Happy Wine Trails
Exploring the Lone Store Wine Trail
Caverns, rolling hills, rivers, and the paint strokes of wildflowers dotting the landscape. A fusion of cultures: German, Czech, Swiss, Austrian, Alsatian, and Spanish. Art, music, and food festivals. It’s no wonder The New York Times named the Texas Hill Country the No. 1 vacation destination in 2008.
The latest addition to the long list of reasons travelers should visit the Lone Star State’s most enchanting region is the blossoming wine scene. And while the wines of the Hill Country are only just beginning to get the attention they deserve, Texas has been producing wine longer than almost any other state in the nation. Early Franciscan priests planted Mission vines so that they could produce sacramental wines. Then in the 19th century, German immigrants discovered the Mustang grape and ushered in the golden era of Texas winemaking.
That is, until now. The industry has made its comeback after the detrimental effects of Prohibition, and this year the 27 wineries of the Texas Hill Country AVA (American Viticultural Area) are traveling throughout Texas to share the fruits of their labors in celebration of the association’s 20th anniversary. The first ever Texas Hill Country AVA Road Show has already hit Fort Worth and Houston, but wine aficionados can still look forward to attending shows in Austin and San Antonio. At the events, guests will learn about the 400-year-old Texas wine industry, partake in winemaker dinners, meet winery owners, and indulge in the fruitful flavors of 30 Hill Country wines.
Of course, to truly experience Texas winemaking you need to take to the trails. The Texas Hill Country AVA holds five Trail Events annually, allowing wine enthusiasts to take self-guided tours of their choice of wineries throughout the Hill Country. It may prove difficult to choose from the 27 locations, but you can base your itinerary around the Hill Country’s attractions and activities. Whether you’re up for adventure and sightseeing — tubing ¨the Guadalupe River, climbing Enchanted Rock, spelunking Inner Space Caverns — or rest and relaxation — try a bed-and-breakfast in Fredericksburg, Wimberley, and Boerne — you’re sure to find a plethora of wineries to explore along the way.
FYI: 866.621.9463, www.texaswinetrail.com.