Becker Vineyards Review
Address: 464 Becker Farms Rd. Stonewall,Texas 78671.
Phone Number: 830-644-2681
Tasting Hours: Mon-Thurs 10:00-5:00, Fri-Sat 10:00-6:00, Sun 12:00-6:00
Region: Texas Hill Country AVA, Texas
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Review Date: 3/18/2013
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Established in 1992, Becker Vineyards is one of the more well-established and well-known wineries in the Fredericksburg area of Central Texas. In 2010, Forbes claimed they made the best wine in Texas. Having been around awhile, and won numerous awards at wine competitions, they know what theyre doing in terms of making good wine and providing a memorable experience for the people who visit the winery on a sunny Saturday.
The Experience It was mid-afternoon on a Saturday in March when we went to Becker. Its a popular place, only a few miles from Fredericksburg, and a really nice place for a family picnicso there was quite a turnout. Be prepared for some serious company if you go on a weekend!
Signage is good, and parking wasnt an issue, in spite of the fact that they had an event going on at the Lavender Haus in addition to the usual Saturday tasting.
The Place  The tasting room is housed in a reproduction German barn, so the space is big, with a high ceiling and a VERY large racetrack-shaped bar. To me, it felt more like a California winery tasting room than the smaller, more intimate spaces you usually find in Texas. We elected to have our tasting at the second bar, set up outside, since it was such a nice day. A large courtyard space lies adjacent to the tasting room barn, with a number of chairs and benches (not a whole lot of shade, though, which could be unfortunate on a Texas summer afternoon) and lots of space to set up picnic blankets or lawn chairs. A number of visitors had done just that and were scattered about enjoying their wine. Becker also sells cheeses and some other food items on the premises, so Im sure many people were taking advantage of that.
The People  Brooke was our primary bartender, switching off occasionally with Marti it was a busy day! Brooke was very personable and knowledgeable (and very tolerant of my inability to pronounce Viognier) and they all gave a pretty generous pour. Becker was quite amply staffed for the crowd on a busy afternoon; we never had to wait for anything, and no one seemed rushed or inclined to hurry us along.
One of the more colorful personalities on-site seems to be Randy, who apparently primarily goes by Coach and very rarely gets called by his actual name. He called me maam very sweetly (good Texas boy, Im guessing) and is quite skilled at getting the crowds attention with a loud horn and a booming voice to announce important happenings such as last call!
The Wines $10 buys six tastes at Becker, and they have 19 varietals on the tasting menu. I was glad my fiancé and my friend were there to help me taste a majority! In addition to the six tastes, Becker offers a complimentary taste of their wine of the day, which was the Viognier on this particular Saturday. That turned out to be one of my favorites. I really enjoyed the reserve Chardonnay, which coincidentally we spotted on the menu of the fun little wine bar and bistro in Round Rock where we chose to eat that evening. (Its called Krave, and is well worth checking out, for the wine list, the food, and the atmosphere.) My fiancé really liked the Gewurztraminer, which is definitely a good choice on a summer day. Its lightly sweet, but not overpowering in any way. Our friend tried the Riesling, which she liked, and since I am not a sweet wine fan Im taking her word for it!
I think in general I preferred Beckers whites to their reds, which is surprising, given my general preference for the drier reds. I did enjoy the reserve Cabernet, which is not a big surprise since I tend to go for the expensive stuff. (OK, $40 a bottle is not THAT bad.) I also enjoyed the Raven, a blend of Petit Verdot and Malbec, but not quite enough to ask to take a bottle home. The Culinaria (Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Merlot) was nice and surprisingly light. The Tempranillo is nice and smooth, which is not unexpected considering how well Tempranillo does in Texas. I really wasnt a huge fan of either the Malbec or the Cabernet-Syrah, and my fiancé the port lover really didnt care for the Becker port-style.
Overall, the big winners were the reserve Chardonnay, the Viognier, the reserve Cabernet, and the Tempranillo. At least, those were the ones I bought to take home, either for myself or to share with my other wine-loving friends!
Insiders Tip  If you want to have much conversation with the winery staff, Id recommend avoiding Saturdays when its nice weather. Overall, we had a good experience at Becker, although the large-ness of the place and the size of the crowd made it feel a little too commercialized for my taste. I prefer a more intimate experience where you can really talk to the wine makers.
The grounds would be lovely for a picnic, but there arent many chairs, so bring a blanket or camp chairs and sunscreen!