Texas has eight officially recognized American Viticultural Areas, otherwise known as grape growing regions. The Texas High Plains American Viticultural Area (AVA), a grape growing region established in 1993, is located in the Texas Panhandle. (For more information on the Texas Panhandle wine region, click here.) High Plains is the second largest AVA in Texas, with an area of over eight million acres (over 12,000 square miles), 3,500 of it planted vineyard (that’s a lot of grapes). Some of the best wines you will ever enjoy come from this AVA.
The Texas High Plains AVA covers much of the central and western parts of the Texas Panhandle. The Panhandle has what has often been described as the “perfect soil” for growing grapes. Along with that area’s dry climate, high altitude and cool nights, this soil produces many different types of grapes for making wine. This article will provide you with information on this AVA, as well as an overview of the wines and wineries that are produced from the grapes of this Texas region.
Wines. Because of the soil, climate and other factors noted above, the Texas High Plains AVA can produce many different types of grapes, leading to many different types of wine. While Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popularly produced wine in the Texas High Plains AVA, other wines from this region include Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Grenache. This AVA also produces Malbec, Merlot, Muscat Canelli, Orange Muscat, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Tempranillo and Viognier!
Wineries and Vineyards. There are over twenty wineries producing wine in the High Plains AVA, and many more wineries outside this AVA that obtain grapes from the High Plains. To include the High Plains appellation (or any grape growing region, for that matter) on its label, 85% of the grapes used in the wine must come from that region. Below is some information on some of this region’s best wineries and vineyards.
Llano Estacado Winery. Located in Lubbock. This is the largest winery in the state of Texas, producing more than twenty five kinds of wines that have won many awards. To visit their website, click here.
McPherson Cellars. Another Lubbock winery. The owner, Kim McPherson, has worked as a winemaker for both Llano Estacadao and Cap Rock, where he learned to create some excellent wine. The winery was built on an old Coca-Cola bottling plant. To learn more, click here.
La Diosa Cellars. ThisLubbock winery offers many fine Texas wines, in addition to its own label. Its owner, Sylvana, is the daughter-in-law of Clinton McPherson, also known as the Founding Father of the Texas Wine Industry. He was also the father of Kim McPherson (see above.) “La Diosa” is Spanish for the Goddess. To visit their website, click here.
Pheasant Ridge Winery Lubbock. This vineyard is one of the oldest in Texas, and grows such red wine grapes as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Their winery produces over 10,000 cases of wine each year. Pheasant Ridge’s Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon have both won multiple wine awards. For more information on this Texas winery, click here.
CapRock Winery. This Lubbock winery has won over four hundred awards for their wines over the years. Their red wines include Cabernet, Merlot and others. To access their website, click here.
Bingham Family Vineyards. This Texas High Plains vineyard grows Viognier, Temperanillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon, Merlot and many other types of grapes. To learn more about this Texas vineyard, click here.
Newsom Vineyards. This is one of the oldest vineyards in Texas. Newsom has 92 bearing acres and produces almost 400 tons of grapes each year, making for (a lot of) some very fine wines. To visit this vineyards’ website, click here.