Texas happens to be the largest state in the contiguous United States. In other words, it’s big. Which could theoretically make it tricky to decide just where and how to find a focus for any Texas travel you might be plotting. We’re here to help, in a fashion. A fine focus? Texas wines. They might not garner the attention that wines out of California do, but there’s very good reason to consider making your next trip to these parts one with a wine tasting focus. The only complication really is deciding just which of the state’s five wine regions (but officially eight American Viticultural Areas) to tackle first.
If you’re headed for Gulf Coast beaches, the Southeast Texas wine region is the logical place to start. You’ll find more than 50 wineries in these parts, and over 85 acres of vineyard turning out winegrapes like Blanc du Bois and Black Spanish (Lenoir), the latter a native to the area. Look for a few local specialities to supplement more traditional wines including Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Texas Hill Country is a tourist destination in its own right, a scenic stretch of river-fed rolling hills, ranches and sherbet sunsets. Perfectly romantic if you want it to be, but with over 70 wineries to choose from it can also be a match made in heaven for the discerning wine lover.
Head Dallas way and you’ll find a wine-making industry strong enough to support almost as many wineries as Hill Country. Look for traditional favorites here, as well as wines from grapes that flourish in these parts like Tempranillo and Blanc du Bois.
Wineries in West Texas are few in number (seven), but you’ll want to make the trip for the Val Verde Winery, the state’s oldest still in operation. Between ruby-hued Lenoir and crisp Chardonnays, you can mix up your wine tasting with a visit to Big Bend National Park or a float trip down the Rio Grande.
Last but not least, head for the High Plains. Enjoy outdoor activity at Lake Meredith National Recreation Area but find pleasure for your palate at a handful of local wineries and cellars, whether you prefer medal winning Merlots or top-rated Pinot Noir.
In short, there’s simply no excuse, no matter where in the Lone Star State your Texas travel takes you, to stick strictly to scenic pleasures. Get in on the growing buzz about Texas wines and find out just what all the fuss is about.