August 25, 2021
August 14, 2021
August 5, 2021(1 Comment)
July 22, 2021
July 9, 2021
June 25, 2021
May 27, 2021
February 10, 2021
July 20, 2020(1 Comment)
June 24, 2020
- November 2018 (1)
- October 2018 (1)
- September 2018 (1)
- August 2018 (1)
- June 2018 (1)
- May 2018 (1)
- April 2018 (1)
We hope you enjoy our story!
Looking back at 2018
It was an emotional year for us. In April, Brian’s mother passed away and in December our 3rd grandchild was born. With being open every day, it was a long year too. But, 2018 at the Spirit of Texas Winery has been a rewarding year! We are surrounded by some wonderful people that are always there to lift our spirits!
Don’t miss the video below (Looking Back at 2018)
Here are some of the highlights:
- We raised/donated over $12,000 to local charities
- We hosted/organized over 200 events! (Here’s our calendar)
- Our Winery sign blew out
- We hosted many showers (bridal & baby)
- Got a new wine slushie machine
- We attended 7 Wine Festivals, bringing Brown County out to Texas
- Our Winery sign blew out
- We got a tractor (Brian got a tractor)
- We bottled our Rip Roaring Red, our 1st wine with Spirit of Texas Winery on the label!
- Our Winery sign blew over
- We were a stop for a sports car road rally
- We hosted some special birthday parties, anniversaries and family gatherings
- We expanded our parking area to 20,000 sq ft
- Our wines were awarded 6 medals this year
- We had a one-of-a-kind entrance built!
- We had visitors from all over come to visit us
- We were awarded the Best Winery/Wine Bar in Brown County
- We were gifted a big smoker
- We had 50 tons of crushed granite spread in the patio & pavilion area
- We got a ton of rain in Sept-Dec!
- We hosted a bunch of the Pixie Plum & Painting with Friends events
- The Winery sign blew out again
- We had a blast at Corks & Caps
- We started playing live music again!!!
- We were the Early Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year!
- Have we mentioned how many great people have come through our doors?
- We posted a few sunset photos
- We are a Little Free Library location
- We installed the directional signs to our nearest winery neighbors
- Wayne fixed our Winery sign!!!
We are very grateful to everyone that has helped us, cared for us, and prayed for us. We have grown closer as a couple, we have grown closer to this community, and we have grown closer to many of you. Thank you for making 2018 a successful year for us, and please stay with us in 2019, we have some big plans!!!
Enter as Strangers; Leave as Friends!
Brown County has just over 900 businesses according to the Texas Workforce Commission. The Brownwood Municipal Development District website shows that almost 80% of the businesses in Brownwood, TX have fewer than 10 employees. Yet these small businesses are battling every day with big box stores and internet giants like Amazon.
The message from Small Business Saturday is ‘Shop Small.’ There are so many great options here. Restaurants, boutiques, salons, fitness studios and so many more! Many of these businesses know you by name and treat you like family. Need something last minute? You would be surprised to see how many have an online store for you to use 24/7!
What does this mean to you? These business owners are actively involved in the community and they give back to the community. A study from the National Federation of Independent Business shows that over 90 percent, contribute each year to their communities through volunteering, in-kind contributions, and/or direct cash donations. When you shop out-of-town, these retailers have no commitment to Brown County.
Many of these owners are leaders in the community, coaches, volunteers and so on. By shopping local you can “pay it forward” by ensuring that the money stays in Brown County. It creates continuous improvements, which make Brown County a better place to live.
Spirit of Texas Winery has had a goal to focus on giving back. From our monthly Bingo for Charity events to silent auction giveaways and donations, we enjoy supporting our community. We have partnered with some wonderful local non-profits that provide tremendous services to our community. So far this year, we have raised/donated over $9,000 to these local non-profits. We are looking forward to our continued commitment to this community that has supported us during our first 20 months.
Bingo for Charity Night
The best reason to Shop Local? You’re going to feel good knowing that you’re supporting a local entrepreneur and your community! It’s a Win Win for everyone!!
