** This Texas Hill Country Winery Travel Guide was Updated: 1/11/22
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 visited 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 happens to also be 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.
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.
Out of all of the wineries we visited last fall, 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 use mostly Texas grapes and shine at producing 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 of that land for over seven generations, and the winery is run by a seasoned team of wine-making experts.
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, and 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, which has a similar climate to Italy. Duchman was one of the few wineries we found where their 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, and 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 purchase flights and try the wines from each of their vineyards — and you’ll most certainly be able to taste the difference.
Have you ever tasted Texas wine?