Since you’re here on the Texas Wine Lover site, you’ve already gotten the news that they make wine in Texas. But did you also know that not only do we make wine here in the Lone Star State—we make really good wine that is winning medals in prestigious international competitions?
On top of that, Texas has become a major wine tourism destination, with the Hill Country second only to Napa in attracting wine tourists, according to the Orbitz Insider Index. In addition, in 2014 Wine Enthusiast Magazine listed the Texas Hill Country as one of the 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations in the world! So, no need to travel afar for a world-class wine vacation—you can satisfy your craving for a romantic grape getaway right here close to home.
When you first think about “Texas wine tours,” you probably do envision the wineries around Fredericksburg off Highway 290 in the Hill Country. But remember, there are actually eight wine-growing regions in Texas, and if you just take a look at our winery map, you start to realize that you’re never more than just two or three hours away from a Texas winery.
Having said this, the choices and possibilities can get overwhelming. I’m as guilty as the next person of automatically thinking “Fredericksburg” and “Grapevine” when I start to think about a weekend wine vacation. So, what I want to do now is take you a bit off the beaten path and get you thinking about two lesser known areas where they are making some fabulous wine and where you can have a downright darned good time.
Granbury and Burleson
Just south and west of Fort Worth lies the charming little town of Granbury, the seat for Hood County, and from there it’s only about a 45-minute drive to Burleson over in Johnson County. If you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, wouldn’t it be nice to get away from the traffic and congestion and hunker down for a weekend in a relaxing bed and breakfast like Baker St. Harbour or Granbury Gardens?
Once you’re settled in, pay a call on Barking Rocks Vineyard and Winery where they are making some spectacular wines. Not far away is Pemberton Cellars which just opened in 2014, but you’ll want to keep an eye on this up-and-coming winery. Stop by D’Vine Wine before hitting US-377 to pay a call on Lost Oak Winery and Sunset Winery in Burleson. Lost Oak Winery took home a gold medal for its Viognier in the 2014 Lone Star International Wine Competition, and it’s just a stone’s throw away from Sunset Winery, where you can enjoy a tour, or just kick back and relax with a glass of wine.
After a fun day of tasting, head back to your cozy B&B in Granbury for a pre-dinner nap. Granbury has a wide range of good restaurants, especially for such a small town, and you might enjoy either Eighteen Ninety Grill and Lounge or Babe’s Chicken Dinner House. If you’re not too tired from all that wining and dining, check out the Granbury Opera House where they have year-round entertainment. If you don’t want to hit both the Granbury and Burleson wineries in one day, perhaps you can split your trips between days and spend some time lakeside. It’s all good!
East Texas along I-30
Here’s where I’m likely to run into trouble because wineries are sprouting in East Texas like weevils on cotton. Having East Texas roots on my mother’s side, I wish I could put my arms around all the wineries and talk about each and every one of them, but for reasons of time and brevity, I’m going to focus on just a few you can visit as you go north and east from DFW along I-30.
Landon Winery has its second tasting room in Greenville (the first being in McKinney), and every Saturday at 2 pm they have a barrel tasting with no reservations needed. It’s a great way to sneak in a little wine education along with your sipping, and from there, you can continue on I-30 toward Sulphur Springs. Just before you get there, head south on Hwy 19 to pay a call on Crump Valley Vineyards for appetizers and sandwiches with your wine—but save some room for dinner because there’s more food to come. From Crump Valley Vineyards, continue your journey on TX-11 east to Bella Stella Winery outside Winnsboro. I should mention that St. Rose Vineyard and Winery is also within a short-driving distance.
Finally, end up at Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards and Winery in Pittsburg where they have some lovely cottages where you can get your beauty rest. Do put in your reservation far in advance because they fill up FAST! Here is when your light snack strategy pays off. At Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards, they have a fabulous restaurant with two top chefs, Dana Pool and Enam Chowdhury, and they also feature live jazz every Friday and Saturday night.
These are just a few wineries and short jaunts in/around DFW you can enjoy outside the Hill Country. If like me, you’re a ways away from the famous Hwy 290 wine trail. Don’t despair—wherever you are in Texas, there are likely some less well-known wineries that will make you feel welcome and put some cheer in your glass and a smile on your face.