|Bell Springs Winery|
Blog of Bell Springs Winery
Come get your Shining on with us on Saturday, October 22nd, 2016 for the fall movie night at Sidecar Tasting Room! Come on down at 7:30 pm with blankets and folding chairs to stake out a patch of lawn, cause we will be giving a special screening of The Shining at 8:00 sharp. (Side effects may include psychic premonitions.)
You are welcome to bring your own snacks, non-alcoholic beverages and beer, and we will provide the popcorn (included) and the wine for sale! (No hard alcohol or non-Bell Springs' wines please.) This is a 21+ event, 'cause who ever said that grown-ups can't celebrate Halloween?
Tickets are $5, and you can RSVP here.
See you there!
The wedding capital of Texas, gateway to the hill country, growing hub of wineries, breweries, distilleries and restaurants, Dripping Springs is a little town with an ambitious culture that focuses on buying local, celebrating Texas Hill Country life and all it has to offer. Nestled in the Texas hills, Dripping Springs is blessed with the breathtaking scenery of national parks, hiking trails, swimming holes, and camp sites. Whether you want to tour the olive orchards, vineyards, or downtown shops, shake your tail feathers at a local dance hall, or chow down on some award-winning barbecue, Dripping Springs is a destination spot for people from around the globe. But with few major hotels, a visitor to the area may wonder, where does one find lodging when visiting this happenin' little town? Well, you're in luck. We've compiled a list of favorite spots to shack up, from luxurious Bnb's to spacious RV campgrounds in the great outdoors.
For cozy accommodations and hot breakfasts, Dripping Springs has an abundance of quaint BnB's to offer:
The Homestead at Dripping Springs is a historic bed and breakfast where you can enjoy a little peace and quiet, while still conveniently located near local attractions, like Mercer Street Dance Hall, The Mercantile, and of course, Bell Springs' very own, Sidecar Tasting Room. Guests of the Homestead can unwind on the front porch with a cup of coffee, enjoy a complimentary breakfast of pastries from a local bakery under the shade of the property's giant oak tree, or take the stone steps down to the dripping springs the town is named for.
The Cabin on Barton Creek is the perfect spot for a couple's getaway, or a small family weekend. The Cabin is as rustic and charming as it gets, built from cedar fence posts, native stone and barn lumber, surrounded by wildlife and a babbling creek. The Cabin offers a cozy nature retreat, but also caters to the active crowd, with two tennis courts, an in-ground swimming pool, and fishing in the creek onsite. Guests at The Cabin will also have easy access to a sundry of nearby attractions nestled into the hill country, including the Texas Hill Country Olive Co., Treaty Oak Distillery, Last Stand Brewing Co. and Argus Cidery. And Bell Springs Winery is right around the corner!
A haven for visitors of all kinds, Star House Bed and Breakfast is a great place to relax after a day of touring the hill country. This eclectic Bnb can house up to five guests, and offers complimentary breakfast every morning, and all of the comforts of home. The Star House is surrounded by miles and miles of hill country views, and as its name suggests, is the perfect spot for stargazers. For an even more unique experience, book the location's second option, Stella's Moonlight Vintage Airstream, fully air-conditioned and heated to complete your 'glamping' experience. The airstream offers its own private porch with lounging chairs, two plush twin beds, and a private bath. The stars are waiting!
Amici Bed and Breakfast is a beautiful house that offers seven bedroom suites, making it the perfect venue for a small group, like a family reunion. The property is also a wedding venue, and so provides convenient lodging for wedding guests. Four acres of gardens, trees, fountains, swings and even a fish pond surround the BnB, and as if that wasn't fairy tale like enough, guests can even feed carrots to Cinderella and Snow White, Amici's own pet donkeys! There's even more natural beauty to drink in nearby at the Hamilton Pool Preserve, Sol'stice Gardens, and the Juniper Hills Farms. Call ahead of time to book an onsite massage or a private painting lesson, or come visit us up the road at Bell Springs for a glass of wine on the porch!
