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Texas Hill Country: The Most Popular Wine Country You Never Knew About

Texas Hill Country: The Most Popular Wine Country You Never Knew About


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Did you know that Texas was home to the second most visited wine region in the U.S. The climate is perfect for producing traditional wines from Italy, France, and Spain like sangiovese, viognier and tempranillo, and today, Texas Hill Country is home to 46 wineries — with more developing all the time.

Located west of Austin and San Antonio, Texas Hill Country is the second largest viticultural area in the U.S. (and by the way, Texas has eight officially recognized viticultural areas).

If you base yourself out of the small town of Fredericksburg you’ll be only a 45-minute drive from San Antonio. There are a number of tour operators out of San Antonio if you prefer to come for just the day, but Texas Hill Country is beautiful and deserves at least a one-night stay. I bedded down at Rose Hill Manor, a B&B conveniently located next to Pedernales Cellars, where you’ll get a free wine tasting with your stay.

If you don’t have someone planning to stay dry during the trip, it’s best to leave the driving to someone else. There are a number of minivan and limousine tours that visit Texas Hill Country wineries, such as the 290 Wine Shuttle, a hop-on-hop off bus that runs every 20 minutes and stops at six wineries for only $20.

Consider taking a tour mid-week to avoid the crowds at tastings. They can be four-people deep by the weekend so take the civilized route and go on a Tuesday.

The Texas Wine Trail website has a list all of the area wineries, plus a map, a route planner, and an FAQ on etiquette and places to eat and sleep. I had only 24 hours to explore the region, so while I didn’t have time to visit all 46 vineyards, these were some of my favorites:

4.0 Cellars
A collaboration between three wineries, 4.0 is popular because of the many different wines available for tasting. It also offers a Texas Cheese & Wine Experience, featuring artisan cheeses from the nearby Veldhuizen Cheese Company.

Grape Creek Vineyards
Self-proclaimed as Tuscany in Texas, this winery is under new ownership and has been winning a number of awards for its creations. The beautiful patio area makes it a worthwhile spot to relax and have a drink under the Tuscan…err Texan sun.

Pedernales Cellars
One of the only wineries to produce wine solely with Texan grapes (many here supplement with California grapes), Pedernales is known for its tempranillo and viognier. It’s often the first recommendation from locals as it has an excellent reputation in the region.

Have you been to any of the Texas wine regions?

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A Guide to Texas Hill Country Wineries

Did you know that Texas is the fifth largest producer of wine in the U.S.? Probably not. The Lone Star State is most recognized for its fantastic barbecue, mediocre pro football teams, and refreshing beer.

The state’s most prominent wine zone is Hill Country, set in the rolling terrain of central Texas. It’s inviting terrain that includes charming smaller towns like Fredericksburg, Johnson City, and Driftwood. Many wineries and vineyards dot the land along Highway 290 in the fertile agricultural stretch which parallels the Pedernales River.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain. In terms of history, the Spanish played around with viticulture during the missionary days of about 400 years ago. But these wines are mainly for religious purposes and remained that way for centuries.

About the most interesting thing to happen with Texas wine in the interim involved Thomas Munson. The horticulturist famously helped battle Phylloxera through his work with Texas vines. Many credit his research and development — disease-resistant rootstock, specifically — for saving European wine as we know it. The modern-day commercial wine scene we’re able to enjoy today launched only as recently as the 1970s.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain.

So what grapes grow among the multitudes of sorghum, pecans, and corn in the heart of Texas? Quite a few, to be sure. The warm weather and humidity make it impossible for certain varieties to grow, but many do quite well — Barbera, Cabernet, Malbec, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc, for example.

While there are plenty of vineyards in the Hill Country area, a lot of fruit is sourced from the High Plains region. This American Viticultural Area (AVA) resides to the west and north around Lubbock and is a massive 8,000,000 square acres in size. Everything is, in fact, bigger in Texas. It’s also set in some lifted terrain, as the name suggests, with many vineyards planted between 3,000-4,000 feet above sea level. It’s the second largest of eight Texas AVAs.

