With leaves changing color and cooler weather, fall is ideal for visiting Texas wineries and getting a jump on holiday gifting.
Hot off the trails of the Texas Wine Month Passport, we discovered dozens of wineries in the scenic Hill Country to put on your radar. An all-Texas line up will spark new conversations and allow those on your gift list to step out of their comfort zone, all while supporting local wineries!
Texas Fine Wine Group
If you’re looking for someone to handle the gift decisions for you, as well as ship it all to your front door, then consider the Holiday Celebration Pack from four Texas producers who comprise the collective Texas Fine Wine group. The kit includes one wine each from Bending Branch Winery, Duchman Family Winery, Pedernales Cellars and Spicewood Vineyards ($125).
Nothing says celebrate like bubbles! The sister to Grape Creek Vineyards in Fredericksburg, Heath is the first winery in Texas dedicated to the art of fine sparkling winemaking. This striking outpost offers four styles of small batch sparkling wine produced in the traditional method used for Champagne. Ranging from Euphoria (chenin blanc based) to pinot noir-focused Adoration, you’ll find something for everyone ($43 each), so join the club or arrange a tasting.
Crafted for the holiday season, you’ll want this well-rounded 2019 vintage with your roasted turkey and cornbread dressing. The 100% roussanne (a major grape of France’s Rhône Valley) opens with aromas of yellow apple, lemon pulp, chamomile flowers, and a hint of fresh baked bread ($30).
This small venerable winery produces a phenomenal variety of niche white wines along Italian and Spanish grape clones planted in the Texas High Plains. You can’t miss any bottle in the stunning collection including albarino, roussanne, chenin blanc, picpoul blanc and various reds.
Old World wines rule here including several roussanne vintages, viognier, and an estate white blend, to name a few. For the holidays, a two-bottle bundle is on offer with festive packaging (there’s even a new Astros ALCS Alluve Victory bundle!). Kuhlman also produces a variety of rosé and red wines worth exploring, and definitely add a gift from Kuhlman Cellars’ Almond Collection to pair with the wines. (Tip: Herbs de Provence roasted almonds are delish).
This High Plains favorite is layered with savory flavors and aromatics to elevate your hearty, multi-faceted feast ($35). Think violet, blackberry candy, gardenia, rosemary, sage and coffee. The winery produces a winning array of whites, rosé, and powerful reds that will impress the wine lover on your list.
Located in charming Fredericksburg, this six-generation Texas family rooted in ranching and farming focuses on crafting exceptional wines reflective of the unique terroir. Expect a variety of interesting reds including spicy-fruity mourvedre, pinot noir, sangiovese, and Texas-successes tannat and tempranillo.
This often-overlooked winery dazzles guests with vineyards overlooking Lake Travis and an impressive portfolio of wines. Start with rosé (if they haven’t sold out) and snag additional bottles for gifting including Claros, a deep garnet color with spicy notes, ripe fruit and concentrated flavors ($35). Another good gift idea: Throw in reservations for the special New Year’s Eve Dinner at the winery.
No feast is complete without a rosé—the answer for bridging the gap between white and red wine lovers. This hint-of-pink barrel-aged pinot gris has a touch of savoriness with an added dimension of texture and complexity that makes it ideal for food pairings ($35).
When it doesn’t fit any category, but you know just the person who would love it, consider new Ego tequila, the first Black woman-owned tequila company in Texas. The smooth flavor profile is approachable for tequila aficionados and newcomers alike, and the festive bottle will dress up any holiday bar cart ($39.99-$41.99).
What goes better with a smooth tune than a smooth rum? Austin-based rap artist, vocalist, entrepreneur and songwriter Anastasia Hera has combined both with the upcoming release of her HERA Tropical Rum, another new Black-owned, woman-owned liquor brand. Brightly flavored and breezy, enjoy the rum straight, on the rocks, or frozen with mixers from coconut water to pineapple juice. Look for the newcomer on shelves early December.
BUY WINE: Order directly from each website or check with Houston Wine Merchants and Spec’s for special ordering and availability.
Cover photo courtesy Texas Fine Wine Group
Robin Barr Sussman (email@example.com) is a freelance culinary and travel writer who studied at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, Calif. As a chef for Sonoma County wineries, her specialty was food and wine pairing. Sussman is a columnist for Houston Modern Luxury Magazine, Get Lost Houston, Prime Living and Houston House & Home. Her work also appears in Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.