Wine tasting ranks as one of my most popular touring activities. My clients know and appreciate Texas Hill Country wines a lot these days for their brilliant quality and regional connection. As of this past weekend, however, my patrons and I discovered a brand-new stop on our route at a must-see attraction. The Texas Hill Country Olive Company grandly opened December 10 at its beautiful facility on Fitzhugh Road north of Dripping Springs.
I’d conducted many tours past the impressive sandstone building before, pointing out the rows of young olive trees behind. This day featured much to enjoy. Holiday-hatted co-owner Rick Mensik greeted us as we walked through the door. I got his card and he mine with mutual promises to trade links. First stop inside was the oil-tasting bar. The company makes three oil blends plus several flavors of balsamic vinegar. Off to the left stood the art, several spaces sporting wild horse photographs, paintings, and ceramics. The pressing and bottling room is around back.
To the right of the entrance is the Bistro Café, an open kitchen with a big counter for cooking classes. An Italian chef was baking cookies. Around that were scattered tables and chairs for additional eating and seating. Two musicians and the beer-wine tasting area beckoned us out the north door. Offering samples were Real Ales from Blanco plus three wineries, including Bell Springs. My client purchased a sweet white. I led her to the high fence to see the trees. They kind of resemble nearby live oaks but for their lighter-hued green leaves. Five varieties planted here produce sundry flavors and textures.
No sign graces the façade as yet, but we got some pictures. The impressive structure stands a magnificent contrast to the goat ranches next door. Typical of this particular Wine Drive, our next destinations that day were Driftwood Estate Vineyards, Duchman Family Winery, and Trattoria Lisina for lunch. It’s a lovely time of year to sip Hill Country wines and now to also include genuine Texas olive oil.