Guess what, Houston! We have our own little winery in town that’s actually not so little at all. Nice Winery — off Beltway 8 in Northwest Houston — is like visiting wine country without leaving Houston’s city limits. Go to buy a bottle, try a tasting or one of their many events. Need more convincing? Allow me.
I’ve had the chance to talk to Ryan Levy, one of the wine makers, for a story for the Houston Business Journal (my day job!) and attended one of his events at the winery with my mom. It was pretty freaking fun.
1. The winemakers know what they are doing.
Before you wine snobs roll your eyes, this winery is not your normal Texas winery. It’s got vineyards spread across the US from Texas to Argentina pulling in grapes of all different varieties. They clearly know their stuff and Ryan is basically an encyclopedia. He hosts most (or all?) the events, including the event I was at, which was wine school — which is a school I’m always interested in attending.
The class was so insightful — you learn how to best guess the type of wine, where it was made, what year it was made, etc. I could now very clearly tell you the difference between an oaked and unoaked chardonnay and which white wines are floral facing. And, what was so cool, is Ryan didn’t just use Nice’s wine to demonstrate his points. He had you try wines from all around the world and even stocked those wines so you could buy them too. Pretty neat and not as self-promotional like you’d expect.
2. The wine is really good.
I mean, you can just take my word for it. OR, you can take into consideration that Nice Winery’s 2013 Notorious Mount Veeder Malbec took home the Houston Rodeo’s Reserve Grand Champion Best of Show title in the entire competition last year. I mean, casual. That’s a stiff competition and it’s not even the first and only time Nice has been recognized by HSLR.
3. They give back.
The wine isn’t just good, it does good too. Peruse their selection and take a look at how many of their wines are listed as “benefitting” some organization. It’s pretty incredible that they’d put so much of their wine profits toward all these great Houston organizations. They say red wine is good for the heart, but many of Nice’s wines are full of heart! (Ok, sorry that was cheesy.)
4. The wine clubs are cults — in the best way.
I’ll never forget when my mom joined a wine club on a whim in California. “Four wines? For the price of two? Shipped to my door twice a year? Oh, that sounds reasonable. I’m in!”
I’ve been to a lot of tastings and heard a lot of wine club pitches and I’m not as easy to sell as my mother. However, Nice Winery’s pitch is pretty stinking cool. First of all, there are SEVERAL wine club options within Nice — from red and white to premium and even a discovery club, which sends you wine from outside the Nice brand. Check out the options here.
5. It’s just down the street.
This is less of a detailed reason of why to try and more of a — wine not? Tell ’em It’s Not Hou sent you.