The Best Wine and Wine Makers in Texas
By: Ben Carpenter, Contributor
The long history of Texas wine begins in the 1600s with Spanish missionaries cultivating grapes in an area now known as El Paso. In the 1800s, European settlers started Texas vineyards from grapevine cuttings that they brought from their homelands.
These are some of the best wineries and vineyards Texas has to offer.
Val Verde Winery
In 1883, Frank Qualia formed Val Verde Winery, which is one of the oldest, bonded wineries still operating in Texas. The Qualia family have owned and operated these Texas vineyards since 1883, boasting more than 125 years of operation and three generations of Texas winemakers. This winery has firmly established itself as part of Texas culture and is definitely worth a visit. Their wine selection varies season to season and can be purchased at the winery itself. Val Verde produces Chardonnay, Sweet Red Table Wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Texas Rose, Muscat Canelli, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir and Lenoir.
Fairhaven Vineyards and Winery
This vineyard is located in Hawkins, Texas and was established in 2004. While it does not have the long and storied history of other Texas vineyards, this is definitely one to keep an eye on. They have experienced amazing growth since opening and now have over 11 acres of vineyards and a popular tasting room.
Fairhaven Vineyards and Winery also have 11 different varieties of wines for sale including Blanc du Bois, Aliona and Baco Noir. Additionally, they offer vineyard installation services to other local vineyards and even sell vines for people interested in opening up their own vineyard. The many varieties of Texas wine available from this vineyard are highly rated by wine aficionados.
This full production winery is located in the stockyards in Fort Worth, Texas which are reportedly haunted. There have been hundreds of sightings of ghosts and apparitions over the years and a guide from the winery can take you on a ghost tour that won’t soon be forgotten. For those with a tamer spirit, the winery also offers live acoustic music to entertain guests on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Visitors can choose from a wide variety of Texas wine options including Hot Spiced Wine, frozen Wine-A-Ritas (in Peach and Sangria), white wines, red wines, semi-sweet fruit wines and dessert wines. Custom wines can even be made for those who desire it after meeting with a tasting specialist.
Circle S Vineyards
This Texas winery is located in Sugarland, Texas, which is only 19 minutes from Houston’s city hall. The tasting rooms are set up like comfortable home living rooms, rather than a traditional bar. They welcome guests to lounge on couches and upholstered chairs, relax, browse their library of books to fine a good read, or choose from a variety of board games to play with a friend. Circle S Vineyards produce a variety of Texas wine options both familiar, such as Merlot and Zinfandel, as well as some non-traditional wines, such as Jalapeno. Their Jalapeno wine has won a gold medal in the United States Nationals and is sure to warm people up on a cold winter’s night.
La Diosa Cellars
The owner of this winery is a retired interior decorator which can be easily seen by visiting La Diosa Cellars. She has combined Texicana and Spanish cultures with a love of good food, fine wine and art. This winery has a variety of permanent pieces of art on display, as well as a revolving show of local artists’ work for customers to enjoy while sipping Texas wine and sampling some of the great menu items, such as Espãna Paninis, a variety of freshly made pizzas or Besitos. There is no shortage of wine offered either, with choices from La Diosa including Bella Rosa, Sangria and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Rohan Meadery winery combines two of Texas’ passions – honey and wine – with their selection of honeywines and mead. This maker of Texas wine is located in central Texas near La Grange and Fayetteville. There is an acre of tempranillo grapes, fruit trees, ten beehives, dairy goats, chickens and donkeys on this idyllic farm called Blissful Folly. They have ten different offerings of Texas wine and mead, including Pomegranate Melomel, Kumquat Honeywine, Blackberry Melomel, Pear Melomel and Traditional Mead. This meadery has won several awards for their varieties of wine, including a gold medal at the Finger Lakes International of 2012 for their Cranberry Honeywine.
San Martino Winery
This family owned and operated winery began in 2003 when a mean 5,200 bottles were produced by hand. Now, 92,000 bottles are corked each year and the winery offers a fabulous selection of Texas wine offerings, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Paulina’s Dolce and Texano, which is made up of 20% Cabernet and 80% Sangiovese. This winery also offers a range of events, including concerts and wine pairing dinners for guests to enjoy. Additionally, those who are looking to have an event can rent this winery for groups of 70-75 people. San Martino Winery is a beautiful setting for a small, intimate event, such as a wedding or anniversary party.
Two Hoes Whinery
A sense of humor is absolutely necessary for people interested in offerings from this quirky and small boutique winery near Tyler, Texas. They began bottling in January 2011 and currently have two wines available for sale – Crazy Bitch Merlot and Looney Bin Cabernet Sauvignon. These Texas winemakers are new to the business, but the early reports suggest that the wine is just as enjoyable as the vineyard owners’ sense of humor. Besides the Texas wine for sale, they also have a wide selection of hoodies and tank tops available for sale on-site or on their website.
Winery on the Gruene
This boutique winery is located in New Braunfels, Texas and has over 30 different Texas wine choices. Guests of the winery can enjoy tastings or buy wine by the case or bottle. The juice is brought into this winery from over a dozen different countries worldwide and then blended, fermented, aged and bottled on site. Shoppers can come in and design their own special wine. The winery itself takes care of it for the next eight weeks, and then the connoisseur returns to bottle and label the wine with custom labels. Winery on the Gruene offers 30 different award-winning wines, including white, red, fruit-infused and dessert wines.
Su Vino Winery
This winery is located in the aptly named Grapevine, Texas. The family owned winery began in 2003 and has since won more than 50 different medals for their selections of wines. Su Vino is a custom winery, meaning that, like some of the others listed above, they offer the ability for guests to customize their own wine according to their own tastes. Many wineries make it difficult for those who are not in the know to feel welcome, but this Texas wine family removes the barriers of wine snobbery with educational sessions offered to guests. Shoppers can choose from a wide selection of wines such as Cheeky Monkey, Bless Your Heart and Strawberry Blonde.
Visitors to Texas may be surprised to find how rich the area is when it comes to wineries. Texas wine has a long and varied history that locals have long enjoyed. Texas winemakers have much to offer in terms of great places to visit and wines for every taste and budget.
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