The Wine Roads Less Traveled: A Journey Through Texas Hill Country

A few miles away from the bustling city of Austin, Texas, lies a hidden treasure for wine enthusiasts – the Texas Hill Country, the beating heart of the Lone Star State’s flourishing wine industry. As you embark on the wine roads less traveled, you will discover the unique charm and exceptional offerings of four standout wineries: Calais, Hilmy, Saint Tryphon, and Crowson. 

Benjamin Calais, a French computer engineer turned full-time winemaker, is at the helm of Calais Winery. His passion for producing wines with a distinct sense of place has driven him to focus on Bordeaux varieties, among others. His wines, made in a ripe, fruit-forward style, are sourced from five vineyard partners who custom-farm for him in the High Plains and Davis Mountains AVAs.

Hilmy Cellars, another jewel in the Texas Hill Country, takes pride in its artisan wine production. More than 85% of their grapes hail from the Texas High Plains, and their cellar uses both stainless steel tanks and French and American oak. They offer diverse red wines, including expressive Tempranillo, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir. Their white wines, such as the Texas High Plains Viognier, cater to every palate. And for those in the mood for a dry, sweet, or off-dry Sparkling Rosé, Hilmy doesn’t disappoint.

Venturing further into the Hill Country, Saint Tryphon Farm & Vineyards is committed to crafting 100% Texas wines. The vineyard is renowned for grape varietals well-suited to the Texas terroir, such as Aglianico, Tempranillo, and their signature grape, Mourvèdre. The vineyard also produces varietals like Blanc du Bois, Cinsaut, and Albariño, providing a diverse selection for wine lovers.

Lastly, we find ourselves at Crowson Wines. Henry Crowson, once in management at William Chris Vineyards, now operates Crowson Wines, where he pours his passion into making natural wines. Crowson’s wine list includes a 2016 Rosé, a blend of Malbec, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon, and a 2017 Rosé made from Merlot grapes. Their 2016 Malbec offerings, one aged in concrete and the other in neutral oak barrels, each offer their own unique character. And the future at Crowson looks promising with plans for Roussanne, Malvasia Bianca, Mourvèdre, and Tannat.

So, venture away from the beaten path and take a trip to the Texas Hill Country. The less traveled wine roads promise many unique flavors, heartwarming stories, and a deep connection to the terroir. These wineries are a testament to Texas winemakers’ resilience, passion, and innovation, offering a memorable wine experience you will always remember.