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Getting to know Texas wines

Arianna Auber

Cabernet Grill owner and chef Ross Burtwell probably knows almost as much about Texas wines as the winemakers themselves.

A longtime advocate of using locally grown ingredients in foods at his Fredericksburg restaurant, he also believes it’s important to support the wines made here from Texas-grown grapes. That’s why the Cabernet Grill has the largest Texas-only wine list in the state, currently with 90 different offerings from 31 state wineries. Some of these are featured as pairings in his new cookbook, “Texas Hill Country Cuisine,” based off recipes from the restaurant and from vintner dinners he’s helped to host.

He’s gotten so familiar with these wines in part by going out to the vineyards and wineries of the Hill Country and beyond and sampling them right from the source. So whether you visit his restaurant, buy a copy of his cookbook — which I wrote about for the lead story in today’s food section — or take a trip to the wineries yourself, you might just find yourself becoming an avid Texas wine fan, too.

In the coming weeks, you have the opportunity not only to visit the wineries, but to grab the cookbook and have a chat with Burtwell. He’ll be out at Fall Creek Vineyards, Texas Hills Vineyard, Pedernales Cellars and Torre di Pietra in special book signing events that run through the beginning of July. Come hungry to each of them, and of course ready to sip some wine.

  • Celebrate Memorial Day weekend with Fall Creek Vineyards from 12 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Burtwell will only be signing the cookbook from 12 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, but both days will feature barbecue, family-friendly games and lots of wine.
  • On June 14 from 12 to 3 p.m., he’ll be at Texas Hills Vineyard in Johnson City with a pen in hand and recipes from his cookbook for you to sample.
  • At one of Pedernales Cellars’ Live Music Saturdays, from 12 to 3 p.m. on June 28, he’ll lead a food and wine tasting, giving you a glimpse of how he’s able to execute pairings so well at the Cabernet Grill.
  • Fourth of July weekend will be one of his final book signing events. At Torre di Pietra in Fredericksburg, he’ll have more food and wine pairings for you to try from 12 to 3 p.m. July 5.