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We hope you enjoy our story!
We became a Harvest Hosts location in December of 2020. Since then we have had dozens of RV’ers from all over the country. Being right off a busy highway (US 84 E & US 183 S), we’re accustomed to having out of town guests but now they’re coming from much farther locations! There is a sign over our entrance, “Enter as Strangers, Leave as Friends.” That has become far more than a phrase but our motto. In the beginning, we didn’t realize the relationships we would make and the stories we would learn.
It’s been fun since the start. One of our first guests had a vintage GMC Motorhome from the 70’s like the one in the movie Stripes. It was very cool. Since then we have all sizes stay over. The best part is that we get the chance to know almost all campers. It’s been fun learning their story and sharing ours. A number of them are full-timers (they have sold their house and are permanent RV’ers). The majority are just recreational travelers, many from Texas. We had a couple that sold their house and were traveling the country looking for their new home. Another guest from AZ bought a motorhome in SC and learned how to RV on his way back, their stories were so funny. There was a sweet family from Delaware that sold their chicken farm and were touring the country with their 3 young children.
So What is Harvest Hosts? It’s a RV membership program (recreational vehicle – motorhomes or campers) that allows its members to boondock (self-contained) overnight at a location that is safer than most parking lots and roadside rest stops. You pay an annual membership fee to get access to the nearly 3,000 locations. There is no charge to stay the night at the host locations, you’re just asked to patronize the host with a purchase. Most of our guests use it as a stop on the way to their destination. It’s been referred as the Airbnb for camping.
Host locations are not required to provide electric or water hook-ups or dump stations. You’ll need to be able to make it over night with a generator and the water you bring. FYI some locations do offer hook-ups for a small fee.
In June of 2021 Harvest Hosts acquired Boondockers Welcome.
Want to join Harvest Host:
Here’s what some of our Harvest Hosts guests have said about their stay with us:
"Spirit of Texas Winery is a fun place to stay. Great wine, really cute merchandise, unique decor and architecture. Brian and Moira went above and beyond the call of duty to accommodate us. They are also really supportive of other local businesses which made shopping and sightseeing enjoyable." ~Helen D
"We stopped for the night on our way to Seminole Canyon SP and couldn't have been more pleased with our choice. Brian and Moira were gracious and friendly hosts, we thoroughly enjoyed chatting with them while enjoying a few glasses of wine. The food is great, we had the spicy pimento cheese dip and a pizza. The parking area is large with packed gravel and is pretty level. Even though it's close to the road, it was very quiet other than the occasional coyote howls in the distance. We would definitely stop here again!" ~tFlyingSquirrel
"BEST WINE EVER! The owners are passionate and know how to make some paninis as well! The vibe is inviting and relaxed and we will definitely be staying here again." ~Gareth G
Have you seen the Mural Trail in Brownwood TX?
Looking for something to do during your visit to Brownwood, TX? There is a growing list of murals all around Brown County. The arts community in Brownwood is continuing to grow thanks in part to the Brownwood Arts Association and many other local artists.
If you follow the mural trail, you’ll get a nice tour of the area and it’s guaranteed to brighten your day! Make sure to post them on social media and tag them #brownwoodmuraltrail
More are coming! We are planning on adding one or two more to our property. Let us know if you have any suggestions! The Mural Trail list as of 11/13/2021:
- Cactus Mural by Calina Mishay Johnson
- Painted Poppies
- Sunflower Mural by Amanda Coers
- Texas Flag Wall
- Limited Coffee
- Cat & Fish Mural by Amanda Coers
- i love you & wine so much Wall
- Intermission Bookshop Mural by Amanda Coers
- Gebberdt’s Soup Mural
- Butterfly Wall by Amanda Coers
- Health Department Mural by Amanda Coers
- Colorful Cactus by Amanda Coers
- Colorful Longhorn
- Vintage Truck
- Run Wild Mural by Calina Mishay Johnson
- Angel Wings Mural by Amanda Coers
- Flying Pigs Mural by Amanda Coers
- Mark Twain Quote Wall
Here’s a link to the Visit Brownwood Mural Trail Map
Some not yet listed:
- The wall mural on the Red Wagon restaurant by Tony Bryant
- Praying soldier at the Central Texas Memorial Wall by Christine Brisley
One of our most important and nerve wrecking tasks is our wine projections. The 2021 grape harvest is over. Bottling will start in March of 2022 should be finished by July. Some of these wines will not be released until 2024! It’s challenging, but we’re getting better with our projections.
