The Texas Hill Country has been a tourist mecca for decades. Its rolling hills, native Bluebonnet flowers, natural limestone outcroppings, recreational lakes, ranches and haciendas draw visitors. Austin’s cool live music vibe, San Antonio’s River Walk and Alamo, the LBJ Ranch, and Fredericksburg’s German heritage appeal to tourists all ages.
Remarkably Texas wine tourism has increased so much that the Hill Country is now the second fastest growing wine destination only exceeded by Napa Valley, California. The 7000 acres of vineyards planted rank Texas the #5 state in wine growing. It is no wonder that Wine Enthusiast magazine chose the Texas Hill Country as one of the “Ten Best Wine Travel Destinations.” Over 350 wineries call Texas home.
In the last two decades Texas winemakers have succeeded in matching the type of wine grapes to plant with the challenging growing conditions. These insights lead to the adoption and planting of indigenous Mediterranean-zone grapes coming from locations like Southern France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal. It’s not your usual Cab and Chardonnay. These grapes have adapted to the heat of the summer and frost of the spring. Tempranillo from Spain, Tannat, Viognier, Roussanne, and Picpoul from Southern France, Montepulciano, Vermentino, and Aglianico from Italy, and Touriga National and Tinta Cao from Portugal make stunning Texas wines. The dry rosé wines are perfect when chilled for a sunny Texas day.
International awards abound among the five wineries that formed Texas Fine Wine. Their cellars offer panoramic views of the Texas Hill Country from their welcoming and stylish tasting rooms and patios. Drive or fly into the Texas Hill Country to savor these prizewinning wines. Choose a wine to pair with your favorite barbeque and discover these new groundbreaking Texas winemakers.
The nationally acclaimed barbeque, Farm-to-Table cuisine, and unusual wine varietals draw a great mix of visitors. Some of the fastest growing cities in the US are a drive away including Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas-Ft. Worth. Visitors can fly into the Austin and Fredericksburg area via American or Southwest Airlines to take advantage of the wide-range of ordinary and extreme outdoor activities, spas, river tubing, museums, food, live music, and wedding venues. The Austin motto, “Keep Austin Weird” seems appropriate for this distinctive, multi-faceted region. Choose a wine to pair with your favorite barbeque and discover these new groundbreaking Texas winemakers and the stunning vistas of the Texas Hill Country.
Where To Drink
Bending Branch Winery was founded by Dr. Bob Young, MD. Bob champions the use of sophisticated technologies to maximally extract the flavors and colors of his selected grape varietals. Bending Branch wines include: Tannat, Tempranillo, Vermentino, Petite Sirah, Picpoul, Roussanne, Cinsault rosé. The annual Bending Branch Kentucky Derby Party celebrates Dr. Bob’s Kentucky roots. His Picpoul Bourbon-barrel aged wine makes outstanding Mint Juleps.
Brennan Vineyards, Comanche, Texas was founded by the Brennan’s who purchased an 1879 rock house as the foundation for their winery. Experienced winemaker, Todd Webster, produces “sophisticated wine with Texas roots.” Their award chest and wines are impressive. Brennan specializes in 10 different wines including: Tempranillo, a Super Nero, Viognier, a rosé of Mourvedre, and Muscat of Alexandria. Brennan’s wines are also poured in Fredericksburg at 4.0 Cellars near Fredericksburg.
Duchman Family Winery, Driftwood, Texas, was voted by HGTV as one of the most beautiful wineries in America. Dr.’s Stan and Lisa Duchman founded the winery in 2004 to produce the Italian varietal wines. 70 weddings per year keep this beautiful venue active. GM Jeff Ogle suggests pairing their red Grape Growers Blend with the nearby famous Salt Lick Barbeque brisket. Duchman’s featured wines include: Aglianico, Montepulciano, Dolcetto, Viognier, Pinot Gris, and Trebbiano.
Spicewood Vineyards, Spicewood, Texas, was founded in 1992. The Ron Yates and family and their winemaker, Todd Crowell, have dramatically transformed the winery and vineyards. They make estate-grown wines and have selected the suitable varietals for their local soil and climate. Spicewood wines pair well with the well-known local Opie’s Barbeque restaurant especially their rosé of Tempranillo. Spicewood wines include a full-bodied Tempranillo, Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, and Mourvedre.
Pedernales Cellars, Stonewall, Texas. Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken planted their first vineyard near Fredericksburg in the early 1990’s. The children David and Julie and their spouses began the plans for what would become Pedernales Cellars. Pedernales offers a tasting room and patio with one of the most stunning views of the Hill Country. Pedernales is a pioneer is making Tempranillo wines with numerous gold and silver medals rewarding its flagship wine.
Where to Eat
Salt Lick Barbeque, Driftwood, Texas (also in Roundrock, Texas) is a Texas institution. They ship nationwide and features: Brisket, Pulled Pork, Ribs, and Sausage. Try the Chocolate Pecan pie and you’ll take a whole one home.
Opie’s Barbeque, Spicewood, Texas features: Brisket, Sausage, Ribs TaterTot casserole, and a local favorite, Cranberry Almond Cole Slaw.
Where to Stay
Camp Comfort, Comfort, Texas- Originally an outdoor German bowling alley this striking inn was converted to a boutique Bed & Breakfast with cabins featuring fine linens, elegant bathrooms, S’mores by the fire, and a cool aesthetic.
Sage Hill Inn, Kyle, Texas, is a boutique restaurant, inn and spa surrounded by hiking trails and stunning vistas. Several “girls get-away” houses are onsite with private hot tubs and fire pits. The restaurant utilizes vegetables and flowers from their gardens.