In Hill Country, one can find a bevy of agreeable bigger red blends and some easy-drinking whites like Trebbiano. At first, producers were all-hands-on-deck with intense wines that could go toe-to-toe with red meat. Now, there are more and more labels looking to dial things back some, opting for balance and brightness over sheer might.

If you go, and you should, Austin is a great spot to call headquarters. The sprawling college town calls itself the “live music capital of the world” and is home to legendary venues like Broken Spoke and the Continental Room. You can tour wineries by day and enjoy Austin’s vibrant nightlife after a bowl of Texas Chili Parlor’s finest. And when you fail to cross every label off of your list, you can rely on the city’s wine shops and restaurants to fill in some gaps.

There are also accommodations within wine country if you want something more pastoral. Or, stay at an actual winery, at places like Kiepersol or Fall Creek Vineyards. Should you tour Hill Country, here are some wineries worth seeking out:


A Guide to Texas Hill Country Wineries

Did you know that Texas is the fifth largest producer of wine in the U.S.? Probably not. The Lone Star State is most recognized for its fantastic barbecue, mediocre pro football teams, and refreshing beer.

The state’s most prominent wine zone is Hill Country, set in the rolling terrain of central Texas. It’s inviting terrain that includes charming smaller towns like Fredericksburg, Johnson City, and Driftwood. Many wineries and vineyards dot the land along Highway 290 in the fertile agricultural stretch which parallels the Pedernales River.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain. In terms of history, the Spanish played around with viticulture during the missionary days of about 400 years ago. But these wines are mainly for religious purposes and remained that way for centuries.

About the most interesting thing to happen with Texas wine in the interim involved Thomas Munson. The horticulturist famously helped battle Phylloxera through his work with Texas vines. Many credit his research and development — disease-resistant rootstock, specifically — for saving European wine as we know it. The modern-day commercial wine scene we’re able to enjoy today launched only as recently as the 1970s.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain.

So what grapes grow among the multitudes of sorghum, pecans, and corn in the heart of Texas? Quite a few, to be sure. The warm weather and humidity make it impossible for certain varieties to grow, but many do quite well — Barbera, Cabernet, Malbec, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc, for example.

While there are plenty of vineyards in the Hill Country area, a lot of fruit is sourced from the High Plains region. This American Viticultural Area (AVA) resides to the west and north around Lubbock and is a massive 8,000,000 square acres in size. Everything is, in fact, bigger in Texas. It’s also set in some lifted terrain, as the name suggests, with many vineyards planted between 3,000-4,000 feet above sea level. It’s the second largest of eight Texas AVAs.

In Hill Country, one can find a bevy of agreeable bigger red blends and some easy-drinking whites like Trebbiano. At first, producers were all-hands-on-deck with intense wines that could go toe-to-toe with red meat. Now, there are more and more labels looking to dial things back some, opting for balance and brightness over sheer might.

If you go, and you should, Austin is a great spot to call headquarters. The sprawling college town calls itself the “live music capital of the world” and is home to legendary venues like Broken Spoke and the Continental Room. You can tour wineries by day and enjoy Austin’s vibrant nightlife after a bowl of Texas Chili Parlor’s finest. And when you fail to cross every label off of your list, you can rely on the city’s wine shops and restaurants to fill in some gaps.

There are also accommodations within wine country if you want something more pastoral. Or, stay at an actual winery, at places like Kiepersol or Fall Creek Vineyards. Should you tour Hill Country, here are some wineries worth seeking out:


A Guide to Texas Hill Country Wineries

Did you know that Texas is the fifth largest producer of wine in the U.S.? Probably not. The Lone Star State is most recognized for its fantastic barbecue, mediocre pro football teams, and refreshing beer.

The state’s most prominent wine zone is Hill Country, set in the rolling terrain of central Texas. It’s inviting terrain that includes charming smaller towns like Fredericksburg, Johnson City, and Driftwood. Many wineries and vineyards dot the land along Highway 290 in the fertile agricultural stretch which parallels the Pedernales River.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain. In terms of history, the Spanish played around with viticulture during the missionary days of about 400 years ago. But these wines are mainly for religious purposes and remained that way for centuries.

