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Moira McCue
 
October 13, 2021 | Moira McCue

It's A Texas Wine Thing

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!

Moira McCue
 
August 25, 2021 | Moira McCue

We’re coming to you at these Texas Wine Festivals

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
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

 

 

Brian McCue
 
August 14, 2021 | Brian McCue

Order Up

brian the cook at spirit of texas winery

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. 

Moira McCue
 
August 5, 2021 | Moira McCue

Best Wishes Liz

Liz, Moira & Lisa laughing on Liz's last day

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!

Time Posted: Aug 5, 2021 at 3:58 PM Permalink to Best Wishes Liz Permalink
Moira McCue
 
July 22, 2021 | Moira McCue

A little bling never hurts

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 
2 Silvers
1 Bronze 

2021 Rodeo Uncorked!® International Wine Competition 
1 Double Gold
1 Gold
1 Class Champion
2 Texas Class Champions
3 Silvers
1 Bronze

2020 Lone Star International Wine Competition  
1 Grand Star 
1 Best in Category
4 Golds
1 Silver
4 Bronzes

2020 Texas International Wine Competition
2 Golds
2 Bronzes

Moira McCue
 
July 9, 2021 | Moira McCue

1st Annual Spirit of Texas Winery Photo Contest Winner

Liz and Cris submission Spirit of Texas the Michelangelo of wines

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.

Spirit of Texas Winery Photo Contest submissions

#SOTWinesPhotoContest

 

Brian McCue
 
June 25, 2021 | Brian McCue

Moira is making Brian sweat!

Brian and his shovel taking a break from working outside

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.

Patrick helping us clean up and trim weeds

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.

Moira standing next to trailer load of tree branches

Our neighbor Brian Clark came over with his tractor and prepped the area for our grapevines and lavender field.  

future site of our grapevine vineyard in Early, TX

And there’s more coming…

Moira McCue
 
May 27, 2021 | Moira McCue

Is it really already May?

News Flash! Our January resolution to write more frequent blogs = #fail.

So here we are in May already and so much has happened already.

In Mid-December, we became a Harvest Host location. Since then, we’ve hosted over 20 RV’s. It’s been such a fun experience for us, meeting people from all over the county (WI, FL, CA, AZ, CO, AR, MO, GA, PA, NJ & TX).

Oh and we’re back to hosting events too. Don’t miss our Pot Luck Sunday’s. They’re on the last Sunday of each month. It’s so good to have our regulars back; Pixie Plum, Mixin it Up Arts & Christine instructing art/craft events. Plus Wine Festivals are starting back! It’s our opportunity to pour our wines around the state. Check our calendar for all of our upcoming events.

Giving back to our community has always been important to us. In March we scheduled our 1st March Gladness. We matched money we collected for 4 local charities (Good Samaritan Ministries, CASA in the Heart of Texas, The Ark & Brownwood Animal Shelter). We raised donated over $2,000 and also were a Soup-er Bowl Champ sponsor for GSM. Plus some other silent auction items and other donations.

New Releases: We’ve released 6 wines already this year and have a few more coming. Hope you had chance to taste our: 2019 Dolcetto, 2019 Home Town, 2019 Estrella Blanca, 2019 Rip Roaring, 2019 Viognier and our fun carbonated Pizazz.

We celebrated our 4th anniversary in April, and we survived the Texas snowpocalypse in February!

Moira McCue
 
February 10, 2021 | Moira McCue

2020 Oh What a Year

This recap has become more of our way to recount and immortalize what transpired in 2020 than a regular blog post. If we would have read this a year ago, we would have laughed at our over-the-top attempt at fictional writing.

Don't miss the video at bottom of post!

2020 was our 3rd year open but it was more stressful than our first two years combined. We were closed down not once but twice and were restricted to to-go only sales for an extended period of time.

Highway 183, the highway outside our entrance had very little traffic as compared to normal. People just weren’t traveling when the pandemic started. Prior to the shutdown, we could have 5-15 new (first time) guests on any given Saturday. For the entire month of April, we only had 6 new guests. Things were so slow; we reduced our hours to Friday through Sunday (after being open 6 days per week). When we were allowed to re-open, we weren’t even able to offer samples of our wines; just to-go orders. This made purchasing our wine challenging for first time customers.

Loneliness was hard on everyone. We took advantage of every chance we could to visit. When guest would come to pick-up their wines, it would become a time to catch up. For curbside service, Moira would take out their order and stand outside their car window talking for 20-30 minutes almost every time. Wine Down Wednesday on Facebook Live became another way for us to connect with our community. In late May we were allowed to open at 50% capacity inside. Sales picked up and June started as a good month. That was until the next second closure on June 26th.

In late August we had the option to open with the requirement of submitting paperwork to become a restaurant. Brian has an entrepreneur’s heart and it is because of his determination that we opened and were able to start serving. This was not an easy project. It resulted in our having to buy equipment and restructure our back room to accommodate food service. Brian took on the task of being the cook. Most weekend evenings he has had to be in the back – not where he prefers, but he has become quite the cook. Some of his creations, like the bacon wheel and chalupa pizza, have become quite popular. Serving food allowed us to be open, but with just the two of us it was wearing us out. The food prep, cleaning and dishes were overwhelming at times. In November we hired our first employee. We are so happy to have Liz as apart of our Spirit of Texas family. She is energetic, friendly, and great to work with. She has helped us make this transition easier.

