It’s an overcast Saturday afternoon and 16 Love-A-Bull supporters pile into a shuttle bus. They’re off to sample some of the Texas Hill Country’s best wine and olive oil with L’Avventura Dolce, a wine touring company that coordinates custom experiences for groups celebrating graduation parties, weddings or – in this case – rescuing and advocating for pit bull type dogs.
L’Avventura Dolce is owned by entrepreneur Francesca Ramirez, who also uses her winning personality to host the tours. She engages participants in intra-bus trivia games that reveal fun facts about wine (did you know Costco’s wine sales exceed $1 billion each year?), and herds participants back to the bus to stay on schedule at each stop.
The group’s first destination is Texas Hill Country Olive Company. It sells wine, but is primarily an olive orchard with picturesque window views of Dripping Springs. The group avails themselves of the five wine samplings included in the tour price, and also indulges in surprising delicacies such as olive oil gelato with blueberry vinaigrette drizzled on top.
Stop number two is the Wimberley Valley Winery in Driftwood, which boasts a classic car out front and a colorful interior decor. Its selection of Australian dessert wines is a delicious revelation for some members of the tour.
Ramirez saved the best view for last, at Driftwood Estate Winery. Its scenery on a hill overlooking pastoral vistas pairs perfectly with its wine menu.
Despite having a full-time job in adult education, Ramirez spends her weekends building the business she conceived of while on a wine tour in Woodinville, Washington, three years ago. The company combines Ramirez’s love of tours, travel and teaching with her appreciation of the Hill Country’s bucolic beauty.
“I am by no means a connoisseur, but each of our vineyard stops is an opportunity to learn more about wines from Texas and around the world,” she says.
The group’s final destination is dinner at Jack Allen’s Kitchen where the group feasts on fare such as House Made Pimiento Cheese, Bacon Wrapped Texas Quail and Spinach Gorgonzola Raviolo.
L’Avventura Dolce offers Austinites a refreshing day away from the city, making tourists out of locals and showcasing a surprising side of Texas for visitors.