Wine Stomping Time in Texas! Drink and be Merry!
By Carla Land
Fall in Texas means cooler temperatures, a slower pace and mini-vacations that can be as fun and rewarding as summer vacations.
Most importantly it is grape harvest time in the Lone Star State! That means plenty of opportunities to travel down the state's famous wine trails, attend harvest parties and wine and food festivals, and a time to enjoy great Texas music! Don't miss one of the best seasons of the year in Texas....WINE SEASON!
Who hasn't dreamed of relaxing in a wine vineyard complete with its romantic stone hacienda, where your senses are heightened at every turn with breathtaking views and the gentle glow of sunset upon verdant country vineyards. Somewhere in the midst of this dream spot is a dashing man who fills your wine glass endlessly.
Well, as far as the dashing man or ravishing woman is concerned, you may have to bring your own, but everything else you can find in the newly coined wine region of the Texas Hill Country.
Wine country in Texas? You bet! In a recent survey, Texas was ranked #5 in wine producing volume in the nation; it is the second largest viticultural area in the nation and is currently ranked the #1 Boutique Winery Vacation Destination in the United States. Also a plus for the industry, and the state, is the fact that the Texas market is growing even faster than markets in Australia, California, Italy, France (believe it or not) and other wine regions in the world. And while there are wineries popping up all over the state, the explosion of growth in the Texas Hill Country has been phenomenal, especially along scenic highway 290 just west of Austin and around the charming rural communities of Johnson City, Stonewall and the famous German settlement of Fredericksburg.
While this might surprise a lot of people outside the Lone Star state, most Texans are aware and very proud of their connection to grapes, vineyards and wineries.
In 1880, France was hit with a devastating grape disease that all but destroyed the wine industry and France's vitaculture economy. At the time, a French scientist, Pierre Viala, was tasked with finding a cure for the plague of French grapes'.
Just several decades before many Germans settlers had moved to Texas and the Texas Hill Country in particular to set up roots in the new frontier. They brought with them, among other things from the Old World, their many skills and culture, including their skill at grape cultivation.
One such immigrant was scientist Thomas Volney Munson, and it was to him that desperate French scientist Viala contacted to help solve the plight of the French wine industry. Munson had discovered that the soils and climates of Texas were similar to the great grape growing regions of France. He also discovered that Texas had many of its own wild grape varieties with their unique genetic properties, very different than the genetic makeup of the native French grapes.
Munson suggested to Viala that his Texas rootstocks would be resistant to the plague and may represent the best hope of saving the French grape and wine industry. Texas rootstocks was grafted on to French vines, the rest is wine history. The experiment worked and the grafting still continues today.
Texas native grape species have played an important role in providing genetic resistance for grape rootstocks used around the world in fact. Your welcome France...your welcome world - Texas just loves to be of service and to help and share our local treasures!
Since grape harvesting and processing is in full swing in the fall season across Texas, you will find it is a great time to book a fall vacation or a weekend trip to check out just one or several of the eight wine region trails throughout the state. The Texas Department of Agriculture has a fine map for making those plans which you can find at http://gotexanwine.org/texaswinetrails/.
Along with grape harvest come great wine festivals, paired with some of the states' finest food, music and reverie. If you haven't participated in a grape stomp or dined at a fine chef's wine paired feast, or spent the day drinking the harvest and dancing the night away, then you haven't experienced one of the Lone Stars most fun seasons of the year.
Set some time aside and plan on attending one of the many festivals scheduled this fall. There is an event every day through the holidays, and some days have as many as 15 events! Check out the event calendar and make your plans at http://texaswinetrail.com/events.