The Best 10 Wineries to Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Nestled in the heart of Texas lies a hidden gem that has been quietly earning a reputation as a premier wine destination – the Texas Hill Country. With its rolling hills, picturesque landscapes, and a climate that mirrors some of the finest wine regions of the world, this area has become a sanctuary for vintners and wine enthusiasts alike. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 wineries in Texas Hill Country, each offering a unique blend of traditional winemaking and Texan hospitality. From the elegant tasting rooms of Augusta Vin to the family-owned charm of Siboney Cellars, and the innovative spirit at Lost Draw Cellars, these wineries are not just about sipping wine; they’re about experiencing the rich tapestry of flavors and stories that each bottle holds. Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or a curious newcomer, prepare to embark on a journey through vineyards that encapsulate the essence of Texas’s viticultural prowess.

William Chris Vineyards

William Chris Winery, established in 2008, is renowned for its commitment to producing 100% Texas-grown wines, showcasing the unique terroir of Texas. The winery, co-founded by William “Bill” Blackmon and Chris Brundrett, has a philosophy that great wines are grown in the vineyard rather than made, emphasizing the importance of location and truthful labeling. This philosophy led to their support of the global Wine Origins initiative and involvement in new labeling laws in Texas, ensuring consumers understand what makes a Texas wine authentic.

The winemaking process at William Chris begins with a careful harvest, where understanding of chemistry, a well-developed palate, and farmer’s intuition are crucial. Weather patterns significantly impact the balance of acidity, sugar content, and flavor profiles in the wine. The winery practices open-air fermentation and hand punchdowns to facilitate a delicate maceration process. Aging of the wine involves minimal handling, with a focus on using high-quality French, American, and Eastern European oak barrels. Additionally, they innovate by aging wines in concrete tanks, allowing for controlled introduction of oxygen throughout the fermentation and aging processes. William Chris Vineyards is the first in the U.S. to import a Galileo Tank from Bordeaux, France, exclusively for their use.

The winery’s portfolio includes a range of brands such as Lost Draw Cellars, Skeleton Key, and Grower Project. Each of these brands represents a distinct aspect of their winemaking philosophy and showcases the diversity of Texas wines. The tasting room at William Chris offers visitors a chance to learn about the unique characteristics of each vintage and the thoughtful winemaking process.

William Chris Vineyards has been recognized for its excellence, being named to the Top 100 Best Vineyards in 2023 and 2022, the first and only Texas representative on the list. Their commitment to quality and authenticity has made them a leader in the Texas wine industry, offering a genuine expression of Texas’ grape-growing regions through their wines.

For more information, visit their website.

Grape Creek Vineyards

Grape Creek Vineyards, founded in 1983 and located in Fredericksburg, Texas, is renowned for its Tuscan-inspired tasting rooms and beautifully landscaped estate, complete with patios, fountains, and terraces. The winery, which spans 25 acres of vineyards, has established itself as a prominent destination for wine enthusiasts, particularly through its wine club, which offers exceptional benefits, amenities, and exclusive access to its members.

The winery’s portfolio includes a variety of wines, including reds, rosés, and whites, made from grapes such as Albariño, Chenin Blanc, Aglianico, Montepulciano, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tannat. Grape Creek Vineyards’ winemaker, Jason Englert, is one of the most decorated in Texas, having achieved over one hundred 90+ scores and nearly 1000 medals from prestigious wine competitions.

The winery offers a range of tasting experiences, including comparative tastings of their Grape Creek Vineyards and Invention Vineyards collections, which feature 90+ point wines, and sparkling tastings of Heath Sparkling Wines, the first winery in Texas dedicated to fine sparkling winemaking. Additionally, their Terroir Tasting allows visitors to sample wines sourced from some of the world’s best AVAs, including their own estate vineyards in the Texas Hill Country AVA and Willow Creek District of Paso Robles.

For more information about Grape Creek Vineyards, their wines, and tasting experiences, you can visit their official website.

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The Rhinory

The Rhinory, nestled in Fredericksburg, Texas, presents a unique combination of winemaking and wildlife conservation on its 55-acre property. This establishment is more than just a winery; it’s a rhino reserve, home to a rhinoceros named Blake. The vision for The Rhinory emerged after the owners, Craig Stevens and Chesney Castleberry, were inspired by their visit to South Africa, where they witnessed the impact of poaching on rhinos. Their experience led them to create a space where they could foster both their passion for quality wines and their dedication to rhino conservation.

The Rhinory offers an intriguing blend of Texan and South African wines. Their wine-tasting menus feature a balanced portfolio, consisting of 50% Texas wines and 50% South African wines, reflecting the owners’ appreciation for the unique qualities of both regions’ viticulture. In terms of vine cultivation, they have recently planted 3.5 acres of varietals, including Tempranillo, Merlot, and Sangiovese, on their estate.

In addition to wine tastings, The Rhinory provides an opportunity for visitors to engage in a Rhino Experience, which includes a guided tour to learn about rhinos and interact with Blake. This experience underscores their commitment to rhino conservation, with all proceeds going to the International Rhino Foundation.

