The History of the Red Caboose Winery

Sustainable new and generations-old techniques make Red Caboose Winery unique as a Texas winery. All the varieties of wine produced thereare low in sulfite content and are made from estate-grown grapes in the old world tradition of winemaking. Owner Gary McKibben continues to experiment with flavors at the new distillery under the same name, and has even moved to craft beer.  



The red wines are never filtered. The winery uses American white oak barrels to age vinifera up to 36 months before bottling and cellaring.

The wines like Tempranillo, Syrah, Tannat, Touriga Nacional, Zinfandel, and Black Spanish (Lenoir), continue to win awards and medals in statewide, national and international competitions. The winery boasts nine Best in Texas Awards at Grapefest in Grapevine. Red wines have won more than 60 medals at the Houston Livestock Rodeo Wine Competition. Red Caboose Port won double gold and best of show in the 2012 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in New York. In addition, the rest of the wine family has won numerous golds and double-gold medals. 

The winery’s namesake is from the red caboose that McKibben bought and stays on the property. He has managed the winery since 2003. 

The first wine was produced in 2005, and has remained open to the public since 2007. 

“Our sustainable winery design philosophy has won state, national, and international Architectural and Environmental awards.  With simplicity in mind, we created a winery that is energy efficient and sustainable. Together with advanced geothermal cooling, photo-voltaic solar cells, subterranean thermal mass, rainwater harvesting, and shading, we are able to achieve our energy goals.”

Geothermal systems are not considered renewable by themselves because they do use electricity. They do work with nature to provide heating and cooling elements, a key feature in design by McKibben, who as an architect has designed structures for firms in Dallas and beyond. 


A well-water configuration pulls cool water from a deep-bore line into an aquifer. The water is cycled through the system and returned without any chemical changes. McKibben has a total of 32 wells that contribute to keeping the wine cooled in the cellar. Geothermal systems work with nature to provide heating and cooling elements. Electricity by solar panels and wind provides the main source of electricity.

The winery also uses rainwater for irrigation and natural shading to cool the building. Rock from the winery’s location was also used to create the structure. The distillery opened to supplement the winery in Fall 2019. 

Winery and Distillery Locations

The venue has become a staple of the Top of the Hill Country as an event venue, vineyard and distinct producer of adult beverages. The vineyard is located in the country outside Meridian on 1147 County Rd 1110. The Winery and Distillery mainly operate from the Clifton location at 903 Avenue G. The spirits produced are distilled from the wine products. Vodka, gin and brandy, all 80 proof, are produced from the grapes. A wine tasting room is located in Meridian, while musical events are held in Clifton. 

“We’re one of the few distilleries in Texas that is offering sustainable spirits,” McKibben says.

Recently, the winery and distillery has added a beer brewery. A German-style hefeweizen is already available, with 12 more distinct varieties to be release this year. 

Share this: