Fall Wine & Dine Experiences
Enoch's Stomp in Harleton is well worth the drive for delicious wines and cuisine.
Vineyards and wineries began dotting the Upper East Side of Texas more than a decade ago and it didn’t take long for their crops to yield award-winning wines.
Landon Winery in Greenville, Enoch’s Stomp in Harleton, Tara in Athens, Kiepersol in Bullard, and Los Pinos in Pittsburg are often names placed in winning categories in wine contests throughout the world.
With wines as good as these, it’s not surprising that fine dining soon made its way into each of these locations.
USA Today recently enlisted a panel of wine and travel experts to select 20 winery restaurants for their Best in America list. Out of the 20 they chose from the whole country, TWO of them — Tara and Los Pinos — are in Northeast Texas.
Besides wineries with delicious food, there are a few other noteworthy excursions here to round out our list of Fall Wine & Dine Experiences in the Upper East Side of Texas.
1. Tara Vineyard & Winery. Athens. The culinary team at The Cellar Door at Tara Winery is headed up by Executive Chef Becklien James. Their rustic menu features seafood, steaks, pasta, wraps and 100-percent Kobe beef burgers, all served alongside Tara’s wine offerings. Every meal is handcrafted and prepared fresh to order and perfectly seasoned. The Cellar Door serves a full menu lunch through dinner Wednesday through Sunday and there’s a lovely historic home bed and breakfast for overnight guests. 8603 County Road 3914. 903.675.7023. tarawinery.com.
2. Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards. Pittsburg. Fork and Spoon, the on-site restaurant of Los Pinos, features live jazz on Fridays and Saturdays to accompany a menu of wood-fired pizzas, tapas, salads and cheese platters, and specials like cazpacho Valenciana paella and alucia with lobster, and grilled ribeye created by Chef Enam Chowdhury. They have numerous sweet and dry wines made on site. They also have a couple of cottages for lodging. 658 County Road 1334. 903.855.1769. lospinosranchvineyards.com.
3. Landon Winery & Bistro. Greenville. Winner of several national awards for their crafted wines, Landon is a favorite dining location as well as wine tastings and special events. The menu includes soups, salads, pastas, and chef specialties like pecan-crusted tilapia, panko-encrusted chicken, grilled salmon, and certified Angus beef. Located in a historic downtown building with outdoor patio seating as well, its atmosphere is enjoyable anytime of the day. 2508 Lee Street. 903.454.7878. landonwinery.com.
4. Enoch’s Stomp. Harleton. It is a lush, 90-acre landscape of ponds, lakes, conifers, large oaks and 11 acres of climbing grapevines. They offer a wide variety of wines including dry reds, whites, blush and rosé, and dessert wines, and have accumulated more than 100 awards from various international wine competitions. Executive Chef David Lichty serves up a wide range of food from pub fare like pizza, tapas, and sandwiches to dinner entrees like tenderloin, ribeye, or prime rib. Entrees are served with sauteed veggies and roasted garlic, asiago mashed potatoes, and numerous fish, chicken, duck, and pork chop meals. They have live music on the weekends. 870 Ferguson Road. 903.240.1587. enochstomp.com.
5. Kiepersol. Bullard. Kiepersol offers a complete food, wine and destination experience. Their wines are made on site from the red and white grapes grown on the 63-acre vineyard and pair nicely with the cuisine at the rustic, elegant Restaurant at Kiepersol. The menu includes USDA prime steaks and fresh seafood with sides like creamed spinach, sauteed mushrooms, and lobster stuffing. They offer several bed and breakfast options and a full hookup RV park. 21508 Merlot Lane. 903.894.3300. kiepersol.com.
6. Bella Stella Winery and Opa’s Kitchen. Winnsboro. In a quaint, rustic setting out in the country, Bella Stella offers their own muscadine wine plus other Texas wines paired with German cuisine like jagerschnitzel, bratwurst, sausage, crab cakes, Oma’s chocolate cake and apple strudel. 879 CR 4440. 903.975.0020. bellastellawinery.com.
7. Other Wineries. Check out the extensive list of close to 40 other wineries in the Upper East Side of Texas under Food + Drink Resources/Wineries on countylinemagazine.com. Some of them offer appetizers or light meals and a few welcome bringing a gourmet picnic to go along with their delicious wines. Some of them are located near each other so make for a great day tour like Tara. 3 P’s in a Vine, and Casatle Oaks in Athens and nearby White Fox in Murchison.
8. Sabor a Pasion. Palestine. This beautiful location has a fairly new vineyard and their wines are currently aging. If it turns out as good as their food, it’s going to be well worth the wait. In the meantime, grab a favorite bottle of wine and enjoy with the flavors created by Chefs Simon Webster and Christine Gardner. They prepare dishes with locally-grown ingredients including those from their own herb and vegetable garden, and fruit, cheese, meat and eggs from local farmers. Classically trained at the New Zealand Culinary Institute, Chef Webster’s menu typically includes an assortment of starters, entrees, sides and desserts made market fresh and they change regularly. They offer wine and food cooking classes and overnight lodging. 110 CR 406. 903.729.9500. saborapasion.com.
