Grayson Hills Winery (Whitewright, TX)

4 Oct

Continuing our relaxing drive north, we headed for Grayson Hills Winery in Whitewright, 60 miles northeast of downtown Dallas (only 30 miles from McKinney).  If you follow the Google directions, you’ll get the pleasure of driving on the windy and picturesque Bub Hill Road.  I had no idea north Texas had hills like these.  The scenery is lined with corn field after corn field, no end in sight.

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Less than an hour away from downtown, it’s a drastic contrast from the hustle and bustle of Dallas life.  The destination at the end of the scenic journey isn’t disappointing either.

A view of the Grayson Hills Winery production facility/tasting room and a few of the grapevines from Ball Road:

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Closeup of the tasting room/production facility:

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This is the kind of charming, small, red barn winery you were hoping to find in the Texas countryside, right?

The inside of the tasting room is adorable as well.

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Owner/winemaker Rick Magers and his wife Connie run this place that Rick built by hand using scrap material wherever he could find it (many of the wooden structural beams are recycled from old Grayson County bridges).  The Grayson Hills slogan of “tending to your soul” is fitting because Rick has poured his soul into this place.  He’s a quiet, somewhat reserved guy when you first meet him.  But once you get him started on the things he’s passionate about, namely making wine and building this winery, he will tell you exactly what’s on his mind.  He’s proud of his handy work and will be more than happy to give you a tour of his winery.

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After the tour, we sat down in the tasting room and tried a few of Rick’s wines (only three are currently in production, we were lucky enough to sample a “trial” blend as well).  Meanwhile, another visitor stopped by for a wine tasting while driving around in the area on an antique radio hunt.  Rick excused himself to the back, and returned with what else, but an antique radio!

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And this moment is the essence of the charm of visiting a small winery.  Before I knew it I was in the middle of a conversation about antique radios, a topic that I know nothing about, while sipping on some estate Cabernet.  That’s right, I said estate Cabernet.  The word “estate” on the label means that the grapes were grown at the same vineyard/winery that the wine is made, bottled, and stored at.  That’s a label you won’t find too often on Texas wines, largely due to the scare of Pierce’s Disease.  In fact, I am only aware of two other estate Cabs produced in Texas.  Most Texas wineries use some of their own grapes along with grapes from growers around the state and imported grapes from other states (sometimes countries).  Some Texas wineries don’t have a vineyard component and all their grapes are brought in from outside sources.  But at the end of the day, no matter the grape source, what matters is the wine.  The Grayson Hills Estate Cab is dark, rich, full-bodied, complex, and yet smooth.  It is about as good of a non-vintage Cab as I’ve ever had.  If you’re a big Cab fan and have been turned off by the steretypical Texas Cab (light bodied to the point of being “watery”), give the Grayson Hills Estate Cab a try and you may just change your perception.

I also like the Grayson Hills Texas Twilight, a crisp, clean, and easy blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Traminette, and Muscat Canelli.  And I know I’m not the only one who’s enjoying these Grayson Hills wines because both the Estate Cab and the Twilight won bronze medals at the 2007 Lonestar International Wine Competition. 

Currently, Grayson Hills wines are not sold anywhere but at the winery.  So if you have a free Saturday or Sunday and want a half day getaway from the city noise, take the drive out to Whitewright and visit Grayson Hills Winery.  You’ll definitely love the scenic drive, and I’m sure you’ll like the wines, too.

Grayson Hills Vineyards & Winery
2815 Ball Rd
Whitewright, TX 75491

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