If you’ve never visited wineries before, planning your first trip may seem daunting. If you’re overwhelmed, then you may want to skip ahead and book a tour company (there are many fantastic ones out there!), but if you want to plan your own adventure, then follow along! There are a few things you should think about while planning your trip to ensure that you have as much fun as possible. If you start with a broad view of wineries in an area, then follow this guide to help you pinpoint the few that you want to visit.
First, determine how many wineries you want to visit. As a rule of thumb, 2-3 wineries in a day is very doable. You can push it to 3-4 wineries if you space the visits throughout the full day, share tastings with another person, or if you are big on pouring out wine after you’ve tasted it (you don’t have to drink every drop in a glass if you don’t want to).
Next, figure out what types of wine you want to try. Large wineries typically offer a full spectrum of types of wine, but many boutique producers focus on fewer types of wine. Here are some types of wine you’ll want to think about:
Whatever your preference is, it’s completely fine! Wine tasting is about having an enjoyable experience, and part of that is ensuring you’re tracking down wines that match your palate. At Kalasi Cellars, for example, we make dry wines, with an emphasis on big, bold red wines. All our wines are made solely with grapes off our own estate vineyard, Narra Vineyards, in the Texas High Plains. That being said, we do have some white and rose wines, as well as a lightly sparkling wine. In the future we’ll have a dessert wine.
Once you’ve figured out the types of wine you want to enjoy, you need to nail down what experience you want to have at a winery. With the hundreds of wineries in Texas, there’s a full spectrum of experiences that you’ll encounter. For example, do you want expansive, over-the-top, Instagrammable views? Or do you want a quaint, family-run winery? Do you want to meet the owners or winemaker? Are you wanting to do a wine tasting, winemaker tasting, or production tour? Or do you want to relax with a glass or bottle of wine under the beautiful Texas sky? Do you want live music, or peace and quiet? Do you need a family-friendly and dog-friendly winery? Lastly, are you wanting to enjoy some food with your wine, or are you solely on a search to try wine?
At Kalasi Cellars, we are a boutique winery, owned and operated by husband and wife, Greg and Nikhila Narra Davis. We are often at the tasting room and winery, and love meeting customers. Our tasting room is situated on 16 beautiful acres, and we’ve tried to make it a very relaxing place to spend an afternoon. We have plenty of outdoor seating under pecan trees, and a fantastic tasting room with bar seating for tastings. To be as inclusive as possible, we welcome families with well behaved children and dogs on leashes (dogs must be kept away from our sheep and guard llama for their safety). Lastly, we have a small kitchen that serves up some Indian-inspired snacks and meals to pair with our 100% Texas wines.
Now that you roughly know how many wineries you want to visit, what type of wine you want to enjoy, and what experiences you want to have, start researching wineries to visit! Some other things to keep in mind when planning your trip is figuring out who is open each day of the week. While most bigger wineries are open 7 days a week, many smaller wineries are open 3-5 days a week, or are open by reservation only some days of the week. If you’re wanting to do a tasting at a winery, we highly recommend making a reservation. This will result in the fewest headaches and ensure you have the best experience possible. Many wineries allow for walk-in tastings, but a reservation helps the winery make sure they have enough staff on hand to give you sufficient attention during your tasting.
At Kalasi Cellars, we’re fully open 11am-5pm on Thursdays through Mondays. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays we’re by appointment only. We allow walk-ins every day we’re fully open, but reservations make sure we save some space for you in our tasting room and help avoid the tasting room becoming too crowded. We do not charge for reservations, but ask that you cancel 24hrs before the reservation if you cannot make it as this helps free up time slots for other guests.
Finally, you need to arrange your transportation. Most guests drive themselves from winery to winery. However, many utilize other means of transportation like private drivers / tour companies, larger tour companies (i.e., you may be paired with other groups), or hop-on / hop-off shuttles. Driving yourself or hiring a private driver / tour company will offer you the most flexibility with picking the wineries you want to visit. If you’re driving your group around, please avoid over consumption by limiting the number of wineries you visit, splitting tastings with someone else, pouring / spitting out wine after you’ve tasted it (this is completely acceptable), pairing your wine with food and water, etc.
At the end of the day, the goal is to enjoy your visit to wineries. Everyone has their own set of preferences, so you can’t go off reviews alone to figure out what suits you best. We talk to countless customers about the wineries they’ve visited and what they’ve liked. There truly is no single place that everyone will love, so do a bit of research to make sure you find the places that you’ll love! At Kalasi Cellars, we’ve crafted the wine and experience that we enjoy. If you love dry red wines, a bit of an Indian flair, and relaxing with wine in hand, then we just may be a great winery to add to your list of stops!