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28B WineThe news couldn’t be any timelier. As we’re planning our April issue’s coverage of the red-hot Fredericksburg Wine Road 290, a string of 13 wineries near the Hill Country town of Fredericksburg, we received word that the Texas Hill Country was named among the top 10 wine destinations for 2014 in the February issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine, which boasts a readership of more than 800,000. (That’s a lot of wine enthusiasts!) Texas is in very, very, very good company—the other destinations include Greece’s Aegean Islands; Languedoc, France; Sonoma, California; Baden, Germany; and Mendoza, Argentina. In fact, only one other U.S. destination—Walla Walla Washington—made the cut. (You can read the whole story at

And read more about the wineries of Texas at, and more about Wine Road 290 at


Stay tuned for our take of the Hill Country’s grape ways in the April issue. Until then, cheers! 

Published in Blog: Plates

Editorial intern Caitlin Sullivan spoke briefly with author Henry Chappell about a good glass of wine and his August feature on North Texas winemakers.

What was your favorite part about researching the feature on North Texas wineries?


I most enjoyed seeing the varied grape-growing terrain—from the rough, dry Cross Timbers region to the humid, forested bottoms in northeast Texas—and then tasting each winemaker’s interpretation of his home region in his chosen varietals and blends.


Have you always been a wine fan, or did you ever prefer anything else?


Actually, I was in my early forties when I developed an interest in wine.  Until then, I rarely drank alcoholic beverages of any kind, and wine is still the only one that I drink often.


What made you take an interest in wine?


Several years ago, after the publication of my first novel, my publisher held a literary event at Cap*Rock winery, just south of Lubbock.  The winery staff served different wines during the meal and afterward, during the signing.  For the first time, I noticed the variety of flavors and their interactions with food.  Over the next few years, I read some of the wine and food magazines and tried wines that interested me.


On another trip to Lubbock, I looked through a pamphlet on South Plains wineries.  I sat down in my hotel room that afternoon and typed a query letter to Jill Lawless, Texas Highways’ managing editor.  A few weeks later, she called to assign the article that became “A Taste of the High Plains.”  I’ve been a huge fan of Texas wines ever since.


What are your favorite wines?


I have to list two.  I probably drink more Llano Estacado Shiraz than anything else.  It’s a very versatile red wine with delicious berry flavors.  It’s very smooth and approachable and doesn’t have to be tamed by a big red cut of meat.


I have to confess that my other favorite isn’t a Texas wine.  I love Italian food, and to me, nothing goes better with lasagna than Santa Christina Sangiovese—a reasonably priced, medium bodied Italian red with a pleasing suggestion of black cherry.


What’s the most unconventional meal you’ve had with a glass of wine?


A glass of Llano Estacado Sweet Red with a chili dog.  Highly recommended.


What advice do you have for people who are interested in learning more about wine?


I recommend that new wine enthusiasts visit some local wineries and try several wines.  Nowadays, no matter where you live in Texas, you won’t have to drive far to taste locally produced wine.  Most wineries have knowledgeable employees who can tell you about their offerings and answer questions, and they’re delighted to help beginners.  At smaller wineries you may find yourself being served by the winemaker.  These personal connections make wine tasting fun and can add an element of regional pride if you find local wines that you really like.  Above all, relax and enjoy the journey.  Ultimately, it’s not about subtleties of taste and texture, but about whether or not you’d like to have another glass.

Published in Web Extra (Archive)

When most Texans head for the border, their tongues thirst for the tingling taste of a Mexican cerveza or frosty, lime-laced margarita. A goblet of ruby-red port is probably the farthest thing from their minds. A stop in Del Rio at Val Verde Winery can change all that.

Published in FOOD & DRINK
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