The 2016 Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference will take place in Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country from November 8-10. The Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference serves two needs:
- It provides information about the important and growing industry of wine tourism that attendees can bring home to both grow and improve their local wine tourism offerings
- It provides a forum for attendees to meet their fellow leaders in the wine tourism industry
So to everybody coming to Texas, “Howdy, and Welcome Y’all!” Of course, we all talk like that in Texas so you should get used to it. Now if you believe that tall tale, I can come up with another one for you.
Guess what? They actually do make wine in Texas. Texas has over 300 operating wineries, over 4,000 producing vineyards growing grapes, and is the fifth largest wine producing state in the country. Texas wineries continue to win major medals at international wine competitions. If this does not show you that Texas makes fine wine, then a visit to a local winery may.
Fortunately for the attendees of the Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference, they will be visiting local wineries and tasting Texas wine at events. The conference is being held during a great time of year and the week in Fredericksburg is also perfect timing.
Grape harvest is now over in Texas finishing up very recently, and now the wineries are working hard to turn those Texas grapes into fine Texas wine. The growers are finally getting to breathe a little and the first weekend in November is a conference called Grape Camp held by the Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association (TWGGA). This is a two-day event where growers can attend seminars and learn how to improve their vineyards. The first day is for new growers and the second day is for advanced growers. Even though the sessions are geared toward those types of growers, you will often see advanced growers on the first day, both to network and as they often say, they can always learn something new.
The United States wine grape growing regions are divided into American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). As of April 2016, there were 235 AVAs in the United States, and the Texas Hill Country AVA is the second largest AVA in the United States containing more than 9 million acres. The area is located northwest of San Antonio and west of Austin. The next largest AVA in Texas is the Texas High Plains near Lubbock about five hours north of Fredericksburg. The highest percentage of grapes are grown in the High Plains primarily because the weather is better for growing more Vitis vinifera grapes due to the diurnal temperature variations which provides a high temperature during the day and a lower temperature at night that grapes just love.
Many of the growers coming in from out of town to attend Grape Camp also visit the local wineries, especially those who buy their fruit, to sample wines and try to get an idea for how their newly harvested grapes may taste when the wine is released to the public.
Grape Camp finishes on Monday and the Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference officially starts on Tuesday. It is perfect for those who will be attending both conferences, well, like me. I have been writing about Texas wine for almost six years now since founding Texas Wine Lover. We recently released our first eBook, which coincidentally is about the wineries on U.S. 290 from Johnson City to Fredericksburg along U.S. Highway 290. A large number of wineries are along 290 in that roughly 40-mile stretch, and in fact, we wrote about 39 wineries and tasting rooms!
Some of the wineries the Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference attendees will be visiting are in that area, so they will see firsthand what we have been enjoying and writing about all these years. To help the attendees who are not familiar with the wineries they are visiting, here is a little information about each one of them. If you want to see a map of where they are located to get an understanding of the wineries around Fredericksburg, we have a winery map that is very popular to find that next winery to visit.
Spicewood Vineyards is in Spicewood, Texas. The Ron Yates family bought the winery in 2007. There is a 32-acre estate vineyard at the winery and Spicewood Vineyards is very popular for that out in the country lovely winery where weddings, meetings, and other events are commonly held. The winery has been winning awards at many wine competitions and the family has recently opened a new winery called Ron Yates on, you guessed it, U.S. 290.
Stone House Vineyard
Stone House Vineyard is also located in Spicewood. Angela and Howard Moench opened the winery in 2005 and Angela is a native Australian who is also the winemaker. Being from Australia, there are Australian wines offered in addition to award-winning wines from the estate vineyard growing Norton grapes.
Flat Creek Enoteca
If you cannot make it to the beautiful winery of Flat Creek Estate, which opened in 2001, then the next best thing is their tasting room in Marble Falls called Flat Creek Enoteca. Besides the Flat Creek wines being available, they have a wood fired pizza oven that is a must have when you are hungry.
William Chris Vineyards
The town of Hye on U.S. 290 is becoming a travel destination in its own right and according to Chris Brundrett, co-owner of William Chris Vineyards, it is in the Wine Capital of Texas, Hye, America. And now it is one of the wineries in Texas growing Real.Texas.Wine.—that is a winery who is only making wine made from grapes grown in Texas. The winery is very popular and its wine club is always full.
Fall Creek Vineyards at Driftwood
Fall Creek Vineyards first opened in 1975 and opened at their current location in Tow in 1983. They were one of the first bonded wineries in Texas in modern history and paved the way for other wineries. They opened the Driftwood location in 2014 and it is conveniently located across the road from the popular Salt Lick BBQ restaurant. Visitors to the Driftwood location can taste many of the same wonderful wines from the winery.
Kerrville Hills Winery
Kerrville Hills Winery has been winning awards at wine competitions since they opened in 2011. Kerrville is located south of Fredericksburg and makes an easy drive to their large winery.
Bending Branch Winery
Located in Comfort, Texas, Bending Branch Winery opened the winery in 2010 and has already made a name for themselves as a pioneer in trying new and exciting wines for Texas. Their signature wine Tannat is grown both on the estate and other vineyards. Other wines they have been one of the first to make in Texas are Picpoul Blanc, Souzão, and Charbono. Bending Branch has the only Flash Détente unit in Texas and one of just a few in the United States.
Singing Water Vineyards
Also located in Comfort is Singing Water Vineyards, which opened in 2004. Singing Water takes pride in making a wine called Freedom which honors the troops, and a portion of the proceeds are donated to the USO and the Fisher House Foundation. They have a wonderful room at the winery called the Freedom Room, which is a tribute to military personnel and their families.
Back on U.S. 290 is Woodrose Winery in Stonewall. The current owner, Mike Guilette, bought the winery in 2005 and is also the winemaker. A large event center makes the winery a perfect place to enjoy lunch during the Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference.
Also in Stonewall is Becker Vineyards, one of the largest wineries in Texas. The winery opened in 1992, its wines can be found in stores around Texas, and some of the best wines are actually found right at the winery. The winery was the first to commercially plant Viognier in Texas, which has turned into a very popular white wine for Texas.
Garrison Brothers Distillery
If you want a change of pace from drinking wine, then you must visit Garrison Brothers Distillery in Hye. Garrison Brothers opened in 2008 and is making one of the best bourbons in Texas.
Is That It?
Unfortunately for just a three-day conference in a five-day week, that is a lot of wineries that attendees are going to be able to either visit, see, or taste their wines. We are sure after you have tasted Texas wine, you too will become a Texas wine lover. We can help you in that regard too as we have quality made lapel pins you can wear to show that you are indeed a Texas wine lover.
The lapel pins are available for sale in our website’s shop, or since I will also be at the conference, find me and I will sell you one on the spot! Enjoy your time in Texas and cheers!