About the most interesting thing to happen with Texas wine in the interim involved Thomas Munson. The horticulturist famously helped battle Phylloxera through his work with Texas vines. Many credit his research and development — disease-resistant rootstock, specifically — for saving European wine as we know it. The modern-day commercial wine scene we’re able to enjoy today launched only as recently as the 1970s.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain.

So what grapes grow among the multitudes of sorghum, pecans, and corn in the heart of Texas? Quite a few, to be sure. The warm weather and humidity make it impossible for certain varieties to grow, but many do quite well — Barbera, Cabernet, Malbec, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc, for example.

While there are plenty of vineyards in the Hill Country area, a lot of fruit is sourced from the High Plains region. This American Viticultural Area (AVA) resides to the west and north around Lubbock and is a massive 8,000,000 square acres in size. Everything is, in fact, bigger in Texas. It’s also set in some lifted terrain, as the name suggests, with many vineyards planted between 3,000-4,000 feet above sea level. It’s the second largest of eight Texas AVAs.

In Hill Country, one can find a bevy of agreeable bigger red blends and some easy-drinking whites like Trebbiano. At first, producers were all-hands-on-deck with intense wines that could go toe-to-toe with red meat. Now, there are more and more labels looking to dial things back some, opting for balance and brightness over sheer might.

If you go, and you should, Austin is a great spot to call headquarters. The sprawling college town calls itself the “live music capital of the world” and is home to legendary venues like Broken Spoke and the Continental Room. You can tour wineries by day and enjoy Austin’s vibrant nightlife after a bowl of Texas Chili Parlor’s finest. And when you fail to cross every label off of your list, you can rely on the city’s wine shops and restaurants to fill in some gaps.

There are also accommodations within wine country if you want something more pastoral. Or, stay at an actual winery, at places like Kiepersol or Fall Creek Vineyards. Should you tour Hill Country, here are some wineries worth seeking out:


A Guide to Texas Hill Country Wineries

Did you know that Texas is the fifth largest producer of wine in the U.S.? Probably not. The Lone Star State is most recognized for its fantastic barbecue, mediocre pro football teams, and refreshing beer.

The state’s most prominent wine zone is Hill Country, set in the rolling terrain of central Texas. It’s inviting terrain that includes charming smaller towns like Fredericksburg, Johnson City, and Driftwood. Many wineries and vineyards dot the land along Highway 290 in the fertile agricultural stretch which parallels the Pedernales River.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain. In terms of history, the Spanish played around with viticulture during the missionary days of about 400 years ago. But these wines are mainly for religious purposes and remained that way for centuries.

About the most interesting thing to happen with Texas wine in the interim involved Thomas Munson. The horticulturist famously helped battle Phylloxera through his work with Texas vines. Many credit his research and development — disease-resistant rootstock, specifically — for saving European wine as we know it. The modern-day commercial wine scene we’re able to enjoy today launched only as recently as the 1970s.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain.

So what grapes grow among the multitudes of sorghum, pecans, and corn in the heart of Texas? Quite a few, to be sure. The warm weather and humidity make it impossible for certain varieties to grow, but many do quite well — Barbera, Cabernet, Malbec, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc, for example.

While there are plenty of vineyards in the Hill Country area, a lot of fruit is sourced from the High Plains region. This American Viticultural Area (AVA) resides to the west and north around Lubbock and is a massive 8,000,000 square acres in size. Everything is, in fact, bigger in Texas. It’s also set in some lifted terrain, as the name suggests, with many vineyards planted between 3,000-4,000 feet above sea level. It’s the second largest of eight Texas AVAs.

In Hill Country, one can find a bevy of agreeable bigger red blends and some easy-drinking whites like Trebbiano. At first, producers were all-hands-on-deck with intense wines that could go toe-to-toe with red meat. Now, there are more and more labels looking to dial things back some, opting for balance and brightness over sheer might.

