Texas Wine Country

Texas Wine Country

Texas Wine Country in the news featured here in our Texas Lifestyle Drinks Series. Sharing news and events celebrating spirits, wines, and beers from Texas and around the world.

Texas Lifestyle Drinks Series

Welcome to the Beautiful Texas Wine Country

Beautiful Texas Wine Country, areas that are growing grapes in Texas, makes the perfect road trip opportunity. Wineries in Texas are as diverse as the Texas terrain. Anytime is the right to visit Texas Wine Country. Springtime offers the additional delight to view the Texas wildflowers at the height of their bloom. Wine trail tours are a great way to see and taste the vast variety of Texas wines.

Texas is considered a relatively young wine region, but with over 400 wineries statewide growing upwards of 15,000 tons of grapes yearly, it has become the fifth-largest wine-producing state in the nation. Texas’s warm climate and excellent soil composition produce wines with rich fruit notes. In addition, the presence of limestone in the soil produces superb aromatic wines.

Texas Wine Country
Beautiful Wine Country

Vineyards in North America

The first vineyards in North America were established by Spanish missionaries in the 1600s, near El Paso on the Rio Grande. The oldest continuously operated winery in Texas is the Val Verde Winery in Del Rio which is also on the banks of the Rio Grande. The Val Verde Winery has been growing grapes for almost 140 years.

Texas wine production historically dates back more than three centuries and the majority of Texas wines are consumed by Texans. Texans spend upwards of $500 million a year on wine. It takes approximately 800 grapes to make one bottle of wine. Texas wine growers strive to produce wines with a unique character and quality of their own.

Grapes were also grown in Texas from European cuttings brought here in the 1800s by settlers. However, over time, it was shown that only the native Texas seedlings were viable. Texas has a variety of wild grapes that grow along rivers and streams. A new wine revolution was born out of the 1960s in America and around the world. In 1974 new vineyards began popping up in the state of Texas and wineries followed soon after.

Texas Vineyards and Wineries
Texas Vineyards and Wineries Produce Wines With Character and Quality

Over a period of time, new strains and hybrids were developed. With the introduction of the wine-producing grapes Vitis vinifera, which are also some of the best grapes to grow, Texas began to see success. The Vitis vinifera indigenous to southern Europe and western Asia is now cultivated around the world. Texas is home to 42 varieties of the Vitis grape, with 15 of those native to the region, more than any other region in the world.

The areas with the most notable wine grape yields are Texas High Plains including the Panhandle, West Texas, and the Texas Hill country. There are a total of five wine-growing regions in Texas which also include Southeast Texas (including the gulf coast) and North Texas. Growing conditions hamper grape production in South and East Texas. Today there are more than 50 types of wine grape varietals grown in Texas.

Texas is Home to 8 American Viticultural Areas AVA’s

Texas is home to eight American Viticultural Areas. The American Viticultural Area is a designated grape-growing geographical area with a certain set of growing conditions and climate features that distinguish it from the surrounding regions and affect how grapes are grown. Therefore the AVA designation is a specific type of appellation of origin used on wine labels. What that means to the consumer is that wines from a particular AVA area have distinctive characteristics.

Notable Wine Grape Yields
Notable Wine Grape Yields

The Texas eight designated American Viticultural Areas (AVA’s) are Mesilla Valley AVA in far West Texas,  Texas Davis Mountains AVA in Jeff Davis County Texas, Escondido Valley AVA in Pecos County Texas,  Fredericksburg AVA in the Texas Hill Country,  Bell Mountain AVA in Gillespie County Texas,  Texas High Plains AVA,  Texas Hill Country AVA, and Texoma AVA located in North Central Texas (just south of Lake Texoma and the Red River).

Texas Hill Country AVA

Where is the Texas Hill Country?

The Texas Hill Country is located in southwest central Texas, west of Austin and North of San Antonio. The Texas Hill Country region is known for its rolling hills, authentic cuisine, and fine wines. There are upwards of one hundred wineries and vineyards located in the Texas Hill Country and acre per acre, yield for this area is why it is considered as one of the best regions to grow grapes.

