It’s no secret that wine is becoming trendy around Texas, as it is in the U.S. In fact, a 2013 U.S. News Gallup poll reported that over the last two decades, Americans have been increasingly in favor of corkscrews. The poll shows that about as many Americans prefer sipping wine as they do drinking beer. In other words, more and more Americans are ditching beer for wine with each passing year. In the U.S., grapes are the highest valued fruit crop, at a value of close to $5 billion. Across the country, nearly 25,000 farms grow grapes and the nation produced over 7,000,000 tons of grapes in 2013.
Down here in the Lone Star State, the rise of wine’s popularity has become VERY noticeable. For example, while California is known for its great climate for growing grapes (California produces 90% of US wine), Texas now ranks #10 in states that produce wine, with over 1 million gallons per year!
But for most people, Texas wine was initially an unknown commodity in the U.S. However, with increased investment in wineries and tasting rooms around the state, the entry of new entrepreneurs, and more suitable cultivars that are moving the industry forward, Texas wine may be America’s new best kept secret. According to the Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association, in January 2013, there were 273 registered wineries in Texas. Ten years prior, there were only 54! That’s a huge change.
These days, Texas now has its own official Wine Month, which takes place in October statewide. We’ve been celebrating wine locally for the past 16 years, and in the Texas Hill Country, there’s plenty of amazing wineries and tasting rooms to enjoy.
A few of our favorites are Pedernales Cellars, near Fredericksburg and Duchman Winery in Driftwood. Both of these amazing wineries belong to the famous Texas Hill Country region. Duchman Winery makes wines like Vermentino, Sangiovese, and Dolcetto, while remaining committed to their goal of producing food-friendly fine wine with Texas-grown fruit exclusively. Duchman Family Winery remains one of our top wine destinations in Texas, and was listed by HGTV as one of the 20 most picturesque wineries in the country.
Pedernales Cellars offers its patrons a home away from home where they can enjoy a slice of the good life. Located in the tiny town of Stonewall, near Fredericksburg, this picturesque winery is home to some of the best white and rosé wines in the state. Their select blend of Tempranillo wine and red blends are what separates this winery from others in the “Texan Napa Valley” that resides 80 miles west of Austin.
And, if you’re on the hunt for dessert wines, look no further! Both of these wineries are featured in the popular Fredericksburg Food and Wine Festival, held annually in downtown Fredericksburg on Marktplatz (100 block of West Main Street) during late October. It is a full-course celebration of Texas food, wine, beer, music, specialty booths, food court and fun for all.
The modern Texas wine industry is arguably less than 50 years old, which isn’t a lot of time to determine what’s next for the burgeoning industry. It will take several years, or perhaps decades, before the most appropriate mix of cultivars for Texas’ different terroirs are adequately determined. But that hasn’t stopped Texans from staking their claim as one of the most popular areas in the U.S. to enjoy “wine with a view” in the breathtaking Hill Country landscape that surrounds Austin and nearby areas. Throughout the nation, wine tourism is taking hold throughout the nation, with nearly 30 million winery visits annually, providing employment to over 50,000 people, and Texas is no different. These days, Texas wineries are shaking things up and proving that deep down, Texans are truly wild about wine!