Texas may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of wine, but the state has become the fifth largest producer of wine in the United States. In fact, the first vineyard established in North America by Franciscan priests was in Texas around 1662. According to the Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association, there were 273 wineries permitted by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission as of January 18, 2013. There are five different wine regions within Texas. Sample wine from each region and chances are you will find a new favorite.
The Texas Hill Country in central Texas is the most celebrated wine region in the state. It is home to over 70 wineries and is a popular tourist destination for winery tours. Becker Vineyards in Stonewall, Texas, is one of the top wineries in Texas. According to Grape.com, George W. Bush served Becker wines on several occasions in the White House. Their wines have won numerous national and international awards. Another popular award-winning brand from the Texas Hill Country region is Grape Creek Vineyards in Fredericksburg, Texas.
Southeast Texas (Gulf Coast)
Southeast Texas includes over 50 wineries in the region. Hybrid grapes such as Blanc du Bois are the most prevalent grapes grown in the area. Haak Winery produces some very popular wines with Blanc du Bois grapes grown at their vineyard in Santa Fe, Texas. Messina Hof in Bryan, Texas, is one of the best-known wineries in the state. Their wines have won numerous international and national awards. According to their website, Messina Hof produces over 50,000 cases of wine each year.
Texas Panhandle (High Plains)
Long, hot, dry summers with cool evenings make this an ideal region for growing grapes. The Texas Panhandle region has over 1,100 acres of vineyard land. Llano Estacado in Lubbock, Texas, is the largest, best selling Premium Winery in Texas. According to Grape.com, the winery produces about 220,000 cases of wine a year.
North Texas (DFW)
More than 75 wineries call the North Texas region home. The well-drained sandy loam soil that is in the area is excellent for growing grapes. Many great wines come from this region. One popular brand to try is Brushy Creek Vineyards in Alvord, Texas. They recently won three medals in the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
The dry climate and mild winters in the West Texas region benefit the 1200 acres of vineyards. The West Texas region is home to the oldest bonded winery; the Val Verde Winery has been in operation since 1883. There are six other wineries located in the region. Ste Genevieve in Fort Stockton is one of the largest wineries in Texas. According to Grape.com, their vineyard covers over 8oo acres of land and they produce over 630,000 gallons of wine each year.