Discover Austin’s 25th episode is a road trip to the Texas Hill Country to visit some wineries. Did you know this area ranks number two in the U.S. in wine tourism? The video transcript can be found below the video. If you’d like to know when new episodes are posted, subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Other Discover Austin topics mentioned in the episode: Fredericksburg, TX
Greetings, I’m Craig Smyser. We’re in the Texas Hill Country to visit some wineries on this road trip edition of Discover Austin. You may be wondering if Texas and wine belong together in the same sentence. Well, I can assure you they do. While it’s not Napa Valley, the Texas Hill Country does rank #2 in the US for wine tourism.
The first known grape vines planted in Texas were done by Franciscan priests in the 1600s. By the 1800s, Texans originally from Germany were making quite a bit of wine. Over the last few decades, the number of wineries has rapidly increased. There are more than 4 dozen wineries in the Texas Hill Country. Scattered from Austin to Fredericksburg and Burnet to New Braunfels, there are plenty of wineries to tour and plenty of wine to drink. William Chris Vineyards in Hye, Texas is one of my favorite wineries in the Hill Country. You’ll find a tasting room, winery, and vineyard all on this property.
Dusty with William Chris Vineyards: We are a local winery in Hye Texas just east of Fredericksburg by about 20-30 minutes or so.
While William Chris uses 100% Texas grapes, not all of their grapes are grown here at the on-site vineyard as they also utilize grapes grown at other Texas vineyards in the Hill Country and High Plains. In fact, these two areas are the two predominant areas in Texas for growing grapes. Both the Hill Country and High Plains often have cool, wet winters and hot, dry summers. More importantly for growing grapes, these regions have temperature swings during the day that are quite large. Harvest season was just starting when we visited William Chris. While not going into the intricacies of wine making, the overall process is to pick the grape bunches, then use this machine to destem the grapes. The grapes then spend several days in these large plastic bins and are hand pressed several times a day. After a considerable process of more pressing and fermenting, the wine is moved to the barrels where it will remain for months or years depending upon the type of wine and the desired flavor. William Chris offers a variety of both red and white wines. Like William Chris, many of the Hill Country wineries offer live music and special events in addition to the tasting room experience. Some wineries offer tours, others can accommodate large parties such as wedding receptions, and still others have restaurants on site. With so many wineries to choose from, you’re sure to find a few that really appeal to you.
So, whether you are out just at one winery for a glass and some live music or with a bunch of friends on a limo tour, a visit to Texas Hill Country Wineries is a great weekend escape. I’m Craig Smyser, thanks for joining me for this road trip episode of Discover Austin.