When it comes to wineries around the United States, California regions such as Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley tend to receive most of the attention. However, Austin, Texas, has a number of outstanding wineries. The greater Austin area possesses many wineries that produce award-winning wines.
Among them is The Austin Winery at The Yard in South Austin, which was established in 2014 as the first grape-to-glass winery within the city limits. Since then, it has operated with a focus on producing quality wines and maintaining an approachable atmosphere through its tasting room and event space. Offering an assortment of red, white, and rose wines, The Austin Winery is also committed to sustainability and a winemaking model that enables it to reduce its carbon footprint. Read on to learn more about this winery.
The Winemaking Process
While most wineries operate in rural areas, The Austin Winery produces its wine at its urban Austin facility after harvesting and transporting grapes grown at remote sites. The winery works with sustainable, family-owned vineyards in the American Viticulture Areas of Texas Hill Country and Texas High Plains. These partnerships were founded based on an interest in eco-consciousness and exclusively comprise vineyards that adhere to biodynamic practices that benefit ecosystems.
From planting and onward, The Austin Winery remains involved in every step of managing the vineyards, and its team harvests the grapes by hand after traveling to each site. The grapes are then transported on the stem to the winery’s facility for crushing and pressing, although the team often destems and crushes the grapes in the fields depending on the wine they intend to create. In addition to the winemaking stages of fermenting and barrel-aging the grapes, The Austin Winery handles bottling and serving and adds no sulfites during the production process.
The result is a rich selection of carefully crafted wines, such as Violet Crown. The winner of the 2017 Double Gold Medal at the Houston Rodeo, Violet Crown was the first wine made by The Austin Winery. In addition, the wine bears Austin’s nickname, City of the Violet Crown. The wine, which consists of 80 percent Tempranillo and 20 percent Montepulciano, features smooth and supple tannins, as well as the flavors of dark chocolate, peppercorn, and cardamom on the finish.
The Austin Winery’s other red wines include the Old Vine Zinfandel, which is made using grapes grown on vines more than 25 years old in the Shenandoah Valley. By aging it for 22 months in French oak barrels, this wine opens with a bouquet of black cherry and blackberry and notes of vanilla and soft tannins.
The winery also produces the Calaveritas Malbec, which commemorates the Day of the Dead. Made with grapes sourced from Midland, Texas, it features vanilla spice and black fruit aromas and bright red fruit flavors.
The Austin Winery also produces various white wines such as the Lone Cloud. The 2016 Chenin Blanc was aged for 19 months with a bit of brandy mixed in, which brought it to an alcohol content of 19 percent. This wine features the flavors of honey, herbs, and caramel.
Another unique white wine at the winery is the Gewürz. The wine takes its name from the Gewürztraminer, a rare grape to find in Texas. The Austin Winery located a grower with a few rows and bought all their grapes to make this wine, which has an array of flavors, ranging from ginger and lychee to citrus and mango. Additionally, the warmer, sunnier climate of the winery’s terroir where the grapes were grown make for Gewürztraminer that is fruitier than its European counterparts.
The Austin Winery allows guests to hold events at its facilities, which include a spacious barrel room and tasting lounge that is capable of accommodating engagements ranging from private parties to corporate gatherings. Those seeking a venue that can hold over 50 people can also rent the entire winery. The winery’s staff can assist with planning these affairs.
Moreover, the winery provides event space for seasonal pop-ups and regular engagements such as Supper Club SZN. A monthly dinner hosted by the widely popular food truck Puli-Ra, it comprises a pre-fixed menu based on a nostalgic family meal that combines South Indian and Texan cuisine paired with wine and a customized playlist.
The Austin Winery welcomes visitors to its tasting room from Tuesday through Sunday. Tastings consist of three or four half-glasses of wine. Visitors can choose from a selection of 16 wines that encompass red, white, rose, fortified, and sparkling varieties. In addition to wine samples, the winery operates a small kitchen that serves cheese and charcuterie, bread with oil and balsamic, and Fairweather Cider, among other snacks and non-grape beverages.