Known as the long-haired, bearded, music exec-turned-winery owner who often personally greets you in the tasting room, Ron Yates is also one of the industry’s most beloved and respected pioneers in the Texas wine industry.

Spicewood Vineyards, established in 1992 and purchased by Ron and his family in 2007, is focused on making wines from estate-grown grapes. One of the oldest vineyards in the Texas Hill Country, Spicewood Vineyards has planted the following grapes: Tempranillo, Sauvignon Blanc, Graciano, Carignan, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier and Muscat.

The Spicewood Vineyards team takes a “hands in the dirt” approach to vineyard management, helping the vines flourish despite crippling frost, shredding hail, and searing heat. Understanding and nurturing the vines makes it possible to produce exceptional wines year after year.

Not one to shy away from trying new things, owner Ron Yates and his winemaking team are among Texas’ first to make pet-nat (petillant natural) wines and sometime next year will release their first sparkling wine made in the Méthode Champenoise style. Called Sammie’s Sparkling, it is a blend of Muscat, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc.

Spicewood’s winemaking team includes Joshua Fritsche (owner of Tatum Cellars, on the left) and Reagan Sivadon (co-owner and winemaker at Sandy Road Vineyard, on the right).

Influenced by a college semester spent in the Ribera del Duero wine region, Ron is one of Texas’ most passionate supporters of Tempranillo. You can expect to enjoy Tempranillos from different vineyards across the state as well as interesting Tempranillo-led blends, including the always-popular Good Guy. The red blend is a tribute to Ron’s grandfather who purchased part of the vineyard and gave Ron a 99-year lease for $1 because he was delighted his long-haired, hippie grandson was ‘getting into agriculture.’

Here are some of Ron’s favorites to try now or when they are released over the coming months:

  • 2020 Black Label Tempranillo
  • 2020 Good Guy
  • 2023 Estate Viognier
  • 2023 Sauvignon Blanc – the first from estate plantings since 2020

Plan a visit to Spicewood Vineyards soon, which puts on many events with live music and food. You don’t want to miss the 2024 Pair It with Claret event on Saturday, Feb. 24 where local teams compete in a chili cook-off while enjoying Spicewood Vineyards Cabernet Claret red wine.

Take a tour of Spicewood Vineyards!