I often come across passionate, enthusiastic characters in my travels. More often than not they have something to do food and drinks. I love learning about their passion for what they create and I love sharing my finds with you, so you can visit too.
At Barking Rocks Winery in Granbury, Texas, each grape crushing reveals a different path. The winemaker, Tiberia, is not interested in recreating the same bottle of wine again and again, but instead lets the grapes lead him through each barrelling. The journey of Barking Rocks Winery began ten years ago with an early retirement and a career change that led Tiberia to reinvent himself, dropping his first name and returning to his Italian heritage through winemaking. For the past decade, he and his wife Sissy have been sticking to their motto “making wine, friends and events happen.”
The grapes come from elsewhere in Texas, the High Plains region mostly, but Tiberia keeps what he calls a “petting vineyard” on the grounds. On site he presses and creates a small, but strong, selection of reds along with a white or two, depending on his spoils from the harvest. On my visit, I sampled a crisp 2011 Roussanne, a white wine made from a blending grape originally from the Rhône region of France, as well as a noteworthy 2007 Merlot and a Red Zinfandel made from a mix of 2006 and 2007 pressings. “Greatness is achieved in the vineyard,” Tiberia remarked and these wines are a great example of him letting the vineyard dictate his path. He also chooses his own adventure with his two red blends, the Red Man and the Casena. Never looking to recreate the past, the formula for the two remains the same, but the ingredients vary. For the Red Man, Tiberia always uses ten percent of his own grapes and the current vintage has an intense, deep flavor with notes of cherries and mint. Casena is always a mix of vintages on hand, but as supplies vary, so does the wine. It’s never the same journey, and this year’s blend was rich, smooth and had a hint of cinnamon.
The events are held the first Friday of the month and grew organically out of friends stopping by for a bottle and a potluck. Now, everyone is invited for live music and wine available for purchase. Just bring your favorite snacks and a blanket for a picnic in the Texas countryside. For folks from out of town, Barking Rocks is open on the first Friday of the month, every Saturday for tastings, and by appointment (or by chance.) For the opportunity to taste Tiberia’s latest creations, or simply to get familiar with Texas wine, Barking Rocks is worth the detour on your Texas roadtrip.
(Full disclosure, this was discovered while on a media trip. Other than taking me to the destination, this doesn’t inform my opinion, thoughts, or love of the place. If I don’t like something in my travels, I don’t bother to share it with you.)