Texas wines? - Printable Version

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- malarkey - 06-13-2010 04:03 PM

Hello, I'm new here and new to Austin as well. I've been working on an interest in wine for several years now, it grew out of my love of food & cooking.

My question is.. what's the scoop with Texas wines? I notice they don't have their own section in the forum. I was a volunteer pourer at the Hill Country Food & Wine Fest this spring, and I tasted a lot of texas wine (as well as others) but... I'm not feeling the love. I've had only one that I found drinkable: Becker's Reserve Cab Sauv, and that was several years ago I had that (haven't had any recent vintages).

I did meet someone who said that some of the growers are starting to plant grapes that match the climate a bit more (rather than all the varietals used in Napa) such as Spanish & Portuguese grapes. Is this true? What is the real scoop? Are there any good TX wines?

me, personally, I'm a francophile, but I am open to trying any & all because that's the only way you learn...


- winoweenie - 06-13-2010 05:11 PM

Hi M and welcome to the board. One of our Moderators lives in Heloites and owns some potential vineyard property in the hill country. I'm sure that Hotwine will give his 14 dollars worth when he gets up from his afternoon siesta. WW

- Innkeeper - 06-13-2010 05:13 PM

Hi Malarkey, and welcome to the the Wine Board. We have enjoyed many Texas wines in the past, but not recently because it is even more difficult to get wines out of Texas than into Texas. Privious tastings occured during trips to Texas which were much more frequent when we lived in Nebaraska.

You have a variety of places to post on this board. If your wine doesn't fit on one of the varietal threads, you can post on the New York/East Coast thread which is subtitled East of the Rockies.

- hotwine - 06-13-2010 09:01 PM

Welcome to the board, Malarkey.

Texas wines are still struggling for identity. Too many producers have tried to replicate the Napa experience with French varietals, but the climate and soil conditions have not been favorable.

Take a drive out US290 West to Fredericksburg, and you'll be in the heart of the Texas Hill Coluntry..... there sre over a dozen wineries within 15 miles of there. There's a retail shop on Main Street, next to Fredericksburg Realty, that stocks most of the wines available in the region. There are other producers to the south, down US87 to Comfort, as well as to the northwest in the Lubbock area, on the High Plains. I've tried a lot of them, and have a number in my cellar, but I just haven't found any bell-ringers that can be highly recommended. A friend drives a tour bus on weekends, taking visitors around to several wineries so they don't have to drive themselves, and you could try to link up with that kind of group. Some, in fact, come over from Austin at least monthly.

The tanking economy was the reason I scrapped plans to grow grapes on my place north of Fredericksburg. I was leaning toward Sangiovese, Tempranillo and Syrah, after having the soil examined by the Texas Ag-Life Extension Service office in Fredericksburg. But that would have incurred a cost of about $10K/acre for soil prep, irrigation, trellising and root-stock, without any equipment, labor or buildings. I've not talked to growers in the area in the last year, but suspect most have pulled in their horns until the economy improves.

If you've not visited Becker Vineyards, suggest you do that. They're in Stonewall, east of Fredericksburg and just south of US290. Dr. Richard Becker and his wife Bunny have built quite an operation there since 1992, and they have an excellent tasting room and winery. I bought four cases there, on a visit four years ago.... two of a Barbera, one of Sauvignon Blanc, and the other ..... (duh).... nameless. The Barbera was sourced from a vineyard further north, above Mason, and that grower is now deceased.

Some producers are gradually adding warm-climate grapes to their inventories. There's resistance, because of the success of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot on the left coast, but a few are realizing that classic Bordeaux varietals just won't work well here, and they need to expand their horizons to include southern European grapes.

I'd also like to try Nebbiolo.... suspect the soil on my place just might work for that. Problem is, the wines from that grape take a bazillion years to mature and I probably wouldn't live long enough to enjoy them.

- malarkey - 06-13-2010 11:54 PM

Thanks hotwine. I was just wondering if there was something I was missing out on.

I've got lots of exploring to do so I'll be sure to check out Becker.

- andrawes76 - 06-14-2010 05:27 PM


I work for in AUSTIN, TX! So please feel free to hit up guys like Hotwine or call me and I can include you in on any Texas Wine tastings. FYI, the best Texas wines come from Newsome Vineyard in West Texas where the nitrates in the soil and the PH coupled with fairly consistent weather allow for Cabernet, Tempranillo to develop nicely (foodie, correct me if I am wrong).

Try out Inwood Estates and Macpherson Syrah. Both are lovely. Also give Texas Hills Vineyard from Johnson City a whack. In my opinion Texas can make good wines, but we have some drastic weather here that really doesnt allow us to produce consistency in wines.

Anyways, I am here in Austin TX at (512) 476-9463 ext 304 if you need anything or want to talk Texas wines.

- Kcwhippet - 06-14-2010 06:18 PM

Many years ago I used to be able to get wines from Messina Hof, Cabs mostly. Haven't heard about them lately, and rather than Google them, can Alex or HW shed any light on what's up with them??

- hotwine - 06-14-2010 10:12 PM

Messina Hof is still very active, both as a winery and a resort. 4545 Old Reliance Road • Bryan, Texas 77808, phone number (979) 778-9463 or toll free (800) 736-9463. Google Messina Hof and their Website will pop up.
(The couple came up with the name based on their ancentral homes - he from Messina, Italy, and she from Hof, Germany.)

- - 10-26-2011 06:58 PM

Having worked in the Texas Wine Industry for the past 5 years before joining on here at, I have tried more Texas Wines than most. I think the best come from the winemakers and grape growers that are stepping out of the box with the varieties they make and grow. Look for some of these wines from a few of the newer wineries on the scene.

Pedernales Cellars Tempranillo
Alamosa Winery's Viogner
Becker Viognier
Sand Stone Cellars XII and X
Duchman Winery Vermentino and Montepulciano
William Chris Winery Malbec and Moscato
Perrisos Winery Rousanne and Aglianico

Thats a few for starters. Most of the best wines in the state are from warm weather varieties that do well in our climate. Also, be wary of wines that have the infamous "For Sale in Texas Only" phrase on the label. Wines with that tag source the majority of the grapes (or often times juice) from outside of Texas and therefore are not Texas Wine.