To the best of my recollection, 2018 is the year of the largest number of new Texas wineries and tasting rooms that have opened. It almost seemed like every week you would hear about another new winery or tasting room having a grand opening. Because of the explosion of wineries, we had to bring back the top list of new wineries for a year.
From this point forward in this article for simplicity, I will refer to a tasting room as a winery. In order to qualify for being in the list, the winery has to have at least one Texas wine, preferably with all wines being offered 100% Texas wines. A lot of wineries are using Texas custom crush facilities when they first open, so they are making and offering 100% Texas wines initially. That is a great way to start instead of bringing in finished wines from out of state and then building to be 100% Texas.
We also are only listing places Texas Wine Lover has actually visited, and that were indeed open to visit in 2018. It is very tough to come up with a “best of” list, especially with such great wineries in the state, and then of course it is all subjective. There were so many wineries we had to look at to try and narrow the list down because all are worthy of being in this list. We recommend visiting all Texas wineries because you never know when you may find your next favorite winery.
Following is our list of the top 9 new Texas wineries of 2018 in alphabetical order.
Ab Astris Winery
Ab Astris Winery in Stonewall had a large social media following before they opened building up the excitement. And to say they did not disappoint is an understatement. Under the guiding eye of winemaker John Rivenburgh, Mike Nelson is the winemaker for the Smith family run winery, and the wines being produced are stellar. With the view of the estate vineyard from the tasting room, large covered patio, and located just off the main road in Stonewall, this is a winery you will definitely want to visit.
Bull Lion Ranch &Vineyard
Not every great new winery is on U.S. 290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg, and Bull Lion Ranch & Vineyard helps prove that exception located in central Texas near Hico. This is another family run winery by the Tordigliones who produce only 100% Texas wines. In fact, 90% of their wines are estate wines grown in the vineyard right on the property. The winery has proved to be so popular that they will soon be opening a second location in Glen Rose.
I said one of the criteria for this list was at least making one Texas wine. Horn Winery does currently offer one Texas wine for tasting, and more are coming very soon. In fact, they offer custom crush for other wineries and are making Texas wines for them. So, they are really making more than one Texas wine. The business location first started with Vintners Vault helping Texas wineries with their production supplies, and besides Horn Winery, there is Azeo Distillery right next door too. This is one destination where most everybody can be happy to visit and taste.
Saint Tryphon Farm & Vineyards
There is an emerging number of wineries who make organic or natural wines, and Saint Tryphon Farm & Vineyards is helping to lead the way. The winery is just south of Sisterdale in the Texas Hill Country, and besides using Texas Hill Country fruit, they also get grapes from the Texas High Plains. Winemaker and co-owner Silouan Bradford will gladly lead you through a tasting of his wines at the winery.
This winery is very noticeable from U.S. 290 while driving toward Fredericksburg due to the majestic white plantation house. The two owners’ families have a history of growing up in Texas and when one family moved to Oregon, they established a winery there. Now they are working together to build a Texas winery you will want to visit. Because of the existing Oregon winery, there are some non-Texas wines, but there are also some Texas wines and more to come. Signor Vineyards participated in Texas Wine Lover’s Battle of the Texas Sangiovese and their Texas Sangiovese actually came in 6th out of 27 wines.
Stoneledge Vineyard and Winery
This is another winery off the common U.S. 290 path located near Lometa and Lampasas. Stoneledge Vineyard and Winery is definitely in the country, but when you reach the plateau where the winery is located, you will understand that this is one view you do not want to miss. Besides an estate vineyard on the property, the winery is also in the process of expanding already. The 100% Texas wines are made on site in a carefully planned production facility complete with gravity feed from the production area to the barrel rooms. And did I mention the view?
Texas Heritage Vineyard
The tasting room for Texas Heritage Vineyard is conveniently located right on U.S. 290 making it easy for you to stop. John Rivenburgh also helped the family run winery get started and co-owner Susan Johnson will begin taking over the winemaking duties. Even though the tasting room is located on U.S. 290, the actual winery location is about 10 miles southeast next to the Johnson’s vineyard. 100% Texas wines makes this a place you will want to visit.
We first heard about Vintners Hideaway from friends Bill and Gail Day of Buena Suerte Vineyards. Being growers, they had made some wine from their grapes, but needed a place to sell it. Vintners Hideaway is owned by growers Jim and Ranae Mills of Rustic Spur Vineyards who realized the need for a location for growers to sell their wines, and also wines that are exceptional and not necessarily easily available elsewhere. Located right in the heart of Fredericksburg, a large selection of Texas wines is available.
Farmhouse Vineyards in Brownfield is making a name for themselves in the wine industry, not only for the phenomenal grapes they grow for other wineries, but now also for the wines they produce from their fruit. First to open was the Farmhouse Vineyards Tasting Trailer in Johnson City which is a unique Airstream trailer turned into tasting room. They then followed that with Whitehouse Parker in Brownfield right next to one of their vineyards. The remodeled house makes a wonderful tasting room, gift shop, and just a cool place to get a nice glass of wine. The Tasting Trailer in Johnson City has outgrown itself and they will soon be moving into a non-movable tasting room also in Johnson City.