History of Hill Country Wineries
The Hill Country may have recently become a hot spot for wine lovers, but the history of Hill Country wineries goes back much further. The first winery in Texas was established by Franciscan priests in 1662. It was actually the first known winery in all of North America.
Throughout the 1800s, as the population expanded so did the vineyards. Immigrants brought in cuttings that prospered in the fertile soil and conducive climate. But grapes also grew naturally along the riverbeds, and some of the varieties are distinct to this area.
Vitis vinifera grapes were among the first planted in the Texas Hill Country region. But getting these old world grapes to yield in Texas proved difficult. It wasn't until the 1970s that the wine industry really took off in the Hill Country. It was then that locals gave in and started cultivating native grape varieties instead.
However, vineyards faced another problem - Pierce's disease. The bacteria thrives in warm weather climates and can devastate grapes. An outbreak of the disease in 1996 was so bad it killed off some grape varieties entirely. Growers weren't able to get Pierce's disease under control until around 2001. Since then, the Hill Country wine industry has enjoyed steady growth. Every year thousands of visitors come to the area to enjoy Texas Hill Country wine tours where they can sip award-winning wine while taking in the scenery of limestone cliffs and rolling green hills.
Today, over 4,000 acres in Texas are dedicated to vineyards and their wineries. There are now eight recognized American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) in the Lone Star State. The Hill Country is among the most highly regarded AVAs and is renowned for grape growing. It's also the second largest AVA in the U.S. As a result, there are dozens vineyards and wineries located in the Hill Country region.
Come Sample the Texas Hill Country's Finest Wines
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