When Szilvia Konya was growing up among the vines on her family’s farm in Hungary, she never imagined that one day she would open an urban winery in faraway Texas. But then, a few years ago, her husband’s career in the energy sector landed the couple and their two young daughters in Houston. And now, she’s decided it’s finally time to pursue her dream of becoming a winemaker, just like her parents.
In November, Konya launched Sable Gate Winery, a new wine bar and soon-to-be winemaking facility on Travis Street in Midtown, a warm, cozy space lined with bottles whose labels were drawn by Houston-based artist Angela Abernathy.
Although she still hasn’t produced any wine onsite, Konya’s already begun selling “custom crush” wines, consulting with a winemaker in California who crafts them to her specifications using grapes from California, Australia, the Americas and Europe; prices range, with a few exceptions, from $5 to $17 per glass and $24 to $70 per bottle. In time, she’ll begin making the wines herself.
As you’d expect from any European who grew up around great food and wine, Konya also takes great pride in the light-bites and tapas-style menu she serves her guests. It’s a constantly evolving list of wine-friendly dishes, including charcuterie, savory flatbreads, and a couple of heartier entrées.
Beyond the stainless-steel tanks that will soon be used to make her own wines, the centerpiece of her new bar is the Hungarian oak barrels, which will be used for aging her reds. Once the cellar is fully operational, guests will have the opportunity to craft their own wines using the fruit that Konya selects from her custom crush partner in California. They’ll get to age them in the oak casks, a wonderful reminder of Konya’s family’s beloved farm in the old country.
Sable Gate Winery, 2600 Travis St., 713-360-7113