When it comes to wine made in the United States, most people think of California and its many famous winemaking regions, like Napa Valley. Nevertheless, Texas has established an enviable reputation as America’s fifth-largest wine producing state, with more than 400 wineries throughout Texas today. Texas Hill Country was named one of the best wine travel destinations by Wine Enthusiast magazine in 2014.
In this article, we look at seven of the best vintners in Texas and the unique tasting experiences they have to offer.
1. Driftwood Estate Winery – Driftwood
Sitting high on a bluff overlooking the estate’s expansive vineyard, Driftwood Estate Winery embodies the heart and spirit of Texas. This revered winery produces a variety of award-winning wines.
The 2019 Cuvee Blanc is made from Chenin Blanc grapes grown on the estate. It features hints of grapefruit, green apple, and pear. Driftwood’s 2019 Chardonnay is made in the Chablis style, using stainless steel tanks rather than oak barrels, and offers hints of pineapple.
Driftwood’s 2017 Sangiovese is a Tuscan-style blend, comprising 5% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and 75% Sangiovese. Pairing well with Italian food, it offers hints of cherry, raspberry, and strawberry. This complex creation received a Gold Medal in the Houston International Wine Competition.
2. 4.0 Cellars – Fredericksburg
Situated on the fringes of Fredericksburg, Texas, in the very heart of the Hill Country, this elegant yet relaxing winery is the perfect setting in which to discover some of the finest wines Texas has to offer.
Forming part of the Wine Road 290 Trail, one of the most popular wine trails in the US, the winery treats beginners and aficionados alike to the ultimate Texas wine experience.
In addition to a comprehensive list of excellent wines, 4.0 Cellars also offers a variety of Texas-made food products, including locally grown olives, handmade chocolates, and handcrafted cheeses.
3. Grape Creek Vineyards – Fredericksburg
Founded in 1983, this well-known Texan vintner is the oldest winery on Highway 290. Grape Creek annually produces more than 60,000 cases of wine, equating to 700,000 bottles, between its two brands, Heath Sparkling Wines and Grape Creek.
Grape Creek Vineyards is a state-of-the-art winery that crushes, bottles, and cellars its fine wines on site. Visits include a guided tour of the entire production complex, including the crush pad, tank room, and barrel cellar.
4. The Austin Winery – Austin
Located on St Elmo Road in South Austin, this boutique urban winery creates small lots of artisan wines crafted from the finest grapes from across Texas. The winery is also a popular venue for weddings and parties.
The Austin Winery presents classes for wine enthusiasts who wish to expand their knowledge. The classes cover all the processes involved in producing the most common types of wine, including whites, reds, rosés, sparkling, and fortified wines.
5. Hye Meadow Winery – Hye
Nestled in the shade of towering oak trees, this picturesque winery immediately makes guests feel at home. The tasting room and covered patio are equally relaxing spots to enjoy the winery’s celebrated range of fine wines, each of which is made from 100% Texas grapes.
Hye Meadow Winery offers a variety of snacks to accompany tastings, including artisan cheese plates. The winery also maintains a calendar of seasonal events, such as the grape stomp, pig roast, and annual kite festival.
Mike Batek and his wife, Denise, preside over Hye Meadow Winery, having established the venture several years ago. Hye Meadow Winery offers a comprehensive range of whites, reds, and sparkling wines, including a 2016 Tempranillo, 2018 Rosato, and 2013 Aglianico.
6. Singing Water Vineyards – Comfort
Established in 1998, Singing Water Vineyards has established a reputation as “the Hill Country’s best kept secret.” The winery was one of the first established in the Texas Hill Country AVA.
A short drive from San Antonio, the winery is located in the town of Comfort, tucked away in the oak-studded hillside beside a meandering creek.
This Texas vineyard produces a variety of celebrated wines, including a 2018 Viognier, with hints of peach, honeysuckle, tangerine, apricot, and mango, which combine to create a smooth, creamy finish.
Priced at $40 a bottle, the 2015 Texas Reserve is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, featuring raspberry, plum, and dark chocolate notes; a fruity aroma; and a rich, smooth finish.
7. Bent Oak Winery – Austin
Located just outside of Austin in Cedar Park, Bent Oak Winery offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the entire winemaking process.
Bent Oak’s wines show distinction, character, taste, and balance. The vineyard’s mission is to bring out the unique qualities of grapes sourced from the Texas High Plains as well as the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Mountain in Northern California. The vineyard uses only the best, hand-selected grapes, which are carefully treated to preserve the essence of their terroir.