Wine and age are synonymous. Generally, the longer a wine has aged, the better its taste, reputation, and standing in the industry. Perhaps the same can be said about older wineries as well. The longer they have been around, the sturdier their reputation and more beloved the vino they produce.
In general, Texas Hill Country wineries have roots as old as any you’ll find in Napa or Europe. In fact, Texas wine culture hit here in the 1600s thanks to Spanish missionaries who planted vineyards in El Paso del Norte.
A Look at Texas Wine Country
The Texas Hill Country is the second largest certified Viticultural Area in the country, boasting more than nine million acres. Within that, there are more than 50 wineries, tasting rooms, and vineyards, producing some of the best wine this state has to offer. Fredericksburg and Texas Wine Country are just about an hour from Austin and San Antonio, and four hours from Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston.
The history of Texas wine is a long and varied one. In fact, the first vineyard established in North America was here in 1662 by Franciscan priests. As time went on, European settlers brought more and more grapevine cuttings, which helped to further develop the local industry through the 1800s.
The modern Texas Wine Country dates back to the 1970s; today, Texas has more than 4,000 acres of vineyard farmland and more than 70 percent of the state’s grapes are still being grown in the High Plains region.
Around Fredericksburg in particular, Bell Mountain Vineyards (1970s) and Becker Vineyards (1990s) are the oldest wineries in the region. These establishments proved to others that Texas Hill Country was an excellent grape-growing location. Since then, Texas Hill Country wine tourism has soared, and includes more than 50 wineries today.
Oldest Vineyards on 290
Now that we’ve given you a bit of history on Texas Hill Country in general, let’s spotlight a couple of the oldest wineries in Fredericksburg TX along our route – the 290 Wine Trail — to show you just who’s been around the longest.
Grape Creek Vineyards
Grape Creek Vineyards happens to be the oldest vineyard on Highway 290, founded in 1983. Its 40,000-square foot state-of-the-art production facility houses 50 tanks ranging from 1,000 to 12,000 gallons, totaling 130,000 gallons of tank capacity. Grape Creek cellars more than 2,000 barrels of aging wine, and crushes 800+ tons of Texas grapes each harvest. Here you will find expansive vineyards and Tuscan-inspired tasting rooms set against a backdrop of impeccably landscaped patios, fountains, and terraces.
Come in for a wine tasting, which can range from classic and private tastings to tastes and tours. Become a member and get special perks and privileges like a 15% discount on Grape Creek and Heath Sparkling wines, up to two complimentary glasses of wine, a 15% discount at the restaurant, a 15% discount on merchandise, special online Member promotions, and free shipping on case orders.
This is a family owned winery that settled here in Fredericksburg during the mid 1800s, and has been here for six generations and counting. According to their website, they proclaim: “We love this town, and it is still the only place we have ever considered home.” While the family has traveled far and wide over the decades, they built this winery to bring wines from different parts of the world to the locals.
Become a member of their Wine Club, where you can get one complimentary glass of wine or tasting per day, discounts on Safari wines, merchandise, and food, invitations to exclusive “Wine Club Only” events, access to “Member Only” Wines, and first access to newly-released wines. Safari Winery also holds regular events and entertainment throughout the month, so be sure to check back often.
In addition to some of the older wineries along 290, there are many newer additions that are no less worthy of a visit, such as Texas Heritage Vineyard established in 2015 and The Resort at Fredericksburg, one of the newest destination locations in Texas Hill Country.
Explore Fredericksburg’s Oldest Wineries With 290 Wine Shuttle
Based in Fredericksburg, Texas, 290 Wine Shuttle is the perfect company to help you explore old – and new — wineries right here in this historic city. Whether you take a private tour, elevated tour, or shuttle bus hop, you will be sure to visit some of the most iconic vineyards Texas Hill Country has to offer. Book your experience now or call us at (210) 724-7217.
If a romantic getaway is on your horizon, there’s no better way to celebrate your love than with a wine tour in Fredericksburg TX. You’ll visit 20 wineries and distilleries on Highway 290 in Fredericksburg, Texas, hopping on and off as needed every 15 minutes, or you can book a private tour for your honeymoon or wedding. Book now to experience all the delights of Texas wine country.