Wake up and smell the lavender at a Hill Country vineyard's decades-old festival
Lavender? I barely know her
There's a lot of talk about flowers springing up with the seasonal blooms around Texas, but visitors are generally discouraged from picking and eating them. Fans of floral flavors can look forward to the Lavender Festival at Becker Vineyards in Fredericksburg, which will serve wine pairings with the unmistakeable aroma on April 15 and 16.
This festival is 24 years running, and still hasn't run out of ideas for the timeless flavor. Over two days, visitors can explore the vineyard, shop for goods like soap and lotion from artisan vendors, enjoy live music, and most importantly, taste the lavender. It's more than a shortbread cookie, too.
Becker's executive chef Michael Lockhart and winemaker Jonathan Leahy invite guests to "Lavender Luncheons" ($125) in the Lavender Haus Reception Hall, a "replica of a barn at the Lyndon B. Johnson Settlement." There's no menu so far, but it will be a meal inspired by the 500 lavender plants in the vineyard. There will also be four "wine and lavender bite pairing sessions" ($60) on Saturday. Less formally, or for those who would rather see the lavender than taste it, there will be three local food vendors on both days: Mac’n Wag’n, Conchita’s, and Garbo’s Seafood.
The history of the festival stretches back almost as long as the vineyard has been producing lavender. The first plants were sown in June of 1998 — that's just one year longer. Although the family struggled to find a healthy variety for the area and lost huge swathes of the three-acre crop, they kept pushing on. Eventually, they discovered that the Stoechas (Spanish) varietal does best in the region.
If readers have struggled with lavender (an extremely likely circumstance), they may find that gardening tips at the festival help this year or next year's blooms. Lavender, unlike the many wildflowers that make the Hill Country famous, does not naturally grow in the region, and instead prefers its native conditions in the Mediterranean. It's starting to make sense that in Texas it thrives in the vineyard, no?
The Lavender Festival at Becker Vineyards is located at 464 Becker Farms Rd., Fredericksburg, Texas. Tickets ($15 general admission, plus add-ons for tastings) are available at beckervineyards.com. The festival is open on April 15 and 16 from 10 am to 5 pm.