The Mill

Last week, Abilene welcomed it’s second winery in town, “The Mill” on Locust St. (within walking distance of Barley-Hoppers – convenient!)

After attending the “soft” launch on Friday, I’m hooked. It’s upscale but relaxed atmosphere create a perfect week-end retreat or a great place to entertain out-of-town guests.

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The venue is of course available to rent but you’ll want to get on their calendar fast – once word gets out, I presume they’re going to book up fast! There are different areas available for rent (or the whole shebang) – details here

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As far as casual visits go, they’ve got their bases covered: house-made sangria (so, so delicious), “wine-a-ritas”, craft beers on tap, house wines, and even cigars. They haven’t begun to bottle their own yet, but I was told that’s in the works.

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There was also live music, and a menu of appetizers and deserts (from Sweets du Jour no less!). Due to my increasing interest in Texas wines (due mostly to this blog), I’ve found a new spot for local inspiration and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

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I never met a red I didn’t like – but this one didn’t like me

For the second week in a row, I picked a delicious wine selection from our sister city, Lubbock. From McPherson Cellars, I bought a bottle of the La Herencia, which is a blend of Tempranillo, Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache and Carignan. I’ve never sampled a blend with that many elements to it but I quite enjoyed it.

However tasty it was, I must admit that I think I was allergic to something in it and had a reaction. Before I noticed and was able to enjoy my tasting in blissful ignorance, I thought the flavor was delightful. It is not a light red by any means but it’s a nice table wine for dinner.


For more information on McPherson Cellars, go to (PS – they’re having a 15% off sale if you order from the website but only during May so get after it!)

Fun tidbits:

- While browsing the wine section at Pinkie’s, I noticed a fabulous sign “Wine Wednesdays – 20% off Texas wines”. It’s like it was made for me. Just wanted to keep you lone star state-wine-lovers in the know.

- The Mill Winery is opening this weekend with a “soft” opening Friday evening and a Grand Opening Saturday afternoon. Go to for the calendar of events. Hope to see you there!

Knuckle Bump

In my quest to localize Texas wine in the Big Country area, I’ve spent a lot of time in the “Texas wines” area of Abilene liquor and grocery stores. As the old adage, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is normally a wise approach, I will fully admit that I bought this wine solely because of the label.

I mean, how fun is this?!


After I discovered that the winery was in Lubbock (relatively close), I was sold.

This was a very dry red wine, a mixture of a couple of different types. It’s not a super smooth or sweet red, but I enjoyed it with my pasta dinner (would also pair very nicely with meat).

After sampling the wine and falling in love with all of the bottle labels, I have made it my mission to visit their tasting room in the future. Many of the labels feature this woman and I’m very curious to know if it is based off of a real person.

Based on their website, they offer event rooms, tastings and a wine club. You can also purchase their wine straight from the website (although you can also find it in Abilene at Pinkie’s).

Lost Oak

Our fearless leader and editor, Doug Williamson, recently informed me of a Texas wine that I needed to try out. At a steak dinner, he sampled some tasty selections from Lost Oak Winery. Always in pursuit of new things, I ventured to H&H Beverage here in Abilene (the only place here you can buy it) to do some sampling myself.

In the red variety, my options were the Tempranillo, Cabernet, Merlot or the “Texas Trio” blend. I opted for the blend to taste the best of what Lost Oak had to offer, a little bit of everything.

The Lost Oak reds are very dry but I am a fan. It would pair nicely with red meat or heavier meals. Next, I think I’ll try the Viognier, which is quickly becoming popular in Texas wines.

What I also like about Lost Oak is the close proximity of their winery. They are located in Burleson, just south of Fort Worth.

They are available for tastings, private parties and weddings. For more information, visit

Where to Find Texas Wines in Abilene

Although this blog is dedicated to Texas wines and is being written from Abilene, I realized that I have not yet included any information on wineries in the Big Country. I’m here to remedy that.

The Winery at Willow Creek is relatively new to the area and growing rapidly in popularity. They offer a house-made selection of their own sweet wines, mostly fruity flavors and varying levels of alcohol content.

What impresses me most about Willow Creek is their affordability and back patio. If you’re from Abilene, you know that there is a lack of scenery that involves big trees or any semblance of a body of water. Nestled along the creek, the back patio comes right up to the water and is lined with trees.


Also, the winery is an extremely affordable outing. I have never spent more than $20 there, and that includes wine by the bottle.

Another location know for its focus on local cuisine and libations is Abi-Haus. Their cocktails are my favorite, but they do offer a great selection of craft beers and Texas wines. The last time I was there however, they didn’t have any Texas wines to offer so I went with the Arizona Stronghold (it’s regional?).

