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Editor's Desk

The Heart of Texas Wine Country

Initiatives in Texas A&M University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and AgriLife Extension Service are helping grow the burgeoning Texas wine industry.

I love revealing that I’m from Fredericksburg, because it’s one of the few small Texas towns where you don’t have to explain the location using a reference point to the nearest large city. People just know Fredericksburg. It has always been a popular getaway for Texans and non-Texans alike—its quaint Main Street, German architecture and heritage, abundance of peaches and antiques, and the surrounding Hill Country have attracted folks for decades. Plus, it’s one of the few holdouts in the U.S. where drinking alcohol on the street is legal. (Just on Main Street.)

Today, though, most people are familiar with Fredericksburg for one thing: wine. The wine industry’s boom in the region has been incredible to witness, especially as a local from Fritztown (as we locals call it). Fredericksburg actually claims some of the oldest wineries in the state, but it wasn’t until the last decade or so that the number of wineries really exploded. Today, the Texas Hill Country American Viticultural Area, or grape-growing region, covers nine million acres, making it the second largest in the nation. At its epicenter, Fredericksburg is home to more than
40 wineries and tasting rooms, not to mention dozens more located within an hour or two drive.

The area is so popular that Highway 290 leading into Fredericksburg from Austin is now dubbed the 290 Wine Trail, and many wineries along the route boast satellite tasting rooms on Fredericksburg’s Main Street as well. The area’s vineyards, which focus on warmer-weather grapes, each have their own personality and winemaking style but share a common commitment to quality and hospitality. Collectively, these wineries have helped Texas become the nation’s fifth largest wine producer.

Even though I can’t claim a role in its success, I feel a bit proud by association to highlight the Texas wine industry in this issue’s cover feature. More specifically, I am excited that Texas A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are using research and resources to help put Texas wines on the map. From studies in the labs and experiments in the fields to educational outreach by extension specialists, Aggies are helping ensure a smooth journey from vine to wine.

So, the next time you’re craving the perfect glass, think closer to home. Think Fredericksburg. Coupled with everything else the town has to offer and the amazing Hill Country views to enjoy as you sip…it’s guaranteed to be a sweet trip.


Dunae Reader '15

Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications/Spirit Editor/Maroon Co-Editor