We found our selves happily surprised by the amount of Texas wine (and other libations) available at the festival. Messina Hof is a sponsor, and they provide three wines special for the festival. They also have Enchanted Manor Meadery on-site, with their current portfolio available. There were plenty of Texas beers to choose from, as well as Austin East Ciders. We knew we would be in good shape.
The October visit centered around wine. We made reservations for the King's Wine Tasting.
The King’s Som-meller Alotta Burns leads her group of adventurous drinkers through eight wines. She guides experienced and not so experienced wine drinkers through the basics of wine. But the main goal of the tasting is fun.
Along with Alotta, Haley Welshwine encourages inappropriate behavior. Her bawdy jokes and mischief add to Alotta’s more relaxed approach to enjoying wine, and even makes the 5 S’s (See, Swirl, Smell, Sip and Savor) more fun than it probably should be. Sprinkle in some rather embarrassing games, like a dance contest, and the laughter and joy never stops (yes, I made a fool of myself, and no, I am not providing those pictures). In fact, it can become difficult to get those gathered to leave.
We chose the 1pm tasting to make sure we had plenty of time for other diversions (there is a 3pm also). At the tasting there were no Texas wines; we instead drank frizaante, reisling, albarino, chardonnay, a surprising cab-shiraz blend, a surprising California red blend, and delightful Cotes de Rhone. But the ending ends with a bit of Texas: Enchanted Manor Mead.
We returned to the scene of the crime for the 5pm mead tasting. Enchanted Manor was a highlight, but so was Griffin Meadery. To present a more balanced view, a few other meaderies were included; the one from Colorado was my favorite.
The next time out, we stuck to just tasting as we went. We spent some time with the owner of Enchanted Manor Meadery. The wines are available at Specs and similar sites; however, there is no tasting room. Right now, money is an issue, so the only time there is a tasting room is during the festival. Guests can taste the mead, buy some mead, and see a show.