Solaro Estate Urban Winery offers fine wine in a city environment


by Alice Barr / KHOU 11 News

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 20 at 7:04 PM

HOUSTON – The traffic is fast, the walls are metal and the view of the Interstate 10 is a far cry from the lush vineyards of the Hill Country, but under the same Texas sun.

It’s a first in Houston and a new twist here is likely to be a first nationwide.

“We’re a true winery,” Robert-Fritz, co-founder and winemaker with the Solaro Estate Urban Winery, said. “It (solaro) basically means ‘of the sun.’”

The urban winery is located at 330 T.C. Jester Blvd., just off Interstate 10.

SLIDESHOW: Click here to take a virtual tour of the winery.

“We have production here and barrel storage,” Fritz said.

The grapes that will be processed into wine here are grown by the same operation at their vineyard just outside of Austin.

“We decided to bring the source to Houston,” the winemaker said.

Fritz said this allows them to guarantee the freshest and most carefully-prepared product.

“The proof is in the glass,” he said of wine, which can be sampled by making an appointment at the winery.

The staff at Solaro will walk those who are interested through the tasting process when they visit.

“This one’s brighter sort of,” he said. “So hold your glass like this.”

It’s all part of the art form. For Fritz, bringing the experience to an international city like Houston, it is like opening a door.

“This is a way to let people around the world know the extremely high quality of wine-production and grape agricultural production that’s existing and growing in Texas,” the winemaker said.

It’s already a $1.8 billion industry in the state – and the international awards lining Solaro’s walls speak to the quality that’s about to get another boost.

“This year the vineyards are looking unbelievably great,” he said.

And while visitors can’t see the vines at the winery on T.C. Jester, they can take a seat, take a break from the city outside, and spend a few minutes with what Frits says is, “One of the finer things in life.”