Over a dozen years ago, a Lakeway area couple began work on a dream to combine their love of wine, appreciation of the Texas Hill Country and desire to share the enjoyment of carefully crafted wines against the backdrop of a Hill Country landscape.
Margaret and Allan Fetty began planting grape vines on a 65 acre north slope property they owned out near Hamilton Pool about 30 miles from Austin. Eventually they had 11 acres cultivated and fenced with 7 acres planted in several varieties of grapes. It was hard work to maintain their “real jobs” and tend to the vines over the years. As the vines matured and produced grapes, they sold their harvest each year to other wineries in the area. The serious frost in the Hill Country a couple of years back damaged or killed a large number of their grape vines, but as serious growers do, they replanted and carried on.
With a plan to bottle their own wines eventually, they built a comfortable Texas Limestone ranch house and processing, bottling and tasting room building in a grove of live oaks in the center of the vineyard. In August of 2010, Westcave Cellars harvested, pressed and produced their first wines under their label. The first year run, last year, was a total of 1300 cases of several varieties including Viognier, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Muscat Blanc, Tannat and Vermentino.
The 2011 Central Texas drought has stressed the grape vines such that the yields have been smaller this year, but according to the wine experts, the quality of the grapes has been extremely high. The Westcave Cellars bottling this year was 1000 cases. A Petite Syrah was also produced In addition to the varieties bottled in 2010. About 30% of the grapes pressed and bottled come from Westcave Cellars’ vines with 40% of the grapes purchased from other Texas vineyards then pressed at the Westcave winery. To blend the varieties in the manner Allan and Margaret desire, they use about 30% selected grape juices pressed from other vineyards.
To share their enjoyment of Texas Hill Country and Texas wines, Margaret and Allan have created a comfortable area just to the East of the ranch house, under the oak trees and against a backdrop of the vines for people to come, picnic and enjoy good wine and the ambiance of the vineyard. They have added what they call the Westcave Cellars “signature hammock” between two of the large oaks. They invite their guests to use and enjoy the hammock at their convenience. There are also picnic tables and chairs in the grove.
Westcave Cellars holds events about once per month that includes music, wine tasting and good food while watching the day come to a close with the sun setting over the vineyards. For special occasions like Fourth of July, Allan fires up the “hog size” griller and actually roasts a whole hog with all the trimmings. Families and children are especially welcome. Westcave Cellars also holds special tasting events for groups as requested.
Westcave Cellars tasting room is in the vineyard at 25711 Hamilton Pool Road, Round Mountain, Texas, 78663. Hours for the tasting room are Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 6 pm, Sundays 12 pm to 6 pm and other days of the week by appointment.
Westcave Cellars wines can also be found in several Hill Country bistros and tasting rooms. They include the Barber Shop Brewpub in Dripping Springs (www.barbershopbar.com); Pecan Street Brewery in Johnson City (www.pecanstreetbrewing.com); Wines Across Texas in Marble Falls (www.winesacrosstexas.com) and Texas Vineyards & Beyond in Fredericksburg (www.texasvineyardsbeyond.com).
Currently available at the Westcave Cellars tasting room are Muscat Blanc, Estate Viognier, High Point Viognier, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and in the sweet wines, White Merlot, White Zinfandel and Sweet Red. Our favorite, and their best seller, is the White Merlot.
Westcave Cellars has just been accepted into the Texas Wine Trail (www.texaswinetrail.com) organization and will be one of the select wineries available on the very popular Holiday Wine Trail in December.
The Cellar Dwellers is the name of the Westcave Cellars wine club. Membership is free with a commitment to purchase two bottles of wine each quarter at a discounted price.
They currently have a very active Facebook page under Westcave Cellars. You can follow them and get notices of their monthly events.