With the first weekend of Texas Wine Month approaching, October is a beautiful month to make plans to visit some Texas Wineries! Spirit of Texas Winery is one of over 430 wineries in Texas and the only one in Brown County. Each one has its own uniqueness, story & beauty. If you haven’t had a chance, you need to start visiting some! The wine industry in Texas employs over 100,000 people and Texas wineries see over 1.7 million visitors per year. So when you buy Texas wines, you’re supporting the Texas economy too!
The most important to know is that you don’t have to be a wine expert to visit a winery. It’s all about finding something you like. On your first visit to a winery or if it’s been over a year, your best option is to try a tasting. A tasting gives you a chance to try some samples of several of their wines. Although many grocery stores, liquor stores and even wine bars are carrying a larger selection of Texas wines, the only way to see all of their wine is by visiting the winery.
You can find a thorough list of Texas wineries at www.uncorktexaswines.com or use The Texas Wine Lovers Map at: www.txwinelover.com. Your first step is to determine where you want to travel. Then look at the wineries along your route. Before you leave is the time for some research. Go to their websites & Facebook pages to see their hours and what they have to offer. Plan an hour or two per winery. The tasting room staff is there to help you learn about the wine and hopefully find something you like. Get ready for a fun adventure and some great memories.
- Be responsible – have a designated driver
- Have an answer to the question, “What kind of wine do you like?” or let them know you’re new to wine tastings
- Do your homework online before your trip
- Bring a valid ID
- Some wineries don’t accept walk-ins, only appointments
- Verify their hours in advance
- Don’t show up with a large group unexpectedly
- Go early, especially on weekends
- Dress comfortably and bring a jacket
- Avoid anything that interferes with your sense of smell (strong perfume)
- Avoid eating/drinking anything that will impact your taste buds (gum / coffee)
- Most wineries are non-smoking
- Bring bottled water
- If it’s hot, bring a cooler to protect your purchases
- Most wineries are family friendly, but make sure you have things to keep the kids busy
- Some wineries allow dogs, check beforehand
- Plan to eat during your trip, some offer food, others allow you to bring food
- Remember it’s a winery, other alcohol is not allowed
How to Taste Wine
- Take your time, enjoy it
- Look at the color
- Swirl & smell it
- Taste it, take a small sip
- Swirl and taste again
- Write your notes
- Cleanse your palate before each wine
At the winery:
- Start at the counter, find out how to get started
- No cell phone use during the tasting
- Consider sharing tastings
- Try new, unfamiliar things
- Don’t be afraid to use dump bucket
- Ask questions, there’s so much to learn
- Most wineries have relaxing atmospheres, be respectful of that
- Take notes, you’ll want to look back at them
- Share your visit on social media
- Leave reviews on Facebook, Yelp, Google & Trip Advisor
- Have fun, it should be a great experience
- Ask the winery for recommendations for your next stop including local restaurants.
- If you like it, buy a bottle or two
- If you really like it, check into their wine club
Some Tasting Terms
- Alcohol percentage: is a standard measure of how much alcohol is contained in a given volume of an alcoholic beverage.
- Aroma: The wine’s total smell, including changes that resulted from oak aging or that occurred in the bottle.
- Appellation: is a legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown
- DRY: Having no perceptible taste of sugar. Most wine tasters begin to perceive sugar at levels of 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent.
- RESIDUAL SUGAR: Unfermented grape sugar in a finished wine.
- SULFITES: Naturally occurring component produced by the yeast during fermentation. Sulfites are found in nearly all wines.
- VINTAGE DATE: Indicates the year that wine grapes were harvested.
As many of you know, we’re a work in progress. Our overall plan is slowly coming to fruition. Over the past few months we’ve heard a number of people say they were told something along the line of; ‘don’t let the outside fool you, you’ll love the inside.’ Even though we knew that we were lacking ‘curb appeal’, we didn’t realize (or want to admit) that it was that bad! [🙂] Another concern was that many people mentioned they had a tough time finding us. So the entrance project went to the top of our list (a very long list by the way).
Our thought was to have a typical central Texas stone entrance so we reached out for recommendations for stone masons. We began getting quotes. Meanwhile, we started with an easy option, adding our name over the gate. One of our Wine Club Members owns Double Diamond Iron & Woodworks. Within a week, Wayne cut out our name on his plasma cutter and had it installed. He also made two flag poles, something we’ve been wanting since we’ve opened. It looked so good and everyone loved it.
