There’s much more to the Texas panhandle than oil derricks, row crops and windswept landscapes peppered with rolling tumbleweeds, particularly when it comes to wine.
The aptly named 41,214km2 panhandle of Texas was a result of the Compromise of 1850 wherein the state’s disputed land claims were resolved. The region is home to the Texas High Plains AVA.
Of the eight official AVAs in the Lone Star State, the scenic, central Texas Hill Country AVA claims the most attention for wine tourism, with the highest concentration of wineries and tasting rooms. Still, with more than two-thirds of the state’s vineyards, the High Plains is arguably the heart of Texas viticulture.
Scroll down for tasting notes and scores of 10 wines from the Texas High Plains AVA
It’s also considered the birthplace of the modern Texas wine industry. In the late 1960s, researchers from Texas Tech University, Robert Reed and Clinton ‘Doc’ McPherson, planted an experimental vineyard in Lubbock, the region’s primary city.
Its success would later lead to the founding of Llano Estacado Winery in 1976, which remains one of the largest producers in the state. It wasn’t until 1993 that the region would earn official AVA status. Home to more than 80% of the state’s grape output, it is the primary source of fruit for Texas wine producers.