An early 20th century German farmhouse, Mt. Gainor Inn is a quiet bed and breakfast that offers a true Texas countryside experience. With cottage gardens and a spectacular hill country view, the Inn is a centrally located retreat with easy access to the attractions in Dripping Springs, Driftwood, Wimberly, Blanco and Johnson City, Texas. The Mt. Gainor Inn really knows how to pamper their guests, offering romantic packages which include in-room massages, whirlpool hot tub access, chocolate dipped strawberries, and other amenities. You can even purchase a prepacked picnic lunches to tote along on an excursion to local the wineries.
For upscale, boutique hotel lodging, look no further than these gorgeous Hill Country venues:
Bell Springs Winery's neighbor, The Liney Moon, is a quirky chic boutique hotel with three unique lodging options available. For the large group, wedding parties, Texas sized families, or whathaveyou, The Stellar House can accommodate up to 24 people. With flat screen TVs, modern decor, and an adorable outdoor bar, you will be bunking in style. For couples or small families, there are ten cottages, each one fully furnished and uniquely decorated. And lastly, if you want to revisit the concept of 'glamping,' you may do so in The Liney Moon's updated and modern airstream trailer, lovingly nicknamed 'The Pearl.' E-mail the proprietors to inquire about venue, lodging, bachelorette, and transportation packages.
The Alexander at Creek Road sits on 40 stunning acres of land in the heart of the Texas hill country, dotted with live oak trees. This is another great place to get a little stargazing in on a relaxing vacation. The boutique hotel includes several adorably decorated lodging options: The Country house, with three bedrooms, The Guest Quarters, a single luxury 'hotel' room, and a smattering of country cottages. The Alexander offers everything from wedding blocks for large groups, to a quiet cottage hideaway for a romantic weekend. Just a few minutes from downtown Dripping Springs, all the shopping, drinking and dining you heart desires is just down the road.
Camp Lucy is not only a stunning wedding venue, with a gorgeous 19th century French colonial chapel, stone terraces and surrounding gardens, it is also an opulent place to find sanctuary in the hill country. The spacious, luxe-rustic style of the Lucy Cottages is sure to make any guest feel like royalty, especially after a soak in the handcrafted imported stone bathtub. The communal fire pit is the perfect balance to such luxury, adding a little country flare to the experience. Free continental breakfasts, Posturepedic plush pillow top mattresses, easy access to the Dripping Wine Trail, need I say more?
If you are going for maximum privacy and that cozy feeling of being at home, try renting a cabin or 'casita':
Hill Country Casitas are a brand new, specialty lodging property in Dripping Springs, just north of downtown. The Casitas offer spacious studio, one and two bedroom bungalows, equipped with kitchens, covered porches and outdoor fireplaces. Need a nature fix? The Hill Country Casitas property is equipped with hiking and yard games. And there are lots of other little extras available upon request, including fruit baskets, chocolates, groceries delivered to your door, winery tours and local transportation. This is a perfect hideaway vacation spot in the hills!
Onion Creek Kitchens at Juniper Hills Farm is like a little countryside resort away from it all. The combination of culinary and agricultural businesses that house these getaway cabins makes this the ideal destination for the food connoisseur. Guests can book custom designed retreats which include cooking classes at the adjacent Onion Creek Kitchens. Other amenities include massage, a visit to the sauna, yoga classes, and an in room tapas menu. Getting away from it all has never been easier when you're relaxing by the pool, roasting marshmallows for s'mores around the outdoor fire pit, or enjoying a glass of wine in the cedar arbor. There's even a bocce ball court just a few yards away from the cabins, and if you haven't tried this Italian lawn game, that's just one more reason to bunk at Juniper Hills Farm on your next visit to the Texas hill country.
