Sip Locally

Visiting wineries can be so much fun! I’ve been to Temecula in California twice now and absolutely love the whole winery experience. Sadly, I’ve lived in Houston for three years now and have yet to visit any of the wineries in my new backyard.

So, what’s been stopping me?? The drive…smh!! Majority of the well-known wineries are located along Highway 290 and in Fredericksburg outside of Austin, which is about four (plus) hours away from Houston. Now, I know that’s not super far, but it’s still a push—especially, if you don’t have the time, means, or patience to make the trip.

Urgh…the Texas winery struggle is so real!! *face palm* I guess the question then becomes just how deep is your love for wine? Lol!! No worries my fellow Houstonians! I can assure you that I will not let my phobia of being in a car for long periods of time get the best of me. I will make it out to Texas Hill Country….soon!!!

But in the meantime, I’ve got the 4-1-1 on local wineries you can visit here in the Greater Houston area. Oh, and if you don’t live in Houston that doesn’t mean you should stop reading. You should definitely put these places on your list just in case you ever in H-town. So, if you’re reading this….(insert Drake)….you’re in for some great local finds!

Ty’s Takeaways…

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Braman Winery
3333 FM 359,
Richmond, TX 77406

Tasting Room Hours:
Tuesday – Thursday: 2 – 9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: Noon – 10 p.m.
Sunday & Monday: Closed

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Just 45 minutes outside of Houston, Braman Winery is a quaint little winery located in Richmond. For just $10, you can sample any five of their red, white or sparkling wines. With over 20 wines to choose from, I sampled two reds, two whites and a sparkling wine. I found the staff at Braman to be very personable and accommodating. My server informed me about several weekly events such as Ladies Night (first and second Thursdays), 20 percent off bottles (Wednesday happy hour special), and my favorite…on Tuesdays, you can get $2 glasses of wine from any open bottle. #yesplease

Talk about going up on a Tuesday!! Braman doesn’t serve food, but they allow you to bring your own, which is cool. There’s plenty of seating inside and a nice patio out back. Here are a couple of my favorite wines from their selection:

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  • Aldonza Ablo: This Spanish white is 70 percent Sauvignon Blanc and 30 percent Macabeo—such an interesting mix. It was light and dry, but very manageable. The Aldonza Ablo was filled with fruit flavors, such as green apple, banana and peach.

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  • Cabernet/Zinfandel Blend: MY FAV!!! I actually ended up ordering a glass of this AH- (wait for it…sorry just finished watching How I Met Your Mother)- MAZING white. It had this spicy kick to it (hint of pepper), then became sweet (vanilla) on the backend—such a nice contrast. It reminded me of those Sour Patch Kid commercials, where the SP kid is really mean one minute and then super nice the next.

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  • DeZert Wine Port: So, I love a good port and this is definitely one of them. To me ports are masculine yet dainty. I say that because you have a wine infused with brandy, but it’s still sweet. This port was very smooth and not overbearingly sweet at all!

I really enjoyed the Braman Winery tasting room. In fact, I can’t wait to go back and try more of their wines (on a Tuesday!!!).

 

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Clear Creek Winery, Vineyard & Resort
709 Harris Avenue
Kemah, TX 77565

Tasting Room Hours:
Tuesday – Thursday: 12 – 4 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: Noon – 7 p.m.
Sunday & Monday: Closed

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If you’re looking for a nice getaway out of the city, I would definitely head down to Kemah to visit Clear Creek Winery. Kemah is such a cute city and less than an hour away. You could definitely make a weekend out of it. I really liked the property at Clear Creek. There’s an outside seating area and inside they have several rooms where you can relax and drink wine. Their grapes are grown in California and Texas Hill Country. Then the grapes are shipped to the winery where they are barreled and aged onsite. Although, I think the property has a lot of offer, I wasn’t too pleased with the price of their tastings. $15 for three tastings?? What the damn hell?! And on top of that, they already have pre-set white and red wine tasting menus. So, you don’t get to choose. However, they do have an option that allows you to pick any four wines off their menu, but it’s…wait for it… $25. What the damn hell?!?! That’s still pretty pricey, considering that most wineries charge $10-$15 for five to six tastings of wine. But, I will say that Clear Creek was very generous on their pours. That’s always a plus. I ended up getting the “Red, White, and Blue” flight. Here’s my review:

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  • Pinor Noir: I actually really enjoyed this red!! Pinot Noir has really grown on me lately. I think it may be in my top three red wines. Anyways, Clear Creek’s Pinot Noir was very light and had a very smooth finish. I could definitely taste some type of berry. Wine tasting is very subjective, but I swear I picked up aromas that smelled like Twizzlers…maybe that’s why I liked this wine so much…lol ;)
  • Pinot Grigio: Okay, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not a fan of Pinot Grigio. The server raved about this white wine, but after the first sip I was left with nothing. I know this may sound super weird, but this PG smelled and tasted like white out. Yes! That white liquid that you used to cover up your inked mistakes. Now, I’ve never tasted white out before, but I assume that it tastes just like it smells.
  • Blueberry Shiraz: At first I was excited to try this Blueberry Shiraz. I mean I love blueberries and Shiraz wine is pretty good….so, why not? But, the more I thought about it the more skeptical I grew. Let’s just say this wine had a very interesting taste. I felt like the blueberry flavor overpowered the wine. It tasted more like juice than wine and you know I’m not about that wine life.

One observation that I noticed is that Clear Creek offered a lot of fruit-infused wines. For example, Peach Chardonnay, Blackberry, Pomegranate, and even a Cranberry Red for the holidays. The Peach Chardonnay was good, but again too sweet for my palate. I’d definitely recommend making a visit if sweet wine is your thing. #doyouboo

Although, I didn’t get to try a wide variety of their wines, I’d still go back. I’m curious to try more of their regular wines and I’d also like to tour the property. The manager informed me that they have several GroupOn deals available, so I’d definitely recommend purchasing one and taking a trip down to Kemah.

 

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Solaro Estate Urban Winery
330 T.C. Jester Blvd
Houston, TX 77007

Tasting Room Hours:
Friday & Saturday: 11 – 7 p.m.
All other times by appointments.

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Solaro is said to be an “urban” winery because it’s located in the heart of Houston inside the loop. They actually have a second location in the Austin area. The winery has a very modern, industrial feel to it. This was actually my second visit and each time the staff has been very knowledgeable, which you know I appreciate! Tastings are $15 for six wines. Solaro’s tasting room menu is already set, but you get to try three whites and three reds, so you get a good feel for their wine catalog. Here are a couple of wines that stood out to me:

  • GSM: GSM is a red wine that consists of Grenache (40 percent), Syrah (36 percent), and Malbec (15 percent) grapes. This wine was pretty cool because it starts off with a bold, peppery taste that softens by the third sip. It’s crazy how this wine evolves in your mouth!
  • Cabernet Franc/Merlot: My server let me try two versions of this red blend. Both were made in the same year, but six months a part. How cool is that? The older bottle had lavender and rosemary notes, while the younger bottle was earthier. It actually smelled amazing! What a difference six months can make. I preferred the older wine in taste, but the younger wine’s bold aromas.

I hope you find this list helpful, whether you live in Houston or in another city. Enjoy!

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