If you go, and you should, Austin is a great spot to call headquarters. The sprawling college town calls itself the “live music capital of the world” and is home to legendary venues like Broken Spoke and the Continental Room. You can tour wineries by day and enjoy Austin’s vibrant nightlife after a bowl of Texas Chili Parlor’s finest. And when you fail to cross every label off of your list, you can rely on the city’s wine shops and restaurants to fill in some gaps.

There are also accommodations within wine country if you want something more pastoral. Or, stay at an actual winery, at places like Kiepersol or Fall Creek Vineyards. Should you tour Hill Country, here are some wineries worth seeking out:


A Guide to Texas Hill Country Wineries

Did you know that Texas is the fifth largest producer of wine in the U.S.? Probably not. The Lone Star State is most recognized for its fantastic barbecue, mediocre pro football teams, and refreshing beer.

The state’s most prominent wine zone is Hill Country, set in the rolling terrain of central Texas. It’s inviting terrain that includes charming smaller towns like Fredericksburg, Johnson City, and Driftwood. Many wineries and vineyards dot the land along Highway 290 in the fertile agricultural stretch which parallels the Pedernales River.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain. In terms of history, the Spanish played around with viticulture during the missionary days of about 400 years ago. But these wines are mainly for religious purposes and remained that way for centuries.

About the most interesting thing to happen with Texas wine in the interim involved Thomas Munson. The horticulturist famously helped battle Phylloxera through his work with Texas vines. Many credit his research and development — disease-resistant rootstock, specifically — for saving European wine as we know it. The modern-day commercial wine scene we’re able to enjoy today launched only as recently as the 1970s.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain.

So what grapes grow among the multitudes of sorghum, pecans, and corn in the heart of Texas? Quite a few, to be sure. The warm weather and humidity make it impossible for certain varieties to grow, but many do quite well — Barbera, Cabernet, Malbec, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc, for example.

While there are plenty of vineyards in the Hill Country area, a lot of fruit is sourced from the High Plains region. This American Viticultural Area (AVA) resides to the west and north around Lubbock and is a massive 8,000,000 square acres in size. Everything is, in fact, bigger in Texas. It’s also set in some lifted terrain, as the name suggests, with many vineyards planted between 3,000-4,000 feet above sea level. It’s the second largest of eight Texas AVAs.

In Hill Country, one can find a bevy of agreeable bigger red blends and some easy-drinking whites like Trebbiano. At first, producers were all-hands-on-deck with intense wines that could go toe-to-toe with red meat. Now, there are more and more labels looking to dial things back some, opting for balance and brightness over sheer might.

If you go, and you should, Austin is a great spot to call headquarters. The sprawling college town calls itself the “live music capital of the world” and is home to legendary venues like Broken Spoke and the Continental Room. You can tour wineries by day and enjoy Austin’s vibrant nightlife after a bowl of Texas Chili Parlor’s finest. And when you fail to cross every label off of your list, you can rely on the city’s wine shops and restaurants to fill in some gaps.

There are also accommodations within wine country if you want something more pastoral. Or, stay at an actual winery, at places like Kiepersol or Fall Creek Vineyards. Should you tour Hill Country, here are some wineries worth seeking out:


A Guide to Texas Hill Country Wineries

Did you know that Texas is the fifth largest producer of wine in the U.S.? Probably not. The Lone Star State is most recognized for its fantastic barbecue, mediocre pro football teams, and refreshing beer.

The state’s most prominent wine zone is Hill Country, set in the rolling terrain of central Texas. It’s inviting terrain that includes charming smaller towns like Fredericksburg, Johnson City, and Driftwood. Many wineries and vineyards dot the land along Highway 290 in the fertile agricultural stretch which parallels the Pedernales River.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain. In terms of history, the Spanish played around with viticulture during the missionary days of about 400 years ago. But these wines are mainly for religious purposes and remained that way for centuries.

About the most interesting thing to happen with Texas wine in the interim involved Thomas Munson. The horticulturist famously helped battle Phylloxera through his work with Texas vines. Many credit his research and development — disease-resistant rootstock, specifically — for saving European wine as we know it. The modern-day commercial wine scene we’re able to enjoy today launched only as recently as the 1970s.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain.

