Wine Country: Vintage Texas
With more than 350 wineries, Texas is the fifth largest wine-producing state. Earning such accolades as one of “the 10 best wine travel destinations in the world,” the Lone Star State is home to skillfully crafted wines that regularly earn gold, silver, and bronze medals in competitions around the globe.
Home to some of the state’s best wineries, the Texas Hill Country is a key destination for first time vineyard visitors as well as winery veterans. A must-do for any trip to the Hill Country wine region is Fredericksburg, Texas, part of the Texas Hill Country Wine Trail and home to some of the oldest wineries in the state. Fredericksburg cultivates more than half of the world’s grape varietals and is located just a short drive west of Austin and San Antonio. The quaint town includes notable wineries such as Fall Creek Vineyards, whose wines are featured throughout restaurants in Texas and New York, and Becker Vineyards, whose 2013 Provencal won a double gold medal at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition. While in Fredericksburg, experience some of the town’s authentic German culture, which comes across in its food, festivals and architecture, as German immigrants settled the town over 160 years ago.
Those looking to take a self-guided tour of the Hill Country wineries will enjoy a drive down Wine Road 290, which encompasses 13 award-winning wineries along US Highway 290. Wine Road 290 wineries include Becker Vineyards, Chisholm Trail Winery, Fredericksburg Winery, Grape Creek Vineyards, Hilmy Cellars, Hye Meadow Winery, Pedernales Cellars, Rancho Ponte, Texas Hills Vineyard, Torre di Pietra, William Chris Vineyards, Woodrose Winery and 4.0 Cellars.
Take a closer look at some of the Hill Country’s popular vineyards and wineries below to get inspiration for your Hill Country wine adventure.
Fall Creek Vineyards
Set in the Texas Hill Country and surrounded on all sides by vineyards, the Fall Creek winery offers tastings and tours along with guest quarters that combine early Texas and antique country French and English furnishings. While the fermentation room holds the most modern of winemaking equipment, the oak casks reside in a room secured by antique stable doors from the Louis Pasteur Laboratory outside of Paris. The vineyards’ 400-acre growing site, selected and purchased in 1975 for its unique soil and climatic conditions, is located on the northwest shores of Lake Buchanan in the heart of the Hill Country. Fall Creek was recently awarded a Double Gold Medal in the 2013 Tasters Guild International Wine Competition, and its founder, Susan Auler, was recognized by Wines and Vines as one of the top 50 people in the world wine industry. In addition to tours and private events, Fall Creek holds an annual Grape Stomp and Harvest Festival each August.
Located between Fredericksburg and Johnson City, Becker Vineyards site was chosen for its bounty of native Mustang grapes, a time honored component of the local German Heritage. The first harvest in 1995 laid the foundation for what is now just over a 100,000-case per year business, and the current estate includes a Lavender Haus, Tasting Room and Winery. Becker Vineyards' wine has been served in settings from the White House to the renowned James Beard House, and the winery’s private cabin is frequently used for weddings and special events. The vineyard was even named one of the most picturesque wineries in the country by HGTV. Tours are available seven days a week and Becker Vineyards holds an annual grape stomp in August.
Established in 2006, Pedernales Cellars is a leading producer of authentic, handcrafted wines located in Stonewall, Texas overlooking the Pedernales river valley. The cellar’s Spanish and Rhone style wines have received prestigious awards including a Grand Gold at the Lyon International Wine Competition and a Gold at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. Pedernales Cellars are family owned operated and observe sustainable growing practices. Visitors will enjoy touring the underground winemaking cellar and relaxing on the tree covered deck with a glass of wine to take in the Hill Country views.
Duchman Family Winery
Located in Driftwood, Texas, the Duchman Family Winery was established in 2004 and offers a slice of Tuscany in the heart of the Hill Country. Producing wines from Italian varietals with 100 percent Texas-grown grapes, the Duchman Family Winery combines innovative equipment and techniques with traditional methods to produce unique wines. The winery was also named one of the 20 most picturesque wineries in the country by HGTV for its beautiful grounds, which are open for visitors to relax and take in the view of the vineyards, gardens and rolling hills of Central Texas.
Outside of the Hill Country, prolific wine producers can be found across the Lone Star State. Val Verde Winery in Del Rio, just a few blocks from the Texas-Mexico border, was founded in 1883 when an Italian immigrant named Frencesco “Frank” Qualia moved to the area and discovered Lenoir grapes flourishing there. The current fourth-generation Qualia vintner still uses Frank’s family traditions from the Old Country to produce a highly respected variety of reds and whites, including an award-winning Port blend, as well as a very popular Texas rosé.
From Del Rio, trace a line due north for 345 miles to Lubbock, home of Llano Estacado, the largest winery in Texas. The name means “staked plains,” in honor of those vines originally tested in the plains of the Panhandle. From its first release of just 1,300 cases in 1977, Llano Estacado has grown rapidly, and now produces extraordinary Texas wines that have been lauded at competitions throughout the world.
Northeast of Dallas, the city of Grapevine is home to an Urban Wine Trail consisting of eight wineries. Cross Timbers Winery, Delaney Vineyards and Winery, Homestead Winery, Grape Vine Springs Winery, Messina Hof Winery, Sloan and Williams Winery, Su Vino Winery and Umbra Winery are all found along the Trail, and visitors can take a wine train or guided tour of the wineries, or plan their own individual tours. Visitors who plan their trip in September will also be able to attend GrapeFest, the largest wine festival in the Southwest.
Wineries, beautiful views and scenic towns leave visitors feeling relaxed and at home in the Lone Star State. Our wineries invite you to sit, sip, and stay awhile, and we guarantee that when you leave you’ll already be thinking about your next trip back.