9. Greer Farm. Daingerfield. Chef Eva Greer offers a wide selection of farm-fresh culinary experiences including private dining, catering, and farm-to-fork cooking classes. They do not have a vineyard but the food and atmosphere iare too good to pass up, so guests are encouraged to bring their favorite vintage and they will prepare a meal around it. This working farm produces vegetables, herbs, fruit, berries, and Maine-Anjou beef. They strive for excellence in sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship and invite guests to visit their unique farm for a meal, a day trip adventure, or overnight getaway. 1444 CR 1125. 903.645.3232. greerfarm.com.
10. Farmers Markets. Visitors find farmers markets all over the region that include local wines and food primarily between May and October each year, but some operate year round. Go to the Food+Drink Resources/Farmers Markets on countylinemagazine.com for a list of markets and call to check availability of wines and cooking demonstrations.
11. The Pullman Table. Palestine. The Texas State Railroad offers a gold standard train ride with farm-to-table menus, as well as other events throughout the year, that serve local agriculture and wines. 789 Park Road 70. 877.726.7245. texasstaterr.com.
12. Four Winds Steakhouse. Wills Point. Although there are numerous restaurants in the region with great wine lists like Four Winds has, there are few with the combination of that, plus award-winning cuisine by Chef Frank Rumore and his team, plus an out-of-the-way country setting on 1,100 acres.All comes together for an outstanding wine and dine experience in the ranch house built by former Dallas Cowboys’ Lee Roy Jordan. It is absolutely worth the trip from anywhere. 21191 FM 47. 903.873.2225. fourwindssteakhouse.com.
13. Grape Bistro & Wine Bar. Winnsboro. This upscale place in the heart of the arts district has more than 20 fine wines to choose from, including several local Los Pinos wines. They serve sandwiches, salads, appetizers and dinner specials like ravioli with balsamic butter, and spaghetti with radicchio, ricotta, and lemon-garlic bread crumbs. 217 Market Street. 903.347.6510. grapewinnsborotx.com.
14. Lone Star Republic Steakhouse. Winnsboro. Outstanding steaks and all the trimmings make this a new favorite for many. The Bowery Bar carries a wide variety of Los Pinos wines. 206 Market Street. 903.347.6526. lonestarrepublicsteakhouse.com.
15. Roast Social Kitchen. Tyler. For something really different, try this fairly new restaurant that offers delicious cuisine paired with wine on tap. RSK has the only wine on draft system in East Texas with wines coming directly from vineyards. Their menu is designed to evolve and features seasonal variety. Not run-of-the mill cuisine, the menu offers such items as caramelized onion dip, hand-made mozzarella, and their main event, brick oven pizzas with names like Bee’s Knees and Big Bad Wolf. 1125 E. 5th Street. 903.202.0295. roastsocialkitchen.com.
16. Avinger Wine Festival. On September 17 the tiny town with the big Five D Cattle Company Steak House holds their annual event offering wines from Enoch’s Stomp, Fairhaven, Los Pinos, Maydelle Country Winery, O’Farrell Country Vineyards, Red 55 Winery, Texas Vineyard & Smokehouse, Naca Valley Vineyard, and others. Select vendors provide artisan foods for sale and sampling, and music and art also fill out the day. Downtown Avinger/Corner of Church and Pine. 903.562.1000. avingerwinefestival.com.
17. 7th Annual Lufkin’s Bistro. The Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau teams up with local restaurants, chefs, and Brookshire Brothers on October 1 for an elegant, entertaining evening under the stars with an incredible selection of wines from across the globe, all organized by country and region and with flags to help identify favorites. The event includes live music by the Grateful Geezers and there’s plenty of dancing room. Downtown Lufkin. 936.633.0359 visitlufkin.com
18. Everything Texas Uncorked Wine Festival. Mount Pleasant. On October 8 sample wines from Texas wineries, enjoy food from local chefs, and shop for one-of-a-kind wares made by Texas artisans. Live music all day. Camp Langston, 50 CR 3227. 903.572.8567. mtpleasanttx.com.
19. Mount Vernon Food & Wine. Mount Vernon Main Street has two days of fun beginning October 21 with Harvest on Main and then Market on Main on October 22. Friday night’s Farm to Table Dinner, provided by Los Pinos Ranch Vineyard, includes reception appetizers and wine plus a five-course meal with wine pairings. On Saturday downtown Mount Vernon comes to life with a market featuring close to 50 culinary, wine, and retail vendors and the main attraction, wine tastings and cooking demonstrations from local, award-winning chefs and wineries. Downtown Mount Vernon. 903.537.4070. mtvernonfoodandwine.com.
20. 3rd Annual Palestine Main Street Wine Swirl. Enjoy regional wineries, food and shopping December 10. Downtown Palestine. 903.723.3014. palestinemainstreet.org.
Some of the restaurants are open seven days a week, others only on weekends. Call ahead to verify hours and always drink wine responsibly. Look for a map of locations on countyline-magazine.com.