The Rhinory has already made a mark in the winery circuit, earning several medals at TEXSOM 2022, which includes Judges’ Selection medals, bronze, silver, and a platinum medal, showcasing the quality of their wines.

This establishment not only offers an exceptional wine-tasting experience but also contributes to wildlife conservation, making it a unique and fulfilling destination for visitors.

Driftwood Estate Winery

Driftwood Estate Winery, located in Driftwood, Texas, is a family-owned and operated vineyard established in 1997 by Gary Elliott. It holds the distinction of being the first commercial vineyard in Hays County. Spanning 18 acres, Driftwood Estate Vineyard is known for producing 10,000 cases of wine annually. The winery is veteran-owned and places a strong emphasis on using 100% Texas grapes, showcasing the unique terroir and character of the region.

The winery’s philosophy focuses on three distinct styles: single vineyard or single block, single region or sub-region, and multi-region or multi-varietal blending. The single vineyard and single block wines are celebrated for their unique expression of terroir, including Estate Bottled Wines and Newsom Vineyard Wines. In contrast, the multi-region or multi-varietal blends combine grapes from both Driftwood and Newsom vineyards, offering a diverse and complex flavor profile.

The Driftwood Estate Winery is not just about the wines but also about the experience. It sits on a bluff overlooking its estate vineyard and the picturesque Texas Hill Country, offering a breathtaking view for visitors to enjoy alongside their award-winning wines. The winery has been in operation for over 25 years and has become a staple in the Texas wine community, reflecting the spirit and heart of Texas through its high-quality wines and picturesque location.

For more information about their offerings and the winery experience, you can visit the Driftwood Estate Winery’s official website.

Siboney Cellars

Siboney Cellars, located in the Texas Hill Country near Johnson City, is a burgeoning winery that offers a range of engaging wine experiences. Founded by Miguel and Barbara Lecuona, who have been involved in the wine business since 2007, Siboney Cellars reflects their passion for wine-making. The winery, in partnership with Bill and Mary Anne Waldrip, is situated on a beautiful, elevated 52-acre site that includes a full production winery, tasting room, and estate vineyards.

Siboney Cellars specializes in a full lineup of Texas wines, characterized by their quality and distinctiveness. They offer an array of wines, including Sparkling Rosé from the Texas High Plains, elegant whites, and deep reds that showcase the true Texas Terroir. Their current annual production is around 3,000 cases, indicating a boutique yet focused approach to winemaking.

Visitors to Siboney Cellars can enjoy a variety of tasting experiences, including classic tastings, premium tours, culinary pairings, and even unique combinations like port and cigars. These experiences are designed to offer a comprehensive understanding of their wines while sitting amidst the picturesque vineyards.

For more information and to explore their wine selections, you can visit the Siboney Cellars website at Siboney Cellars.

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Ab Astris

Ab Astris Winery, a family-owned boutique winery located in Stonewall, Texas, is renowned for its handcrafted vintages, deeply rooted in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. The winery is committed to producing a diverse range of wines that exemplify the unique terroir of Texas.

The winery’s portfolio includes a variety of wines, showcasing the rich and diverse grape varieties grown in Texas. Some of their notable offerings include the 2017 Tannat, characterized by its complexity and notes of white pepper, dried plums, and bay leaf. Their 2020 Roussanne, a medium-bodied white wine, features aromas of lemon, beeswax, and pear, with citrus, honey, and baker’s dough on the palate. The 2019 Tannat offers a balance of medium tannins and acidity, with flavors of cherries, cranberries, and raspberries, complemented by dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Additionally, the 2020 Stello, a blend of 50% Roussanne, 25% Clairette Blanche, 15% Picpoul Blanc, and 10% Marsanne, provides a symphony of flavors with a noticeable body. The 2019 Petite Sirah stands out with its full body, medium acidity, high tannin, and a palate of deconstructed blueberry pie.

Ab Astris Winery’s tasting room offers an inviting atmosphere for wine enthusiasts to explore and enjoy their wines. They recommend making reservations, especially on Saturdays and for larger groups, to fully experience what the winery has to offer.

For more information and to explore their range of wines, visit the Ab Astris Winery website at www.abastriswinery.com.

Lost Draw Cellars

Lost Draw Cellars, established in 2012 by Andrew Sides, Troy Ottmers, and Andy Timmons, is a family-owned winery with deep roots in Texas. The winery prides itself on producing 100% Texas-grown wines, originating from the renowned Lost Draw Vineyards in the Texas High Plains. The winery and tasting room are located in Fredericksburg, Texas, in a historic building that has been in the Ottmers family for generations, previously serving as a Gulf Distribution business.

Lost Draw Cellars is committed to producing high-quality wines that showcase the unique terroir of Texas. They focus on working with grape varieties that thrive in the semi-arid climate of the region and are dedicated to continuously improving their growing process in a sustainable manner. The winery not only manages its own vineyards but also collaborates with some of the best vineyards in the state, supporting Texas farmers and the local wine industry.

