Texas Hill Country Wineries
Every wine connoisseur’s bucket list should include a trip to the Texas Hill Country region, voted one of the top 10 wine destinations by Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2014. Home to some of the state’s best wineries, Hill Country is a key place for first-time vineyard visitors as well as winery veterans. In fact, the Texas Hill Country American viticultural area is the second-largest in the nation, covering an area of more than 9 million acres.
The sunny and dry climate of the Lone Star State is ideal for the varietals that flourish in the region, including cabernet, zinfandel and muscat canelli. It is local opinion that tempranillo, syrah, viognier, muscat blanc and muscat canelli are best suited for the region, though many other varietals are planted throughout the Hill Country.
A must for any trip to the Hill Country wine region is a stop in Fredericksburg, part of the Texas Hill Country Wine Trail and home to some of the oldest wineries in the state. Fredericksburg cultivates more than half of the world’s grape varietals and is located just a short drive west of Austin and San Antonio. The quaint town includes notable wineries such as Becker Vineyards, whose 2013 Provencal won a double gold medal at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition. While in Fredericksburg, experience some of the town’s authentic German culture, which comes across in its food, festivals and architecture, as German immigrants settled the town more than 160 years ago.
Those looking to take a self-guided tour of the Hill Country wineries will enjoy a drive down Wine Road 290, which encompasses 15 award-winning wineries along US Highway 290. Wine Road 290 includes Becker Vineyards, Chisholm Trail Winery, Fiesta Winery, Fredericksburg Winery, Grape Creek Vineyards, Hilmy Cellars, Hye Meadow Winery, Lost Draw Cellars, Pedernales Cellars, Rancho Ponte, Texas Hills Vineyard, Torre di Pietra, William Chris Vineyards, Woodrose Winery and 4.0 Cellars.
Take a closer look at some of the Hill Country’s popular vineyards and wineries to get inspiration for your ideal Texas wine adventure.
The Fall Creek winery offers tastings and tours, as well as upstairs guest quarters. Its winemaking equipment may be state-of-the-art, but its décor gives off an old-world vibe, with features such as antique stable doors from the Louis Pasteur Laboratory near Paris, which lead to the room where the oak casks are stored. The location of the property — on the northwest side of Lake Buchanan — provides particularly good soil and weather conditions for the 400-acre growing site, which was bought in 1975. Fall Creek was awarded a double gold medal in the 2013 Tasters Guild International Wine Competition, and co-founder Susan Auler was recognized by Wines & Vines as one of the top 50 people in the world wine industry. In addition to tours and private events, Fall Creek holds a Grape Stomp and Harvest Festival each August.
Located between Fredericksburg and Johnson City, Becker Vineyards’ site was chosen for its bounty of native mustang grapes. The first harvest was in 1995, and now, the business produces more than 100,000 cases of wine every year. The current estate includes a Lavender Haus, tasting room and winery. Becker Vineyards' wine has been served in settings from the White House to the renowned James Beard House, and the winery’s private cabin is frequently used for weddings and special events. Tours are available 7 days a week, and there’s an annual Grape Stomp in August.
Established in 2006, Pedernales Cellars is located in Stonewall, overlooking the Pedernales River valley. Its Spanish- and Rhone-style wines have received prestigious awards, including a grand gold at the Lyon International Wine Competition and a double gold at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. Pedernales Cellars is family-owned and operated and observes sustainable growing practices. After taking a tour of the winemaking cellar, visitors can come back up to ground level and head out to the deck to enjoy their vintage of choice while soaking in the Hill Country’s beauty.
Located in Driftwood, the Duchman Family Winery was established in 2004 and offers a slice of Tuscany in the heart of the Hill Country. Producing wines from Italian varietals with 100% Texas-grown grapes, the winery combines innovative equipment and techniques with traditional methods to make its products unique. It was chosen as one of the most picturesque wineries in the country by HGTV, and its beautiful grounds are open to visitors, who are welcome to relax at one of the oak- shaded picnic tables and take in the view of the vineyards, gardens and rolling hills of Central Texas.
For visitors wondering where to stay while exploring the Hill Country’s vineyards, the region’s charming towns offer inviting accommodations, delicious restaurants and much more. In addition to Fredericksburg, Johnson City, Dripping Springs and Marble Falls are just a short drive from the vineyards. The hometown of President Lyndon B. Johnson, Johnson City has bed-and-breakfasts, art galleries, lavender farms and the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, where visitors can tour the former president’s ranch and the surrounding area. Dripping Springs is known as the gateway to the Hill Country and is just minutes from Johnson City. Outdoor enthusiasts will love taking a dip in the town’s iconic swimming hole, Hamilton Pool, and going on nature hikes at Westcave Preserve. For visitors who want to split their time between wineries and water activities, Marble Falls is the place to stay for boating, fishing, swimming and more. It is also home to local art galleries and antique stores, as well as the iconic Blue Bonnet Café, which was selected as the best breakfast in Texas and one of the state’s top 10 restaurants by Texas Highways Magazine.