Surrounding San Antonio’s city limits is the scenic Hill Country, a region known for its rolling landscapes and, as of late, sprawling vineyards and boutique wineries. Outside of Napa, the “Texas Wine Trail” is one of the most-visited destinations in the U.S. for wine enthusiasts.
“Texas consumers really support Texas wines,” said Greg Stokes, a consultant and co-winemaker at family-owned Bending Branch Winery who’s watched the Texas wine industry steadily progress since 2009.
Bending Branch Winery owner Robert "Dr. Bob" Young is up just as early as the field hands during harvest season—a testament to the quality of the boutique label's award-winning wines.
Here, in the trenches of the vineyard, the winemaking process begins virtually the same way it does anywhere else; Bending Branch Winery’s first harvest of the season starts at its six-acre lot of Roussanne, a white wine grape, at Hoover Valley Vineyards in Burnet.
"Somm" like it hot: Unlike the finicky Chardonnay grape, Roussanne—and varietals like Tempranillo or Tannat—has the potential to thrive in Texas’ harsher and often unpredictable climate.
After sorting and pressing about six tons of grapes, Stokes says Bending Branch can expect an average yield of nearly 400 12-bottle cases.
Back at the winery, the Roussanne grapes will be cold-settled and eventually aged until they’re ready to bottle and imbibe.
After a tour of the estate, visit Bending Branch’s rustic tasting room for a glass (or bottle) of its award-winning wines.
Visitors to the winery can take in the view from the Bending Branch patio with a glass in hand, of course.
Guests are encouraged to try a few of Bending Branch's other unique and award-winning varietals at its second tasting room, located in the Hill Country town of Comfort's charming downtown.