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Texas Hill Country named a top wine destination

Arianna Auber

It might be too cold now to make a day trip through the Hill Country sampling the reds and whites that Texas wineries have to offer, but come springtime, that will become a popular weekend activity – and not just Austinites think so.

In Wine Enthusiast’s February issue, the magazine said the Texas Hill Country was one of the 10 best wine travel destinations in 2014, naming Driftwood Vineyards, Bending Branch Winery, Lewis Wines, Flat Creek Estate and other area wineries in a spread that also suggested where visitors can stay overnight and where they can eat.

The accolade was a pretty big deal to these wineries, all featured in the magazine’s “best of” list right alongside Languedoc, France, Umbria, Italy and other internationally known wine hotspots.

“Wine Enthusiast’s recognition of the Texas Hill Country as a top ten wine destination shows Texas’ emergence as a fine wine region equal to its peers around the globe,” Julie Kuhlken, co-owner of Pedernales Cellars, said.

It’s not for nothing that the Hill Country is getting such attention, as many local wineries, despite last year’s challenges to the grape harvest, continue to produce wines that showcase Texas’ potential. Pedernales, for example, is releasing a trio of new wines in the coming weeks, including different versions of two already popular red and white blends and a brand-new white blend that uses five grape varietals.

The 2013 Cinco combines Chenin Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier, Blanc du Bois and Albarino – a mixture Pedernales chose to both “(capture) the Texas terroir in an entirely new way” and to make up for the low-yielding harvest of certain white varietal grapes, a press release said.

Pedernales’ other upcoming wines include the 2012 GSM and the 2013 Vino Blanco.

Once they’re released, they’ll be available at stores around Texas and, of course, at the Pedernales tasting room – and there’s nothing like having a glass of wine at any of the scenic Hill Country wineries.

To that end, you can start planning a springtime trip with a mobile app the Texas Wine & Trail, an online publication started in 2012 to cover the growth of Texas’ wine industry and tourism, launched late last year. Available for both iPhone and Android users, the app is a handy guide for wine lovers who might not know how best to explore area wineries.

It features a list of wine-related events; a map that can help you find wineries and tasting rooms as well as restaurants, hotels and wine stores; and even a page of grape varietals that do well in Texas, such as Tempranillo, Malbec and Riesling, each with a brief summary about them.

To download, type “Texas Wine and Trail” into your app store.