Here at Santa Rita Ranch, we love to share recommendations for great local food and drink, and we especially enjoy sharing the love with local businesses who are bringing something unique to the market and helping to grow the local economy. That’s why this month we’re talking Texas Hill Country wineries (or Austin Hill Country wineries as they’re sometimes known).
If you didn’t already know, we’re in the middle of wine country here at Santa Rita Ranch. Our wines have a history in Texas that date back to the 1650s when some of the earliest recorded Texas wines were being produced by Spanish missionaries. Fast-forward to today, and Texas Hill Country wineries make up a booming business that attracts millions of visitors from around the globe.
Texas Hill Country covers more than 9 million acres, which makes it the largest American Viticultural Area (AVA) in Texas. If you’re not someone who reads a lot of wine bottle labels, the AVA is a specific type of “appellation of origin” that’s marked on your bottle of wine. It represents a delimited grape-growing region with specific geographic or climatic features that distinguish it from the surrounding regions.
That may sound like a lot to digest, but part of what’s so interesting about the Texas Hill Country is that the soil and climate here are a lot like the soil and climate of France, Portugal, and Napa Valley, some of the world’s most famous wine-grape growing regions. As such, the Texas Hill Country is home to more than 100 vineyards and wineries. That’s more than the average person could probably visit in a lifetime, though we know a few folks who would like to try!
For those at Santa Rita Ranch who are in that group, we’ve compiled a carefully curated list of the thirteen best wineries in Texas Hill Country that you can visit with just a short trip this summer. Why thirteen? Since there are thirteen weeks in summer, we thought thirteen wineries would be a perfect number. This way, you can take a day trip or a weekend getaway to see one every weekend if you want.
Some are right in our back yard here at Santa Rita Ranch, while others are a little farther away. We’ve included a real variety of the best wineries in the Texas Hill Country so that you can enjoy a good mix of wines from across the region, from Spanish-style wines to wines that show French or Italian influences, all homegrown right here in the Texas Hill Country.
Whether you make it out to just one of these Texas gems or visit a new one every weekend this summer, be sure to share your findings with us on our Facebook page and use the #txhcwine hashtag so we can see your pics!
Thirteen weeks of summer and thirteen Texas hill country wineries to visit on the weekends!
- Signor Vineyards
362 Livesay Lane, Fredericksburg
You’ll find this beautiful 200-acre vineyard only about an hour and a half from Santa Rita Ranch, right where the Pedernales River meets Grape Creek. Signor Vineyards features award-winning wine, French country gardens, and farmhouse shopping at Joanna’s Market. It’s a beautiful setting for an afternoon of shopping, sipping, and strolling.
- Messina Hof Hill Country Winery
9996 US-290 E, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
Sure, Messina Hof is only about an hour and a half from your front door, but you’ll want to plan a weekend getaway and spend the night in one of the winery’s cozy on-site cabins, especially when you learn that Messina Hof has more than 50 different wines available for tasting at the Fredericksburg location!
- Texas Hills Vineyard
878 Ranch Rd 2766 #1480, Johnson City, TX 78636
Built using rammed earth construction, the Texas Hills Vineyard is made to be environmentally friendly and perfect for winemaking – and tasting! The owners picked the location outside Johnson City, Texas because it reminded them of the Tuscan countryside, which is great for wine and for Hill Country views. It’s just a little over an hour from Santa Rita Ranch!
- Torr Na Lochs Vineyard & Winery
7055 TX-29, Burnet, TX 78611
Enjoy a variety of wines poured right at your table on the patio at Torr Na Lochs, which is situated high above the Colorado River valley overlooking lakes Buchanan and Inks. This 180-acre ranch and vineyard offers a little Gaelic flavor, but it also provides a taste of home, using only Texas-grown fruits in all its homegrown wines. Best of all, it’s just a short 45-minute drive from home.
- Becker Vineyards
464 Becker Farms Rd, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
Becker Vineyards is home to the world-famous Lavender Festival, which usually takes place sometime in May. Throughout the rest of the year, you’ll find plenty of award-winning wines to sample. A cool dozen of Becker’s wines brought home medals from the 2018 San Francisco International Wine Competition, so be sure to sample the 2016 Merlot Reserve, which won double gold. Becker is just an hour and a half from your doorstep.
- Pedernales Cellars
2916 Upper Albert Rd, Stonewall, TX 78671
The oak-shaded patio at Pedernales Cellars is the perfect spot to take in breathtaking Hill Country views while you sip some amazing wines from this gravity-flow winery that’s built right into the hillside. The vintners are a sixth-generation Texas family, and the wines are made exclusively from grapes grown right here in the Lone Star State. You’ll find it less than an hour and a half away from Santa Rita.
