Touring Texas Wineries
Bell Mountain was the first Texas viticultural area and was designated by our Federal government in 1986 as Texas' first wine-growing area (AVA). They have 5 square miles of land in northeast Gillespie County that produces the grapes: Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery of Granite Hill lives here. They say, "In 2017, William Chris Vineyards partnered with 100 percent Texas grown wineries and vineyards to form Texas Wine Growers." (Granite Hill Wineries, 2017, https://www.williamchriswines.com/Our-Story)
Fredericksburg -- One hundred and ten square miles of wine producing rolling hills of the Texas Hill Country. This is the home of wine road 290. You can research all the wineries in this area here: https://www.wineroad290.com/ This area is second to Napa in the USA. It has a reputation for growing high-quality grapes which produce world class, award winning wines. There is an essential combination of sun and soil that mimics the Rhone Valley in France and the regions of central Italy.
Plan your scenic drive to discover the flavors of Texas Hill Country wines and experience the many picturesque vineyards and their charming tasting rooms with barreled cellars filled with aging, premium wines. This is the nations second largest viticultural area, covering 15,000 square miles. There are over 50 wineries in this region from Austin to Fredericksburg and Lampasas to New Braunfels. You will find each has their own unique personality and style of making wine that will tickle your curiosity and satisfy your wine experience.
The Escondido Valley is a West Texas wine-growing area stretching 50 square miles along interstate 10 in Pecos County. It was the fifth designated wine area in the state of Texas, and although there are no wineries located in the valley they supply grapes to Ste. Genevieve Winery. Ste Genevieve is owned by Mesa Vineyards, which also makes several other wine brands such as Peregrine Hill. Out near the West Texas towns of Alpine, Marfa and Marathon, just 27 miles east of downtown historic Fort Stockton and an hour to an hour and a half drive to Big Bend National Park. They make 7 red varietals, 6 white and 3 Rosé: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Red, Red, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato, White, White Zinfandel, Blush, Pink Moscato.
Texas High Plains consist of central and the western Texas Panhandle, covering 12,000 square miles. The Texas plains can be extremely dry, so most vineyards are irrigated with water from the Ogallala Aquifer. There are at least six wineries located within the Texas High Plains AVA, although many wineries outside of the AVA source grapes from the high plains including Caprock Winery (the first publicly held Winery in the state) and Llano Estacado Winery located in Lubbock, Texas. In 1976 it was established in southeast Lubbock County, Texas, while it was still a dry county. After the state legislature passed a bill two years later permitting wine production in dry counties, they planted their first vineyard in 1978.
The Davis Mountains fall into the southwest viticultural area of the Escondido Valley known as the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas. Surrounded by the Chihuahuan Desert which occupies much of West Texas and parts of the middle and lower Rio Grande Valley. The soil is primarily granitic, porphrytic, and volcanic in nature leaving the grape roots with good drainage so they do not become overly saturated.
Number 7 is the Mesilla Valley, north and west of El Paso and edging into New Mexico. The grapes grown in this dry and hot region are: Black Muscat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Dolcetto, Malvasia, Merlot, Mourvedre, Muscat of Alexandria, Primitivo, Riesling, Sangiovese, Viognier, Zinfandel.
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