The search was on for entrances that utilized metal. Most metal entrances were decorative metal, which isn’t really our look. We finally found a photo of a fence using corrugated metal with gabion posts. We knew that would fit us. We shared it with Wayne and he was on board. He sketched out a design. He knew of some corrugated metal that came off a roof, perfect fit for our repurposed design theme. We went looking for wire that we could use to make the gabion posts. We then searched for rocks that would be larger than the openings in the gabion posts. Each column has about 1,200 pounds of rock in them. Wayne wanted the frame to look as solid as the posts, so he used 4” square tubing. He felt something was missing; a focal point. So he added our logo in the center of both sides of the entrance. It’s 4 feet in diameter, offset with a band around it. That was exactly what was needed!
Wayne started on Monday, July 23, 2018 and it was a hot week. They pushed through it and completed the project on Friday. It was the talk of the tasting room all weekend! Not only did the design transform our entrance, the look was a perfect complement to our design style inside! There is still work to be done on the entrance, but we are a work in progress!
Welcome to Spirit of Texas Winery!
Everyone has told us the first year would be the hardest, let’s sure hope so! While it was a tough year, it was also very rewarding. We have met SO many wonderful people, which has been our biggest blessing. The sign over our door; “enter as strangers, leave as friends” was a gift from one of our new friends. When we hung it, we didn’t realize how well it applied to Spirit of Texas Winery. We have seen so many people make new friendships during their visit. Our goal was to have a place that everyone feels welcomed, it looks like we’re getting there.
If you’ve been inside, hopefully you’ve had time to look at the photos on the TV screens. It started off with just some pictures of us as we got the place ready to open. It has grown to over 400 photos of our guests and how they have become part of our story! We still look at them every day.
[A Year of Photos]
A Year of Photos
Here’s a year recap in 1000 words, or so:
Our first day of business was Thursday, April 6th, 2017. We were so much busier than we had expected. My brother and his wife drove up from Houston to support us. Our first event was our vine planting party. We planted 400 vines near the highway. Our first project to tackle after opening was installing gutters and rainwater harvesting tanks. It took a couple of weeks before we got rain, but when it did it filled two 2,500 gallon tanks in a matter of hours.
For our joint ribbon cutting (Brownwood and Early Chambers), we were appreciative that staff from Brennan Vineyards and Brian & Kim from the Winery at Willow Creek went out of their way to attend. We held our Grand Opening the following day. Moira’s sister Lisa and her daughter came up from Friendswood, TX to help us and we were surprised to have several family members come out to show their support.
The quote ‘Build it and they will come’ might have worked in the Field of Dreams, but not always here. We have had many days that were just us. We made the most of our downtime by spending it planning and or working outside (and maybe even practicing the hook & ring game). During our first 8 months, we had many people come in on slow days and say ‘we really hope you guys make it.’ That phrase always scared us. One thing that our out-of-town guests have told us, they made their decision to come visit us after reading the positive reviews about us on Facebook, Yelp or Trip Advisor. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to write these reviews.
Many of you know that we have bees. We added 3 hives in 2017. They have been a fun diversion. Our winery dogs have become pretty popular too. Lily is our lover and Gunner is our hello and he’s off greeter. Our seasonal attraction is the hummingbirds. They are fascinating to watch.
In September our highway signs were finally installed. One of our challenges this first year was dealing with the road construction. There have been several days that traffic has been re-routed, diverting it completely away from our stretch of the highway. It was the perfect photo opportunity to set up a table & chairs in the middle of the highway while enjoying a glass of wine.
In October we built and bought some Patio Games. We have a fun collection: checkers, tic/tac/toe, giant Jenga, 2 bag toss games, giant connect 4 and washers. The games have been a great way to bring families and friends together. Hearing the laughter, the competitive spirits, and the even the crashing of the Jenga game makes us happy.
Our event schedule started ramping up in the fall, trying a little of everything. The Pixie Plum has been a frequent favorite, as well as Brownwood Arts Muse & Merlot, our Sip & Shops, and many others. We are always trying to have some fun things going on at the winery that are open to everyone. You can easily follow our event schedule either on Facebook or our website. Here are some of the upcoming events: National Wine Day, Pixie Plum Round Door Hanger Sign Painting, Potluck Sunday (really fun), National Leave The Office Early Day, Best Friends Day, Yoga at the Winery, Nacho Ordinary Father’s Day, It’s National Selfie Day & Painting with Friends.
