The top Texas wineries are enjoying a renaissance in winemaking and can hold their own against some of the best in the world.
Just some 25 miles west of Austin in the Lone Star State lies the Hill Country, known for its rolling hills, scenic river and streams. The town itself also has an interesting and unique downtown area scattered with boutiques, tasting rooms, good coffee and craft brewpubs.
This wedding capital of Texas is also home to beautiful Limestone Cliffs, the beautiful Hamilton Pool Reserve with its turquoise waters and the best Dripping Springs wineries.
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A Fresh Burst Of Winemaking
Not only have winemakers and grape growers who experimented with plantings, but they have also found that grapes from the Rhone (Roussanne, Syrah, Viognier, Mourvèdre), Spain (tempranillo), and Italy (Vermentino, Sangiovese) are most suited to the Central Texas climate.
It’s these seven grapes you will find in Dripping Springs wineries.
Texas wines often feature the strong minerality of the region since the state’s climate ensures that the fruit is harvested earlier and stays on the vine for less time than, for example, the juicy, fruit-forward wines of California. But this very climate also makes growing grapes in Texas a challenge. With long, hot summers, the occasional (though possibly more frequent in the future due to climate change) harsh freeze, and unpredictable storms, winemakers rely on hardy grape varieties that are well suited for each region.
So let’s dive right in and here’s your guide to 6 of the best Hill Country wineries and wine tasting rooms in Dripping Springs:
Bell Springs Winery
Bell Springs Winery is open nearly every day of the week. The winery has a relaxed ambience, it’s a place where you can spend all afternoon relaxing on the beautiful grounds enjoying an exceptional glass of wine.
They offer tastings of 5-7 wines plus they also have a brewery, Bell Springs Brewing on the same grounds so craft beer lovers can quench their thirst too.
They also offer a full food menu on the weekend. On weekdays, they serve up various meat and cheese boards, together with charcuterie plates.
There is a Wine Club. Live music is featured over the weekend.
Hours: Guided Patio Tastings Available Friday-Sunday. No reservation is required on Wednesdays or Thursdays.
A small production winery, Graveyard Vineyards produce big-flavoured wines. All their wine is offered online but one can visit their Tasting Room at Bells Road in Dripping Springs.
Live music is featured nearly every weekend, so festive weekend outings are the way to go. Check the website for a full listing.
Hawk’s Shadow Winery
When you arrive at Hawk’s Shadow Winery, the view of the Lower Estate Vineyard is fabulous.
The owners of this family-owned winery are professionally friendly and wine tasting features samplings of their finished bottled wines, crafted from varietals with grapes that grown exclusively in Texas.
Hawk’s Shadow is a pet friendly winery and they also encourage visitors to bring a picnic and relax on the lawns and outside areas. Punters can also stay for dinner in the cellar which is an unforgettable experience. You can also book and experience a private tasting for a group.
Enjoy live music on the weekends and find a shaded table in their outdoor seating. There is a Wine Club too.
Hours: They have new hours by appointment, Monday-Thursday 11am-5pm and Friday- Sunday 11am-6pm.
Please note they will be closed on 17 April for Easter Sunday.
Solaro Estate Winery
This Dripping Springs, Texas winery is known for its laid back atmosphere and being off the beaten track. Dedicated to producing high quality, sustainable wines, the vineyards are strategically located on an ancient fossil bed high above the banks of Barton Creek, where natural limestone filters the water. The free-draining soil and micro-climate make for a special viticultural area.
Solaro have an outdoor patio where visitors can enjoy their wine tasting overlooking the vineyard.
A walking educational tour is offered during which visitors can learn about the winemaking process. There is a Wine Club too.
Hours: Tasting Room hours are Sunday, Monday and Thursdays 11am-5pm. Tuesday and Wednesdays are by appointment. Fridays-Saturdays 11am-6pm.
Check their website for live music listings.
Hamilton Pool Vineyards
Hamilton Pool Vineyards is a family-owned and operated winery that proudly offers hand-crafted wines, many produced from the 9 acre estate vineyard. The boutique wines are made in a French style, making them unique among other Texas Hill Country wineries.
Visit their warm and inviting tasting room where visitors are guided through an award-winning tasting of their hand-crafted wines.
Take a seat in the outdoor tasting area under the shade of an oak tree and soak up the rolling vineyard views.
Lodging and food is available. They also host weddings and private events.
The tasting room and Farm-to-Table Restaurant are open:
Thursday: 11am-6pm; Friday: 8.30am-6pm; Saturday-Sunday: 11am-6pm
The Tasting Room also has food, coffee and internet access.
Fall Creek Vineyards
Of all the Texas Hill Country wineries, Fall Creek Vineyards is one of the oldest ̶ opening its doors in 1975 and producing great wine for over 40 years.
Fall Creek Vineyards have won multiple awards and accolades for their wine. The winery has an excellent microclimate thanks to the sandy loam soil, warm days and cool breezes off nearby Lake Buchanan.
There is a Wine Club. They host private and corporate events.
Most recently, four of their top wines were awarded 91 Points from James Suckling’s 2018 Report for American Wines. In 2016, the winery was awarded Top Texas Winery at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo International Wine Competition. Their 2014 Chardonnay won Top White Wine in the 2017 Houston Livestock and Rodeo International Wine Competition.
Their winery at Driftwood is located in a beautiful estate 22 miles Southwest of Austin near Dripping Springs. They are open 7 days a week and on most holidays.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-7pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm
They are closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Easter Sunday.
So, no need to rush off to the Napa or Sonoma valleys in California to taste world-class wines. They can be found right here in the Hill Country of Texas.