So what grapes grow among the multitudes of sorghum, pecans, and corn in the heart of Texas? Quite a few, to be sure. The warm weather and humidity make it impossible for certain varieties to grow, but many do quite well — Barbera, Cabernet, Malbec, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc, for example.

While there are plenty of vineyards in the Hill Country area, a lot of fruit is sourced from the High Plains region. This American Viticultural Area (AVA) resides to the west and north around Lubbock and is a massive 8,000,000 square acres in size. Everything is, in fact, bigger in Texas. It’s also set in some lifted terrain, as the name suggests, with many vineyards planted between 3,000-4,000 feet above sea level. It’s the second largest of eight Texas AVAs.

In Hill Country, one can find a bevy of agreeable bigger red blends and some easy-drinking whites like Trebbiano. At first, producers were all-hands-on-deck with intense wines that could go toe-to-toe with red meat. Now, there are more and more labels looking to dial things back some, opting for balance and brightness over sheer might.

If you go, and you should, Austin is a great spot to call headquarters. The sprawling college town calls itself the “live music capital of the world” and is home to legendary venues like Broken Spoke and the Continental Room. You can tour wineries by day and enjoy Austin’s vibrant nightlife after a bowl of Texas Chili Parlor’s finest. And when you fail to cross every label off of your list, you can rely on the city’s wine shops and restaurants to fill in some gaps.

There are also accommodations within wine country if you want something more pastoral. Or, stay at an actual winery, at places like Kiepersol or Fall Creek Vineyards. Should you tour Hill Country, here are some wineries worth seeking out:


A Guide to Texas Hill Country Wineries

Did you know that Texas is the fifth largest producer of wine in the U.S.? Probably not. The Lone Star State is most recognized for its fantastic barbecue, mediocre pro football teams, and refreshing beer.

The state’s most prominent wine zone is Hill Country, set in the rolling terrain of central Texas. It’s inviting terrain that includes charming smaller towns like Fredericksburg, Johnson City, and Driftwood. Many wineries and vineyards dot the land along Highway 290 in the fertile agricultural stretch which parallels the Pedernales River.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain. In terms of history, the Spanish played around with viticulture during the missionary days of about 400 years ago. But these wines are mainly for religious purposes and remained that way for centuries.

About the most interesting thing to happen with Texas wine in the interim involved Thomas Munson. The horticulturist famously helped battle Phylloxera through his work with Texas vines. Many credit his research and development — disease-resistant rootstock, specifically — for saving European wine as we know it. The modern-day commercial wine scene we’re able to enjoy today launched only as recently as the 1970s.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain.

So what grapes grow among the multitudes of sorghum, pecans, and corn in the heart of Texas? Quite a few, to be sure. The warm weather and humidity make it impossible for certain varieties to grow, but many do quite well — Barbera, Cabernet, Malbec, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc, for example.

While there are plenty of vineyards in the Hill Country area, a lot of fruit is sourced from the High Plains region. This American Viticultural Area (AVA) resides to the west and north around Lubbock and is a massive 8,000,000 square acres in size. Everything is, in fact, bigger in Texas. It’s also set in some lifted terrain, as the name suggests, with many vineyards planted between 3,000-4,000 feet above sea level. It’s the second largest of eight Texas AVAs.

In Hill Country, one can find a bevy of agreeable bigger red blends and some easy-drinking whites like Trebbiano. At first, producers were all-hands-on-deck with intense wines that could go toe-to-toe with red meat. Now, there are more and more labels looking to dial things back some, opting for balance and brightness over sheer might.

If you go, and you should, Austin is a great spot to call headquarters. The sprawling college town calls itself the “live music capital of the world” and is home to legendary venues like Broken Spoke and the Continental Room. You can tour wineries by day and enjoy Austin’s vibrant nightlife after a bowl of Texas Chili Parlor’s finest. And when you fail to cross every label off of your list, you can rely on the city’s wine shops and restaurants to fill in some gaps.