We continue to work hard to get this small winery exposure throughout the state by attending several well-known wine festivals. Our first festival was the Brady Goat Cook-off and Wine Fest. What a great learning experience. Some others were: Midlothian, Georgetown, San Saba, Hamilton, United Estates in Florence, Taylor and Brownwood’s own Corks & Caps!!! We would not be able to have pulled these off without the help of many volunteers.
The community has really embraced us. In 2017 we had several charitable events. In 2018 we decided to make a concentrated effort to give back to the community! Our goal is to support local non-profit organizations. We have accomplished this by having our monthly Bingo for Charity events. Each month a non-profit is selected and receives 100% of the bingo card sales. As of May 20th, 2018, we have raised/donated over $5,000 for the year!
Brian got a tractor (nuff said)!
In March of 2018, we were excited to begin a relationship with Sarimah and Todd at the Harvest Restaurant! The Harvest is located in Comanche and is an excellent restaurant that works with local farmers to provide unique menu with delicious food. We were thrilled that they asked to carry some of our wines. The Harvest is currently the only place that you can purchase Spirit of Texas wines outside of our tasting room!
It seems that word has gotten out that we’re a new place to host get-togethers. . This year we have hosted a number of baby/bridal showers, anniversaries, birthday parties, retirement celebrations, work gatherings and reunions. We were delighted to host 2 events that seated over 60 and utilized local caterers.
We are working hard to meet our customers’ needs. Our new Frozen Machine has been a big hit especially with hot Texas weather. We have enjoyed gradually adding unique gift items that fit our style. In April we added a new wine, Rip Roaring Red. It’s our first wine with Spirit of Texas Winery on the label! Although it’s only been available for a month, we have been delighted with the positive comments.
Rip Roaring Red
We are a ‘work in progress.’ Our project list continues to grow faster than we can keep up with! Expanding our parking area was a high priority. There were several occasions that we had to delay opening because we worried that our customers would get stuck. It’s so nice and a huge relief too.
A special thank you goes out to those that have become part of our Founder’s Club. Joining our Founder’s Club includes an $800 investment with an annual $100 renewal. The benefits include your name on our Founder’s plaque, a glass of wine per day, 25% off all wine & merchandise and more. Being on a tight budget, we’re trying to save money for our improvement projects; new entrance, landscaping, cement patio & pavilion, vineyard site prep and back patio area (pergola, fire pit & stonework).
Things are getting busy around here. We’re looking forward to starting our 2nd year in business, we have some big goals set for 2018! Brian lost his mother at the beginning of the month, so we postponed our anniversary event until May.
Price quotes are coming in for expanding our parking area and for our stone entrance wall. Our vines that we planted last year, took a hit last weekend from the frost. It will take a few weeks to know the extent of the damage. Supplies have been ordered for our trellis system. The end post should be set next week and hopefully the tension wire too. We’re also working on getting our well set up!
One of our goals for 2018 is to increase or support of the community. So far this year, we have raised/donated over $3,500 to local non-profits through our Bingo for Charity, silent auction items and donations.
We made joining our Wine Club more enticing. We now offer free shipping for Wine Club Members on any orders of 4, 6 or 12 bottles. And we are able to ship to the following states: AK, CA, CO, FL, GA, IA, MN, MO, NV, NM, NC, OH & TX!
More events are coming, find them on our Facebook Page or Website Events Page.
Our neighbor stopped by last week and gave us a sign to hang. We just loved the saying and thought it would be perfect for our entrance. I quickly hung it while Sandra was still here.
Before we started construction earlier this year, we knew that we wanted a place that was relaxing, not intimidating or stuffy in any way. Being able to use so much reclaimed materials that were on the property (wood & tin) to build out our tasting room, gave it a truly rustic Texas charm. Many guests are surprised on their first visit to discover a tasting room that is so warm and inviting. We often hear: ‘Wow this is nice’ and ‘The pictures don’t do it justice.’ As much as we appreciate those kind words, there’s nothing we enjoy more than the sound of laughter as friends enjoy time together.
