What? Texas makes wine? Maybe you’re a long-time Texas wine enthusiast. Or perhaps you’ve never even seen a bottle from Texas. Either way, there’s much to know about what’s happening in the Lone Star State. Let me share a little history and recommend ways you can easily discover Texas wines for yourself.
History of Texas Wine
Texas has a long history of wine. There is evidence that Spanish missionaries planted the first vineyards in North America in 1682 near present-day El Paso in Texas. Fast forward two centuries, when Italian immigrant Frank Qualia established the Val Verde Winery in 1883. Located near Del Rio, the winery still exists today and remains family-owned.
In the late 1880s, a pest called Phylloxera was eating away the roots of grapevines in France and throughout Europe. Luckily, a horticulturist in Texas, Thomas Volney Munson, discovered a grapevine rootstock resistant to the devastating louse. With his research and guidance, the roots of vines native to Texas were shipped to Europe. Thousands of these roots were grafted to the stalks of European grapevines and replanted where infected vines had died out. Munson essentially saved the wine industry in Europe. Some even say that every bottle of Bordeaux, Champagne, and Burgundy wine enjoyed today is rooted in Texas!
Of course, during Prohibition, the wine industry in Texas, and the rest of America, was virtually eliminated. Then in 1966, Clinton ‘Doc’ McPherson started an experimental vineyard in the Texas High Plains near Lubbock. He planted 140 different grape varieties to learn which grapes worked best in the local climate and soil.
Momentum started to build in grape growing and winemaking in the mid-70s. Today, Texas boasts over 500 individual winery locations and 9,300 acres of vineyards. The Texas Hill Country region of the wine world encompasses over 14,000 square miles, making it the largest defined wine region, or appellation, in Texas and the third largest in the country. To boast a bit more, the Hill Country is second only to Napa Valley for wine tourism in America. And in 2022, the wine industry had an economic impact of $20.35 Billion.
How to Discover Texas Wines
If all of this has you craving a good glass of wine, there are plenty of ways to discover Texas for yourself. Whether you enjoy surfing the web, watching a movie, searching on your phone, reading stories, or listening to a podcast, there are a variety of options for learning more about the wines of Texas.
Texas Wine Lover
The longest-running resource started as a simple blog in 2011 and is now the definitive resource for discovering all things important to wine drinkers in Texas. TXWineLover.com helps you learn about a winery, find it on a map, create an itinerary to plan a visit, read reviews of wineries and specific bottles, discover long-time and up-and-coming winemakers, and educate yourself about Texas wine. Plus, a brand-new mobile app keeps your guide to wineries easy to access in the palm of your hand.
This is Texas Wine
With production starting in 2020, This is Texas Wine is a podcast that gained a strong immediate following. Recognizing the broad “fan base” that Texas wine enjoys, the goal is to provide more content for the consumers.
The first portion of each episode covers what’s new in Texas wine news. Because of this, the podcast is a resource many people in the industry listen to so they can stay informed.
The second portion of each episode is an interview with someone in the industry. By sharing the stories of the people behind the Texas wine industry, we can grow consumer appreciation. And that’s exactly what This is Texas Wine is doing one episode after another.
Launched in late 2022, Sommly provides a source for learning about, and buying, Texas wines. Many of the wineries in the state are small, making as little as 800 to 2,500 cases annually. While some produce larger quantities, few wines are available on grocery store shelves in Texas. And almost none are at stores in other states.
Sommly increases access to and discoverability of artisanal wineries producing world-class wines. You can order directly on Sommly.com, and the winery ships your bottles right to your door. Rate wines, leave winery reviews, and keep up with your wine education through the blog articles.
We Know Texas Vino
This brand-new podcast launched in January and is a casual, fun way to learn more about Texas Wineries. This duo saw an opportunity to share a winery’s story with the average wine consumer. Each episode highlights the people behind the label and shares the passion that creates each bottle of wine. They aim to visit 50 different wineries this year and add a few festivals and live tasting experiences. Listen in and get to know some of our fantastic owners and winemakers in Texas.
Texas Wine Club
Noticing the same problem with accessibility, TxWine.com offers a wine club that chooses the highest quality Texas wines to ship directly to your door. Wineries from all across the state submit their wines to be rated by a panel of wine professionals, including winemakers, oenologists, and Sommeliers, in double-blind tasting sessions. The top-scoring wines make the allocation, and a case is shipped once a quarter. Have fun being surprised by the bottles in your shipment and discover boutique wineries you may not have heard of before.
Texas Wine and True Crime
If you like to learn about true crime stories and enjoy drinking wine, this podcast has everything you’d want. In the midst of the pandemic in 2020, this podcast came together to share detailed crime stories. Partway through the show, your host discusses the bottle of Texas wine she’s sipping on. And her husband creates a dish to pair with the wine. Patreon members get the recipe as well as extra episodes. The show aims to bring a good wine to the forefront of each episode while sharing an important true story about a crime.
Texas Winemakers Docuseries
Want to see behind the scenes of Texas wines? Check out this 10-part documentary series on YouTube that launched in 2022. See the grape growers, winemakers, and winery owners influencing our wines today. Learn more about what it takes to get the grapes from the vineyard to your glass.
There’s a lot to know about Texas wines, and these trailblazers are helping us stay tuned in and in the know. Check out these educational avenues and dig deeper into the story of Texas wine.