The first Sunday in weeks we hadn’t had rain, my husband and I ventured out into peaceful north Celina to bask in the sun and check out Eden Hill winery, a place I’d just recently heard about. Upon arrival, we were instantly charmed by the beautiful grounds, rows of lush grape vines, and were pleasantly surprised to find such a lovely place so close to home.
After being let in the front door (we arrived just as they were setting up for the day), we met welcoming owners Clark and Linda Hornbaker and later got to learn even more from their son and Winemaker Chris Hornbaker. Talking and being educated about wine from this family was a major highlight of our visit.
Clark said their winery was named after the original biblical Garden of Eden. His wife has a knack for gardening, and they want to be good stewards of the land. We also learned that the vineyard was planted in 2008 and spans about 2 acres. They recruit other fine Texas grapes from around the state to create some additional varietals.
At Eden Hill, their passion is “creating fine wine using all Texas grapes”.
The tasting room at Eden Hill is only open to the public on Sundays from 1-6pm so be sure and put it on your calendar. This charming place and their wines are simply not to be missed. My only regret is taking this long to find them.
To perfectly accompany the wine, they create snack plates for you to nosh on between sips. Our plate featured a delicious warm jalapeno dip, salami, grapes, assorted cheeses, crackers and a cream cheese and preserve spread. This plate was a perfect pairing for the wine tasting.
Wine tastings are a steal at only $5 per person, and you get to sample a wide variety of wines. On that Sunday, we got to sample their Divine White blend, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Moscato, Rousanne, and Temptation. We also got a sneak preview of two of their newest creations: a beautifully executed Rose’ and a brilliant Aglianico, unlike anything we’ve ever tasted, that will be rolled out in the near future.
Our first taste, the 2014 Divine White blend, has a beautiful aroma, a cool label designed by the winemaker himself, surprising and refreshing flavors, and an interesting story to match. “Born out of the difficult harvest year of 2014, our Divine White was created from the fruit God left to us. Like many vineyards across the state, we were left with few grapes after late spring freezes, but we were blessed with a small, high quality crop of Albarino, Vidal Blanc, and Orange Muscat. From these grapes we made our Divine White, a delicious field blend that will elevate your palate with crisp flavors of citrus, lemon, and orange zest.” Note that the Divine White will vary from year to year, based on the grapes that best fared from the season.
The Tempranillo(a grape most famous for growing in Spain) is fast becoming a favorite grape to grow in Texas. It simply thrives in our climate here, similar to the climate in Spain. The Tempranillo at Eden Hill is well executed, having brought home a Bronze Medal in the Lone Star International Wine Competition. Lush with a nose of black cherry and oak, the Tempranillo is an excellent choice for those who enjoy smooth, dry wines.
Eden Hill’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 was “picked from the ripest Cabernet Sauvignon clusters on a clear cool morning from the Iron Bird Vineyard near Whitesboro, Texas.” This wine is then aged for 18 months in French, American, and neutral barrels to give the wine soft and smooth tannins. This wine would pair excellently with any type of beef or rich pasta dish. Aromas and flavors of berry, honey, and cinnamon exude from this one. Wine is unfiltered, and sediment will be normal.
Eden Hill’s Garden Red blend is one of their most popular wines. A semi-sweet red table wine that blends Tempranillo, Chambourcin, and Cynthiana grapes, the Garden Red presents aromas of oak, vanilla, and a hint of toasted marshmallow. Flavors of berry and chocolate make this wine a great go-to choice. The bottle says this wine pairs well with pork, chicken, and lamb dishes.
Their complete collection currently includes 11 different wines, the 2 new creations mentioned previously will be released soon. I can easily say that Eden Hill is creating by far some of the best Texas wines I’ve ever tasted.
If you sample something you absolutely love, you can purchase by the glass or by the bottle. Bottle prices range from $16-$28.
Eden Hill is also a working farm, growing fruits and vegetables. Their crops are also pesticide-free. The winery is run on 100% rainwater collected on their farm. These sustainable farming methods make them a cut above many other local farms and vineyards.
The drive to Eden Hill is a beautiful and relaxing one, and the people there are wonderful and knowledgeable about their craft. Their passion for Texas grapes and creating Texas fine wines is clear.
Be sure and check them out one Sunday afternoon, I think you’ll be just as enamored as we were.
Eden Hill Farm and Vineyard
4910 Eden Hill Lane
Celina, TX 75009
Open Thursday through Saturday, 1 to 5 PM, for wine purchases.
Tasting room open Saturdays and Sundays from 1-6.