The Enter As Strangers Leave As Friends sign hangs over the only entrance to the tasting room, so we notice it several times per day. The more we looked at it, the more the saying resonated with us! The majority of the time, Moira and I are able to visit with everyone that stops by. We really look forward to being able to talk with all of our guests. We are humbled by how many know our story before they arrive. Just this past Sunday we had a couple of groups enjoying themselves in the tasting room. It wasn’t long before people that had never met were visiting and sharing stories.
We have had many challenges since we started this venture and we realize there are many obstacles ahead but they all worth it when you look at the new relationships we’ve made! If you haven’t come to see us yet, we hope you plan a trip. We think you’ll enjoy it and that you’ll leave as a Friend!
After a bunch of hard work (still more to do), setbacks & other obstacles; we finally opened on April 6th. We sent a message to our mail list and quietly opened the doors at 4:00 pm. On Thursday, we still had many items on the checklist. Moira & I had to make ourselves stop so we could be ready in time. My brother & sister-in-law came up and were a big help! We still have a big checklist including signage, but we’ll be open daily.
Those that came out were so supportive. They were patient while we worked out some of the kinks with our new software. We quickly realized we needed more tablets and credit card readers. We purchased the tablets and the cc readers are being shipped. Otherwise everything went very smoothly and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves!
Here are some of the reviews that were posted:
“Great fun atmosphere! Owners are amazing as well!! So glad to have the in Early! Going to one of Brown County's favorite hang outs!! The Blush is awesome!!” Denise
“Fun atmosphere, great wine, owners are very friendly. We had a good time and are already planning another visit out there.” Christy
We’re excited to be open and we’re looking forward to being part of this community!
On February 17-19, we had a work crew from Round Rock come to help, AKA the Milestone CrossFit support team (they’re all members of our son & daughter-in-law’s gym). Vince and his son Vinny, Carla, our daughter-in-law Amber along with our granddaughters, and Jason. Jason came up to finish the HVAC installation, hanging the exposed duct along the center of the room. With Vinny’s help, he was finished in no time.
Vince went to work on finishing the wood trim. We set all of the windows and he trimmed around them. He also installed shelves inside our wine barrel display racks. They will each hold a single variety of each of our first five wines. The rest of us went to work on all of the other little projects. Carla started prepping the oak chairs to be refinished. Moira & Amber were staying busy.
Most of the crew had to head back early Sunday but Amber and the girls stayed since they had no school for President’s Day. We had rented the scissor lift for Jason, so we wanted to get our money’s worth and use it to finishing hanging the ‘Tennessee clamp’ sheet metal panels. Cutting & re-cutting the metal, driving the sheet metals crews; it was hard work. We finished about 10:30 that evening and it was pouring outside. With the walls almost completely covered, the tasting room is really taking shape!
Besides the sheetrock and finishing the plumbing, we need to tile the restroom and paint the storage room. We need to seal all of the wood trim and bar. Then the last item to do on the inside is the floors. We are going to try to use a concrete dye to color them and then seal them. We can see the end!
On about 5:00 pm on March 1st, we were told we had a trademark issue with another Texas winery. This news came just weeks before opening and just after bottling 4 out of our first 5 wines! The winery was very understanding and is allowing us to sell out of our remaining product including our May bottling.
It definitely came as a surprise and took a little wind out of our sails. That’s when Moira came up with our new name, Spirit of Texas Winery. So we looked into it further, here are some definitions of Spirit that really resonated with us:
- the principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul.
- the thinking, motivating, feeling part of a person.
- a pervading animating principle, essential or characteristic quality, or prevailing tendency or attitude.
- real meaning; true intention.
- the fundamental, emotional, and activating principle of a person; will.
- vivacity, courage, vigor, enthusiasm, etc.
- the influence of God or divine things upon the soul.
There have been many days in these past 9 months that have really tested our Spirit. There were some long, hard, and stressful days as Moira and I worked to complete the build out of the tasting room. We have put our blood, sweat and even tears into this endeavor. It wasn’t until after we opened that we realized what we had created. Although it’s only been 6 weeks, we have met so many wonderful people. We have had the opportunity to share the story of our journey. It is heartwarming to know that so many of you are a part of our ongoing story.
I am a believer that most things happen for a reason. We are excited about our new name; Spirit of Texas Winery!