California's Napa Valley is the best-known region in the United States for wine. In a late July news story, the Huffington Post says the Texas Hill Country is the second-best known region, and that it's "the new Napa."
Southern Living calls it, similarly, "the next Napa."
Those are big words.
But they're fair assertions, says Jasper Russo, director of wine marketing at Sigel's. Both Napa Valley in California and Fredericksburg in Texas are part wine country, part tourism destinations. And you need both to create a successful vineyard-hopping culture. The cities are different in their approach, however:
"In Napa, you have the wine first and [then] the tourism developed," Russo says. "In the Hill Country, you had the tourism there first."
The Texas Hill Country is Texas' best-known area for small wineries. Another Texas region, the High Plains near Lubbock, is better known for larger-scale outputs, Russo explains.
But dusty Lubbock vs. lush Fredericksburg? It's no contest when tourism becomes part of the discussion.
HuffPo explains that many people outside of the Lone Star State don't realize good wine is made here. "The reason this region is the wine community's best kept secret is that most of the wine is consumed within state borders, leaving outsiders oblivious to what may become North America's greatest wine region," says the story. Even inside Texas, some seasoned wine drinkers have passed on home-state wine, thinking it can't stack up to the terroir in parts of California or Oregon -- or Burgundy or Bordeaux, for that matter.
A new (or renewed) focus on Texas Hill Country wines is a good thing, Russo says.
Some of the more notable wineries in the Texas Hill Country include Duchman Winery, Messina Hof Winery & Resort, Becker Vineyards and Pedernales Cellars.