Coming this spring, Abilene will have a new beer and wine bar – The Mill ( The pictures look fabulous and it seems like such a creative way to use the older, inactive mills in the area. I’m looking forward to many visits.

As I do more exploring of the area, I’ll share my findings. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comment box!

Becker Vineyards (Fredericksburg Part 2)

On our second wine adventure of the weekend, we ventured out to Becker Vineyards. This was the first and most major vineyard I’ve been to, given that you can buy their wine in most Texas grocery and liquor stores.

Per usual, we saddled up to the bar for a tasting. I realize that my reviews of wines are never particularly negative, but this one will be no different: every wine we sampled was delicious. Most exclusively, the Barbera Merlot was perfection and is only available for wine club members (which of course, we are now).

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Not only do you get wine discounts, free tastings, and access to exclusive wines, the wine club at Becker Vineyards offers a lot of fun perks. For example, the wine you receive each quarter is handpicked by Dr. Becker himself and you are offered a first pick at tickets to vineyard events and parties.

Not only is Becker a vineyard but they also have a grand lavender field. Every May, they have a festival (before it gets too hot) to celebrate all things lavender. Later in the year (this year’s calendar says August), they celebrate with a grape stomp and a “Lucy and The Italian Woman Costume Contest”. I’m certain is creates some fantastic photo opps.

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I also must mention that the staff at Becker was particularly special. The woman who helped us with our tastings was a terrific salesperson because she was genuinely excited about and believed in the product. Although she was dealing with many customers (it gets PACKED on Saturdays – get there early), she kept her cool and was as helpful as could be. Her enthusiasm was contagious and made the overall experience that much better.

We sat out on the veranda to enjoy some wine and good live music. They also have food trucks strategically stationed to get hungry people on their way out.

We even witnessed a marriage proposal! A couple who was sitting a table next to us got engaged shortly after we arrived and had a big party outside with their friends and family. So heartwarming to see, and Becker conveniently has a wedding venue! :)

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Aside from the wine, the weekend was just a special time I got to spend with my mom. Being an only child, my relationship with my parents has always been a strong one (mostly before and after my horrific teenage years) and I miss them always. The wine, peaceful views and lively atmosphere fostered the perfect environment for us to catch-up and just enjoy each other. We have already set a date for a similar trip next year, and god-willing, many years to come.

Back Porch Sittin’ (Fredericksburg – Part 1)

This past weekend, I took the short drive out to Fredericksburg to meet my mom for a getaway weekend of massages, facials, good food, and of course, wine. Fredericksburg and the surrounding areas are the Texas Wine Country jackpot. Given the areas growing popularity, the weekend is a busy time but with so many places to choose from, you’re bound to find your own little corner for the day.

We decided to hit up the main streets of town on Friday to avoid the weekend crowds. I’d had my mind set on visiting Fiesta Winery’s tasting room and I’m so glad we went – such fun!

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With names like “Skinny Dippin’”, “Happy Trails”, “Rhinestone Cowgirl”, and “Backporch Sittin’”, these wines and Texas culture are fused together beautifully and naturally. The tastes, colors, and names capture the essence of an easy afternoon in the Hill Country. Beware: the Texas Well Water (sweet Pinot Gris), is one of the most easily-drinkable varieties you’ll ever taste. It can get you in trouble, so it was obviously my favorite.

It’s an interesting concept, finding Texas in “little Germany”. The Fiesta Vineyard and Winery is located about 80 miles away from Fredericksburg, in the heart of Texas Hill Country and along the Colorado River. Because of their success, they’ve been able to expand to a couple of Fredericksburg locations.

The staff was so friendly and helpful, even though they were as busy as could be and that was a “slow day”. Not wanting to sit in a bar too long in the middle of the day, we bought a case of Fiesta goodies and we were on our way.

Although it isn’t wine-related, I want to quickly share some of the other great things we found during our trip. The restaurant and spa treatments at the Trois Estate were perfection. A family-owned B&B, the staff was easy-going and obviously committed to pleasing their patrons. It was an amazing place to escape to and recharge, even if you only have a weekend.

Sadly, Sunday came too quickly and we were on our way out of town. On the way out, I noticed that bluebonnets were already in full-bloom in the Hill Country. After a fierce winter, their cheerful colors were ready to pronounce the beginning of spring. Hopefully by my next trip to Wine Country, the roads will be paved with a sea of blue, white, and red wildflower goodness.



The Super Texan

For my mom’s 56th birthday, we decided to take a trip to Lake Travis, which is one of her favorite places. We rented a room at a small B&B and being the loving and supportive mom that she is, she even carved some time out of her birthday weekend to accompany me to a vineyard. Such sacrifice, what a saint!