Quiz (answers below):
How many different wine labels (combination of varietals and vintages) have we printed?
How many bottles have we produced?
Although we’re still working on some releases, we wanted to share a few that we have finalized:
2021 Shamus Rosé – 100% Sangiovese Rosé
2021 Welcome – the 3rd bottling of our Welcome
2021 Roussanne – 100% Roussanne
2021 Aged to Reflection – a blend of Aglianico, Petite Sirah & Cabernet!
2021 Mourvedre – 100% Mourvedre – our 1st!
2019 Sangiovese and 2019 Retrospective both in December 2021. 2019 Dolcetto and another 2019 Sangiovese will be released in early 2022!
While doing our planning, we always look back at our past usages by year. So we decided to look at all of our production since we opened just at 4 and a half years ago. We have submitted 34 labels for federal and state approvals. Here’s one that even surprised us! We have bottled over 60,000 bottles or a little over 5,000 cases!
October is Texas Wine Month. Texas Wineries have finished their 2021 grape harvest and are preparing for their next steps in the wine making process. Did you know that Texas has over 400 wineries and 18 wine trails throughout the state? There are a few great web resources for Texas Wine;
Uncork Texas Wines created by the Texas Department of Agriculture for a thorough listing of Texas wineries, wine events and Texas wine information/news
Texas Wine Lover created by Texas Wine Blogger Jeff Cope is another recommended site for a complete list of Texas Wineries, Texas vineyards, Texas Wine Festivals, blog posts, wine competition results and so much more
Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association is a Texas trade association and their website lists participating member wineries, Texas wine information, Texas wine industry events and more
Of the 18 Texas wine trails, we’re members in the Cross Timbers Wine Trail. So no matter where you live in Texas, there are Texas wine events within a short distance. Make it a point to support Texas wine and the Texas Wine industry!
Some additional industry facts: There are over 5,000 acres of grapevines planted in the state and the industry supports over 100,000 jobs. The economic impact for the Texas wine industry is over @13.1 billion dollars! Over 1.7 million tourists visit Texas wineries spending over $700 million. Did you know that the Texas Hill Country now ranks 2nd in wine tourism in the US, following Napa Valley, CA? Texas wines are gaining acclaim in wine competitions too, most notably at the 2021 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
We got the grapes too! There are 8 AVA’s (American Viticultural Area) in Texas. The Texas Hill Country AVA is the 2nd largest viticultural area in the US covering over 9 million acres! The majority of our grapes come from the Texas High Plains AVA, covering over 8 million acres. Here are some of the grape varietals that we have been so lucky to showcase: Montepulciano, Roussanne, Trebbiano, Aglianico, Malvasia Bianca, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Dolcetto, Tempranillo and many others! What are your favorites?
Finally, the most important fact in the Texas wine industry… There are more wineries outside of the Fredericksburg area then in it! All kidding aside, most everyone knows about the Texas Hill Country Wineries, but there are wineries all over the state. So plan your Texas winery road trips and let us know how it goes.
Bonus Fact: We attended the Plano Food + Wine Festilval on Oct 9th, 2021. It was the first wine festival that we were able to work together since we've opened the winery 4.5 years ago!
Texas wine festivals are great opportunities for us because they give us a chance to share our wines outside of our winery. Last year, every wine fest that we had planned on attending, was canceled. So this fall we’re trying to reach out farther. If we’re in your area and you would like to help us at an event, let us know.
Are we still not close to you? We’re always looking for Spirit of Texas Winery ambassadors to help spread the word about us. If you would like to pour our wines at an event near you, let us know!
Summer Sippers 30% Off Sale Ends 8/31/21
Never been to a wine festival? Well then you’re missing out. There are all types; wine & food, wine & music, wine & beer, wine & bacon and more! If you’re looking for wine events, check out the Texas Department of Agriculture’s website uncorktexaswines.com or the Texas Wine Blog site txwinelover.com.
