More and more wine drinkers are learning that Texas does indeed make wine. Texas is currently the fourth-largest wine producing state in the United States. With new people learning and trying Texas wine, there are a lot of questions about Texas wine. Texas Wine Lover is here to help you answer all those questions.
The Texas Hill Country is widely considered the wine country of the state. Located in central Texas, the region is just over an hour west of Austin and an hour north of San Antonio. Being around three to four hours from Houston or Dallas, it’s an easy drive for the bulk of residents in the Lone Star State. The rolling hills, picturesque landscape views, and quaint small towns make the Texas Hill Country a perfect tourist destination for wine lovers across Texas. With over 500 wineries in the state, the highest concentration is in the Texas Hill Country region, which makes up nearly 15%. With an estimated 9,000 acres of wine grapes planted in Texas, about 70% of this acreage is in the Texas High Plains region, near the city of Lubbock.
Yes! Texas is known for wine production. The Texas wine industry has seen significant growth and recognition in recent years. Texas is now the fourth-largest wine producing state.
The grape varieties gaining popularity and recognition in Texas include Tempranillo, Viognier, Mourvèdre, Roussanne, and Cabernet Sauvignon. More and more Texas wines are being recognized as award winners in wine competitions around the country and the world. One good source for discovering award-winning Texas wines is the website TopTexasWines.com.
The unique climates, diverse soils, and skilled winemakers make Texas a great state for wine.
With eight designated wine regions, or American Viticulture Areas (AVA), each region in Texas has distinct growing conditions.
The Texas Hill Country is located centrally, in the middle of the state, and is home to the largest concentration of winery tasting rooms. Within this region, there is the Bell Mountain AVA and also Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country.
The Texoma AVA is in north Texas, situated from the Dallas Metroplex northward to the Red River bordering Oklahoma.
Texas High Plains is the region in west Texas, near the city of Lubbock and stretching to the New Mexico border. The majority of vineyard acreage is in this area.
Due south, Escondido Valley AVA is a tiny region near Fort Stockton which was once home to the largest winery in the state, Ste. Genevieve, which filed bankruptcy in 2022.
Texas Davis Mountains defines the small region close to Big Bend National Park and nearest the town of Fort Davis, and is a region seeing new interest in growing grapes.
Further west, near El Paso, Mesilla Valley AVA starts in Texas and stretches into the southern New Mexico grape growing area.
A three part series describing Texas Wine AVAs is available here on the website starting with Part One.
There are several factors that make Texas suitable for wine production. Texas has diverse microclimates due to the sheer size and variation of geographic features. The key is to plant grapes that thrive in the conditions of a particular area. Some grapes are more resistant to molds and can grow well in the coastal regions near Houston. Many traditional European grapes do well in a semi-arid climate like that found in the Texas High Plains near Lubbock. Many grapes thrive in the warm summer sun but with the opportunity for rest during cooler nighttime temperatures. Grapes that grow in tight clusters like wind to keep them cool and prevent diseases.
Some may think Texas is too warm for grape growing. In fact, wine grapes thrive in ample sunshine. The sun promotes growth and photosynthesis to ripen the fruit and ensure adequate sugar development. So, warm regions in Texas are great for grape growing.
In addition to temperatures, the land and its soil are important factors. The soils of limestone, granite, sandy loam, and clay are all found around the world in regions where many loved wine grapes originated. These are the same soils dominate across the state of Texas.
Many regions of Texas deal with drought. And plants need water to grow, of course. Luckily, irrigation systems can solve the problem during a year with little rain. For much of the state, the water aquifers underground are adequate to support agricultural irrigation.
And finally, the winemaking expertise now available across Texas is allowing for world-class quality wines made from grapes grown in our great state.
Texas is approximately the same size as the country of France. As in France, many different wine grapes flourish in our state. This allows for many different styles of wine to be made here. Some of the light bodied red wines include a Grenache or Mourvèdre from young vines, a Sangiovese, and blends using these grapes. Elegance and medium-body wines can be found in a Texas Merlot. Bolder red wines include Syrah, Tempranillo, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Rosé wines are being made from all of these grapes as well.
White wines can vary from crisp and clean to full-bodied and oaky. Look for Picpoul Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc for crispness. Roussanne, Chardonnay, and Viognier can all be made into either a full-body or a light-body wine. Many different wines can be made into a sparkling style, either by adding carbonation or by using the traditional Champagne method from France. And don’t discount dessert wines from Texas. Whether using late-harvest grapes or fortifying a still wine with high-proof alcohol, these wines are deep, rich, and perfect as a dessert.
Fredericksburg is the city in central Texas most known for wine. The town has become a tourist hub for visitors wanting to taste wines at over 70 tasting rooms in the area. The charming town is home to numerous historic buildings, the nationally recognized National Museum of the Pacific War, world-class dining, and a vibrant drinks scene including wineries, breweries, and distilleries. Other towns in the Hill Country area worth a stop are Johnson City, Hye, Comfort, Dripping Springs, and Mason.