Canyon Road Olive Ranch offers tiny home accommodations on a sweeping 25 acres, and guests are free to roam among more than 600 olive trees, grape vines and fruit trees. The Ranch's high elevation provides amazing views of the Hill Country all around it. All the comforts of home accompany a stay in one of the Ranch's 25 casitas, which are fully furnished and decorated, with full kitchens, and some include washer and dryer units for an extended stay. A 15 minute drive away from Dripping Springs, and only a 5 minute drive from Pedernales Falls, this Hill Country retreat is optimally located for winery tours, hiking and swimming, all in the same day.
If you're vacationing in the Hill Country in a Recreational Vehicle, become one with nature, complete with AC hookups, at one of these local RV Parks:
Cottonwood Creek RV Park
Leaning Oak RV Park
Dripping Springs RV Park
We look forward to seeing you at Bell Springs Winery or Sidecar Tasting room on your next trip to the Texas Hill Country. Happy Travels!
"...it's all about the song."
The 3rd annual Dripping Springs Songwriters Festival is just around the corner, as the weather continues to gradually transition into the slightly less blistering temperatures of Texas Autumn. We've been really lucky this year, with lots of rain, and unusually mild August days. I for one am starting to feel the impulse to wear sweaters and make soup coming on! What better way to begin the Fall season than with a local music festival that is distinguished by its mellow, easygoing vibe?
Needless to say, this is not a music festival that requires a set of earplugs. Graced by a talented ensemble of local and national musicians, the festival features more than 20 daily performances, free and open to the public. Songwriters from all across the nation play “in-the-round”, Nashville-style, which simply means that artists sit in the center of the stage taking turns playing, and telling the stories behind the songs. This is part of what gives the festival a more intimate ambiance, as audiences get a chance not only to experience the music, but to also hear the musicians talk about the craft of songwriting.
Popular local venues with provide the stages to host the event, all within a safe, easily walkable distance from one another: The Barber Shop Bar, Mercer Street Dance Hall, Mazama Coffee Company, The Mercantile, Hudson’s On Mercer, and of course, our very own, Sidecar Tasting Room!
Here are a few of the artists we here at Sidecar are really jazzed about this year:
Dripping Springs' own Micah Wagner was born and raised in Austin TX, and it really comes through in his music's honest, down-home country feel. Micah’s self-produced debut album, 7 Years, 6 Months Late, was released in 2013 and garnered a positive buzz right off the bat. He has had the opportunity to play amongst the likes of Willie Nelson, Dwight Yokam and Paula Nelson. Micah also played the 1st annual Cookin' for the Cure benefit to raise support for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Wimberly, TX, showing just how big-hearted this local boy really is. You can check his music out at Sidecar on Friday, Oct. 14th at 7:45pm.
Alyse Black got her start belting Billie Holiday tunes a cappella on the streets of Seattle for pocket change. Since then, she's performed on NPR, recorded a commercial for Target, moved to Austin, won Billboard's Annual Songwriting Contest, had several songs placed in movies and TV shows, and toured the country playing nearly 700 clubs, theaters, festivals, television shows and radio stations. It is evident through her music that Alyse has a deep love for songwriting and the human spirit, and with an aching, soul-touching voice, her award-winning songs will make you feel like you're floating peacefully out at sea. Alyse is currently recording her third full-length album with producer Eric Rosse (Sara Barielles, Mary Lambert, Tori Amos), drummer Matt Chamberlain (Fiona Apple, Sarah McLachlan, Dido), and bassist Mark Browne (Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Jewel). We can't wait to hear what she has in store for us at the festival this year, and to meet the magnanimous soul behind these beautiful songs. Catch her at Sidecar at 3:30pm on Saturday, Oct. 15th.
