Texas may not be the first state you think of when asked about where the best wine in the U.S. is. But with about 200 wineries, the Lone Star state’s wine history dates back to the late 1800s. Producing more than 4,000 tons of wine annually, Texas ranks as the fourth largest wine-producing state. With that in mind, here’s a Sampling of Texas’ Finest Wines.
A Sampling of Texas’ Finest Wines
Texas Southwind Vineyard and Winery
Open since 2009, Texas Southwind Vineyard and Winery creates some of the best white, red and fruit wine in Texas. Located on 145 acres of farmland near Refugio, about a 45-minute drive north of Corpus Christi, the vineyard primarily uses Lenoir grapes to create its tasty spirits. Offering about 20 varieties of wines ranging from peach fruit to Chardonnay and a black rose, guests can order flights, sampling six to eight wines for less than $10 per person.
Val Verde Winery – Opened in 1883, oldest in Texas
As the oldest continuously operating winery in Texas, Val Verde Winery has called Del Rio home for more than 135 years. The winery and vineyard, located near the Mexican border, is about a 2.5-hour drive west of San Antonio. Frank Qualia was an Italian winemaker who immigrated to the United States in 1883 and quickly realized Texas soil was suitable for raising Lenoir grapes. Since then, the family-owned winery has grown the grapes to create more than a dozen varieties of wine. Some wines are produced using grapes from other Texas vineyards. The red and white spirits, such as the Sierra Madre Dry White and Merlot, can be sampled via flights.
Messina Hof Winery
What started with an experimental acre of grapes in 1977 exploded into an operation producing more than 130,000 gallons of wine a year as one of the top vineyards and wineries in Texas. Winning a medal at the 1981 Texas State Fair for its Black Spanish-Cabernet blend, Messina Hof Winery took off on its way to challenge other wineries statewide. Today, more than four decades after that first acre, Messina Hof has three wineries in Bryan, Fredericksburg, and Grapevine, each offering flights to sample the award-winning wines such as the dry cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and rose sparkling.
Grape Creek Cellars
Taking a tour of the vineyards’ 100 acres is only part of a great experience when visiting Grape Creek Cellars. The Fredericksburg winery’s original owners planted cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay grapes, creating some of the best-tasting wines from the Texas Hill Country. The nearly-35-year-old winery became the state’s first underground commercial barrel cellar in the region. Offering guided tastings of five of Grape Creek Cellar’s finest wines, guests can combine them with vineyard tours or pay a special fee for private tastings. Don’t forget to take home one of the winery’s white, red, rose or sweet selections.
Duchman Family Winery
With vine-covered Italian-style buildings, a visit to Duchman Family Winery near Austin is like taking a trip to Tuscany. Named one of the top 20 most picturesque wineries in the country by HGTV, Duchman Family Winery uses Texas-grown grapes to create some of the tastiest wines in the state. Opened in 2004, founders Lisa and Stan Duchman sought to create world-class wines in central Texas. With that achievement, the Duchmans also created one of Texas’ most popular wineries. Offering tastings of up to six of their finest selections, guests are encouraged to bring a basket to enjoy their wine alongside their meal with an old-fashioned romantic picnic.
What started as a venture to find a log cabin for weekend getaways has grown into Texas’ third largest vineyard and winery. The Becker family found its log cabin, and with it almost 50 acres of land. Today, Becker Vineyards in the Texas Hill Country consists of more than 300 acres and produces about 100,000 cases of world-class wine. Becker Vineyards has seen its wine served in prominent locations, including the White House. The Beckers sought to have a visit to the winery be considered a special occasion, so they built a stone bridge for people to cross as they visited the winery set in a replica of an old German stone building. Add special hosted tastings, and the Beckers achieved their dream.
Texas’ Finest Wines
As Texas wineries have grown over the past few decades, the quality of wines has improved. Since using Texas-grown grapes, the state’s wineries have taken on the challenge to compete with the likes of Napa Valley in California, Finger Lakes region in upstate New York and Washington’s apple-based wines to produce some of the best-tasting wines in the United States. Raise a glass and enjoy some Lone Star wine.
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