Visiting a winery is one of the top extracurricular activities of the summer season. Tasting multiple varieties of wine, meandering through rolling vineyards, and getting to know about your local grapes is an ideal way to pass a long summer day with friends and family. Wine tourism has taken center stage in many states, and while California, Washington, and Oregon are top of mind when it comes to wine production, Texas actually ranks fourth for having the most wineries in the United States.
The Roots of Texas
Did you know the first vineyard took its roots in the Lone Star State? Spanish missionaries brought vines into the state back in the 17th century. Then, before the prohibition era, experimental vineyards were planted by researchers at Texas A&M, which tested 150 varieties to see how they performed in the state’s unique climate. However, even with the curiosity of grape cultivation early-on, wine production in the state didn’t explode until recent years.
Today, the wine industry in Texas is booming, and since a recent 2005 law passed allowing the state to ship direct across state lines, wineries have proliferated from 40 to 400. There are around seven different wine producing regions in Texas, ranging from mountains, hill country, and valleys all generating distinct flavors. Here’s a snapshot at some of the most popular wineries in Texas:
- Messina Hof Winery is the most awarded winery in Texas and uses hybrid barrels to create fusion wine.
- Brennan Vineyards houses its tasting room in the historic McCrary House in Comanche.
- Bending Branch Winery combines Old World grapes with New World techniques.
- McPherson Cellars has over 450 medals won under its belt.
A Summer of Wine
This year, Messina Hof Winery is holding a special Daytime Harvest Festival held every weekend from July 27th – August 18th. Stomp on grapes, enjoy curated wine-paired meals, take a viticulture course, and more! To make your weekend complete, stay just 20 minutes away at Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center where you can relax on the beautiful and historic Texas A&M campus. The hotel is a recipient of the coveted AAA Four Diamond rating, so you know it hits the highest marks in hospitality, service, and attention to detail.