Texas is one of most prolific wine states in America. The wine climate in Texas is similar to that of Portugal. Despite actually having a few counties with dry laws still on the books, Texas wine is expanding at a steady rate and is fast becoming a very established region for growing wine in the United States. While states like California and Virginia are considered big wine states in America, Texas has been growing wine for over a century before the first vines took root in those states.
Texas is home to over two hundred wineries, and eight different American viticultural areas. The Texas High Plains AVA in north Texas is known as one of if not the single most promising newly emergent AVA, and specializes in the production of Cabernet Sauvignon. It currently covers over eight million acres of land and contains twenty different active wineries. The Bell Mountain AVA and the Mesilla Valley AVA were two of the first wineries in Texas. The Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country AVA is located in the middle of Texas and its most known for its Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Texas Hill Country AVA found just west of Austin is the second biggest AVA in the United States, even though only about eight hundred acres of it are actually planted with grape vines. The Texas Davis Mountains AVA in western Texas was the only one of its kind when it was finally granted AVA status. The texoma AVA in northern Texas is located in the same exact region where famous viticulturist Thomas Munson found a cure for the phylloxera epidemic plaguing France.
Among the wines found growing in Texas are Viognier, Zinfandel, Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah, Tempranillo, Chardonnay, Muscat Canelli, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are the two most commonly planted wines in Texas. The variety of plantings for Chardonnay however has decreased in recent years, wheras the number of planting for wines like Muscat Canelli and Syrah have seen an increase. The eastern and coastal cliamtes of Texas are more tolerant of black Spanish vines and Blanc du Bois varieties, and as such have seen an increase of plantings in the area.
Texas produces up four thousand one hundred tons of wine per year, putting it in fourth place for United States wine producers, right behind Washington, New York, and California. The largest wine producer in the state of Texas is the University of Texas System in western Texas. It has over one thousand acres planted with vines although the vineyard was first established as an experiment in 1987. The University of Texas system leases land to Bordeaux wine makers who make Escondido Valley wine, and Ste. Genevieve wine. Llano Estacado Winery is the second largest wine producer in Texas. There are three major regions in Texas known for growing wine, and they all have a wide variety of micro climates that allow for the production of many different types of wine. It’s not hard to see why Texas is one of the biggest wine states in America!