Tuscany in Texas


In June Husband and I went to the Texas hill country to buy peaches from our favorite grower, Gold Orchards, and to check out some wineries.  The Gold Orchards store is basically a small roadside stand in the tiny town of Stonewall on highway 290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg.

There are about ten wineries located on this 36-mile stretch of highway called Wine Road , but the one that caught my attention was Grape Creek Vineyards with a sign that proclaimed, “Tuscany in Texas.”   Tuscany is on my list of places to visit, but each year there seems to be some reason why we can’t take that trip to visit our friends in Tuscany at their olive farm, Podere Boggioli.   This might be as close to Italy as I would get this year.  With a little wine perhaps it really would seem like Italy!

Entrance to Grape Creek Vineyards-Photo from their web site

The entrance with its bell tower sets the mood as the gravel road leads upward between Chenin Blanc vineyard toward the Tuscany-style villa that serves as the tasting room and gift shop.  It did not disappoint.

Thinking Tuscany…not Texas

The villa did indeed reflect old world architecture with its tiled roof and beams, stonework, landscape and obligatory fountain.  Even Italian music quietly playing added to the ambiance.  As we got out of the car a limo pulled up and out tumbled several excited and well-dressed ladies.  Now that is the way to tour wineries!

Inside we browsed the wine-related items and a generous selection of crackers, cheeses and nibbles.  We missed the Barrel Tasting Cellar Tour that included a tour of the winemaking  facilities and barrel cellar.  Instead we settled for tasting six wines and chose from white, red, sweet and semi-sweet and port.  We bought three bottles:  2011 Viognier, 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah Texas and a port.

OK, so maybe those working in the tasting room spoke with a Texas twang instead of  in Italian and I was really not in Tuscany.  Still this small yet elegant winery with a bed and breakfast is worth checking out if you are in the area.

The Crone in Faux Tuscany

Husband in Faux Tuscany

From Johnson City you see gently rolling hills, peach orchards and pass the entrance to the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site that is worth the stop.  The self-guided tour is free and takes you by the graves of President Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson.

At the end of the road is Fredericksburg which offers history, shopping and good food.  We had lunch at Fredericksburg Brewing Company and enjoyed sampling excellent ale.

Our last stop  Gold Orchards was to buy a half-bushel of peaches for peach cobblers.   I use a recipe from “Aunt Pearl’s Cookbook, A Man’s Cooking” by Joe Sears.  Maybe I’ll share it in another post!  Cheers!

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36 thoughts on “Tuscany in Texas

  1. Tuscany awaits you. Meanwhile lift your wine glass and enjoy your own little bit of Tuscany. I particularly enjoyed seeing the photos of you and your husband. Now when I read your posts I can really visualize you both. What a delight. Virginia

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    • Maybe some day! I seldom post personal pictures but it was so much fun and it really was beautiful. Husband was a good sport! Thank you for your kind comments and have a great weekend.

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  2. How wonderful that you had such a great visit! I love Grape Creek Vineyards…………wish you had come to see Chef Emil at the Boerne HEB as part of your tour! I would have loved to meet you in person. We made a trip to Gold’s for our peaches a week ago and have been enjoying all sorts of peach treats.

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  3. Sounds like you did have a wonderful time. (You look so pretty in the photo by the fountain and your husband is quite handsome! You guys make a sweet couple)

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  4. Not a bad substitute and one you can get to more often. Still my fingers are crossed that you do make it to Tuscany. I’ve never been, but it’s on my list of places I’d like to go.

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  5. What a beautiful spot, Jonel. Had you not mentioned it, I would have most definitely thought you and Husband were vacationing in Italy. I agree with a fellow follower of yours: you look very, very lovely sitting by the fountain!

    ~ Cara

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    • Thank you for your kind comments, Cara! It was a fun day and I know I am very fortunate to have Husband in my life wherever we are. And you know all about love at any age.. Have a beautiful weekend.

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  6. Texas hill country reminds me of Tuscany too. It’s a great place to spend a weekend. Thank you for sharing beautiful pictures of you and your husband.

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    • Yes, the Texas hill country is always a fun trip. Thank you for your kind comments on the pictures! I had to make sure Husband didn’t mind my posting a picture of him. He is usually the one taking the pictures.

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  7. We all enjoyed the tour, but the photos of you and husband were the highlights! I wish more people would post family photographs. Thanks for both the tour and the introduction! I always enjoy your posts, and this one was no exception.
    George

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    • You are too kind, George! But thank you for liking the pictures. I really hesitated about posting them but we really didn’t take any other pictures there. You are always so good to share your family photos and I thoroughly enjoy them. Maybe I should reconsider my private attitude. Thanks again – you and Rita stay cool and out of trouble! I haven’t seen a post lately. Hope I have not missed any.

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  8. It does look like Tuscany doesn’t it? My sister has a vineyard and winery in Australia and her area has the lovely rolling hills of Tuscany as well…all the need is the row of cypress trees along some hill tops.
    The little bit of Tuscant where we have our house is mountainous and not typical Tuscany at all, but it is gorgeous in its own way.

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    • Thanks for stopping by to comment! Your home in the mountains sounds beautiful. Our home is near the coast so it is very flat but I like the openness. Still the hills/mountains are beautiful!

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  9. Faux Tuscany, I love it!
    You look like a smart Italian signora in your black and sleek blond hair, one who’s hooked a debonair Texas gentleman!
    And the trees behind you can pass for cypresses — so you’re ready to roll.

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    • Thank you so much for the comments! Yes, I was having fun with the whole thing. There is more white than blond in my hair these days, but I will keep my Texas gentleman who has been my husband for almost thirty-six years. Cheers!

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  10. Isn’t the Hill Country just amazing? My husband and I just got back (yesterday) from a 5 day getaway close to Fredericksburg. We stayed in on a working cattle ranch in a little cottage on the Pedernales. We met a really cool Argentinian winemaker and came home with 6 bottles of wine. We drove past Grape Creek every day! After reading your wonderful post and seeing the lovely photos, I wish we would have checked it out as well. Oh well, something to look forward to next time! I really enjoyed sharing your experience.

    Cin cin!

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    • Yes, there is a little bit of everything there. It sounds as if you and your husband had a great time on the Pedernales. You never know who you will meet and lucky you to come home with six bottles of wine – I’m sure there was some Malbec in there somewhere! Enjoy! The Hill Country is nice in the fall also. Thanks for the like and comments.

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  11. Wow. That sounds like my perfect holiday. I have been trying to con my other half into taking a road trip through France at some point this year, but perhaps I have been remiss in overlooking Tuscany as a great area for foodies/winies (sp?) to cruise through!

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  12. I’ve just returned from Tuscany, just outside of Lucca in fact, and your pictures could be stunt double for some of what one sees there. The colours are incredibly similar, although the grass is definitely greener in Texas. I hope you get a chance to go to Tuscany as I know you would so appreciate the culture, food and vibe. Visit my blog (the post I put up today) for recommendations on restaurants and ‘our’ hotel. Oh, and a recipe too!

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    • Thank you so much for stopping by to comment on this post! I am glad that it was similar to the real Tuscany. I will definitely check out your blog and recipe. Lucky you to have just returned from Tuscany!

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  13. Jo, I like your blog, and good photos. Faux Toscane indeed! Now you have to come and see us at Podere Boggioli in the real Tuscany. I liked the idea of a Wine Road. Perhaps we can come up with an Olive Oil Road. A presto, Keith

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