Looking for a new weekend getaway? Fredericksburg, Texas, is part of the second-largest certified wine region in the U.S. and one of Travel Channel’s “new top 10 cities for wine snobs.” Founded by German settlers in 1846, Fredericksburg used to be a little town known for its Germanic food and traditions. In 1985, the first American Viticultural Area (i.e. vineyard) was established in the region, paving the way for the 50+ wineries in operation today.
The 290 Wine Road, as the encompassing area is now known, stretches through Texas Hill Country to include Fredericksburg as well as Blumenthal, Stonewall, Hye, and Johnson City. It’s a mecca for wine-lovers who don’t want to travel all the way to California, and with several breweries and distilleries, it’s also a place for more than just wine-lovers.
With the addition of Uber to greater Fredericksburg, there are many safe ways to visit the wineries of your choosing while leaving the driving to someone else. Among the dozens of wine tour shuttles and limos to choose from is the 290 Wine Shuttle, which runs every Saturday from 10am to 6pm, no reservations necessary, and stops at the wineries on its tour list every 10 minutes.
At just an hour-and-a-half from Austin, and an hour-and-fifteen-minutes outside of San Antonio, Fredericksburg by proximity alone has always been a popular vacation destination, and so there are many other things to keep you busy if winery-hopping isn’t your thing. From art galleries and heritage tours to antique flea markets and farmers markets to outdoor summer concerts and museums, this little town has a lot to do. In fact, Fredericksburg has the only museum in the continental United States solely dedicated to telling the story of WWII in the Pacific. The National Museum of the Pacific War draws over 150,000 visitors annually. And for the foodies, there are over 100 restaurants to choose from. In May, Fredericksburg was voted one of America’s best small towns for dining by USA Today’s 10Best.
While there are several hotels in Fredericksburg, vacation rentals are the most popular form of accommodations in this quaint old town. A special thank you goes out to to my own Airbnb host for providing first-rate accommodations (the Howler Haus) so I could do my wine “research.” Speaking of my research, here are eight places to drink wine (and occasionally beer) in Fredericksburg, in two parts:
The first four: Fredericksburg’s most popular
1. Grape Creek Vineyards
One of the largest vineyards in Texas, set on a beautiful 100-acre estate. Driving up to the Tuscan-villa-inspired tasting room and trattoria, surrounded by cypress pine trees, makes you feel like you’ve been transported to Italy.
2. Messina Hof Winery
The tasting room showcases 50+ wines. Among them is a reserve selection of ultra-premium and exclusive wines only available at this location. Side note: order the charcuterie board!
3. 290 Wine Castle
Showcases wines from Texas along with other wine-producing families from around the world. If you want a great Hill Country view and to taste more than just Texas wines, this is the spot for you.
4. Becker Vineyards
With 56 acres of vineyards, Becker is one of the oldest and most popular wineries in Texas. Its stunning estate boasts beautiful grounds with lots to see: a huge tasting room, a gift shop, outdoor patios, live music, and winery tours.
The second four: my favorites…
5. Kuhlman Cellars
One of the best food and wine pairings I’ve had in years. A beautiful presentation in a stunning location, and everything, including the wine, was delicious. I can’t wait to go back.
6. Signor Vineyards
This property makes you feel like you walked onto a vineyard in northern Spain. With access to a great tasting room and an outdoor patio, you could spend hours here without realizing it. The tempranillo was my favorite.
7. Ron Yates Winery
A true Texas winery, like a cross between a California estate and a Texas Hill Country ranch. Visit during bluebonnet season for amazing scenery. Lots of tasty red varietals.
8. Altstadt Brewery
This is one of the most amazing pieces of new construction. Its patterned after an old German brewery, with an expansive tasting room (that also has wine), a beautiful back patio, and a downstairs bar with dark walls and leather sofas. Altstadt makes you feel like you’ve been transported to another world and time. To say nothing of the yummy beer…
For more on Fredericksburg, visit visitfredericksburgtx.com.