Like most of the wineries in Fredericksburg, Becker is almost a little too pretty to believe: Lavender fields greet your arrival, a huge limestone house rises into view, a windmill turns gently in the breeze. Before you wander off into the sunset without trying any wine though, taste the Fleur Sauvage, a citrusy, sweeter white that you can't get at liquor or grocery stores - only here.
I'm not sure how great Chisholm Trail's distribution is, so chances are, you've never tried the wine. However! That's all the more reason to come visit this sweet, family-friendly winery, which serves wood-fired pizza on the weekends. I liked the "Velvet Lady" best, a big spicy zinfandel. The label descriptions read like little short stories, so make sure the wait staff brings you bottles to read aloud to your company.
The party stop for your wine tour! Torre Di Pietra is more bar than vineyard, a place that doesn't offer grand vistas, but DOES offer cover bands and a huge pavilion for dancing. Order a glass of Texas Dirty Girl (a chardonnay), grab a stranger, and show off your awesome wine-fueled moves on the dance floor.
Unlike many wineries, where you stand at a long oak bar and forlornly wait for your glass to be filled, Woodrose is more like a restaurant, where you sit at actual tables and order flights off a menu. The staff here is incredibly nice (probably my favorite staff selection from this guide), there's a sweet old dog that visits your table, and the Hurricane Zin (red and plummy) was so good, I bought a bottle.
Got a party bus? A boozy bachelorette? Rancho Ponte is for you! This is a pretty stop with a big tasting room, a refreshingly renegade attitude toward wine (Merlot and Muscat mixed? IT'S ON), and a friendly staff. Rancho Ponte purchases, rather than grows, their own grapes, but our non-discriminating (re: drunk) group didn't seem to mind.
One of the first vineyard you encounter on the Fredericksburg wine trail, Pedernales Cellars is a beautiful spot, with a great big deck and a petite tasting room. This spot is definitely more chill than the rest, so I like to either begin or end the trip at Pedernales Cellars, depending on the group mood. Try the Reserve Viognier, a France-derived grape that Pedernales enters (and frequently wins) in all the regional wine tasting competitions.
A stop you'll want to make early in the tour, while you've still got sobriety to walk around the lovely property. Grape Creek's grounds are expansive and gorgeous, and they specialize in blended wines, like the "Grande Rouge:" a red mix of Sangiovese and Cinsaut, served chilled.
With a relaxed vibe and a rustic farmhouse, William Chris is the brew geek of wineries: It produces super small batches with by-hand techniques. There is minimal hustle and bustle here, so come here with a date and order a bottle of Artist Blend: a red blend rich enough to linger on the tongue.
A perfect place to while away a warm afternoon with a glass of chilled white, the crowds at Hilmy aren't as busy as Becker or Rancho Ponte: We sipped a sweet Muscat Canelli on the back patio and thought we were in heaven. As a bonus, wine tastings at Hilmy are free if you buy a bottle.