Texans love Texas-made products, and Texas pride influences beverage purchases from sodas to beer. Drinks that originate in Texas include Dr. Pepper from Waco and Shiner Boch from Shiner. Texas wine also generates an immense amount of Texas pride from those who appreciate quality wine. In previous decades, Texas wine was dismissed by some wine connoisseurs. Now, many Texans (and many non-Texans) are clamoring to drink Texas wines crafted by an innovative and talented crop of professional wine growers and makers.
Here are 5 reasons why drinking local and supporting Texas wine makes sense:
1. The Texas wine industry is big business in the Lone Star State. Texas is the #5 US-state for wine production behind California, Washington, New York, and Oregon. According to a 2017 study by Wine America, the Texas wine industry has an economic impact of $13.1 billion each year. Buying Texas wine at the State Fair of Texas is one way to keep this economic train chugging.
2. Texas vineyards grow over 80 grape varieties. Some wine regions focus most of their viticultural efforts on just a few varieties, like the Willamette Valley’s focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Texas growers farm a wide range of grape varieties, and they’re made in a wide range of wine styles. That means there’s a Texas wine for everyone.
3. Think Texas wine is our state’s little secret? Think again! Texas wineries are winning awards at national and international competitions. From Aglianico to Petit Verdot, Texas wines are wowing judges and racking up medals. Several Texas wineries distribute their wines outside of the state. These urban markets, primarily in the Northeast, have created a new fan base for wine grown and crafted in Texas.
4. The number of wineries in Texas has grown tremendously over the past decade, with much of the growth happening in the past 5 years. There are now over 500 wineries in Texas, and they are found across the entire state. Many wineries are centered in the Texas Hill Country, where Gillespie County leads the pack with almost 60 wineries. Elsewhere, urban tasting rooms and grand wineries with estate vineyards generate foot traffic that rivals the world’s top wine regions.
5. The grape growing regions of Texas are as varied as they come. Differences in soil type, elevation, and weather are among the factors that determine a vineyard’s suitability. The Texas High Plains, an 8 million acre growing region around Lubbock, is responsible for over 80% of the grape production in Texas. Other vineyards are found across the state from near the Oklahoma border to the southernmost vineyards near the Gulf Coast.
There’s no better way to show your state pride than to enjoy Texas wine with locally sourced and prepared cuisine. When visiting the State Fair of Texas, consider pairing a turkey leg with Texas Tempranillo or a corn dog with a glass of sparkling wine at the Texas Wine & Beer Garden at the State Fair of Texas. Cheers, y’all!
Shelly Wilfong is a wine educator, writer, and host of the podcast This Is Texas Wine.