There were many bright spots in the year. We couldn’t have made it through the year without the support of so many, especially our community. Our Wine Club Members had a major impact in helping us get through the challenges. Even when they were unable to try the wines, they trusted us and continued to support us.  

Here are some highlights of the year:

  • We released a record for us of 8 Texas wines

  • We won some awards!

  • Converted a shipping container into a refrigerated wine storage

  • Added our very cool Roof Top Winery sign

In spite of everything, we still continued to support our local non-profits. We donated or raised just over $10,000 for the year. Here were a few of the events we hosted:

  • Good Samaritan Ministries Empty Bowl Painting

  • April 5% of Sales

  • Memorial Day Weekend for the VFW

  • 4th of July for Corinne T Smith Animal Shelter

  • BBQ for Hero’s – Local Volunteer Fire Departments

So what’s in store for 2021? We’re focusing on exterior improvements:

  • Expanding our parking area and new exit

  • Enhancing back patio area

  • Property-wide landscaping projects & clean up

  • Planting ½ acre of grapes

  • Planting ½ acre of lavender

2020 was definitely a learning experience. No contingency plan could have prepared for this. It challenged us to be creative and try some things we never would have done. We had so many people that stood by us and continued to support us all year. We are forever grateful!

 

Video: 2020 at Spirit of Texas Winery

Time Posted: Feb 10, 2021 at 8:20 AM Permalink to 2020 Oh What a Year Permalink
Moira McCue
 
January 29, 2020 | Moira McCue

2019 at Spirit of Texas Winery

 

 

In 2019 we introduced the Wine Sign! It was so much fun in the spring posting our Wine Sign quotes! They were a big hit with our social media followers. Do you remember your favorite?

 

We have a long list of improvements / plans for the property. Unfortunately, we didn’t get as much done in 2019 as we had hoped. We are still a work in progress. In February we worked on the pavilion area, adding a bunch of picnic tables. We have enjoyed seeing families use the area to eat and enjoy their time together. The showcase of the pavilion area is the drop-down stage that Double Diamond Iron & Woodworks created for us. 

 

The Brownwood Bulletin wrote an article on our Valentine’s Day Blush Release, ‘Perfect Timing - Blush Release Valentine's Day.’ We had sold out of our original Blush in late December. As a result, in January and early February there were some unhappy customers, hearing their Blush was sold out. We had one guest, we’ll call Jane Doe, that wanted to wear black as a sign of mourning that we were out of her Blush! The release helped make our Valentine’s Day event a big success.

 

For the second year, we hosted Good Samaritan Ministries Empty Bowl painting events. GSM does such a fantastic job helping the community. We’re proud to support them. We have made an effort to support several local non-profits. We’ve been welcomed into Brown County and we’re committed to support it anyway we can.

 

There’s a whole bunch of Irish under our roof, so St Patrick’s Day is a favorite day here. Falling on a Sunday, it was the perfect day for some green wine (we released our Welcome that day) and the photo booth courtesy of Gobo Entertainment. It was such a fun day, all captured in the booth!

 

Our Fireside Sunsets became a surprise hit. We had so many guests share their enjoyment of their time sipping wine in front of the fire pit while watching the sunset. There is something about sitting around a fire that can’t be explained. Great conversations, laughter and even some tears. A perfect place to relax and unwined. Thanks to Kenny for supplying the firewood!

 

We celebrated our 2nd Anniversary in April. While it wasn’t a blockbuster event, we had such a fun time. It was capped off with a great show from the Remedy.

 

We added 4 new bee hives in April. While we still have so much to learn, we really enjoy beekeeping. We even attempted a bee removal from a well house. It was a learning experience. 

 

In July we started working with a new winemaker. The wines we released in the fall had the new black label design to reflect the change. We have released the Shamus Rosé, Aged to Reflection and the Montepulciano, all to tremendous compliments along with some awards already too! We still have a Cabernet Sauvignon set to be released in April. Thanks to Dustin Durham with Happy Trails Trucking, we were able to transport the wines safely in a refrigerated trailer during that hot August heat. 

 

Our Woodstock celebration turned out to be the grooviest event of the year! Jim, John & Sharon urged us to plan it, and we’re so glad we did. Sharon was manning the photo booth while Jim & John were co-DJ’s, with non-stop 60’s & 70’s music. Chipster’s Grill was busy serving up some of their delicious BBQ! The place was packed, standing room only, such a great night!!

 

We are a Cross Country Destination! Since we’ve opened, we’ve been amazed at the number of cross-country visitors we’ve had. Most were coming from Austin, but a good number were coming to visit Lake Brownwood State Park. We’ve had buses, RV’s and campers, all sharing their adventures. The one visit that stood out this year was Bob’s visit because it was on motorcycle. Bob drove up on a Sunday afternoon. Brian noticed him on the patio for a while, so he went to meet him. He recently retired from the military, and was on his way to California from Maryland. Brian invited him inside. We had our usual Sunday crowd who greeted him with open arms. Bob stayed for about 3 hours. 

 

The year hasn’t been a bed of roses (or Rosé). Something that started as a morale booster, ended up embedded in controversy! It was our Employee of the Month competition. It got so bad that we had to temporarily discontinue this recognition incentive. Again, we would appreciate this not discussed at the winery! Thank you Becky for showing support to the EOM runner up!

Time Posted: Jan 29, 2020 at 1:40 PM Permalink to 2019 at Spirit of Texas Winery Permalink
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