In general (and I can say this because I'm born and raised here), Texas is behind the curve on new and interesting things by two to three years on average. This includes natural wine, which is becoming more and more prevalent across major cities in the Lone Star State, but you still have to know what you are looking for. The exception to this rule, as with most rules regarding Texas taking its slow Southern time to arrive at any culture party, is Austin.
Austin is home to Wonder Women of Wine Conference as well as what we at Sprudge Wine have dubbed the best natural wine happy hour in America and the best natural wine list at a brewery. And now the latter, the wild fermentation destination brewery Jester King, is helping further ATX’s stranglehold on the Texas natural wine scene by hosting the Wild World Natural Wine Festival. Taking place the weekend of May 18th and 19th, Wild World will feature over 200 natural wines, ciders, beers, and meads.
With over 50 producers on hand over the course of the weekend, the attendee list is a collection of high-profile local, domestic, and international winemakers. Texas producers on-site to pour from their offering sheets include Krista Scruggs of ZAFA Wines (yes, she also makes wine in Vermont, but we’re claiming her as a Texan, ok?), Ian Rosel of La Cruz de Comal, and Regan Meador of Southold Farm + Cellar. Hank Beckmeyer of La Clarine Farm, Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars, Joe Swick of Swick Wines, and Tony Coturri of Coturri Winery are just a few of the US-based producers that will be in attendance. Not to be outdone, the list of international producers includes big names like Brendan Tracey, Sébastien David, Jean Foillard, and Bichi Wines’ Noel Tellez. Not exactly lightweights, dude.
But to call this just a natural wine festival would be truly foolish indeed. Also in attendance will be Oregon co-ferment maestros Art + Science, ciders from Aaron Burr Cidery, meads from Enlightenment Wines, and a brewery list that will surely bring more than a handful of beer nerds to a natural wine festival. Along with Jester King, breweries like American Solera and Black Project—which if you were to ask me to pick my favorite four breweries in maybe the entire world, you’d just have to throw in a Crooked Stave to reach a quorum—as well as Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales and Belgium’s Brasserie Cantillon, the natural wine lover's favorite beer not called Tecate.
At this point, if you’re not already lined up at the doorstep of Jester King’s just-outside-of-Austin-but-technically-still-Austin 200+ acre farm, then what more are you waiting for?
Tickets for Wild World Natural Wine Festival range from $85 for single-day and $135 for weekend passes and can be purchased hereere. $20 round trip shuttle tickets from South Austin are also available as well as a 15% discount on rooms at The Carpenter Hotel.
Bring sunscreen, it's going to be hot. But for those two days, there will be absolutely no better way to beat back the summer heat than at the Wild World Natural Wine Festival. Maybe save an hour or two for a dip in nearby Hamilton Pool, Krause Springs, or the refreshingly frigid but very sobering waters at Barton Springs.
Top image via Wild World Natural Wine Festival