Invention Vineyards/Facebook

One of the most prominent names in Hill Country wines is uncorking a new tasting room in Fredericksburg. On September 22, Grape Creek Vineyard’s owners, Brian and Jennifer Heath, will cut the ribbon to their latest property, Invention Vineyards, at 4222 S. State Hwy. 16.

Heath Family Brands has used the name for some time, first as a vintage from the Grape Creek portfolio. A 2022 purchase of Slate Mill Wine Collective cleared the way for Invention to be born as its own estate label.

Under longtime winemaker Jason Eglert, Invention crafts mostly Texas blends. The line also includes several single-varietal wines, focusing on Old World grapes like Tempranillo, Mourvèdre, and Viognier.

The property echoes that approach. The tasting room is on the former 35-acre site of Pioneer Flour Mills founder Carl Hilmar Guenther’s original mill. The entrepreneur did business in Fredericksburg for eight years before volatile weather conditions prompted a move to San Antonio.

A handful of Guenther’s original stone buildings still stand near the entry to Invention, but new construction houses the brand’s tasting room and state-of-the-art production facility. Nodding to the original structures, the rustic-industrial facility utilizes weathered brick and a corrugated roof.

Though the business has been open during the build-out, the grand opening will be the first opportunity for guests to see the completed compound. Tours will be offered from 11 am to 5:30 pm, with light bites served throughout the day.

Photo courtesy of Culinaria

Culinaria presents HalloWine 5K Run

The HalloWine 5K Run is an event designed to provide everyone with an enjoyable, spooktacular experience. Yummy treats await participants at every corner of the course.

Once runners have crossed the finish line, they celebrate their accomplishment amongst friends at the post-race reception, featuring chef-made food, beverages, and sweets.


Popular Hill Country winery to open tasting room in biggest city yet

Bishop Arts News

A winery from Central Texas' wine country is opening an outlet in Dallas. Baron's Creek Vineyards, dubbed one of the most Instagrammable wineries in Fredericksburg, will open a new tasting room and wine lounge in the Bishop Arts District.

The winery, which posted a help-wanted note on the door to the space at 418 N. Bishop Ave., was founded in Fredericksburg, and has three other locations in Georgetown, Granbury, and McKinney. This will be the fifth.

According to Meghan Delgado, who manages the Fredericksburg location, the vineyard aims to open Bishop Arts in mid-October.

A family-owned venture from a trio of businessmen brothers, Baron's Creek opened its first location in Fredericksburg in 2015.

Baron's Creek Vineyards make wines from Texas grapes — the unofficial litmus test for authenticity — but also use grapes from other districts in the U.S. and Spain, from vineyards owned by their winemaker Russell Smith, formerly of Becker Vineyards.

Baron's Creek is a big tourist attraction not only for their wine-tasting options, but also for their on-site villas where visitors can stay overnight. Two Italian-styled villas with six rooms each accommodate up to 24 guests. The vineyard rents out the property, which has a cool outdoor courtyard defined by an almost Alice-in-Wonderland checkerboard pattern of stone platforms, for weddings, corporate retreats, and other special events.

Its satellite locations, including Georgetown Square, Granbury, and McKinney, which opened in 2022, serve as lounge/tasting rooms with flights, tastings, and tapas.

Delgado says that Bishop Arts will be most similar to the McKinney location. "It'll have two separate bar areas, and will definitely be serving food including charcuterie," she says.

Other menu items include a trio of pizzas that include pepperoni and artichoke & goat cheese. The tasting rooms offer mixed flights of five white and red wines or a flight of five red wines for $21/person, as well as wine by the glass.


Hill Country winery harvests dinner series highlighting Texan James Beard Award winners and nominees

Great Texas Chefs

The vastness of Texas is one of its greatest qualities, and that extends to its cuisine. Sometimes we group foods by cooking style, ethnic group, or ingredients, but we are fortunate enough to have a wealth of great chefs in another category based on esteem: James Beard Award winners and nominees.

Instead of choosing a culinary theme for its next dinner series, Fredericksburg winery Becker Vineyards decided to just go for the cream of the crop, and reached out to chefs in the latter category to launch a new series starting on September 24, called 2023 Great Chefs of Texas.

