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Red Caboose Winery
by
Terry Sullivan

Red Caboose WinerySummary: The approach to Red Caboose Winery takes you on a winding dirt road past trees, shrubs and flowers. You feel that you are in another world as the vineyards approach. Then you drive between the vineyards as you near the winery and tasting room. This “green” winery will delight eyes and taste, making for the perfect destination to pause and relax.

Have you ever thought of spending time in a red caboose converted into an apartment? Gary McKibben has and now plans to acquire other cabooses to turn into a bed and breakfast at the Red Caboose Winery in Meridian, Texas. Gary wanted to retire from a career in architecture. In 2004 he decided to plant a vineyard. Each year he added more grapes. Gary spent weekends in a red caboose while planting the vineyards. The idea to call the winery Red Caboose came as an afterthought while brainstorming other possible names.

Red Caboose WineryThe healthy looking vineyards escaped the damage that many other vineyards had during April 2009. The vineyards offered challenges during planting. The topsoil is about three inches deep, followed by solid rock. Gary needed to cut a furrow through the rock using a special saw. The roots of the vines are strong and able to force themselves in crevices drawing upon the available nutrients. Nine and a half acres are planted with Syrah, Tempranillo, Black Spanish and Viognier. An additional five acres of various vinifera were planted in 2009. The winery building was constructed in 2006 and meets LEED green building criteria. Gary’s son, Evan is the vineyard manager and winemaker. Current production is 3,500 cases and Evan would like to reach 10,000 cases a year.

We entered the retail area that use to be the tasting room and met Evan McKibben and Leann Gilbert. Evan took us on a tour of the winery. The new tasting room sits at the entrance to the barrel room. The barrel room was set up with tables and chairs for a recent event. Outside the tasting room there is a large covered patio area for tastings and relaxing. All of the rocks for the wall are from the Red Caboose Winery Ranch. The outside area includes a wood-burning kitchen modeled after an early 1800 Pennsylvania Dutch kitchen. One of the ovens is a pizza oven. Several tables and chairs make this patio area a perfect escape for several hours.

Red Caboose Winery     Red Caboose Winery

Red Caboose WineryWe tasted several wines with Evan. The 2008 Viognier was made from estate grown grapes. The unoaked wine had a citrus and floral aroma with a smooth citrus and honeysuckle taste. The finish was crisp with a citrus aftertaste. The 2006 Merlot offered a black cherry and earthy aroma. The fruit forward taste was of black cherries and the wine finished crisp with tannins. The 2007 Tempranillo/Syrah blend had a spicy and dark fruit aroma and taste. The finish was crisp and spicy with mild tannins. The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon offered a blackberry aroma and taste. This fruit forward wine’s finish was crisp with bold tannins. A sweet wine was the Blanc du Bosque made from the Blanc du Bois grape. It was called Blanc du Bosque after Bosque County where the winery is located. The wine offered a pineapple and tropical fruit aroma. The tropical fruit salad taste had pepper nuances. Its finish was sweet and fruity.

Several events take place at the winery including weddings, proposals and group parties. The winery also holds events such as the monthly Cork and Fork event. No reservations or tickets are needed for the Cork and Fork event. People are encouraged to bring a picnic basket and purchase wine by the glass or bottle. Live music is performed during the event. There are also events sponsored by the Way Out Wine Trail.

Red Caboose WineryRed Caboose Winery offers the perfect destination for escape and relaxation. From the approach and drive, through the vineyards, to the covered outdoor patio one can relax and enjoy the views and wine.

Red Caboose Winery
1147 CR 1110
Meridian, Texas 76665

GPS: N31º 56.940’ W97º 36.120’

 


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