Texas Wine and Grape Growers Accociation
Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association
TWGGA Home calendar Association Membership Annual Conference Grape Camp Wine Competitions Advocacy News and Media  
Texas Wine Texas Wine Regions Industry Information About TWGGA Classifieds Viticulture/Enology
TEXAS GRAPE VARIETIES & WINES

Texas is the site of the first vineyard established in North America by Franciscan priests close to 1659. As European settlers followed the development of mission outposts, they brought more grapevine cuttings, further developing the industry through the 1800s.

Today Texas boasts approximately 4,500 acres of producing vineyard farmland. The U.S. Department of Treasury through the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau officially designates American Viticulture (Grape Growing) Areas, or AVAs. Texas has eight AVAs although many vineyards exist outside the specified AVAs. For a wine to mention an AVA on the label, 75% of the volume of wine must come from grapes grown in that designated region.

For a list of all AVAs in the United States, visit: http://www.ttb.gov/appellation/us_by_ava.pdf

Texas grape growers have learned what varieties do well in Texas climate and soil. Texans are proud to share their award-winning Texas wines made with Texas grapes.

Blanc du Bois

An American hybrid with Italian Muscat in its heritage. Primarily grown in Southeast Texas, this grape produces wine with high marketability. It is popular among grape growers for it’s resistance to Pearce’s Disease – a fatal bacterial disease that can affect an entire vineyard. Blanc du Bois is typically used to make white table wine.

Pictures compliments of Grohmann Farms Vineyard, Weimar, TX




  Cynthiana

This grape is used in making dry wine. This varietal closely resembles Norton, but many will say Cynthiana should be considered a separate varietal. Genetic studies show the two varietals are almost indistinguishable. Maybe Cynthiana is a mutation of the original Norton.

Black Spanish

Also known as Lenoir or Jacquez. Used in southern France in the mid-1700s, this grape is of American heritage. It is resistant to Pearce’s Disease, and therefore has been grown primarily in southeast and central Texas. Has been used to make Texas Port for many years, and recently has been successfully used to make red table wine.

Picture compliments of Grohmann Farms Vineyard, Weimar, TX


  Favorite

A clone of Black Spanish, this grape has higher yields and is even more disease resistant than Black Spanish. The vines were first cloned near Brenham, Texas, and continue to be grown primarily in southeast Texas. Similar to Black Spanish, Favorite is used to make red wines.

  Muscadines

These grapes are genetically different than viniferous grapes and the grapes described above. They have 40 chromosomes as opposed to 38, which are present in the above. These grapes are well adapted to the humid growing condition of east Texas.


  Cabernet Sauvignon

The king of red wine grapes does well over much of Texas, but especially well above 3,000 feet in elevation. Excellent wines made from this grape have been made by many Texas wineries and enjoyed by many consumers of Texas wines.

  Merlot

This classic French grape makes a soft, full-bodied, red wine similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, but is easier to drink. This variety does well over the western 1/2 of Texas, but does extremely well above 3,000 feet in elevation.

  Ruby Cabernet

This grape variety was developed by the University of California to be a hot weather Cabernet Sauvignon. It has extremely good color and seems to be best used when blended with Cabernet Sauvignon or with a white wine to make a blush.

  Sangiovese

This Italian grape variety is has great potential to do extremely well in the hot Texas climate.

  Syrah or Shiraz

This French grape made "famous" by Australia may be the best red grape variety for many areas of Texas. It color and taste are extremely good under a wide diversity of growing conditions. It is somewhat cold sensitive, especially when it is young.

  Tempranillo

This Spanish grape is very new to Texas and is already showing great potential, especially in North Texas. The future for this variety in Texas appears to be bright.

  Cabernet Franc

This classic French variety has does best on the South Plains or in extreme North Texas. Often it is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon.

  Petite Verdot

This classic French variety is relatively new to Texas and is used almost exclusively for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon.

  Chardonnay

Makes white wine. This grape is challenging to grow for much of Texas because it buds out early in the season, which makes the grapes subject to late spring freezes. Widespread recognition among consumers places this wine on most winery lists. It is susceptible to Pierce's Disease. Wine from chardonnay grapes is typically aged for 12-13 months.

  Chenin Blanc

Makes white wine. The grape does well in most parts of the state. Typically dryer than chardonnay, it is less known by consumers and thus more difficult to find on winery lists. It is most often used for blending. Tight clusters make the grape prone to bunch/sour rot. It is also susceptible to Pierce's Disease.

  Sauvignon Blanc

Makes white wine. Sauvignon Blanc does well in the western half of Texas. It can make a wonderful wine, but there is not a large market for this variety. Similar to Chenin Blanc, it is dryer than chardonnay, making it more difficult to find on winery lists. Tight clusters make the grape prone to bunch rot. It is also susceptible to Pierce’s Disease.

  Pinot Grigio

An Italian grape variety that seems to be adaptable to the hot Texas climate. It makes a simple, clean, dry white wine. While there is only a small amount currently planted it should increase in acreage over time.

  Riesling

A German grape variety that is adapted to the colder regions of Texas. Wines from this grape, while sold as varietals, are often blended with a red wine to make blush wines.

  Muscat Blanc/Muscat Canelli

This floral grape variety is a favorite of most winery tasting rooms and makes an excellent white, cocktail wine or a wine that goes with chocolate desserts. This variety does best in the western 1/2 of Texas, but can be found growing in other parts of Texas.

  Orange Muscat

This citrus tasting variety is proving to be a very good grape for the South Plains of Texas. It may do well in other areas too. Most often these grapes are used in making dessert wines.

 

Gewurztraminer

This spicy, aromatic grape variety has proven to grow successfully on the South Plains of Texas.

  Malvasia Bianca

This Italian grape variety is very similar in taste to Muscat blanc. It can be used in the same way as Muscat blanc.

  Pinot Blanc

This rather neutral variety does well in North Texas and can be used as a neutral white table wine or as the base for a very nice sparkling wine.

  Viognier

Reasonably difficult grape to grow, as it is somewhat more prone to disease than other varietals and can be unpredictable in its yield. It is, however, reasonably drought resistant. The distinctive aroma of peaches, apricots, and violets is a hallmark of Viognier.

Tannat

This is a very tannic, earthy and robust wine. It produces a deep-red colored, full bodied, complex wine with a wildberry flavor and a high alcohol content. The wine pairs well with red meats and game dishes such as garlic-roasted duck, roast beef with autum vegetables, and grilled steak.

Picture compliments of Jennifer Beckmann, Bending Branch Winery, Comfort, TX.


Home | Calendar | Membership | Annual Conference | Grape Camp | Competitions| Advocacy | News & Media
About TWGGA | Contact TWGGA

© 2014 Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association. All rights Reserved