When you first enter the driveway to Green Goat Winery & Vineyard, you are greeted with a vineyard on both sides of the driveway. The winery is owned by Rip and Cindy Cunningham, and Rip was opening the gates as I arrived.
We met in the cozy tasting room overlooking the vineyards and a nicely covered patio. Cindy Cunningham was also in the tasting room, and we all first talked about the vineyard. I noticed the vineyard was using the Watson trellis system (developed by Texan Jerry Watson) and assumed they were growing Blanc du Bois. Rip said they used to have Blanc du Bois but there were issues recently so they had to remove it. They then planted Dazzle and Indulgence, both University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Vitis hybrid white grapes. The vineyard now comprises eight acres and also includes Lomanto, Champanel, Black Spanish, and three of the new Walker varieties. The vineyard was first planted in 2014.
On to the next topic, their Texas wine. The tasting room opened in 2016 for their first harvest. Rip said he made all current 16 wines, and they currently make 7,000 cases a year. They get most of their grapes from Sulphur Springs and Lindale vineyards for most of their wines. One of the vineyard consultants for those vineyards is Felipe Sanchez from San Mauritz Vineyard Consulting & Developing.
Talking about the grapes for the wines from his vineyard, Rip said that 2022 was a weird year. It quit raining and the temperatures were then very warm. That is how he lost half his fruit.
These were some of the wines that were available during my visit:
- Blanc du Bois (dry and sweet)
- Texas Red (semi-sweet)
- Lenoir (semi-dry)
- Lomanto (semi-dry)
- Zinfandel (dry)
- Cabernet Sauvignon (dry)
- Cabernet Franc (dry)
- Tempranillo (dry)
- Syrah (dry)
- Peachy Gringo (fruit, white, sweet)
- Blueberry sweet (fruit, red)
- Blueberry dry (fruit, semi-dry)
- Bo Peep (fortified, red, coffee, mocha)
- Firewater (fortified, white)
Rip wanted me to try the 2018 Lomanto and then the 2021 Lomanto for which he is very proud. It will not be available until the 2018 is sold out though. The 2021 Lomanto was in the production room, so I received a tour and a couple of unfinished samples from the tank.
The winery makes a nice place to sit, relax, and enjoy their wine. They have snacks available such as a cheese and fruit plate, or one with meat. There are also other chocolate and almonds available for purchase.
When you’re in the Chandler area, be sure to visit Green Goat Winery & Vineyard to taste their Texas wines.