishing long. This was very yummy!