There is a fast-growing industry here in the High Plains, and it may not be what you would expect. When you think about Lubbock and the surrounding area, farming, agriculture, and ranching probably come to mind. Most people have read a lot or at least know about the cotton, cattle and oil industry in the area. But how about the wine industry?
Grape-growing has been around for over a century in this area. Early settlers brought in vitis vinifera from the old world in hopes that these grapes would produce. There were many attempts and failures throughout the years until researchers looked to native grape species that grow abundantly around rivers and streams in Texas. They found out that in the Lubbock area, there was less cotton root rot and pierce’s disease because of the soil and environment. The sandy red loam and warm temperatures are the perfect fit for successful grape-growing.
Texas is divided into three main wine-growing regions. Lubbock is in the North Central Region, which spans the northern third of the state from the border of New Mexico across the Texas Panhandle toward Dallas. This area includes the Texas High Plains AVA where the highest concentration of grapes are grown in the state. Most people do not realize that about 85 percent of all wine grapes in Texas are grown on the Texas High Plains. There are over 8,000,000 acres in this appellation!
Wineries in central Texas depend heavily on grapes from the southern end of the High Plains. An example is Lost Draw Cellars in Fredericksburg, Texas, which grows approximately 90 percent of their grapes in Lubbock. These plains have been ordained by the United States government as an American Viticultural Area, a designation that allows connoisseurs to know how the local soil impacts the flavor of the wine.
Grapes produced in the region include: Aglianico, Barbera, Cabernet franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin blanc, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Montepulciano, Muscat Canelli, Orange Muscat, Pinot noir, Roussanne, Sangiovese, Sauvignon blanc, Syrah, Tempranillo and Viognier. Cabernet, Merlot, Chenin Blanc and Muscat Canelli are typically grown south of Lubbock while Riesling and Chardonnay are grown north to Plainview. Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel grapes are grown slightly north of Lubbock. Spanish, Italian and Southern French grapes have fostered a boom in wineries throughout and around Lubbock. The good soil and cool nights contribute to great fruit quality. Most vineyards in the Lubbock area are irrigated with water from the Ogallala Aquifer.
Lubbock has some award-winning wineries that showcase their wines during tastings, events and tours. All offer Wine Club memberships and are open to the public. Be sure to visit our acclaimed vineyards and tasting rooms (below) once you get settled and have time to sip and relax!
Burklee Hill Vineyards
Family-owned vineyard, winery, bistro and event center. Grapes are grown nearby on land that has been farmed for five generations.
1109 Broadway St., Lubbock, TX 79401, downtown in the renovated Kress Building
Owners: Chace and Elizabeth Hill
English Newsom Cellars
The existing Caprock Winery building was bought in 2013 and transformed into a Southwest-style villa to host events. A partnership between the English and Newsom families formed in 2018, making Tommy English and Steve Newsom owners.
408 E. Woodrow Rd., Lubbock, TX 79423
Llano Estacado Winery was the first winery built in the area in 1976, then vineyards began to dot the Texas High Plains. Events, tours, tastings and shopping.
3426 FM 1585, Lubbock, TX 79404
President and CEO: Mark Hyman
McPherson Cellars Winery
Over 40 years of grape-growing and winemaking over three generations. Patio, tasting room and event center in downtown Lubbock.
1615 Texas Ave., Lubbock, TX 79401
Winemaker: Kim McPherson
Pheasant Ridge Winery
Began in 1978 with planting of the largest crop of vinifera in Texas.
3507 E. County Rd. 5700, Lubbock, TX 79403
Founders and owners: Bobby and Jennifer Cox