What do you do when you have limited vacation time, three international and two domestic trips already planned for the year, and still want to get away to celebrate an anniversary? Take a weekend trip to somewhere drivable and dog friendly of course! In this case, for our three-year anniversary, Ryan and I decided to take the 5-hour drive to Fredericksburg, Texas. Fredericksburg is in this hill country and is know for its wineries and Enchanted Rock State Park, so a quick weekend away filled with wine tasting and hiking sounded perfect!
Since I was in the midst of wedding / honeymoon planning, Ryan took on the planning of this trip, and boy, did he do a great job! We left after work on Friday evening and, after a drive full of podcasts and scenic views, we arrived at this adorable Airbnb only a block away from main street and, more importantly, two blocks away from the wine tour shuttle pick up! The place had a little dog run for our puppy, was recently updated, and had everything we needed to make breakfast both days of our stay.
Once we settled in and dropped off our stuff, we set off up the street to find some grub! After some Googling, we found the Woerner Warehouse – an awesome, modern, barn style furniture shop by day, that moonlights as a pizza place. We split a Caesar salad and delicious ham and basil pizza and walked around the store after our fill. It had some very cute furniture but also some questionably weird pieces. Interesting to say the least!
Knowing we wanted to cook breakfast in the AM, we went to the HEB down the street for cinnamon rolls, bagels, a bottle of Texas wine, and a case of water. I highly recommend having a bunch of water handy when you plan on visiting wineries all day.
Once we were stocked up, we went back to the Airbnb and relaxed with a glass of wine next to the fire pit and gazed at all the starts. Talk about a relaxing start to the trip!
Our alarm went off at 8:30 AM and we were ready to start the day! We made quick work of cooking breakfast and taking Dakota on a walk. I must say, all the houses in Fredericksburg as so well kept and cute! There was even a historical looking “settlement” of buildings down the street from our place that was awesome to explore on our walk.
We dropped Dakota back off at the Airbnb, gave her a big rawhide to keep her busy, and took off to the shuttle. We didn’t want to worry about driving to the wineries, so we signed up for the 290 Shuttle service which, for $25 per person, would take us to and from any of 14 wineries throughout the day. There are tons of similar services throughout Fredericksburg, but the 290’s pick up location was at the Pacific War Museum right off Main street and only two blocks from our Airbnb. Talk about convenience!
The weather was slightly cloudy and a little cold, but perfect for a day outside. Our bus driver was a retired, spunky lady, who gave us all the details about the various wineries along the 290 Highway and our first stop, Grape Creek Winery. It was on a 100-acer lot bought in the 1980s. New owners came in a little over 10 years ago and renovated the winery to a Tuscan style villa that went from 7K bottles a season to 55K! We decided to spend a little extra and take the tour of the winery with our tasting. We hopped into a large golf cart and were driven through the vineyard to the grape press and sorting area, through to the fermentation room, and then ended in the barrel room where were got to taste 4 wines right out of the barrels!
After that, we were taken to a tasting room for 6 additional tastes of the various whites, roses, and reds, which were all delicious and set our expectations for the rest of the day at a very high bar.
To cleanse your pallet between wines, the tasting room had these little round bread balls to munch on. Ryan and I, as the light-weights we are, were joking about taking some to-go and Ryan stuck some in his pockets. I told him that having “pocket bread” was so not appropriate so he threw some pieces at me, sending me into laughing fits while apologizing for his behavior and picking them up.
Apparently, Grape Creek sells 96% or so if its wine through its wine club. They do not sell at retail locations, so the only way to get it is at the winery’s or through the mail club. Our host passed out the info and did a little sales pitch to get people to sign up. We somehow resisted and opted to try the other wineries out before committing to their club. If you are visiting wineries, be wary of the wine club pitches (that happen after you’ve had a few glasses) and decide before you go into the tasting if a wine club is something you want to invest in if your tasting is tasty.
After that was all finished, we were taken back up to the main building to hop back onto the 290 shuttle to go to the next place. The Torre Di Pietra Winery was quite a bit smaller than the last and we quickly realized the caliber of wine for the rest of the day might not meet the high standard Grape Creek set. Then again, we were 8 tastes in and the vineyard was very pretty so we were in high spirits. The people watching was also entertaining with more than 10 bachelorette party sightings and other shenanigans.
After that, we went to Four Point Cellars which has wines from 3 different Texas wineries. There was a very large rectangular bar in the center of the building which had at least 20 different workers serving wines to everyone around the bar. While we tasted a flight of both white and red wines, our server told us some interesting stories about being raised in Fredericksburg, how the wine industry has exploded there over the past 10 years, and how that has impacted the economy and housing prices. Apparently, Fredericksburg is now a big retirement community since the town is so quaint and they can work at the vineyards. Not a bad plan if I do say so myself!
After our tasty wines, we had samples of Texas-made cheese, balsamic vinegars, and jams that were placed around the wine bar. We were still hungry so we grabbed some BBQ from the food truck out front and enjoyed some live music on the patio before heading to our last winery for the day.
We stopped at the Wedding Oak Winery specifically to buy a few bottles of wine for our good friends who recently go engaged there! Of course, we had to try some of the wine while we were there, so we did another round of tasting and were very happy with what we sampled. We bought a few bottles, wandered around the gift shop, took some silly photos by the bluebonnets, and then decided to call it a day for our winery adventure.
We arrived back in town around 2:30 and happily strolled back to our Airbnb. We took the puppy for a quick walk and, as we were settling back in, Ryan found the last remnants of his newly blue-jean colored “pocket bread” in his pants. They promptly fell to the ground and our ravenous dog gobbled them down before we realized what was happening. I was doubled over in hysterics, laughing way too hard, and Dakota was smiling at us from ear to ear. No food is safe with her around!
After we calmed down, we took a 2.5-hour power nap to energize for our evening plans. I don’t even remember trying to fall asleep – just that the alarm clock for the next part of our adventure seemed to go off right as my head hit the pillow!