When one thinks of wine, maybe their first thoughts are of Northern California, the Napa Valley region, or parts of Italy and France – but few realize how many wineries are in Texas.
In Central Texas, there are close to 3,200 acres of vineyards. Grapes produced here are numerous and include: Blanc du Bois, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Grenache, Lenoir, Malbec, Merlot, Mourvedre, Muscadine, Muscat Canelli, Mustang, Noble, Norton, Orange Muscat, Palomino, Petit Verdot, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Primitivo, Riesling, Roussanne, Ruby Cabernet, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Musque, Scuppernong, Semillon, Syrah, Touriga Nacional, Viognier, Zinfandel.
The highest numbers of plantings in the state are for the Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay grapes followed by Chenin blanc and Sauvignon blanc.
Believe it or not, Texas has a long history of wine production. Portions of the state have the perfect climate – that of being sunny and dry, which many compare to regions in Portugal.
The first wines in Texas were thought to be produced by Spanish missionaries in the 1650s. These Franciscan priests initially planted vines in West Texas near El Paso. The wine was used for sacramental purposes.
With Prohibition, much of the Texas wine industry was ruined. Families and companies stopped growing grapes and making commercial wine. Even today, 254 Texas counties have dry laws.
Despite setbacks, Texas became fruitful again. Today, the state is divided into three main wine growing regions due to the areas vast diversity in microclimates. There is the North-Central Region, the Eastern Region, and the South-Eastern Region. The North-Central region includes the northern third of the state from New Mexico across the Texas Panhandle toward Dallas. The South-Eastern Region includes the area around Austin, San Antonio and Houston. Last is the Trans-Pecos Region.
Grape harvesting in Texas usually occurs toward the end of July, which is two months earlier than in California and about three months earlier than France.
With all of these grapes there are of course the wineries. In Texas there are a reported 160 wineries. The largest winery is operated by the University of Texas with 1,000 acres, which was established in 1987. The second largest winery is the Llano Estacado Winery.
There are many ways to tour Texas Wine Country. There are tour companies which include luxury mini-buses to limo service. You can also take your own car and enjoy the beautiful drive.
If you want to sample the wine without visiting the winery, there are numerous restaurants in Texas who pride themselves on selling wine produced in Texas.
As for those in the Texas Hill country, there are many wineries to be visited along with beautiful tasting rooms. Some of the more popular include Becker Vineyards, located between Fredericksburg and Stonewall and Grape Creek Vineyard. Additional vineyards include: Alamosa Wine Cellars, Bending Branch, Chisholm Trail, Comfort Cellars Winery, Driftwood Estate, Dry Comal Creek Vineyards, Duchman Family Winery, Fall Creek Vineyards, Flat Creek Estate, Fredericksburg Winery McReynolds Winery, Pedernales Cellars, Perissos Vineyards, Pillar Bluff Vineyards, Rancho Ponte Vineyard, Singing Water Vineyards, Sister Creek Vineyards, Solaro Estate, Spicewood, Stone House Vineyard, Texas Hills Vineyard, Texas Legato Winery, Torre di Pietra, William Chris Vineyards, Woodrose
As you can see there are a number of wineries and vineyards to visit just in the Central Texas region. When visiting, take your time, enjoy the drive and the grounds and most importantly, enjoy the wide variety of tastes you will experience.
Carolyn Boden is a marketing consultant at Belvedere, Texas hill country land for sale real estate community. They sell beautiful hill country acreage located west of Austin near Hamilton Pool. For more information please visit http://www.belvedereaustin.com
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