Texas is big, diverse, and home to an extraordinary amount of various businesses, foods, and production of all types of goods and services, but most people don’t think of Texas as being a major wine-producing part of the world. Well, pretty soon people just may have to start mentioning Texas in the same breath as France, California, Spain, and Italy. In fact, if the recent San Francisco International Wine Competition is any indication, South Texas wines may become the toast of the industry.
At the most recent competition, numerous vineyards from as near as the Hill Country to as far as East Texas, Lubbock and Galveston won medals in the competition while drawing rave reviews. But it really shouldn’t come as any surprise that Texas is finally getting on the map in this industry. With the climate that the state enjoys, mixed with the fertile ground and the passion of Texans for quality food and drink, the spread of vineyards to the state was inevitable. In fact, the Texas Hill Country’s roughly 15,000 square miles of growing area is the second largest wine-producing region in the country. This region is now producing a number of Bordeaux blends, merlots, cabernets, sangioveses, syrahs, tempranillos, and viogniers.
Naturally, summer is the best time of the year to explore this region, and the wineries sponsor the Harvest Wine Trail each year, where guests can come visit the vineyards and bodegas along the Trail, and sample what’s fermenting after the latest harvest. For $25, guests gain entry to each of the 22 wineries participating in the event. This year’s tour takes place on two weekends: August 17-19, and 24-26. Guests participating in the tours will be able to tour the wineries, enjoy different wines in the tasting rooms, and relax on the patios, overlooking the gorgeous Texas Wine Country.
Each participating winery has its own special activities planned for guests. The following are some of the participating wineries, and a taste of what presentations they will offer their guests.
o Dry Comal Creek Vineyards: Texas’ summers can be sweltering, so the owner invites guests to relax with a glass of wine under the “Big Ass Fan” and take a tour of the vines weighted down with ripe grapes.
o Becker Vineyards: “Stomp Me, Crush Me, Make Me Wine” is the winery’s annual grape crushing event, where guests are encouraged to participate and help out in this stage of production. The vineyards also present a panel discussion of all things wine.
o Driftwood Vinyards: Tastings, contests, and a chance to meet the owner for an autograph session will take place at Driftwood, and guests can enjoy a glass of wine on the beautiful patio.
o Fall Creek Vineyards: If you’ve never seen the “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy and friends crush grapes, then this is your chance to see it, and participate in Fall Creek’s own version. The vineyard also offers a four-course lunch and extensive tour.
o Texas Hills Vineyard: This bodega offers their own grape stomp accompanied by Italian music, with a wine and cheese tasting to follow.
o Woodrose Winery: Offering a gourmet food menu to go along with the season’s wines, Woodrose invites guests to enjoy cheeses, spinach dip, Stonewall Peach Salsa, and other goodies on the patio or in the tasting room.
Although all the wineries offer tours and tastings throughout the year, the late summer harvest is the perfect occasion to come and see why Texas’ wines are becoming so popular and gaining the world’s attention.