Editor’s Note: The following article on visiting the Best Texas Hill Country Wineries is part of our travel guide series. A series of travel guides aimed at exposing hidden beauty and affordable things to do at unique destinations. 

Best Texas Hill Country Wineries | Wine Road 290, Fredericksburg, Texas | Pedernales Cellars Viognier

Why It’s Worth Visiting Texas Hill Country for Wine Tasting

From finely tuned Tempranillo, crisp Viognier to beautiful rhone-style red blends, Texas Hill Country Wineries are not only situated around beautiful scenery, the wines they’re producing are only beginning to gain world-wide recognition. That’s because the majority of Texas Hill Country vineyards only sell their wines within Texas – otherwise the Texas wine bug would have gone viral long ago.

That’s why I’m aiming to expose this juice. It’s a relatively new revelation for many, but Texas Hill Country was largely overlooked until the past few years. (It wasn’t until the early 1990s that much of anything was produced here). The region is still one of the last places newbies would think of for producing fine wine.

But did you know that now the Texas Hill Country AVA is the second largest AVA in the U.S.? At over 9,000,000 acres, and with a climate and terroir not unlike Rioja, Spain or Southern Rhone, France, skilled Vintners are discovering the power the Earth holds within the Texas Hill Country region.

Best Texas Hill Country Wineries to Visit along Wine Road 290 in Fredericksburg

Navigating Texas Hill Country on Wine Road 290

Today we’re going to take a look at a stretch of road that leads through the picturesque region of Fredericksburg, Texas.  That stretch of road is aptly named Wine Road 290.  The whole area is unique in that many of the vineyards and wineries are a part of the Fredericksburg Wine Road 290 association.  Thus, what benefits one winery benefits another, as many are located literally right next to one another.  Making a day trip to the region incredibly convenient.

Below, we’ll highlight four of our favorite Texas Hill Country Wineries.  From East to West, a perfect itinerary of wineries to visit that any wine enthusiast or group can enjoy without breaking the bank.  We’ll start in Stonewall.

Best Texas Hill Country Wineries

Only about one hour and 30 minutes Northwest from from downtown Austin, Wine Road 290 in Fredericksburg can be easily accessed by hopping on Mopac (TX-1), and then merging onto US 290 – West.

How many wineries should I visit?

That depends on the tolerance of your group.  Things to keep in consideration:

  • If you’re drinking and driving – don’t overdo it
  • Begin your day in the late morning on a full stomach — by 11 AM most wineries are open
  • Plan your Texas Hill Country wine tour for a weekday — fewer crowds
Hill Country Winery Guide | Wine Road 290 | Fredericksburg, Texas

Sitting outside on a beautiful spring day in Hill Country. Enjoying a bottle of Pedernales GSM red blend.

1. Pedernales Cellars – First Stop

Did you know Texas Hill Country is an up and coming Viognier growing area? Elevated, sunny, windswept, limestone hillsides provide ideal growing conditions for stubborn grapes like Viognier.  Some Vintners here have really begun to fine-tune their craft and produce refreshing white wines.  While the whites are great, my favorite red in all of Hill Country came from Pedernales.

Pedernales Cellars makes for a great first stop for a wine tour in Fredericksburg because it will leave an impression on you.  This is an award winning winery, with a beautiful patio that offers 360 degree views of the surrounding hill country, frequently  backed by live music.  Adding a bit of an Austin-esque feel to this remote and flavor prone property.  Don’t be shy to roam the property!  Grapes are sourced from multiple vineyards within the region, and as I mentioned above, their GSM red blend is my favorite red wine thus far in all of Texas Hill Country.  Tastings do not need to be scheduled in advance.

Tasting Size: 5 or 6 pours depending on year

Tasting Fee: $15 (Reserve room $25)

Perks: Free souvenir wine glass with tasting and fee waived with case purchase

Contact: 2916 Upper Albert Road, Stonewall, Texas – Visit the Pedernales Cellars Website

Guide to the Best Texas Hill Country Wineries2. Becker Vineyards – Second Stop

Becker is a bit more mainstream (now producing around 1.3 million bottles annually) and has a few other… attractions associated with the property.  If you time your visit in either May or June, there’s a good shot you’ll get to see a sweeping lavender field not far from the tasting room.  The beginning of summer is also peak season so it can get somewhat crowded.  Try to plan your visit during the week. Checkout a virtual tour of  the Becker tasting room and property.  On-site tours typically run every 30 minutes on weekends.

If you’re looking to stay in wine country a little bit longer, Becker has a Bed & Breakfast adjacent to the property, for around $125 per night.

Tasting Size: 6 pours

Tasting Fee: $12

Perks: Take-home big basined wine glass

Contact: 464 Becker Farms Road, Stonewall, Texas – Visit the Becker Vineyards Website

Best Texas Hill Country Wineries along Wine Road 290 in Fredericksburg Texas

Image courtesy Torre di Pietra

3. Torre di Pietra Vineyards – Third Stop

Next stop and just up the road – Torre di Pietra offers a boutique winery style from the outside, and an intimate inviting experience on the interior.  This is a family run venue that offers Tuscan-inspired vines and flare.  Active military members are given free tastings.  Don’t be shy to try some of the blends, especially the Red Flirt, Dirty Girl. their Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon.  

Feel free to bring a pet along to Torre di Pietra – they’re permitted on the grounds and in the tasting room as long as they’re on a leash. You can also catch some live music out on the patio over the weekend. Reservations are required for wine tastings — call 830.644.2829!