The three-month series is kicking off with an attitude befitting such a lofty curation theme, promising via a press release a "holistic dining experience that cannot be replicated in quality and nature." Each week will feature new chef partners serving unique multi-course menus to up to 100 guests.

“All food and wine is theater,” said Becker Vineyards founder Dr. Richard Becker in the release. “The alternatives can be dim. We are now in rehearsal to be on stage with the great chefs of Texas.”

Of course, wine pairings will even further elevate the feast. More than just serving some delicious wines, the winery is interested in showing off its status as a group of wine and culinary experts, and educating visitors accordingly. Heading the culinary side will be new resident estate chef Jean-Claude Balek, who brings more than three decades of experience in fine dining to the Hill Country establishment (which sometimes hosts less intense events that emphasize its heritage as a farm).

2023 Great Chefs of Texas highlights four chefs on three dates this year:

  • September 24: James Beard Award Finalist, Chef John Russ, and Chef Elise Russ of Clementine
  • November: James Beard Award winner Tom Perini of Perini Ranch Steakhouse
  • December (holiday dinner): James Beard Award winner Dean Fearing of Fearing's

The series plays into Becker Vineyard’s industry campaign, "Ask for Texas Wines," which aims to bring Texas wines to the table, literally and figuratively, where people don't always think of them. Becker winemaker Jonathan Leahy spoke of the underrating of Texas wines on the Texas Wine Lover blog a few years ago: "It’s not the quality of the fruit or where the fruit comes from. It’s probably PR overall. People in Texas love Texas wines. They’ve discovered it; they know what’s going on. People outside of Texas on the other hand still need a lot of hand holding and convincing....”

Tickets ($160) to the inaugural event with chefs John Russ and Elise Russ of Clementine are available on Tock. Becker Vineyards is located at 464 Becker Farms Rd. in Fredericksburg.


Hill Country festival uncorks weekend of music and Texas wine


It’s an inescapable part of Central Texas’ fall. As soon as the “ber” months roll out, the social calendar quickly fills with festivals devoted to everything from books to indie films. It’s a lot to process — especially considering the ever-growing crowds at the season’s juggernauts.

Luckily, one autumn event is giving locals a little breathing room. Held on the bucolic Hill Country grounds of Vinovium winery, Texas Wine Jam returns to Johnson City on November 4-5. The music and wine-filled weekend allows guests to stretch out while supporting two local nonprofits.

More than 22 wineries will participate (that's 7 more than last year), including Farmhouse Vineyards, Lewis Wines, Lost Draw Cellars, Ron Yates, and Westcave Cellars. In addition to offering samples, the participants will be offering exclusive deals to attendees. Each bottle purchased comes with a raffle ticket for mixed wine cases and other prizes.

The jam will be handled via live sets by Classic Rewind, The Anthony Garcia Band, Josh Klaus, and Bubba Coltrane and the Train Wrecks. The music will cover a wide array of crowd-pleasing genres, from Spanish guitar-tinged Americana to raucous, horn-filled rock.

While bopping to the tunes, guests can also listen in on a winemaker panel or check out a cooking demo. And, of course, no festival is complete without street food — this year delivered by Rex’s Creole Kitchen, Rex’s Smokehouse, Oro Bianco, River Whey Creamery, and more.

Proceeds benefit the Texas Wine Community Scholarship program and the SIMS Foundation, an Austin organization providing mental health and recovery services for music industry professionals and their dependents.

General admission tickets are available online now, ranging from a $45 single-day pass to a $75 two-day pass. The $55-$95 VIP tickets include early entrance, five additional raffle tickets, and a branded wine bottle koozie. The festival takes place noon-5 pm each day, and alternate dates on November 11-12 have been set aside in case of inclement weather.

Photo courtesy of Gruene Music & Wine Festival

Gruene Music & Wine Festival

The annual Gruene Music & Wine Festival features three days of food events and four days of music.

Schedule of events

  • October 5: Come And Taste It for United Way, featuring wine, beer, and food tastings, ending with a concert by Diamond Rio.
  • October 6: Rockin' with Texas Wine & Food, featuring a wine tasting by three of Texas’ best wineries, a dinner catered by Gristmill River Restaurant, and a silent auction, ending with a concert by Dennis Quaid & The Sharks.
  • October 7: Taste of Texas Wine & Beer, featuring wine and beer tastings, ending with a concert by Kylie Frey & Tyler Halverson
  • October 8: Sunday Songwriter Shindig, featuring an acoustic lineup of some of Texas’ best songwriters, emceed by Mattson Rainier of KNBT 92.1FM.
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    Official Texas Fashion Week sashays into San Antonio with top emerging designers


    Few among us have the clout to sidle up to Anna Wintour on Loewe’s front row, but one doesn’t need the ear of the legendary editor-in-chief to gain fashion inspiration. As Paris Fashion Week winds down in October, the locally hosted Texas Fashion Week is just kicking off.

    The annual affair — the official fashion week of the state’s emerging fashion industry — strutted into San Antonio on October 1 and will inspire through October 7 with a full slate of runway shows, educational programs, and glamorous celebrations. A collaboration between the state nonprofit Texas Fashion Industry Initiative and the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the event aims to give promising designers a chance to showcase their ideas.

    KLRN’s TV studios at 501 Broadway will be the epicenter of four days of presentations highlighting inspiring new collections. The shows kicked off with a college night featuring Lillian Jenae Designs, Brøc, and Aubrey Frey Apparel, labels created by Texas university students.

    “Texas Fashion Week aims to provide a platform for emerging designers to showcase their innovative designs, including students,” said Texas Fashion Industry Initiative Vice President Saige Thomas in a release. “Fashion students deserve a chance to stage their work as well, without the standard financial limitations holding them back.”

    In addition to soaking in wardrobe inspiration, local fashionistas can enjoy fashion and beauty panels, a high school sustainability competition, exhibitions, and networking opportunities. An educational program on October 2 covers topics such as branding and drag.

    The jam-packed days lead up to the Texas Fashion Industry Awards at the Tobin Center on October 6. A curated brunch at Kiki’s Coffee on October 7 gives gala guests one last chance to congratulate the winners.

    The full schedule of events can be found at texasfashionindustry.org. A limited number of all-access and single-day passes are still available.

    Comedian Chris Tucker returns to road after a decade with a stop in San Antonio

    Comedy Comeback News

    Comedian Chris Tucker will make San Antonio's Majestic Theatre one of the stops on his first major tour in North America since 2011, performing at the venue on Thursday, November 2.

    The 33-city" Legend" Tour 2023 will kick off in Charleston, South Carolina on September 8, continuing through January 12.

    This new date in San Antonio was added due to high demand, as well as a second date in Houston (November 4-5). Tucker will also perform in Irving on November 1.

    "I started my career doing stand-up in comedy clubs and it's stand-up comedy that prepared me for all of my movie roles," said Tucker in a statement. "I'm looking forward to getting back to my roots. I love performing live, there's nothing like the energy of a live crowd and making people laugh."

    Tucker’s career began in the early 1990s when he became a favorite on Russell Simmons’ HBO Def Comedy Jam. He is best known for his role in the Rush Hour action-comedy film franchise, as well as Friday and The Fifth Element.

    He's been in only a few films since the Rush Hour series ended, but recently had a prominent role opposite Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Viola Davis in Air.

    Tickets will be available on Tuesday, October 3, at 10 am on Ticketmaster.

    THE LEGEND TOUR DATES (*new show):