Texas Hill Country Bluebonnets and Wine
Texas Hill Country Bluebonnets and Wine

The Texas Hill Country AVA established in 1991 is the second largest in the United States. The soil is predominately limestone, sandy loam, and granite. The soil composition coupled with its continental climate makes excellent conditions for growing top-quality grapes. The Texas Hill Country is part of the Texas Wine Trail. If you visit in the spring from March through April you will also see breathtaking fields of bluebonnets and other Texas wildflowers.

What are the Best Texas Wines?

There are really too many excellent high-quality Texas wines to list. Texas is well known for making high-quality Tempranillo’s. This hardy, versatile grape loves the Texas hot climate and soil conditions. Depending on the region of Texas and the vastness of its geography great Texas wines can include many varieties.

Some of the most notable Texas wine varieties are Tempranillo, Malbec, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Muscat, Merlot, Rosé, Pinot Noir, Blanc, Mourvédre, Cabernet and Red. Mourvédre is another variety that thrives in a Texas warm, hot climate and is resistant to drought. It also is hardy if hit with frost which is an added bonus as it does occasionally freeze in Texas.

Texas Wine Country is Gaining National and International Interest

Texas
Notable Texas Wine Country

Investors are eyeing this emerging wine region with more wineries and vineyards popping up yearly. Also, interest from the national and international wine community is on the rise even though Texans themselves are the biggest consumers of Texas Wine. Texas is a big state y’all and Texans do love their Texas wines! Moreover, there is an awesome potential for international recognition on the horizon and the future is bright for Texas Wine. Texas can handle the wine industry growth with over 170 million total acres and an estimated 20 million of those acres being viable wine-growing regions.

Wine events across the state offer the opportunity to taste a number of wines from different vineyards and wineries that come together for your wine tasting pleasure. Texas Wine Festivals are updated seasonally here. The Texas Hill Country is part of the Texas Wine Trail.

Texas Wine Country Trails

Texas Wine Country
Texas Wine Country Trails

There are upwards of 20 Texas Wine Trails in various areas of the state. Depending on the recent weather conditions and climate concerns these are updated yearly.

  • North Texas Wine Country information here.
  • Fredericksburg, Texas Wine Country information here.
  • Sam Houston Wine Trail here.
  • Grapevine Wine Trails here.
  • Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail here.
  • Texas Panhandle High Plains Trail here.
  • Texoma Wine Trails here.
  • High Plains Wine Growers – no link.
  • Piney Woods Wine Trail here.
  • More Texas AVA wine facts here.

Pairing Wines with Food

  • Cabernet Sauvignon – Pairs well with red meat entrées and dessert with medium to dark chocolate.
  • Malbec – Pairs well with barbecue and BBQ sauces.
  • Dry Rose – All cheese varieties pair well with a Dry Rose.
  • Pinot Grigio – Pairs well with seafood.
  • Tempranillo – Pairs well with tomato base dishes such as lasagna, pizza, and Mexican foods.
  • Malbec – Pairs well with blue cheese and other soft cheese.
  • Zinfandel – Pairs well with lean beef and other lean meats.
  • Sangiovese – Pairs well with tomato-based dishes and Mediterranean cuisine.
  • Muscat – Pairs well with spicy food, chocolates, dried fruits, and nuts as well as a variety of cheeses.
  • Mourvédre – Pairs well with lamb, grilled meats, and wild game.

Read more about pairing wines with food here.

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Does Texas have wineries?

Texas has an established and growing wine industry. With over 500 wineries throughout the state, Texas is home to some of the best wine-making regions in the US. From hill country wineries near Austin and San Antonio to family-owned vineyards along the gulf coast in south Texas, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for exploration in the Lone Star State’s vibrant wine country.

Kay Keeton, Ed.

Editor in Chief, Kay Keeton - Texas Lifestyle Expert. Kay is a designer turned author, marketer, storyteller, and influencer. A sixth-generation Texan, Kay is both an authority as well as being passionate about sharing her home state of Texas's diverse culture and lifestyle. Kay is a content writer and editor of content for various local and national online publications.

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