Coming to us all the way from Brooklyn, NY, Aly Tadros has performed over 800 shows worldwide since her 2009 debut. Her style can be traced everywhere from her Egyptian roots, to the traditional Mexican vihuela she uses on stage. The San Antonio Current attributes Aly’s unique folk-stylings to her extensive travel, calling her “born to fingerpick and execute a perfect Cuban clave…a musical sponge that absorbs everything she hears wherever she goes.” A self-taught musician, Aly pulls from latin, middle eastern and american pop to create a melting pot of musical influence. She says, “I also appreciate a well-placed F-bomb and I don’t play the kind of folk music you’d hear at a family function (believe me, I’ve tried)”. It’s not yo mama’s folk music. Aly has been featured in USAToday.com, Interview Magazine, Paste, MTV Buzzworthy and TEDxYouth and she was voted “Best live shows to catch in NYC” by The Village Voice. Come see Aly perform live at the Sidecar Tasting Room at 6:00pm on Saturday, Oct. 15th.
The full festival lineup can be found here.
Performances will take place October 14th-16th. We look forward to seeing you there!
The 9th Annual Dripping with Taste Wine & Food Festival is not an event to be missed. Sponsored by the Dripping Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, the festival was created to exhibit the growing number of local vineyards, breweries, distilleries and gourmet food fares blossoming in the Dripping Springs area. It is a culture that is alive and thriving, and the festival has more and more participants each year. Come get a taste of the goods this year, with over 75 vendors showcasing samples of their delicious delicacies and libations. But there's more to it than just the chow! This year, the festival will also offer live music, drink mixology classes, cooking classes, grape stomping, games, specialty vendors, and more!
Here's a few of the Texas tastes we're excited about from our neighbors:
Epicure is the new restaurant on the block this year, and we can't wait to taste the creations of Executive Chef Julio Llop and Wine Curator Jerry Gray at the festival. This hip new eatery brings global comfort food, artisanal cheese and fine wines to town, boasting the highest quality foods at the height of freshness. Their fare is a festival must-try.
Don't miss out on delicious hand-crafted spirits from the Treaty Oak Distillery, which produces a variety of spirits from vodka to bourbon, using their own unique distillation process.
Sample award-winning olive oils from Texas Hill Country Olive Company, produced with olives grown right on their land here in Dripping Springs. They also feature flavored olive oils and house-made balsamic vinegars to complete your bread dipping experience!
Bell Springs has been a part of the Dripping With Taste Festival since the very first year. We are proud advocates of the 'Buy Local, Stay Local' culture, which the festival helps to support. Come find our booth this year to taste three unique Bell Springs Wines, which will also be available for purchase at the event.
Shout Out to Bell Springs Wine Club Member Stephanie Holtzendorf for her plug in Destination Dripping Spring's article covering the festival, where she says: “This isn’t your typical, snooty, wear a tie, spit out good booze festival. It is a true celebration of the Texas Hill Country and the flavor of Texas.” Well put, Stephanie!
This year’s festival takes place on Saturday afternoon, September 10th, at Dripping Springs Ranch Park & Event Center from Noon to 6pm. See you there!
Nothing represents spring in Texas better the bluebonnets blooming across the Texas Hill Country. I am reminded that Spring means almost the perfect weather in Texas and that for a few short months, we will enjoy pleasant temps well below the 90's (and 100's) of July and August.
In the winery, Spring represents lots of bottling and getting ready for the upcoming harvest. Bud break in the vineyard happened in early March this year for us and when the temps started to dip, we hoped it wouldn't freeze and cause damage to this upcoming harvest. We still aren't out of the woods yet as early April hasn't been our friend in several years past. Many tanks are empty and spring cleaning in the winery has begun. Maintenance on pumps, tanks, and other machinery is in full force. We are in regular communication with our growers across the state to understand which varietals are doing well and where a surplus or shortfall may be, in order to make sure we will have enough fruit to make enough wine for 2017.