Here’s where we will be the rest of 2021 (updated 8-25-21)
|Texas Wine Festival||Date||Location|
|Texas Forts Trail Wine Festival||9/11/2021||Menard, TX|
|Buy Texas Market||9/18/2021||Early, TX|
|Sipping in the Sunshine||10/2/2021||Comanche, TX|
|Corks & Caps||10/2/2021||Brownwood, TX|
|Plano Food & Wine Festival||10/9/2021||Plano, TX|
|Texas Forts Trail Wine Festival||10/30/2021||San Angelo, TX|
|Cheers & Charity||11/13/2021||Brady, TX|
|Granbury Winter Wine Walk||11/20/2021||Granbury, TX|
|Buy Texas Market||11/20/2021||Early, TX|
|Sipping Under the Stars||Brownwood, TX|
|Sip & Stroll||12/11/2021||San Saba, TX|
|Buy Texas Market||12/18/2021||Early, TX|
To be able to re-open after our second shut down, we had to serve food. We were fortunate that our friend Cody at Diamond R Store & Café helped us get approved and some ideas on what to cook. We had to convert our backroom from a storage area into a kitchen. It took about 2 weeks to get set up. We re-opened for guest on a Friday. Moira & I were working out some kinks but overall it was going well. That was until about 6:00. We were definitely weren’t prepared for everyone that came out to support us that night. We were slow & sold out of almost everything.
It was a long night, plus we never had so many dishes to clean! Moira & I got up early Saturday and prepped some additional appetizers. We were cranking along again, until 6:00 came along. We were still slow and just about selling out of everything again. At one point, both Moira & I were both in the back room, working on food orders. Moira was extremely stressing. I turned to her and said, stop & listen for a second. All you could hear was conversion and laughter. No one was complaining or upset, they were here to support us.
Moira said serving food was like opening another business. There is still a lot of prep and planning involved with it. We were pleased at how many guests have asked that we keep offering food and how much positive feedback we have received.
On June 26, 2020; all wineries, breweries & distilleries were closed for the second time. We were allowed to open in August on the premise that we serve food. For our first 3.5 years, we did not have any employees but we quickly realized that we needed help. One of our wine club members said their daughter would be available in November. Liz started the first week of November and quickly fit in!
Most guests thought she was our daughter, so she became our work-daughter. I even made her text her every night to know she made it home safely. She was a natural. She knew most guests by name and which wines they liked. When she told us that she was heading off to nursing school in the fall, tears were shed. We could not have asked for a better first employee. Great things are in your future, we’re so happy for you!
It’s always a little nerve racking when we enter wines into a wine competition. Lots of wines being judged by lots of experts all with different palates. We haven’t entered many wine competitions mostly because we missed the entry deadlines! Since last year, we have entered our wines into four. The results have so exceeded our expectations especially since all of our wines are so young.
Both our 2018 & 2019 Welcome dry white wine has been so well received. It by far is our most awarded wine we’ve produced and both were so different. The 2018 was a Trebbiano & Vermentino blend and the 2019 was a Malvasia Bianca & Viognier blend.
The 2019 was awarded Class Champion, Texas Class Champion and a Double Gold. To receive a Double Gold, the wine was a unanimous gold choice by all judges.
To see a list of all of our award winners, click here
Here’s a recap of our 2020 & 2021 awards:
21st Annual Finger Lakes International Wine and Spirits Competition
2021 Rodeo Uncorked!® International Wine Competition
1 Double Gold
1 Class Champion
2 Texas Class Champions
2020 Lone Star International Wine Competition
1 Grand Star
1 Best in Category
2020 Texas International Wine Competition
In June we held our 1st annual photo contest. We wanted photos in front of our i love you & wine so much wall. So you could use your old photo, come out and take one or even add the wall to an existing photo. We had plenty of entries and it was difficult to pick a winner. Liz & Cris really got creative with their winning submission ‘Spirit of Texas the Michelangelo of wines’! We want to thank everyone for your entries and keep a look out for next year’s contest.
After re-opening last August and serving food, we got behind on our outside projects/maintenance. So we planned several outdoor projects for 2021. The biggest was mowing & weed control. We even got Lisa’s husband Patrick to help us some.
The first project was expanding our parking lot. Thanks to Meadow Construction, we added an acre of parking for our guests.
Next was just good ole yard maintenance, trimming trees and weeds.
Our neighbor Brian Clark came over with his tractor and prepped the area for our grapevines and lavender field.
And there’s more coming…