We decided to spend the day at the Flat Creek Estate in Marble Falls (, a quick 30 minute drive from Lake Travis, because they offered the unique experience of touring the production area and barrel room. They are offered on Saturdays and are paired with a wine tasting.

The tasting is done bracket-style, with two similar wines offered and you pick one out of 7 couplings. For my selections, I chose to sample the Rose, Viognier, Super Texan (my absolute favorite), Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Sparkling Rasberry, Blanco Brio, and the Mistella. There was no rhyme or reason to my selections but I tended towards the award-winners (and there were several).

After sampling their unique and tasty selections, we were led on a tour first through the vat room and then to the barrel room.

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The tour was very interesting and given by one of the owners, which added a personal touch that you normally don’t get. When it was over my parents decided to join the wine club (which I hope they will share with their loving daughter). We bought a bottle of the Super Texan and headed out to the gorgeous patio to enjoy our findings.

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Flat Creek also has a bistro, but make sure to make reservations. We did not have time to eat there but they often do food and wine pairings and have plenty of space to host parties.

This was the first actual vineyard I had been to since beginning my Texas wine quest. It was amazing to be able to walk around and through the area, given the vast amount of land needed to produce that many grapes.

Fun fact: Flat Creek takes volunteers in the summers to come pick grapes with them. I won’t sugar-coat it, it will be extraordinarily hot. However, I couldn’t think of a better place to cool off.

Wined and dined in Wimberley

On Valentine’s Day, I took a quick weekend trip to Wimberley, TX (northeast of San Antonio). I was hoping for (somewhat) warmer weather, scenic views, and frankly, a change of pace. Right in the middle of Texas Hill (and wine) Country, I have determined Wimberley to be one of Texas’ best kept secrets.


(Pictured – Wimberley Blue Hole Regional Park)

Aside from the natural beauty that surrounds this area of the state, the center of town was chalked full of quaint boutiques and restaurants. I specifically should mention The Leaning Pear (and highly recommend the boar taquitos). It was incredible and not expensive.

But enough about that. You’re here for the wine, right?

With several wineries encompassing Wimberley, I had my pick of the litter, so to speak. When we descended upon the Wimberley Valley Winery (, I immediately knew that’s where I wanted to spend the day. The entire day.

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(Inside of the tasting room. That chandelier!)

I should also mention that the wine (by the glass or bottle) and the tastings are very reasonably priced. They serve snacks as well.

The staff was very friendly and helpful, and have their fair share of stories of over-served patrons.

I learned a little more about the wine-making business and specifically, how Wimberley Valley makes their wine. They are not a vineyard but they do their own fermentation in metal vats, usually keeping a batch in for a few weeks at a time (depending on wine type).

Given five items to sample, I chose the try the malbec, blanc de noirs, sangria, zinfandel, and the cellar select red (all delicious). After the votes were tallied, we bought a bottle of the zinfandel and headed outside to enjoy it and the gorgeous day.

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On the back patio, there are tables, games, and a double-decker bus. They have everything you could want to keep you entertained for the day. And when the weather gods are smiling, it couldn’t be more perfect.

Beyond the patio, there is a grassy pasture (knoll, meadow?). If you do anything while you’re there, go sit out there. There is a conveniently placed picturesque swing to assist you. I am convinced it is one of the most peaceful places in America. Seriously. If the feeling you have after taking a deep breath was a place, this would be it (the wine doesn’t hurt either).

Wimberley was a spectacular surprise and I have every intention of going back, drinking more wine, and sitting in more meadows. What could be better than that?

Allow me to introduce myself

I am the Digital Content Producer here at the Abilene Reporter-News. I normally do not create the content so writing this blog will force me to dust the cobwebs off of my college writing textbooks. Bear with me.

I truly enjoy wine (because, who doesn’t?) and beloved Texas is my home. Therefore, the organic marriage between Texas and wine is one of particular intrigue to me. It wasn’t until I moved out to Abilene last July that I realized the vastness of wine culture and production here in the lone star state. Just another reason to love this place.

Full disclosure: I am the first to admit that I know close to nothing about wine composition. If you’re looking for someone to tell you what reds have a “full body” or what whites have “nice citrus undertones”, you have come to the wrong place. I do not want to in any way undermine the true science and artistry that certified sommeliers utilize and possess.

That being said, my focus will be on Texas wines, wineries, and vineyards. As I navigate the Texas wine country, I’ll share my findings with you. If you simply enjoy looking at a pretty landscape WHILE drinking wine, I’ve got you covered. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit some of these fabulous places (in and around the Big Country) and I’m excited to share this information with anyone who’s interested.

Most people need a punctuation mark at the end of a long day. For me, that’s a glass of good wine. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy it with family, friends, or just a good sunset, that’s even better.