Texas Wine: A New American Winemaking Odyssey

The old adage that ‘everything is bigger in Texas’ should be amended to include the state’s will to grow grapes and make premium wines – no matter what. In no other major wine producing American state does the tantalizing exploration of wine’s possibilities continue to embolden and elude the producers of the area.

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There’s been just enough success in the Texan wine industry in the last few decades that the Texas Hill Country has grown to be the second largest American Viticultural Area in the country. Texas is currently the fifth largest wine-producing state in the nation.

The Hill Country AVA, located eighty miles north of San Antonio and west of Austin is one of seven wine regions within Texas. The Hill Country is a rugged rolling terrain of scrub land and trees, poor soil and plenty of sunlight. The Hill Country is hot and humid, harvest typically occurs in July – a good two months before most west coast wineries even begin to harvest their grapes.

The climatic intensity of Texas is evocative of southern France, Spain, and Italy. Many of the Hill Country wineries are beginning to focus on varieties that are native to those warmer areas – Pinto Grigio, Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Syrah, Sangiovese, Mourvedre, Grenache, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot – grapes that can withstand the potential for extreme weather conditions (tornados, hurricanes, hail), not to mention a persistent problem with Pierce’s Disease*, mildew, and Texas Root Rot*.

For more than 25 years, The California Wine Club founders Bruce and Pam Boring have explored all corners of California’s wine country to find award-winning, handcrafted wine to share with the world. Each month, the club features a different small family winery and hand selects two of their best wines for members.

Texas is undoubtedly a place of great potential, yet where some vintages are near-perfect, others can be absolutely devastating.