Among hardcore wine lovers, nothing quite says awesome like going to a vineyard. A trip to a vineyard gives you spectacular views of grapevines, beautiful pathways to walk, education about how your favorite wines are made, and at times, even a nice little bottle to bring home with you.
During my quest to learn more about Texas wines, I picked up my Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil and turned to the section about Texas wine regions. MacNeil references the founders of Fall Creek Vineyards, Ed and Susan Auler, as being one of the first in Texas to elevate grape farming and winemaking to a serious endeavor. The Aulers were inspired to start their vineyard and winery in 1973 after they toured numerous vineyards in France. They noticed similarities between their ranch in the Texas Hill Country and the terroir of the French wine growing regions. Drawing on their inspiration and Texas ingenuity, Fall Creek Vineyards was planted in 1975 and was the first Texas Hill Country winery. After getting this fascinating glimpse into the history of Fall Creek, I decided to journey down to their tasting room in Driftwood, Texas. Driftwood is only 22 miles southwest of Austin in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.
This past summer, I received an invitation to attend the 10-year anniversary party for two good friends of mine. They were hosting it at the Austin Winery, an "urban winery" and "tasting lounge" located in South Austin. I had never heard of the Austin Winery, and was immediately intrigued. I eagerly submitted my RSVP because let's face it — when someone invites me to a winery, I'm in! I was also researching Texas wines for a fiction novel that I recently became inspired to write. So, in the name of friendship and research, I made my way to the event.
Autumn is just now beginning to cast its spell on the Texas Hill Country, with burst of burnt orange and gold scattered among the evergreens. Cruising down Highway 290, also known as the Texas Wine Trail, on a busy Saturday afternoon I encountered party buses and limousines full of eager wine enthusiasts being ferried to their next tasting. With five million annual visitors, the Texas Hill Country wine region is the second most popular wine tasting destination in the United States, Napa Valley being the first. There are 52 wineries in the region, which stretches from Austin to Fredericksburg and Lampasas to New Braunfels. On this day, I visited two wineries each offering its visitors a distinctive tasting experience.
Let's break this down. Americans are the top consumers of wine. We love wine. We have made it a social drink, one for sealing deals at corporate lunches, the drink to celebrate occasions, wine is part of religious ceremonies, etcetera, etcetera.
Here is an interesting little factoid about worldwide wine consumption. According to the World Wine Institute, in 2009, France topped the list with 12.40% of the world's consumption. U.S. consumption of the world's wine was a close second with 11.70%, followed by Italy, and China taking the third and fourth spots respectively. The rest of the worlds' wine consuming countries split up the balance.
In the central area of the arid, southern reaches of Argentina, there is a rare oasis: the Río Negro Valley. An ideal place for growing grapes of great concentration, given the low humidity which goes all year round (to a 30% max!) and barely 7 inches of rain a year. Sounds hard and uninviting, yet its nickname would never give that away: "Land of Dreams." That is the nickname it goes by at Bodega Noemía.
When it comes to the best wineries in Virginia, there are a lot of options and places to consider. While there are brilliant wineries all over the East Coast, nothing quite compares to Virginia. As the United States’ Wine Country, Virginia is home to all sorts of wineries and vineyards, making it a little tough at times to choose exactly where you should be heading for the best experience. To narrow down your search, we’ve put together a list of 10 of the best wineries in Virginia, so you can look through them and make an informed decision of where to go!
The area around Henderson offers spectacular scenery, quaint bed and breakfasts, and an opportunity to visit one of North Carolina’s best-kept secrets; the Burntshirt Vineyards in Henderson.
Wine tasting has often come under fire for being pretentious, snooty, and at times, totally pointless. Part of the reason that a lot of people feel this way about wine tasting is because there are many misconceptions, myths, and downright falsehoods being passed as truth in certain wine circles.
There's something about attending a wine tasting that feels intimidating to many of us. The patrons at wine tastings tend to dress elegantly, have fancy names, and work jobs that have a certain level of prestige to them that often can make us feel a bit inferior. To a point, we often assume that they know things about wine that we don't.
When you think of vineyards, your first thoughts might be to think of California. Tastings might lead you to think of New York. And you wouldn't be wrong. It can be easy to forget how much quality wine is being produced in different parts of the country. New Jersey is home to some of the United States' best wineries, perfect for sampling and for tours. If you're in the area, make sure to plan a visit to one (or more) of the best wineries in New Jersey.