In the tasting room, Spring means increased traffic compared to the winter months. The improvements we make in Winter should show that they were well thought out. Not all, but most! Live music moves from being cozy inside to plenty of space on the patio every Saturday. It seems that with Spring in the Texas Hill Country, everyone smiles more, spends more time outdoors, and genuinely loves to be out tasting Hill Country Wines.
For us at Bell Springs, we wanted to take a minute and share our reflections of Spring in the Texas Hill Country. We can't think of a better place to live, work, and meet new people. We hope you agree. See you soon!
As part of the general growth of the wine industry in the United States, the wine production of Texas has been steadily growing. Texas is ranked in the top five states for wine production. Despite this growing success, the wine industry in Texas does face some basic issues, such as grape selection. Unlike many other states, Texas is large enough that its distinct regions vary to the point of being quite incompatible in terms of grapevine selection for vineyards. Depending on the area of the state, temperature, weather, and other climatic and geographic factors can vary considerably. Thus, the question becomes, are there any universal varieties being implemented by the Texas wine industry?
In order to understand the current trends in grapevine selection in Texas, some historical context is important. Wine production in Texas dates back to Spanish missionaries of the seventeenth century. Seemingly, Texas was meant for grapevines. Fifteen members of the Vitis family of grapevines are native to Texas, and many more have been introduced. The wine industry in Texas did well for more than two hundred and fifty years. Then, the advent of prohibition in the United States stunted the wine industry in Texas. Even decades after prohibition, a quarter of the counties in Texas are still dry. Following prohibition, the wine industry stayed dormant in Texas until the seventies, at which point further development began. Therefore, the Texas wine industry, in addition to great variability in climate and geography, is also attempting to suit the tastes of the wine community, while still recovering from decades of neglect and several devastating winter freezes.
As far as particular grapevines, there's little unity amongst Texan vineyards. The state is simply too large for a one size fits all solution. There are several factors that effect decisions regarding grapevine selection. For the most part, vinifera varieties are used. However, vinifera grapevines don't fair well in two specific areas of the state. The high plains, at an elevation of between three and four thousand feet, can have quite cold nights. For some vinifera varieties, which do not go dormant during the winter, such lows can be too low. But, other varieties respond reasonably well to the cool nights. However, the high plains offer a trade-off of sorts. Those grapevines that do tolerate the cold well are protected by the constant wind throughout the region, which usually keeps fungi, especially powdery mildew, from affecting the grapevines. The South and East of the state are another area that presents problems for the cultivation of vinifera varieties. Pierce's Disease is, unfortunately, a constant threat in this region. Therefore, those varieties with a notable resistance to Pierce's Disease are preferable, especially now as Pierce's Disease has crept further North following the turn of the millennium. However, there is a confounding factor with Pierce's Disease. The South and East of Texas, especially the northern area of this region, is comparatively humid. This humidity is intolerable to many vinifera varieties. As a result, disease resistant vinifera varieties can be grown in some of the region. But native varieties, such as Muscadine (a variety of Vitis rotundifolia, not a hybrid) are often used in the areas that are too humid for vinifera varieties.
As for individuals who are shaping the grapevine selection in Texas, there are few. The University of Texas system once had a large research vineyard, which has since been leased. More importantly, Dr. Jim Kamas as been devoting research towards combating Pierce's Disease. The preliminary results of his work look promising. Overall, there isn't an oligarchy of professionals who are influencing the grapevine selection in Texas. Rather, there are certain constraints imposed by the climate and factors such as Pierce's Disease which render some varieties superior to other, depending on context. Instead, vinifera varieties are preferred in Texas for one primary reason. We, as a public, have been conditioned by Europe and California to prefer wine from vinifera grapevines. Such varieties are what most consumers think of when they think "wine". Therefore, Texan vineyards are simply pining after the consumers in their predominant use of vinifera grapevines. There are plenty of native, as well as hybrid, varieties that would thrive just as well. But, in the end, we as a public, regardless of the logistics of its production, have a discerning taste for vinifera varieties.