Rich body, bou­quet, fine fin­ish: Drift­wood vine­yards

Guide to Dripping Springs - - Front page -

Gary El­liott’s fam­ily has a long his­tory of grow­ing grapes in Cal­i­for­nia so when the Drift­wood Vine­yards owner de­cided to sell his the cat­tle and start a new en­ter­prise, a win­ery seemed like a tasty idea.

His tast­ing room blends of the el­e­gant tastes of oenophiles with the rus­tic spirit of Texas. It sits on the edge of an es­carp­ment over­look­ing 14 acres of vines that cre­ate a canopy of lush green­ery when they are in full bloom. It is rem­i­nis­cent of the en­chanted feel of Napa Val­ley with a de­cid­edly Texas Hill Coun­try twist.

Gnarled mesquite trees some­how man­age to si­mul­ta­ne­ously ap­pear grace­ful and weath­ered as they arch to- gether to cast a veil of shade off the pop­u­lar pic­nic area over­look­ing the vine­yard.

El­liott even­tu­ally hopes to ex­pand the vine­yard to its full 20-acre ca­pac­ity.

“At that point, we would be pro­duc­ing about 80 tons of grapes and 2,000 to 2,500 cases of wine per year,” El­liott said. “We’re sell­ing what we have right now so fast, we can hardly keep it on the shelves.”

Drift­wood Vine­yards pro­duces seven dif­fer­ent wines from eight va­ri­eties of grapes. Most of the grapes are Mediter­ranean ber­ries that flour­ish in hot weather cli­mates.

El­liott’s flag­ship red wine is cre­ated from the syrah grape. Most peo­ple will rec­og­nize

the syrah by its more com­mon Aus­tralian name, the shi­raz.

The most pop­u­lar white wine El­liott crafts comes from the so­phis­ti­cated and flirty viog­nier grape. It is gen­er­ally ac­cepted among wine­mak­ers to be one of the best in the na­tion, El­liott said. His wines have won so many awards that he can hardly keep track of them.

“It’s the cli­mate, the soil, the way the sun hits the grapes, the wa­ter in the ground — all those things af­fect the ter­riore,” El­liott said.

Drift­wood Vine­yards is lo­cated six miles south of U.S. 290 on Ranch Road 12 be­tween Drip­ping Springs and Wim­ber­ley. Open Mon­day-Thurs­day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Fri­day-Satur­day 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sun­day from noon to 6 p.m. For di­rec­tions or in­for­ma­tion, call 512-692-6229, e-mail info@drift­wood­vine­yards.com, or visit them on-line at www.drift­wood­vine­yards.com.

ROBERT AN­SCHUTZ PHOTO

Drift­wood Vine­yards’ flag­ship red wine is cre­ated from the syrah grape, which gives it an ex­cel­lent bou­quet. Here, the an­nual grape crop is har­vested.

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