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Glass is Half Full for Texas Wine Industry

Did you know grapes were being grown in Texas long before they were in California? It’s true—they were grown on one-acre plots that provided just enough grapes for the padres running the Spanish missions.

Though Texas will never be California in terms of wine production, the industry has gained a lot of ground over the past four decades, local winemakers contend. Paul Bonarrigo of Messina Hof Winery (pictured above) contends that California’s wine industry has become too commercial.

“Now when you go, you get the distinct feeling that you’re on an assembly line and that sense of hospitality is kind of gone,” he said. “Texas means friendly. … Almost every Texas winery is a family-owned operation, it’s not a major corporation.”

Today, Texas ranks fifth in U.S. wine production; in 1980 it ranked 48th. The Texas Hill Country now ranks second in wine tourism after Napa, and the annual wine festival in Grapevine draws more attendees than California’s Sonoma County Fair.

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