Arch Ray Resort

I had the opportunity to visit Arch Ray Resort in Fredericksburg for a wine tasting and tour.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a fan of combined wineries, distilleries and breweries – mostly because only one is ever done right. However, as evidenced by my conversations with Brian (GM) and Jerry (Master Distiller/Brewer) this is the exception to my experience. And it truly was an exception. I won’t go into the history of how the resort got its name or the families behind it – you can read that on the website. I’d rather tell you why its someplace I will insist we go to with friends in the future.

I was seated in the 1894 Ranch to Table Restaurant (more) space while I waited to meet with Brian. It is a nice bright space with windows into the distillery and seating for about 50 people that night. The bar runs nearly the length of the room. The “ranch to table” is more than a slogan – the family behind the resort does have a 10-acre ranch nearby where they raise cattle.

There are more pictures below in the gallery. Also included are pictures of the walk up to the resort, the entryway, and the large open tasting room. The tasting room reminds me of a country club. There are niche spaces for groups to sit on couches and chairs, seating by the large fireplace, seating at the bar and tables and chairs. It’s a well rounded space that is both open and inviting, yet feels intimate and as if you’re sitting in someone’s living room.

Wine Tasting – Arch Ray Winery

2021 Viognier

The tasting (more) started with the Viognier – a pale yellow and crisp wine. A nice licorice scent that wasn’t overpowering was the first thing I got. Then I got fresh floral notes, like a garden after rain. Even with the light licorice (anise) flavor, which is not my favorite since it was followed by a sweet grape and floral flavor, I loved this wine and would have happily kept drinking it all night.

2021 Pinot Grigio

A florally yeast scent was first for me – kind of like fresh hot French toast. Unfortunately, the flavor didn’t follow the scent and despite the low acid, it had a long finish. The flavor was more tropical like tropical punch than the floral sugary flavor the scent implied. Still a good white for the summertime.

2019 Tempranillo

This is a very typical Texas High Plains Tempranillo. Dry, yet drinkable. Not as much of the petroleum flavor as others from that region but I really enjoyed sipping on it while touring the distillery and original tasting room. So it’s a great wine that doesn’t need food.

2019 Tannat

I’m not a fan of Tannat, but this wine had a super sugary scent – so had you poured it for me blind, I would have guessed a blend. It had great berry flavor and finished with nice spice.

Ogle Brewery

I even tried the Pecan Porter (picture in gallery below) and the Eggnog Stout from Ogle Brewery (more). The pecan porter was a liquid version of pecan pies growing up – yeast and dark Karo syrup with toasted pecan. The Eggnog Stout was a deep spicy flavor that would work really well in the cake I make every year at Christmastime that uses beer as the yeast and for some flavor. Hopefully that one will still be around in the fall and I can snag some to bake with – although the Pecan Porter would work too. Both great beers for people who enjoy craft brews.

Paul Bee Distillery

I didn’t try any of the spirits – but a friend did and snapped a picture of the bourbon. I snapped a picture of the Vodka bottle for the innovative labeling. And had I not had to be somewhere else, I would have hung out at the bar and tried some of their craft cocktails to go with the spirits they distill. (See the cocktail list here.)

Final Thoughts

I don’t rate beer as I rarely drink it. However the wines were all perfect for a Wednesday night. So, what won me over? Other than the fact that both the beer and wine were good?

Brian said it best when he said “I can bring my kids to work.”

Arch Ray is not a tasting room with a restaurant stuck on to it and a amphitheater because its cool to have one. Arch Ray is a destination – a true “resort.” Plans for a multistory multi-starred hotel are in the works, the RV park (more) is already open and available. Arch Ray on the River (more), which is an RV and B&B cabin ‘neighborhood’ is selling out fast, based on the maps in the entryway.

The Lineage (more) or Arch Ray’s version of a ‘wine club’ is quite different. I use the term ‘wine club’ loosely, since it covers the winery, brewery and distillery. I hate to boil it down to simple terms, as it sounds insulting, but it’s a deposit account. You make a monthly deposit based on your level of interaction desired and then you can use that as credit toward your experiences at Arch Ray. If I lived closer, I’d be all in on this concept as not only do I get a free glass or tasting, but I can treat guests or grab a snack.

This means, there is something for everyone – which is why I can’t wait to take some friends. Arch Ray Resort’s aim is to have a space where no one is excluded from the experience. You know what happens – it’s like my friends:

  • Couple 1 – She drinks wine and whiskey, he drinks beer.
  • Couple 2 – She drink wine and he drink spirits.

Now there is a place we can all go and sit someplace comfortable to talk and hang out. We could do a tasting – either wine, beer or spirits or just order a drink and food. We could even bring the kids if we weren’t having a day away. Although, I suggest not letting the kids have the gourmet coffees that are also on the menu. But I might get them a chocolate brownie and crispy cheese curds.

The only downside is the he in the second couple is a vegetarian and the food suggestions are limited for vegetarians. BUT Hey, if that’s my biggest complaint – they must be doing something right.


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