Hitting the trail to taste Texas wines

Herald/MARIANNE LIJEWSKI - Jenni Lacock, left, and Katie Palmer drink a glass of Megellan wine from 2006 Sunday at Inwood Estates Vineyard.

By Rose L. Thayer

Killeen Daily Herald

FLORENCE - Wine enthusiasts hit the trail Sunday, trying wines from four Central Texas vineyards during a mini wine trail event.

The Vineyard at Florence, Inwood Estates Vineyards, Perissos Vineyards and Pilot Knob Vineyard, hosted the event, inviting participants to taste wines from each location.

"It's just a way for people to experience multiple wineries in one day and get a feel for the different Texas wines," said Brittney Rettig, manager at the Vineyard at Florence.

The vineyard had three wines for tasting: two whites made partially from the same grapes that are grown on site, but possess very different flavors, and a private label chianti that's bottled for the vineyard in Siena, Italy.

About 50 people took part in the self-guided wine trail, including four girlfriends looking for a break from husbands and football.

"I've never done a wine trail before," Jenni Lacock of Killeen said while trying wines at their first stop in Florence. "It got me out and going to different vineyards."

Katie Palmer of Killeen, originally from Florida, said trying Texas wines has become something she's really enjoyed since moving to the state.

"I like seeing all the different varieties and trying new things," she said.

Next door, at Inwood Estates, proprietor Rose Mary Gatlin was serving up three wines, all made with grapes grown in the high plains region of Texas, in Yoakum County. She said the area's 3,800-foot elevation and cool summer nights ripen the grapes in a unique way.

Tasters were able to sample the vineyard's 2009 Tempranillo, which was just bottled and will be available next week.

"It's a relaxing afternoon, visiting four great wineries," Gatlin said of the wine trail. "It's a fun time for all."

The Vineyard at Florence will be hosting a Harvest Celebration Sept. 30 through Oct. 2, which will include a locally grown harvest dinner, a grand wine-tasting event, a stone-carving contest, an art show and live music. Ten percent of the proceeds from dinner will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club.

"It's a great weekend," Rettig said. The vineyard is hoping to attract about 250 people to the event. For more information on it, go to www.thevineyardatflorence.com.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

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