You’ll Never Guess Where the New Wine Making Destination Is. (It’s Not Who You Think)

More wine? Um, yes please. Wine tourism is skyrocketing in probably the least likely state: Texas.

You read that right. Texas, the state know for cowboys, rodeos, BBQ and well, not wine. But with nearly 400 wineries, Texas is making a lot of wine. And thank the wine gods because if there’s one thing we need, it’s delicious wine. (California wine is nice, but it’s time for something new.)

Texas wine is mostly made in an area called the Texas Hill Country (spoiler alert, it’s hilly). And if you haven’t been, you should go. It’s a gorgeous area full of hiking and biking opportunities and quirky towns. And, it’s easy to get to from Austin or San Antonio.

A fence and bluebonnets in The Texas Hill Country region.
Photo by Adventures of KM&G-Morris.

So why is the Texas Hill Country great for wine? Here are the key reasons the Lone Star State is worth a sip.

It’s old

The Texas Hill Country is one of the oldest wine producing regions in America. Spanish Catholic Missions sprang up all over the area in the 1600s and they needed sacramental wine. The hilly climate of the Texas Hill Country did well with Portuguese and Spanish grape varieties and the rest is history.

It’s easy to get to

If you haven’t heard, Texas is huge. And, unless you want to drop way too much money on plane tickets or spend days in the car, you can’t hit all the major destinations in one go. But the Texas Hill Country and all the wineries around it are close to two Texas hubs: Austin and San Antonio.

It’s really the best of both worlds. Spend a day exploring a big city and then retreat to the wine country.

It’s good wine

This is something you have to taste for yourself. Set aside your stereotypes, Texas isn’t known for being classy but winemakers don’t need to be California classy to make classy, award-winning wines.

Texas wineries are even beating out prestigious California brands at competitions.

It’s not corporate

Empty green bottles on a rack.

Napa Valley is great but everyone knows Napa. About 23.6 million tourists visit California each year specifically for wine and the vineyards have systems in place to handle all those tourists. At that volume of visitors, you’re likely to get a standardized experience. Get in, get a glass of wine, get out. Texas is more like the rapidly growing “wild west” of wineries. It’s the perfect mix of luxury and unpretentious southern hospitality.

Charming bed and breakfasts? Check. Upscale repurposed barns? You bet. Beautiful scenery? Yes, with fields of lavender, peach orchards, valleys of bluebells and canyons of maple trees.

We salute you, Texas wines, keep making the good stuff.

Vivian Farmer
After reading books about far off places as a child, Vivian was hooked on travel writing. She traveled during her college years and wrote about wine, oil painting and wild hogs. She's planning her next adventures and writing about anything and everything travel related.