Texas Hill Country

Jason Varney
In true Texas fashion, the state’s hardy vintners have overcome a scorching climate – one of the hottest in the world capable of growing grapes – to build what has become the country’s second most popular wine destination (surpassed only by Napa and Sonoma in California), known particularly for its Viognier and Muscat Canelli. Centrally located Fredericksburg is an ideal home base for exploring the popular Wine Road 290 (nine wineries line the 45-mile stretch between Johnson City and Fredericksburg), but both Austin and San Antonio offer easy access to Hill Country’s wineries, which total more than 30.  

Texas Hill Country Wineries

Becker Vineyards

While many of Hill Country’s wineries are beautiful, not all produce compelling vintages. One of the oldest, and a standout, is Becker Vineyards, near Fredericksburg. Try the cabernet sauvignon or the viognier in the tasting room, and take in the surroundings, which include several acres of lavender.

464 Becker Farms Rd.,, Texas, 830-644-2681, www.beckervineyards.com
Tags: winery | outdoors | wine tasting | vineyard

Duchman Family Winery

Although one of the more commercialized wineries of the Hill Country bunch, the Duchman Family Winery’s sprawling, Italian-style property is a good choice for a quick trip from Austin, just 27 miles away. Sample six of the winery’s 10 selections (or splurge on all 10), all made from Italian varietals, from $5.

13308 FM 150 W., Texas, www.duchmanfamilywinery.com
Tags: winery | outdoors | wine | wine tasting | vineyard

Perissos Winery

Don’t be surprised if, during the middle of a tasting, a fluffy black Newfoundland named Charlie scampers up to the table or kids’ footsteps pitter-patter overhead. Perissos is a decidedly family-run operation (the whole clan lives above the winery), and that quality infuses the business with a friendly, approachable attitude. Tastings start at $5.

7214 Park Rd. 4 W., Texas, 512-820-2950, www.perissosvineyards.com
Tags: winery | outdoors | wine tasting | vineyard

Torre di Pietra

With more live music showcased than any other Texas winery, Torre di Pietra is one of the most happening tasting stops in the region. Make this the last destination on a Highway 290 excursion, and don’t miss the Texas Dirty Girl vintage, a dry chardonnay with a surprisingly fizzy finish. Tastings start from $5.

10915 E. Hwy. 290, Texas, 830-644-2829, www.texashillcountrywine.com
Tags: winery | outdoors | vineyard

William Chris Vineyards

Low sulfite wines, a focus on premium vintages, and a dedication to sustainable winemaking have already earned this relative newcomer (the winery opened in 2009) a completely sold out 2008 malbec line. As the property grows, plans to build another outdoor tasting table beneath a 400-year-old oak grove and create an on-site winemaking museum are in the works. Tastings start at $6; call ahead to confirm opening days, which normally run Thursday through Sunday.

10352 U.S. Hwy. 290, Texas, 830-998-7654, www.williamchriswines.com
Tags: winery | outdoors | wine | wine tasting | vineyard

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