Upon arrival at the Austin Wine & Music Festival, A Sunday Affair, it was obvious judging by the amount of cars lining the lot that Austinites got the message: Driftwood was the place to be on Sunday. The entry line was already snaking outside the winery’s tank room which served as the check-in, but was moving very quickly as smiling volunteers handed out glasses to anxious guests getting in the festival vibe. We were quickly greeted by the lovely Big Idea Girl, Katy Jane Bothum, Director of the event who made sure Texas Wine and Trail was wine tasting ready, stemless tumblers in hand.
Once down the walkway we were immediately struck by the amazing view. This was Texas Wine and Trail’s first visit to Driftwood Estate Winery, but certainly not the last. The beauty of this winery’s bluffs overlooking vineyards and green as far as the eye could see, with the tease of a Spring shower, were perfect for sipping wine on a lazy Sunday afternoon…even when sharing in the serenity with close to 1000 other guests.
The large covered pavilion hosted the tasting area and was very accommodating for this size crowd, although it did get a little intimate when the brief rain cleared the open stone courtyard. Other festival attendees came well prepared as they huddled for a few moments under little umbrella nests, determined not to be bothered by the shower.
Tasting our way through the 6 wineries was a wonderful chance to converse with those standing in line around us, and casually pick up on the reactions of many sampling Texas wine for the first time. I watched as a group of men raised their eyebrows and nodded, swirling their glasses, “Wow. This is really good. Really,” said the tallest of the group. “Which white are you drinking?” asked a friend. “Umm…Dry Comal Creek,” he responded with a surprised expression searching for whatever had him fixated on the bottom of his glass (his shattered low expectations perhaps).
A trendy young couple from Austin & Dallas said they didn’t know Texas had wine until they heard about this event and Googled it. Shocked, they searched for more information where they read online that our State was becoming the new wine destination, many choosing Texas over a trip to Napa. And so it went over the afternoon… festival goers enjoying a Sunday with Texas wine, but too many were pleasantly surprised. I wanted to say, “You LIVE here. How do not know that Texas has great wine?!” I quickly got my pride in check when I remembered it wasn’t that long ago when I too had my head in the Texas sand.
The quality of live music and relaxed nature of The Sunday Affair offered everyone a chance to enjoy each other’s company as much as they enjoyed the wine. It’s that type of experience which plays a major hand in bringing people to the tasting rooms for longer visits. Texas Wine and Trail’s perspective since our inception has been “if you get people talking about Texas wine, they’ll start drinking Texas wine because it really is that enjoyable.” We hope to see more of these mini festivals centered around Texas wine in the future because wine after all is an exploration, and Texas is the new frontier.
Participating wineries included:
Images below provided by Peary Photography Please visit his site for more great shots of the Austin Wine & Music Festival!
Article by Leanne Holley, Texas Wine and Trail Magazine