    • Fri Sep 08 – North Charleston, SC – North Charleston Performing Arts Center
    • Sun Sep 10 – Norfolk, VA – Chrysler Hall
    • Wed Sep 20 – Louisville, KY – The Louisville Palace
    • Fri Sep 22 – Memphis, TN – The Orpheum Theatre Memphis
    • Sun Sep 24 – Durham, NC – DPAC
    • Sat Sep 30 – Oakland, CA – Paramount Theatre-Oakland
    • Tue Oct 03 – Denver, CO – Paramount Theatre
    • Wed Oct 04 – Inglewood, CA – YouTube Theater
    • Thu Oct 05 – Phoenix, AZ – Arizona Financial Theatre
    • Sat Oct 07 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Pantages Theatre
    • Tue Oct 10 – Columbus, OH – Palace Theatre Columbus
    • Wed Oct 11 – Cincinnati, OH – Aronoff Center
    • Thu Oct 12 – Cleveland, OH – State Theatre at Playhouse Square
    • Wed Oct 18 – Philadelphia, PA – The Met Philadelphia
    • Thu Oct 19 – Pittsburgh, PA – Benedum Center
    • Sun Oct 22 – Baltimore, MD – Hippodrome at France-Merrick Performing Arts
    • Thu Oct 26 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
    • Wed Nov 01 – Irving, TX – The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
    • Thur Nov 02 — San Antonio, TX — Majestic Theatre*
    • Sat Nov 04 – Houston, TX – Bayou Music Center
    • Sat Nov 05 – Houston, TX – Bayou Music Center*
    • Tue Nov 07 – Oklahoma City, OK – Criterion Theater
    • Wed Nov 08 – Kansas City, MO – Music Hall Kansas City
    • Tue Nov 14 – Jacksonville, FL – Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts - Moran Theater
    • Wed Nov 15 – Orlando, FL – Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
    • Fri Nov 17 – New York, NY – Beacon Theatre
    • Sat Nov 18 — New York, NY — Beacon Theatre*
    • Wed Nov 29 – Chicago, IL – The Chicago Theatre
    • Sat Dec 02 – Indianapolis, IN – Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
    • Mon Dec 04 – St. Louis, MO – Stifel Theatre
    • Thu Dec 07 – Washington, DC – The Anthem
    • Tue Jan 09 – Toronto, ON – Meridian Hall
    • Fri Jan 12 – Detroit, MI – Fox Theatre

    Hopdoddy mooves toward regenerative meats, nixing plant-based substitutes

    86 the Beyond Patties

    Hearty Central Texas-based chain Hopdoddy Burger Bar has unveiled a new lineup of regenerative burgers that are supposed to be better for the planet and the consumer.

    The term ‘regenerative burger’ could cause a few head-scratches: Some may think of lab-grown or 3D-printed meat, while others think of plant-based alternatives but it’s neither. It is grass-fed meat, sourced a bit differently. "Regenerative farming" is a term used to describe farming and grazing practices that claim to restore and rebuild degraded soil, resulting in better-quality air and water.

    Hopdoddy’s vice president of culinary Matt Schweitzer explained that it all began with with a sense of obligation to do better as a brand for the consumers and the ecosystem.

    “We felt like we could really take a stand and look to move our entire supply chain in a regenerative fashion, so we could really be proud of the work we’ve done and we could hopefully leave the animals, the farmers, the ranchers, the native grasslands, and our planet a better place than before we started,” says Schweitzer.

    The new menu items include the "Roosevelt Burger" with grass-fed regenerative bison; the "Nashville Hot Sandwich" with regenerative raised chicken; the "Regenerative Royale," which is a play on a classic double quarter-pounder with cheese; the "Mother Nature" with grass-fed regenerative beef; and the "Buffalo Bill" also uses regenerative bison, but appears not to be grass-fed.

    The five burgers are available at all Hopdoddy locations nationwide. The beef and bison are sourced from Texas-based regenerative company Force of Nature, while the chicken is from Cooks Venture.

    With this launch, Hopdoddy removes all plant-based meat substitutes from its menu, significantly reducing the options for vegans and vegetarians. The company felt the ingredients and ethos of the alternative meats — describing some such as Beyond Meats as "falsely advertised" regarding nutrition in a press release — no longer aligned with its values and mission. However, the house-made veggie patty remains on the signature "El Bandito" burger.

    Schweitzer says the regenerative burgers have received positive feedback, as people are excited to know where their food comes from, how it gets to their table, and what type of impact it causes. Regarding the future of regenerative meat, he says there is no doubt it could become mainstream soon.

    “I think the flavor profile, the eating experience, the story, the mission, the purpose, really speaks for itself," says Schweitzer. "So, I really think it’s a matter of time until 'regenerative' is talked about in the same way that 'organic,' or 'sustainable,' or those type of buzzwords are talked about."

    To further show its commitment to regenerative agriculture, Hopdoddy is also one of the sponsors of Common Ground, a documentary about the pioneers of the regenerative movement, premiering October 4 in Austin. The "uplifting" film, according to a release, features well-known actors Laura Dern, Rosario Dawson, Jason Momoa, Woody Harrelson, Ian Somerhalder, and Donald Glover, emphasizing that this motley crew does share one thing in common: a strong belief in regenerative agriculture.

    For more information about the new regenerative burgers, visit hopdoddy.com.