Tasting Size: 6 pours

Tasting Fee: $15

Perks: Free souvenir wine glass

Contact: 10915 E. Highway 290, Fredericksburg, Texas – Visit the Torre di Pietra Website

Awesome Hill Country Wineries along Wine Road 290 in Fredericksburg, Texas4. Grape Creek Vineyards – Fourth Stop

Grape Creek winery is another Italian styled winery located pretty much next door to Torre di Pietra. If you’re following along with this itinerary, this will likely be your last stop for the day.  Be confident in your decision – Grape Creek Vineyards has snatched up over 100 medals over the years with their wines.  Done in a Tuscan architectural style, the buildings on the property are primarily made of stone with classic red roofs.  Prices vary depending on when you visit.  Weekday tasting are $12, while Saturday’s and holiday’s are $15.  Try the 2012 Bellissimo and the 2013 Cabernet & Syrah blend.

Tasting Size: 6 pours

Tasting Fee: $12 Weekdays, $15 Saturday’s / Holiday’s

Perks: Free souvenir wine glass

Contact: 10587 E. Highway 290, Fredericksburg, Texas – Visit the Grape Creek Vineyards Website

Best Texas Hill Country Wineries, Driftwood, Texas | Duchman Family Winery

Beautiful summer day just outside the vines at Duchman Family Winery!

Duchman Family Winery – Add Either a First or Last Stop

Depending on where you leave from in Austin, if you have a little extra time, or, would rather split your Hill Country wine experience with both Fredericksburg and Driftwood (about 30 minutes Southeast of Fredericksburg), head on downtown Duchman Family Winery to enjoy their beautiful stone tasting room and very friendly staff.  The Duchman property is beautiful, but this winery also has an Italian restaurant conveniently located next to the tasting room.

The majority of wine styles produced here are Italian, and the tastings are by far the most affordable in the area.  Definitely try the Aglianico, our favorite on the menu!

Tasting Size: 6 generous pours

Tasting Fee: $10

Perks: Self guided walk and sip tour of the facility

Contact: 13308 Ranch to Market Rd 150, Driftwood, TX 78619, – Visit the Duchman Family Winery Website

New Wineries and Vineyards are Coming!

Texas Hill Country is rapidly expanding, with new wine makers popping up every year.  Have you visited Texas wine country before?  Let the community know about your favorite vines below.

Texas Hill Country Map along Wine Road 290 courtesy Texas Wine Trail.

email

15 Comments

  • I enjoyed your guide to this region – an area I have heard of but have not visited. I liked Rioja when I visited Spain so it is interesting to see the comparison. Great wine travel blog.

  • Terroir. I didn’t know about it until a visit to the Guadalupe wine region in Baja educated me. There too one of the five regions with those ultimate characteristics for growing wine grapes (includes Napa, Tuscany…) Looks like your day in the vineyards was perfect too. Salut.

  • These wineries look beautiful – a great place to relax.

  • I did the hill wine tour on my way to Fredericksburg 12 years ago, after reading you blog post, it makes me want to go back!!

    • You must! 12 years ago is a long time and wine growing practices around Fredericksburg were still in their relative infancy. Improvisation has evolved to committed strategy and there are also many more vineyards.

  • What is the definition of a compelling post? In my book, if you read it through to the end, and it convinced you to do even more research on a subject you discovered one. Thank you for writing a great overview of the Texas Hill Country Wineries. Moreover, thank you for pushing me to do more research about US AVAs. I am familiar (and love) the Northwest wines, namely Washington and Oregon varieties. Columbia Gorge and Columbia Valley are my favorites. Also, I know Virginian wines quite well since I lived in that area in the past. I was surprised to read about Texas wines. Somehow, wines are not the first topic I would associate with this state. Thank you!

    • Thanks so much for the great feedback Elena. We strive to provide a great resource here on a daily basis and it means the world to us when we’ve achieved our goal. You’re not alone in not thinking of Texas a wine growing region, but that’s why I’m aiming to get the word out. These wines are not to be missed. Also, I agree that the Pacific Northwest is producing some PHENOMENAL wines. The Pinot Noir’s coming out of the area are some of my favorite.

  • Wine tasting is always a good idea :). Growing up in Virginia, I made many trips to Charlottesville + VA wine country, along with a trip to Sonoma + Napa CA this year. Texas isn’t somewhere that I would think of for wine, thanks for sharing!

  • GREAT guide! Grape Creek is our favorite of the bunch, but we really enjoyed Dutchman also; more for the ambiance than the wine. (Not that it wasn’t good!) Of course, I’m commenting while sipping from a bottle of locally famous(ish) Messina Hof Texas Country Christmas. 🙂 Hope you don’t mind – we’re adding a link to our article on Fredericksburg (http://travellatte.net/five-fun-things-to-do-in-fredericksburg/) – they’re a great match. Glad to see you in #WeekendWanderlust!

  • What a fantastic setting to enjoy wine in. I do love my wine & one of my favourite wine regions is the Hunter Valley in Australia. Great website by the way

  • Kristey

    I just found your article here! We live in the Hill Country and dearly enjoy Pedernales and were wanting to branch out from there. (From what we hear, William Chris needs to be next on our list!!!) We can’t wait to try more!

    • Always great to see someone else so psyched up about Texas wine! Hill Country definitely has a lot to offer. I expect this region to continue to expand exponentially as the word of quality continues to get out. I love how more winemakers, Bill & Chris being some of them, are taking the plunge playing around with varieties not typically thought about here. Their blends are fantastic! Btw, if you head to W&C on the weekend (Friday too) make sure you make a reservation! (830) 998-7654

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *