When considering American wines, the Golden State often comes to mind first. Yet, winemaking extends far beyond California's borders, with states like Texas emerging as notable players. Wine culture has proliferated across Texas, positioning itself firmly within the premium segment of the wine industry.

Wine production in Texas is far from a recent development. Dating back to the 1650s, when Spanish missionaries planted the first vineyard in North America within Texas, the state's wine industry has seen significant evolution, particularly over the past few decades.

Today, Texas ranks as the fifth-largest wine-producing state in the U.S. They are home to many American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), which come with unique climate zones and temperatures, reflecting a broad range of styles.

Ranches, scenery and friendly people. The wine regions of texas are worth a visit. (Photo: FreezeFrames/stock.adobe.com)

Texas offers a very wide range of wineries, regions and styles. Currently, Texas has about 5,000 acres, equivalent to around 2,000 hectares, dedicated to vineyards. This is in contrast to the vast Napa Valley, which spreads across 45,000 acres or about 18,000 hectares, demonstrating a much larger scale.

In Texan vineyards, red wine varieties take precedence, making up approximately three-quarters of production, while white wines account for the remaining quarter. The annual economic contribution of grape production in Texas is estimated at roughly $14 million. A good side hustle, if you are in the oil industry.

A map of the most important regions inside Texas. (Photo.carpe-travel.com)

Discovering the Texas Wine Regions

The Texas Hill Country AVA, the largest in Texas and second-most visited wine region in the U.S., stretches from Fredericksburg and extends to the outskirts of Austin and San Antonio. This area is famous for its beautiful scenery and German heritage, producing a diverse range of wines, including Viognier, Tempranillo, and Syrah. The weather here is hot during the day and cool at night. This helps make rich wines with a good mix of fruity flavors and acidity.

The Texas High Plains AVA, centered around Lubbock, is the source of approximately 80% of the state's wine grapes. This region's elevation, at over 3,000 feet, and its semi-arid climate create ideal conditions for growing high-quality grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and the increasingly popular Tempranillo. Wines from this area are known for their strong flavors, showing off the unique qualities of Texas soil.

Outstanding Wineries to Visit

Friendliness is the state motto, and it truly comes to life when visiting the wineries. The welcoming folks of Texas invite you to discover their wineries, culture, and heritage. Chicken fried steaks, briskets—delicious!—and the wines? They go sensationally well together.

Fredericksburg and Texas Hill Country

This area is one of the most visited wine regions in the United States, second only to Napa Valley. It's home to over 50 wineries and vineyards, offering a broad range of wine styles and varietals.

Fredericksburg itself is a historic town with a strong German heritage, and the surrounding Hill Country offers beautiful scenery and a perfect climate for vineyards.

There are two famous wineries in this region. One is Becker Vineyards, known for their award-winning Bordeaux, Burgundian, and Rhone-style wines. The other is Grape Creek Vineyards, which offers a Tuscan-style experience.


William Chris Vineyards (Hye, Texas)

Focused on expressing the terroir of Texas through their wines, William Chris Vineyards is a leader in the Texas wine industry. They are committed to using 100% Texas-grown grapes and have been instrumental in promoting sustainable and organic farming practices within the state.

Their tours and wine tastings offer an intimate look at the winemaking process and the opportunity to sample their exceptional portfolio of wines. Various packages are available, from Hye Society Tastings to picnics with family and friends.

McPherson Cellars (Lubbock, Texas)

Situated in the High Plains of Texas, McPherson Cellars has been instrumental in pioneering modern winemaking in Texas. Lubbock's climate and soil are ideal for growing high-quality grapes, and McPherson Cellars takes full advantage of this, producing a variety of wines that have received national acclaim. By focusing on small-batch production, they embrace an artisanal, old-world style, presenting a diverse selection of exciting wines.

The winery itself is located in a renovated 1930s Coca-Cola bottling plant. Truly uncommon location, when compared to Chateaux or other high-end wineries. In addition, the venue can be booked for weddings or other once in a lifetime events.


Bending Branch Winery, (Comfort)

This winery is known for its innovative winemaking techniques and commitment to sustainability. Situated in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, this winery has gained recognition for its Tannat, a robust red wine that has become a signature for Texas wineries. In 2018, Bending Branch notably secured the title of “Top Texas Winery,” underscoring its prominence in the region.

McPherson Cellars 

They provide a thrilling opportunity for visitors with its workshops, tastings, and tours. Moreover, their wines are available at the Pearl Farmers Market, located at the historic Pearl Brewery in Texas. For those who might not be in the mood for wine, McPherson Cellars also offers Bourbon as an alternative.


Pedernales Cellars (Stonewall, Texas)

They are a family-owned winery now in its sixth generation, specializing in Spanish and Rhône-style wines. A key attribute is their implementation of sustainable practices in the production of high-quality, Texas-grown wines. Their Tempranillo and Viognier have achieved national recognition.

The tasting room at Pedernales Cellars is set against a picturesque backdrop, providing visitors with breathtaking views of the Texas Hill Country. This makes it a must-visit destination not only for wine enthusiasts but also for anyone looking to experience stunning vistas.

Texas wines, ranging from strong reds to flavorful whites, can rival wines from well-known regions. They offer complexity, elegance, and a unique sense of location. A must-see for wine enthusiasts.

Peter Douglas

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