BestestHusband and I just returned from a wine tour, and the unimaginable has happened: I think I drank too much wine. I actually ruined my appetite for wine. I never thought I'd say that...
We toured 3 wineries in one day and 1 the next morning. Yes, I was drinking wine before noon. I'm not sure I'd recommend it as a chaser to an order of Eggs Benedict. Or a warmup for hiking Enchanted Rock. But whatever.
We drank about 25 different wines. Some of them were frightful. Some of them were wonderful. But the whole experience was truly Texan.
There are wineries in Texas? Oh yes, there are quite a few in the Hill Country. And a lot of vineyards in north and south Texas, as well. The soil and climate are very similar to wine producing areas of France, Italy, and Spain. In fact, some of the varietals native to those countries actually do better in Texas. (Well of course! Everything's bigger and better in Texas!) The wineries tend to cluster along Highway 290 and highways that branch off of it. You could drive down 290 and find a dozen tasting rooms within a 10 mile stretch.
We chose to head off the beaten path for our tour. Armed with recommendations from my parents and BestestHusband's iPhone, we turned off the highway onto sometimes-paved roads.
The experience was well worth the drive. We saw ranches. We saw signs that warned of loose livestock. And we saw some loose livestock. We rumbled over cattle guards. We saw cacti, mesquite, and live oak. We saw Rosemary hedges. We saw deer. We saw cattle, sheep, goats, and donkeys. We saw llamas and emu. We saw rolling hills and lovely vistas. We saw windmills and rusty tractors. We saw lovely stretches of open nothingness.
And then we sat at wine bars, learned a lot about the growing local wine industry, and we drank a lot of wine. As we looked out over the rolling Hill Country, capped by a gorgeous blue sky.
Forget Napa. Texas wine country is the place to be. I'd highly recommend visiting in April, when the windflowers are in bloom. I saw them seeding the grass along the highway. They should be spectacular. And tell the llamas I say hi.