It’s often said in the wine industry that sharing a bottle of vino with friends creates an emotional journey, often enhancing moments in time. In the case of Arrowhead Creek Vineyards, located on Highway 290 in Stonewall, I found myself engulfed within a unique trifecta experience, a magical blend of food, wine and fly fishing.
Yes, I know the art of Fly Fishing normally isn’t associated with the pleasures of wine. How could that fold into a Texas Hill Country winery visit? Is there a synergy between the artful flyrod cast of a delicate lure toward a finned animal in the river and raising a perfectly balanced glass of wine? I would argue yes, with both providing a sense of amazing mental pleasure.
At Arrowhead Creek Vineyard, visitors immediately feel surrounded by nature. The entrance parlays majestic estate vineyards that unfold toward an open, grass meadow and outdoor tasting pavilion. Just a few steps from the pavilion, visitors see the gentle flow of the Pedernales River, which marquees an ideal excursion from the norm, the combination of Fly Fishing and Vino.
It sounds simplistic in crafting this distinctive experience, but the journey of having an estate vineyard with river access wasn’t so easy, as explained by Arrowhead Creek proprietors Chris and Tia Aspra. It’s also one of the rare Texas Hill Country winery stops that offers river views while visiting a tasting room.
“We purchased the 100-year-old Beckmann Ranch, rich in native tribal history due to high land and Pedernales river access. The land is full of Indian artifacts, so we wanted to protect the history prior to our ownership,” Chris said. “We slowly remodeled the original farmhouse into a tasting room, then transformed the old barn to a Texas-inspired retail setting. We also added an outdoor kitchen area next to the tasting room, so we are quite complete for handling picnic needs. Over time, we will showcase the Indian artifacts found on the estate as a respectful, historic reminder.
“The riverbank was one of our biggest challenges,” he continued. “Overgrown with plant life, we took on a five-year clean-up process. It’s now available for scenic views, accented by picnic tables and shade trees. It’s perfect for family food and wine outings next to the river.”
Building out the Fly Fishing and Vino experience involved the services of Lone Star Fly Fishing, based in the Texas Hill Country. Owner-guides John Shank and fiancé Kelli Prescott worked with the Arrowhead Creek family by inviting an eclectic group of guests.
Guests were welcomed by the Aspra family toasting the occasion with refreshing 2019 Texas-grown Albariño hailing from the Mcpherson ranch in the High Plains. The Albariño grape is famous in Rias Baxias area of Spain, yet is slowly becoming a crowd favorite dry white wine on the estate. This wine offers an array of fresh lemon zest, grapefruit and nectarine flavor, and is perfect for outdoor sipping.
Small, breakout groups were organized with each Lone Star Fishing guide, one for instructional fly-fishing practice, the other for an into-the-river jaunt with the expertise of John Shank. As the day progressed and groups rotated, a signature estate driven Mourvèdre Red Blend “Nihcaro Campfire” filled the glasses. The name “Nihcaro,” translated as “Dance” in Comanche, reflects a tribute to the native Indian culture of the area. Blended perfectly with Petite Sirah and Tempranillo, the staff often jokingly claims it makes you dance by a campfire. Charcuterie boards accented the river gathering, as live music floated from the pavilion. The result was a harmonious expression of magical engagement with all parts in balance.
“The family run estate, Arrowhead Creek, stands out as a rising star with a unique flair,” said Clara Aspra, daughter-in-law of the proprietors. “There is plenty of space for family fun, including the Pedernales River that runs adjacent to their outdoor pavilion.
“We as a family strive to bring people together and find passion in presenting the perfect glass of wine to our guests,” she said. “There is something for everyone here and cater to all spectrums from novice wine drinkers to wine enthusiasts. The fly fishing and vino gathering gave guests a chance to experience exceptional food, wine, education and the art of fly fishing in a creative, outdoor Texas setting only found here.”
Somehow this Fly Fishing and Vino journey took me deeper emotionally. Sharing wine with friends made a mark and newfound special memories shaped the day, including respect to land history, the foundation of family values evident to each guest, and the artful elegance of fly fishing seamlessly intertwined with raising a glass. I walked away with a smile and got hooked on Arrowhead Vineyards. It’s almost as if this ancient Indian tribal site cast a spell. I’m destined to return to this family owned, Texas estate vineyard.
Arrowhead Creek Vineyard is open daily, 12 noon to 6 p.m.