There are also accommodations within wine country if you want something more pastoral. Or, stay at an actual winery, at places like Kiepersol or Fall Creek Vineyards. Should you tour Hill Country, here are some wineries worth seeking out:


A Guide to Texas Hill Country Wineries

Did you know that Texas is the fifth largest producer of wine in the U.S.? Probably not. The Lone Star State is most recognized for its fantastic barbecue, mediocre pro football teams, and refreshing beer.

The state’s most prominent wine zone is Hill Country, set in the rolling terrain of central Texas. It’s inviting terrain that includes charming smaller towns like Fredericksburg, Johnson City, and Driftwood. Many wineries and vineyards dot the land along Highway 290 in the fertile agricultural stretch which parallels the Pedernales River.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain. In terms of history, the Spanish played around with viticulture during the missionary days of about 400 years ago. But these wines are mainly for religious purposes and remained that way for centuries.

About the most interesting thing to happen with Texas wine in the interim involved Thomas Munson. The horticulturist famously helped battle Phylloxera through his work with Texas vines. Many credit his research and development — disease-resistant rootstock, specifically — for saving European wine as we know it. The modern-day commercial wine scene we’re able to enjoy today launched only as recently as the 1970s.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain.

So what grapes grow among the multitudes of sorghum, pecans, and corn in the heart of Texas? Quite a few, to be sure. The warm weather and humidity make it impossible for certain varieties to grow, but many do quite well — Barbera, Cabernet, Malbec, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc, for example.

While there are plenty of vineyards in the Hill Country area, a lot of fruit is sourced from the High Plains region. This American Viticultural Area (AVA) resides to the west and north around Lubbock and is a massive 8,000,000 square acres in size. Everything is, in fact, bigger in Texas. It’s also set in some lifted terrain, as the name suggests, with many vineyards planted between 3,000-4,000 feet above sea level. It’s the second largest of eight Texas AVAs.

In Hill Country, one can find a bevy of agreeable bigger red blends and some easy-drinking whites like Trebbiano. At first, producers were all-hands-on-deck with intense wines that could go toe-to-toe with red meat. Now, there are more and more labels looking to dial things back some, opting for balance and brightness over sheer might.

If you go, and you should, Austin is a great spot to call headquarters. The sprawling college town calls itself the “live music capital of the world” and is home to legendary venues like Broken Spoke and the Continental Room. You can tour wineries by day and enjoy Austin’s vibrant nightlife after a bowl of Texas Chili Parlor’s finest. And when you fail to cross every label off of your list, you can rely on the city’s wine shops and restaurants to fill in some gaps.

There are also accommodations within wine country if you want something more pastoral. Or, stay at an actual winery, at places like Kiepersol or Fall Creek Vineyards. Should you tour Hill Country, here are some wineries worth seeking out:


A Guide to Texas Hill Country Wineries

Did you know that Texas is the fifth largest producer of wine in the U.S.? Probably not. The Lone Star State is most recognized for its fantastic barbecue, mediocre pro football teams, and refreshing beer.

The state’s most prominent wine zone is Hill Country, set in the rolling terrain of central Texas. It’s inviting terrain that includes charming smaller towns like Fredericksburg, Johnson City, and Driftwood. Many wineries and vineyards dot the land along Highway 290 in the fertile agricultural stretch which parallels the Pedernales River.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain. In terms of history, the Spanish played around with viticulture during the missionary days of about 400 years ago. But these wines are mainly for religious purposes and remained that way for centuries.

About the most interesting thing to happen with Texas wine in the interim involved Thomas Munson. The horticulturist famously helped battle Phylloxera through his work with Texas vines. Many credit his research and development — disease-resistant rootstock, specifically — for saving European wine as we know it. The modern-day commercial wine scene we’re able to enjoy today launched only as recently as the 1970s.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain.

So what grapes grow among the multitudes of sorghum, pecans, and corn in the heart of Texas? Quite a few, to be sure. The warm weather and humidity make it impossible for certain varieties to grow, but many do quite well — Barbera, Cabernet, Malbec, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc, for example.

