Courtesy of Missick Cellars
As spring kicks into high gear, Texas wine lovers hit the road once again to explore the plentiful wineries that dot the Hill Country to enjoy a glass of tempranillo alongside swaths of wildflowers.
Regulars will notice a few new vintners in the area. But what might not be obvious from a quick glance while driving is that these businesses hightailed it from other states to be a part of Texas’s growing wine scene.
In 2022, WineAmerica conducted an economic impact study—taking sales, tourist expenditures, and taxes into consideration—to determine how wine affects every state in the country. It found that the economic impact of the wine industry in Texas was $20.3 billion, which represents a 55 percent increase over the past five years. The state’s 443 wineries sold an estimated $6.4 billion of wine and generated over $685 million in tourism last year.
Taking part in a relatively young but profitable environment is a relief for winemakers from more established regions.
Sarah and Brice Garrett established their label, Serrano Wine, in Paso Robles, California, in 2015. The region is small compared to the Texas Hill Country, yet it contains double the number of wineries. With over two hundred wineries across just 612,000 acres, any winery in Paso Robles has quite a bit of competition.
“Paso Robles can be hard to break into unless you have big money to back you in building something large,” Sarah says. “The wine-making community can feel cliquish and intimidating to young people like us who are self-funding our label.”
The couple was renting tasting-room space in downtown Paso Robles and making their wine in a facility alongside several other brands. Having a grand space to produce wine and welcome guests would’ve earned them more recognition in their community, but with the expensive real estate costs in the area, “we couldn’t see a way to owning property anytime soon,” Brice says. So they began looking at other states.