Pilot Knob Vineyards: Texas Hill Country's newest winery located just an houraway will take you a world away
As a lover of all things French, my interest was piqued when I caught wind of a new winery located about an hour outside of the city whose style was modeled after a home that would be found in the French countryside. Pilot Knob Vineyards, located in the town of Bertram, was named after a now dormant volcanic formation that can be seen from the back of the property. Pilot Knob joins several other wineries in the area making this the next burgeoning wine trail region in Texas.
Business partners Craig Pinkley and Ross Wood had their “aha moment” while on a business trip to the Napa Valley. They were hosted on a private tour and tasting at Sterling Vineyards. It was there that they learned about the winemaking process and an interest in wine cultivated. Even though neither had a viticulture background, they had a passion. Pinkley and his family found the perfect property and the partners gathered a great team of people including a consultant and well-known Texas winemaker, Kim McPherson, of McPherson Cellars Winery.
The tasting room is housed in a 6,400 square facility and offers an old world, Provencal feel equipped with rustic woods and indoor and outdoor fireplaces. The wraparound porch provides sweeping views of the Texas Hill Country. “We wanted to create a sense of place,” says Wood. They set up the tasting room as a place to sit and relax and enjoy your wines at your own pace. There is a bar and lounge area in the main room and large, wooden, pocket doors open up to a second room that can be closed off for private functions. It is outfitted with cafe-style seating and comfy couches.
They just opened their doors earlier this summer and did so proudly with two award-winning wines. The 2010 Viognier and the 2010 Sweet Rosé garnered gold and silver medals, respectively, at the Lonestar International Wine Competition.
The grapes are sourced from the High Plains of Texas. At Pilot Knob tastings are set up so that you can relax and enjoy the wines at your own pace unlike most tasting rooms where you have to gather around the bar and wait for the next pour. You are presented with a numbered placemat and accompanying literature describing each of the four wines. Tastes are available for $5 and include 2010 Proprietor’s White, 2010 Viognier, 2010 Sweet Rosé and 2010 Franco Rojo. You may also enjoy the wines by-the-glass or bottle. Without question the Viognier is a standout, it’s no wonder it brought home a gold medal. It has a rich, buttery, yellow color and offers an interesting complexity with flavors of honey suckle, orange blossom, peach and nectarine.
Pilot Knob Vineyards sits on 112 acres and will eventually source their own grapes. Currently, they have one acre of Cabernet grapes growing and two acres of Tempranillo. I can’t wait to return to relax in the welcoming setting, take in those sweeping views and taste some more of their exceptional wines. “Our doors are open and we’re here to share some good wine,” says Wood.