Visitors to Lost Draw Cellars can expect a range of quality wines that highlight the distinctive flavors of the Texas High Plains, along with a variety of tasting experiences that include signature tastings and food and wine pairings. The winery offers a warm, inviting atmosphere, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

For more information about their wines, tasting experiences, and history, you can visit the Lost Draw Cellars website at Lost Draw Cellars and Vivino.

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Carter Creek

Carter Creek Winery Resort & Spa, located in Texas Hill Country, offers a unique and immersive experience that extends beyond winemaking. The winery, known for its award-winning wines, combines luxurious accommodations with a variety of amenities, including a spa, a brewery, and a restaurant. The resort features 20 villas that can accommodate up to 100 guests, providing an ideal setting for relaxation and enjoyment of the Texas wine country.

The winery’s wine selection includes a variety of reds, whites, and rosés, with standout offerings such as the Cabernet Sauvignon, which is noted for its blend of black cherries, vanilla, and structured tannins. The Maverick offers a sensory journey with notes of fresh peaches, almonds, and jasmine, while the Tempranillo impresses with flavors of dried figs, leather, and subtle spice. Additional offerings include the Carter Creek Gloriosa, Plateau Rose, Rosé, and Viognier Roussanne, each presenting a unique flavor profile.

Carter Creek also boasts a brewery, showcasing a range of beers crafted with traditional brewing techniques. The restaurant at the resort provides a culinary adventure, with dishes designed to complement the winery’s selections. The property’s beautiful grounds, complete with a space for weddings and a covered concert stage, enhance the overall experience.

The Carter Creek Winery Resort & Spa offers a perfect blend of winemaking excellence and hospitality, making it a highly recommended destination for both wine enthusiasts and visitors looking for a comprehensive Texas Hill Country experience.

For more details and to explore their offerings, visit their website: Carter Creek Winery

Barron’s Creek

Barons Creek Vineyards, owned by Marc and Marta Chase, offers a delightful wine-tasting experience across several locations in Texas, including Fredericksburg, Dallas – Bishop Arts District, McKinney, Granbury, and Georgetown. Each location boasts its own unique charm, with the Fredericksburg site being particularly notable for its immersive wine experience in the heart of Hill Country. The vineyard is committed to creating an inviting atmosphere where visitors can enjoy their award-winning wines, ranging from Texas Merlot and Tempranillo to Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Granbury location, nestled in a beautifully restored historic building, provides a cozy setting for tasting flights and enjoying the vineyard’s diverse wine selection. Barons Creek Vineyards, under the guidance of award-winning Texas winemaker Russell Smith, has gained acclaim for its exceptional wines, including the popular “Crazy Train.”

The vineyards not only offer an array of wines but also host live music and other events, making them a perfect destination for both wine enthusiasts and those looking to enjoy a pleasant outing. The venues offer tastings, food pairings, and a welcoming atmosphere for all who visit.

For more information and to explore their wine selections, you can visit the Barons Creek Vineyards website at Barons Creek Vineyards and their main site here.

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Augusta Vin

Augusta Vin Winery, nestled in the picturesque Texas Hill Country, offers a distinctive and memorable wine-tasting experience. Located just 9 minutes from downtown Fredericksburg, the winery boasts a beautiful 60-acre property, home to more than 60,000 vine plants. This setting provides a perfect backdrop for the variety of tasting experiences Augusta Vin offers, ranging from standard 5-wine tastings to elevated tastings of 5 reserve red wines.

The winery is also known for its engaging tours, including the VIP and Grand Tours. These tours offer an exclusive exploration of Augusta Vin’s production facilities, where guests can learn about the winemaking process. The Grand Tour is particularly notable, as it includes wine barrel tastings, a keepsake etched glass, and a curated wine and food pairing. This immersive experience is designed to deepen guests’ understanding and appreciation of Augusta Vin’s wines.

Their elegantly designed, two-story timber-framed tasting room is a highlight, providing a comfortable and inviting space for guests to enjoy Augusta Vin’s wines. The winery’s selection includes varietals like Petite Sirah, Tannat, and Malbec, showcasing the diverse range of flavors that Texas Hill Country wines have to offer.

Open seven days a week, Augusta Vin welcomes walk-ins, though weekend reservations are recommended to ensure the best experience. The winery also offers a wine club with multiple membership levels, providing benefits like exclusive seating in their tasting room and member-only events.

Augusta Vin is more than just a winery; it’s a destination where guests can indulge in the charm of Texas Hill Country while enjoying some of the finest wines in the region​.

About the Author

A native of Texas, Ken “Texan” Pierce is a renowned alcohol aficionado with over 15 years of experience in the Texas wine, whiskey, and beer industry. With a vast number of alcohol production resources right in his back yard in the Texas Hill Country, Ken has made it his mission to promote and advance the Texas winemaking, distilling, and brewing industry across the country.  His uncanny ability to identify tasting notes and pairings makes him a respected authority within alcohol enthusiast circles. When he’s not reviewing the latest craft spirits, you can find Ken playing his guitar, trying to sing, and sipping on a Texas libation.

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