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Tim Fish

Texas Hill Country has been an AVA for just over 20 years, but it already has 25 wineries scattered around the countryside. Many are located just outside Fredericksburg, a town of 11,000 people that's full of restaurants, wine bars and quaint accommodations. While Texas is still figuring out what it does best, there is a vast array of sweet wines, popularized by the German settlers in the area, like Texas port and Muscat Canelli. As for whites and reds, select wineries do excel with varietals such as Viognier, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Here are our editors' picks for the must-visit wineries when you travel to Texas Hill Country.

Please note that prices, hours of operation and wine availability can often change. We recommend that you call ahead before you go.

Becker Vineyards
464 Becker Farms Road
Stonewall, TX 78671
Telephone: (830) 644-2681
Open: Mon-Thu, 10-5; Fri-Sat,10-6; Sun, noon-6; tours by appointment only
Tasting Fee: $10

Since their first harvest in 1995, Richard and Bunny Becker have consistently produced some of the best wines in the Fredericksburg area. With a 65,000-case annual production, the Beckers make 24 different bottlings, including Merlot, Fumé Blanc and Zinfandel. The best wines are blends; look for the Cabernet-Syrah, Bordeaux blend and Texas port. The winery, in a limestone barn surrounded by vineyards and lavender fields, has a covered porch ideal for picnicking. The tasting room is casual, with a pine ceiling and a fireplace, and visitors can try the current releases of their choice.

Texas Hills Vineyard
878 Ranch Road, Route 2766
Johnson City, TX 78636
Telephone: (830) 868-2321
Open: Mon-Thu, 10-5; Fri-Sat, 10-6; Sun, noon-5; tours by appointment only

Tasting Fee: Free

Here's a homey stop along the wine trail. Texas Hills' winery is an environmentally-friendly structure, built using rammed-earth technology to create thick walls with cavelike insulation properties. Take a seat at the horseshoe-shaped bar in the tasting room to try current releases. You'll notice that the winery produces Italian varietals such as Sangiovese and Pinot Grigio, but the smooth Cabernet Sauvignon is the best of its 12 wines.


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