- Flat Creek Estate Winery & Vineyard
24912 Singleton Bend E, Marble Falls, TX 78654
Like Torr Na Lochs, Flat Creek Estate is only about 46 minutes from Santa Rita Ranch, and it was named one of the “50 Most Amazing Places to Taste Wine in America” by Food & Wine Magazine. While you’re there, enjoy either guided or self-guided wine-tasting experiences such as the Grape Escape Experience, which includes signature wood-fired pizzas, or take a more leisurely, self-guided outdoor wine tasting while you enjoy the Hill Country surroundings.
- Duchman Family Winery
13308 Ranch to Market Rd 150, Driftwood, TX 78619
You don’t have to fly all the way to Italy to feel like you’ve just stepped into an old-world Tuscan vineyard. Just make the short one-hour drive to Duchman Family Winery in Driftwood, Texas. With an on-site Italian restaurant and Mediterranean-style exteriors, the Duchman Winery certainly looks the part, but it doesn’t end there. The Duchmans use Italian grape varieties locally grown in the Texas Hill Country AVA to make world-class wines like Vermentino, Sangiovese, and Dolcetto.
- Westcave Cellars Winery & Brewery
683 Ranch Rd 1320, Johnson City, TX 78636
The vineyards at Westcave Cellars, located less than an hour and a half from Santa Rita Ranch, got started supplying other local wineries with Texas-grown grapes, beginning with just three acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, Westcave Cellars grows nine different varieties of grapes to make Texas wines with a French influence. The beer that’s brewed on-site is made with hops and other ingredients grown right here in the Texas Hill Country.
- Driftwood Estate Winery
4001 Elder Hill Rd, Driftwood, TX 78619
With 18 acres of grapes that produce more than 10,000 cases of wine every year, the Driftwood Estate Winery was the first commercial vineyard in Hays County, Texas. Family-owned for 23 years, Driftwood Estate is justly famous for award-winning wines, but it’s the “million dollar view” that’ll make you want to drive a little over an hour to this vineyard that overlooks the Texas Hill Country beyond.
- Spicewood Vineyards
1419 Co Rd 409, Spicewood, TX 78669
Combining a love of classic Spanish wines with a distinctly Texas flavor – there’s even a chili cookoff every February – the Spicewood Vineyards have a little something for everyone, from the wine barrel rocking chairs on the patio to the kinds of sunsets you can only see in the Texas Hill Country. Best of all, it’s only about an hour away from home at Santa Rita Ranch. If you’re going out for a weekend trip, consider hitting one of Spicewood’s Friday Night Wine Downs on the first Friday of every month.
- Bell Springs Winery
3700 Bell Springs Rd, Dripping Springs, TX 78620
If you want to sit out under the stars, listen to some live music from local musicians, enjoy a bottle of some of your favorite Texas wine, and nosh on some amazing food truck fare, you can do it all just over an hour away at Bell Springs Winery in Dripping Springs, Texas. Bell Springs has live music just about every weekend, so call ahead to see who’s playing and book a seated table tasting in advance!
- Kuhlman Cellars
18421 E, US-290, Stonewall, TX 78671
Get a tour of a working winery, learn about winemaking philosophy, and, of course, sample some incredible wine and delicious meals all just a little less than an hour and a half from home at Kuhlman Cellars in Stonewall, Texas. You’ll find signature vintages inspired by the mineral-rich soils and winding waterways of the surrounding Texas Hill Country landscape.
Whichever winery you visit first (especially if you decide to hit all thirteen this summer), be sure to share your findings, tasting notes, and pictures with us using the #txhcwine hashtag. And if you have favorite Texas Hill Country wineries that we left off the list, we want to hear about those, too! After all, with more than a hundred wineries and vineyards in the Texas Hill Country AVA, we had an awfully hard time narrowing it down to just thirteen. And, of course, you don’t have to keep it to just thirteen yourself. Adventure through the lush Hill Country region to your heart’s content!
If you’re always looking for something fun and exciting to do – especially things that capture the spirit of Texas and take advantage of the natural beauty and resources we have in such abundance – then you should fill out the short form above to subscribe to our Ranch newsletter. We’ll keep you up to date on all the fun, exciting, important, and enriching events and news that affect us and our neighbors here in the Texas Hill Country, and we’ll turn you on to unique and creative local businesses right in your back yard, like these Austin Hill Country wineries.