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“Great education on olives, owner should leave the politics alone”
Review of Bella Vista Ranch

Bella Vista Ranch
Ranked #6 of 21 things to do in Wimberley
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Attraction details
Owner description: The only olive orchard in the hill country also offers berry picking.
dallas
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Great education on olives, owner should leave the politics alone”
Reviewed August 18, 2013

First the good, the information about olive cultivation and manufacture of oil was outstanding. The tasting was very nice and generous with oils, jams and wine. The owner is entertaining and informative. However his hints at his political and social views was unnecessary, unwanted and for me detracted from the tour. I suspect he doesn't care.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
10 Thank dallasbill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • English first
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English first
Texas
Level 6 Contributor
88 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“The real treasure is the owner”
Reviewed July 29, 2013

Jack, the owner of Bella Vista provides visitors with a fascinating and informative history of olive farming throughout history as part of a tour at Bella Vista. Jack's knowledge of olive agriculture and sense of humor is a delight for anyone unfamiliar with the versatile olive. The tour also includes a tasting of locally grown products they have for sale in their gift shop. Touring Bella Vista will leave you with a new respect for the olive and the Texas hill country. Since olive oil is big business around the world, you owe it to yourself to find out more about this product and how it has impacted your life along with how to tell if you are purchasing fresh quality olive oil or being sold a cheap substitute. This was an issue in the ancient Mediterranean and for the world as a whole now.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank AdmiralJeff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Willis
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Very interesting & entertaining.”
Reviewed July 9, 2013

The wine tasting & tour was very interesting and delicious. The owner is very entertaining and the history of his olive plantation is very interesting.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank gsimpson_56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Worth, Texas
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Everything you wanted to know about olives!”
Reviewed February 12, 2013

If you ever want to know anything about the history of olives or olive oil, go on the tour! It is very informative but at times a little more than I wanted to know. The tasting of the olive oil is great and very interesting in addition. I have never had better olive oil or tapenade!

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Daphne K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
275 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“Day Tour Olive Oil Production in Texas ~ Wonderful Culinary Lecture & Tastings”
Reviewed January 30, 2013

We made reservations to drive to Wimberley this past Christmas 2012 week with our 5 out-of-state, visiting adult children on a Christmas week getaway. This farm was a unique site for our holiday week / culinary tour activities. We participated in a Sunday tour, 12noon sharp, whereby the ranch’s gate was promptly opened.(Off Mt. Sharp Road, there were 3-4 cars parked in the driveway ahead of ours, waiting for the ranch’s gate to be opened. You can’t proceed any farther, any sooner, than at 12noon…)

Outside among their grove of olive trees, sitting on white and dark green plastic chairs or picnic table benches, the tour involves a lengthy information session by owner, John Dougherty, from the Sumerians’ and Mesopotamia’s olives use to the current Olive Growers Council of California legal battles with Italy, next to a meandering large brown stallion grazing among their olive trees. John also mentioned that the local Austin-Whole Foods Market had sent their culinary team to the Bella Vista Ranch to view his olive oil farm operations before this same Whole Foods team flew to Italy for additional olive oil information. John's lecture was followed by a short walk over to a small field of olive trees, to the left of the tasting room, to view the trees' actual planting histories, problems with TX cold weather snaps, and a side remark about his garden of frozen artichokes and asparagus plants. Then he led us back inside the tasting room to the actual cold-pressing, production room. (“Cold pressing” simply means no heat is applied during the crushing process, verbiage you should look for when buying olive oil.) After the operations tour, there was a tasting session with a small table filled with a variety of their own oils, fresh-baked bread chunks for dipping, and some imported balsamic vinegar to taste as well. We learned that olive oil should be bought in small quantities only, and used within 9 months, that it’s highly perishable like a fruit juice; however, it should not be refrigerated. Taste the typical olive oil flavor at the front of your tongue. Roll it to the back of your tongue and it should taste like pepper if fresh! Olive oil tastings are a bit rushed, so enjoy them while time permits. Also, later, John providyou with an optional, but free wine-tasting session at his “tucked away” back corner lecture booth, if you’re interested. A choice of about 8 different wines, which all of our 5 adult children enjoyed very much ~ there was something to like for each of them.

Of course, I've forgotten the names of the tasting room’s wife & daughter team, but they were some of the nicest people we met during our pre-arranged Austin-area culinary sites’ week of Christmas visits. They were helpful to those who came inside for the tour, and spoke to us about their various olive oil flavors for either cooking or salad dressings compositions; the jars of olive tapenade mixtures; and the 8-10 different fruit jams for sale, 5 of which we selected for our final purchases. There were also bars of olive oil facial soaps, which smelled and looked lovely for special gift-giving.

Best olive oil ever in Central Texas!

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
Thank afreebing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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