** This Texas Hill Country Winery Travel Guide was Updated: 1/25/22
Did you know that Texas Hill Country is the nation’s second most-visited AVA (behind Napa Valley)? I’ve always been a firm believer that you don’t have to travel to the West Coast to find incredible wine in the U.S. Every time Tom and I visit Austin, we always end up making a day trip out to the surrounding wineries — and we’re always very impressed.
If you’re a wine lover, wineries in Texas Hill Country should be on your radar. Some of the grapes that define Texas Hill Country today include Tempranillo, Mourvèdre, Sangiovese, and Viognier (which is also the state grape of my home state: Virginia!)
If you’re headed to either Austin or San Antonio, I would highly recommend making a detour to explore some of these incredible wineries in Texas Hill Country.
Top 9 Best Wineries in Texas Hill Country You Need to Visit
This winery was a ways away from the main Fredricksburg strip. But it was well worth the detour! Bending Branch has incredible Hill Country views, adorable farm animals on their property you can say hi to, and an amazing, knowledgeable staff. If you’re a fan of Tannat or just want to give it a try, you’re in luck. Bending Branch is known for its signature Texas Tannat and has several other award-winning Tannat options.
When I visited Duchman Winery for the first time, I thought I was transported to Italy: their charming tasting room looked like something from the Mediterranean. They offered a unique selection of Italian varietals. Their facility was named one of HGTV’s most picturesque wineries in the country.
Not only was the tasting room picture-perfect, but the wines that they offered were also pretty incredible. All of their grapes are grown in the Texas High Plains AVA, similar to Italy. Duchman was one of the few wineries we found where wines are made from 100% Texas grapes.
If you’re craving a bit of Argentina in Texas, then El Gaucho Winery is a solid bet. This winery is located ~40 minutes outside of Austin. You can soak up some of the most incredible Hill Country views while sipping on delicious wines and enjoying authentic Argentinian eats.
The owners purchased two vineyards in the Mendoza region, which both have different soil elevations. You can buy flights and try the wines from each of their vineyards — and you’ll most certainly be able to taste the difference.
Out of all of the wineries we’ve visited in the area, Lewis Wines might be my favorite (we ended up bringing back three bottles from this winery!) This winery is ideal for warm weather: while they do have a small enclosed tasting room, they have a large, picturesque deck with plenty of seating. Overall, it had a very serene vibe, and we could have spent hours here!
Lewis Wines utilizes 100% Texas Grapes, and their wines have constantly been named some of the best in the state. They produce higher-end wine. And we enjoyed their rosé, Texas Tempranillo, and mourvédre. While they do accept walk-ins, reservations are suggested!
Ron Yates Wines was named one of the best new wineries in the U.S. back in 2017 by Tasting Table, and for good reason: their mission is to produce the finest wines in all of Texas. They mostly use Texas grapes and shine to produce Spanish, Rhone, and Italian-style wines. Plus, they offer a Sparkling Pet Nat, which is to die for!
One of the highlights of our visit? We ran into Ron himself in the tasting room and got to chat with him a bit about the winery. Their family has been working off that land for over seven generations. And the winery is run by a seasoned team of wine-making experts.
You can knock out two birds with one stone here at Salt Lick Cellars: taste some authentic Texas wine, and head next door to enjoy some of the best barbecue that Texas has to offer! We popped in to do a quick tasting before dinner. And we were incredibly impressed with how friendly the staff was and the quality of their wines. The best part? You can buy either wine or beer here at Salt Lick Cellars and bring them over to dinner — the restaurant is BYOB!
The staff offered us burnt ends to pair with our wines while tasting. And the experience was pretty magical. After your tasting, head out to their spacious wine garden and sip on some wine while enjoying views of their vineyard.
Sandy Road was brand new when we visited in Spring 2021 (and still partially under construction), so I don’t have a ton of photos from this winery. But we were blown away by the wines and the vineyard views.
At Sandy Road, you can enjoy handcrafted, premium Texas wine in a luxe setting. This would be a great place to bring a group of friends who might have varying tastes — there’s a great selection of both white and red wines here. Sandy Road currently does not accept walk-ins. So be sure to book a reservation in advance.
If you’re going wine tasting with a group or if you’re looking for great wine with incredible photo ops, Signor Vineyards is right up your alley. This charming, boutique family vineyard is home to award-winning Texas red wine. There’s plenty of outdoor space here. And it is one of the most beautiful vineyards we’ve visited in the area. Stop by Joanna’s Market on your way out and pick up some hand-curated gifts and gourmet bites.
William Chris has the kind of no-frills, boutique wine tasting experience that I love. All of their wines are 100% Texas-grown. And their founders have over 30 years of experience winemaking in Texas Hill Country. Their tasting room resembled a cozy glass house in the middle of the forest, and it was truly a memorable, intimate wine tasting experience!
Have you ever tasted Texas wine?