Segue from bustling city to bucolic Hill Country at these four wineries.
Miles from downtown: 3.1
Expect: Canned wine, graffiti art on the walls and a menagerie of antique décor, including old filing cabinets, TV sets, 1970s-style couches and board games complete this winery
Know: One of the only “urban wineries” in Austin, the Denver-based Infinite Monkey Theorem is named for a mathematical theorem that implies there is beauty to be found in chaos, a nod to the challenging yet rewarding winemaking process.
Look forward to: The winery’s first canned, dry-hopped sauvignon blanc, made with Citra hops, and the return of springtime wine slushies. Mark your calendar for the Infinite Monkey Music Showcase March 18, at which local musicians like Amanda Pearcy, Jenifer Jackson and Jenny Reynolds will perform.
STOP 2: DUCHMAN FAMILY WINERY
Miles from downtown: 26.4
Expect: Sip wine alfresco, soak in views of the vineyards from beneath sprawling oak trees or take a self-guided tour of the winery’s windowed barrel room. Duchman Family Winery sources the majority of its fruit from the Texas High Plains, where cooler temperatures mimic the climate of the Italian countryside.
Know: The name is pronounced “Dookman.” The winery was founded on a love for unique Italian grape varietals, and the owners, Lisa and Stan Duchman, enjoy experimenting with making unique-to-Texas wines like vermentino—with tasting notes of pink grapefruit and lime zest—as well as sangiovese and dolcetto. The property was listed by HGTV as one of the 20 most picturesque wineries in the U.S.
Look forward to: A spring movie screening, Easter brunch, Mother’s Day brunch and Memorial Day pig roast
STOP 3: WILLIAM CHRIS VINEYARDS
Miles from downtown: 58
Expect: The nonchalance of visiting your grandma’s house—if your grandma lived in a rustic country cabin and loved nothing more than to sit outside on the deck as you sipped wine and snacked on morsels of prosciutto and pickles. Tucked away in the trees just outside the small town of Hye, Texas (population 105), the winery’s Hye Society Wine Club, which gives members access to intimate seated tastings, is so beloved it has a waiting list.
Know: Grape growers and William Chris Vineyards founders William Blackmon and Chris Brundrett planted their first Texas vineyard in the mid-1980s. Approximately half of their grapes are sourced from William Chris vines, while the remainder are sourced from 14 family farms throughout Texas. The top-selling wine, a red-grape varietal, is mourvèdre.
Look forward to: The spring concert, featuring live music by Two Tons of Steel, March 25
STOP 4: BARONS CREEK VINEYARDS
Miles from downtown: 72.2
Expect: Modern country elegance in the form of a large, chalk-white, Mediterranean-style tasting room flanked by fields growing grapes of sauvignon and cabernet. Barons Creek Vineyards is the newest winery in this roundup, opened in January 2016, and is also the best place to end your day trip. Rest up in one of the property’s two plush villas and wake up to in-room coffee service before making the return drive back to reality.
Know: The family-owned vineyard, owned by brothers Mike, Marc and Chris Chase, is named for the well-known creek that runs through the nearby town of Fredericksburg, Texas.
Look forward to: March through May, listen to live music on the patio and arrange for a sunset Champagne toast in the winery tower, featuring gorgeous views of the undulating Texas Hill Country. Cap off the evening stargazing around the outdoor fire pit.