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Texas Wine Industry Facts

Learn exciting facts about the thriving wine industry in Texas! Did you know that Texas is the site of the first vineyard established in North America by Franciscan priests circa 1662?

Texas is the site of the first vineyard established in North America by Franciscan priests circa 1662.

As European settlers followed the development of mission outposts, they brought more grapevine cuttings, further developing the industry through the 1800s. Today Texas has over 4,000 acres of producing vineyard farmland.

An AVA is an American Viticulture Area (Grape Growing Area) designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury through the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

Texas has eight AVAs although many vineyards exist outside the specified AVAs. For a wine to mention an AVA on the label, 85% of the volume of wine must come from grapes grown in that designated region.

Texas Wine and Winegrape Industry Profile

  • Contributes more than $2.27 Billion of Economic Value to the State of Texas
  • Over 12,758 full time jobs paying $528M in wages
  • Over 1.8M visitors to Texas wineries spending $482.9M
  • 400 Wineries (G permit issued by TABC as of January 1, 2017)

Texas Wine Features

  • Table Wine – Still (not bubbling) wine under 14% alcohol
  • Fortified Wine – a wine to which alcohol has been added, most typically brandy
  • Dessert Wine – Wines that are 14% alcohol or higher, typically sweet, served with dessert and considered a sipping drink
  • Sparkling Wine – Wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide making it bubbly.  The carbon dioxide results from a second fermentation either in the traditional French method (méthode champenoise) in the bottle, or in large tanks.

American Viticultural Areas (AVA)

A viticultural area for American wine is a delimited grape-growing region having distinguishing features, a name and delineated boundary.  These designations allow vintners and consumers to attribute a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of a wine made from grapes grown in an area to its geographic origin.

The establishment of viticultural areas allows vintners to describe more accurately the origin of their wines to consumers and helps consumers to identify wines they may purchase.

Texas High Plains

The Texas High Plains is located west of Lubbock in the Panhandle at an elevation of 3000-4000 feet, the climate of this appellation is very dry. The Texas High Plains AVA encompasses over 8 million acres and grows over 80% of Texas’ wine grapes.

Texas Hill Country

True to Texan tradition, this AVA is the second largest certified Viticultural Area in America. With well over 9 million acres in the heart of Texas, it is no wonder that other more specific AVA’s, such as Bell Mountain and Fredericksburg, have been identified as unique microclimates within this blanket AVA. The wines of this massive region, north of San Antonio and west of Austin, range from Bordeaux blends to Italian varietals, as well as cool climate grapes. This is a quality wine producing region and the wines have won numerous awards both at home and internationally.

Bell Mountain

Designated in 1986, it is the first established AVA in Texas, covering five square acres about 15 miles north of Fredericksburg within the Texas Hill Country.

Fredericksburg

This viticultural area covers about 110 square miles and is located in the Texas Hill Country

Escondido Valley

This appellation established in 1992 covers 50 square miles in Pecos County in far West Texas, located near Fort Stockton

Mesilla Valley

Located at the far western tip of the Texas border north and west of El Paso, this area is hot and dry with a long growing season.

Texas Davis Mountains

This west Texas appellation is cool and wet at an elevation ranging from 4,500 to 8,300 feet.

Texoma

Located in north-central Texas, this area contains approximately 3,650 square miles along the Texas-Oklahoma line.