While there are plenty of vineyards in the Hill Country area, a lot of fruit is sourced from the High Plains region. This American Viticultural Area (AVA) resides to the west and north around Lubbock and is a massive 8,000,000 square acres in size. Everything is, in fact, bigger in Texas. It’s also set in some lifted terrain, as the name suggests, with many vineyards planted between 3,000-4,000 feet above sea level. It’s the second largest of eight Texas AVAs.

In Hill Country, one can find a bevy of agreeable bigger red blends and some easy-drinking whites like Trebbiano. At first, producers were all-hands-on-deck with intense wines that could go toe-to-toe with red meat. Now, there are more and more labels looking to dial things back some, opting for balance and brightness over sheer might.

If you go, and you should, Austin is a great spot to call headquarters. The sprawling college town calls itself the “live music capital of the world” and is home to legendary venues like Broken Spoke and the Continental Room. You can tour wineries by day and enjoy Austin’s vibrant nightlife after a bowl of Texas Chili Parlor’s finest. And when you fail to cross every label off of your list, you can rely on the city’s wine shops and restaurants to fill in some gaps.

There are also accommodations within wine country if you want something more pastoral. Or, stay at an actual winery, at places like Kiepersol or Fall Creek Vineyards. Should you tour Hill Country, here are some wineries worth seeking out:


A Guide to Texas Hill Country Wineries

Did you know that Texas is the fifth largest producer of wine in the U.S.? Probably not. The Lone Star State is most recognized for its fantastic barbecue, mediocre pro football teams, and refreshing beer.

The state’s most prominent wine zone is Hill Country, set in the rolling terrain of central Texas. It’s inviting terrain that includes charming smaller towns like Fredericksburg, Johnson City, and Driftwood. Many wineries and vineyards dot the land along Highway 290 in the fertile agricultural stretch which parallels the Pedernales River.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain. In terms of history, the Spanish played around with viticulture during the missionary days of about 400 years ago. But these wines are mainly for religious purposes and remained that way for centuries.

About the most interesting thing to happen with Texas wine in the interim involved Thomas Munson. The horticulturist famously helped battle Phylloxera through his work with Texas vines. Many credit his research and development — disease-resistant rootstock, specifically — for saving European wine as we know it. The modern-day commercial wine scene we’re able to enjoy today launched only as recently as the 1970s.

Many like to equate the Texas wine scene, at least in terms of what’s grown and what wine types to expect, with Portugal or Spain.

So what grapes grow among the multitudes of sorghum, pecans, and corn in the heart of Texas? Quite a few, to be sure. The warm weather and humidity make it impossible for certain varieties to grow, but many do quite well — Barbera, Cabernet, Malbec, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc, for example.

While there are plenty of vineyards in the Hill Country area, a lot of fruit is sourced from the High Plains region. This American Viticultural Area (AVA) resides to the west and north around Lubbock and is a massive 8,000,000 square acres in size. Everything is, in fact, bigger in Texas. It’s also set in some lifted terrain, as the name suggests, with many vineyards planted between 3,000-4,000 feet above sea level. It’s the second largest of eight Texas AVAs.

In Hill Country, one can find a bevy of agreeable bigger red blends and some easy-drinking whites like Trebbiano. At first, producers were all-hands-on-deck with intense wines that could go toe-to-toe with red meat. Now, there are more and more labels looking to dial things back some, opting for balance and brightness over sheer might.

If you go, and you should, Austin is a great spot to call headquarters. The sprawling college town calls itself the “live music capital of the world” and is home to legendary venues like Broken Spoke and the Continental Room. You can tour wineries by day and enjoy Austin’s vibrant nightlife after a bowl of Texas Chili Parlor’s finest. And when you fail to cross every label off of your list, you can rely on the city’s wine shops and restaurants to fill in some gaps.

There are also accommodations within wine country if you want something more pastoral. Or, stay at an actual winery, at places like Kiepersol or Fall Creek Vineyards. Should you tour Hill Country, here are some wineries worth seeking out:


Watch the video: Fredericksburg Texas Wine Country (May 2022).


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