How to Identify a Texas Hill Country Wine

Searching for a Texas Hill Country wine in a sea of options can feel like a daunting task. How can you be sure that the wine you’re selecting is a Texas Hill Country AVA? Don’t fret! We’re breaking down what to look for to help you navigate the wine aisle! 


It’s all in the label! As you peruse, don’t be afraid to pick up the wine bottle and read the label. As you begin to read labels, you may start to see the same key terms, such as AVA, Estate, and Reserve, but what do they mean? Let’s break down the essential elements of a wine label: 


  • Producer: This is who made the wine. The producer name is either prominent or in a small text at the top or bottom of the label.   
  • Region or AVA: The region lets you know where the grapes that make up the wine were sourced. This is where you would see The Hill Country AVA listed. If a wine is from a specific vineyard, you might see the vineyard site name in quotations, or located right below the region designation. 
  • Variety: The variety refers to what grape or grapes were used to make the wine. For example, the wine may be a Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre blend.    
  • Estate Bottled: An estate-bottled wine means that the wine was entirely grown, produced, and bottled on the wine estate.
  • Vintage: The vintage refers to the year that the grapes were harvested. 


Now that we have vocabulary down, let’s dive into how these terms relate to The Texas Hill Country. For a wine to have Texas on the label, it must have sourced at least 75% of its fruit from Texas. When it comes to listing the AVA on the label, this percentage bumps up to at least 85%. That means that if a wine label lists The Hill Country AVA, then you can be sure that at least 85% of the grapes in that bottle were sourced from The Texas Hill Country. The wine could contain a higher percentage of grapes from the Hill Country AVA, but at a minimum, for the AVA to be listed on the bottle, it must have at least 85%. If the wine label has a specific Estate, the grapes must be 100% from the grower’s estate. Additionally, the estate must be located in a formally recognized Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) AVA. The TTB recognizes the Texas Hill Country AVA. When it comes to listing the varietal, like calling the wine a Viognier or Tempranillo, the wine must contain at least 75% of that one varietal of grapes. 


Here is a list of Texas Hill Country Winery member vineyards in the Hill Country AVA


If you’re on the hunt for a Texas Hill Country wine, take a look at this page before you head to the grocery or liquor store. We’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of Texas Hill Country wines. 


As you navigate your local wine aisle, we hope you feel more confident knowing what requirements dictate what’s on the label. Explore The Texas Hill Country and continue your wine learning journey. Broaden your horizons past the wine aisle! We encourage you to spark up a conversation with the tasting room staff. Wineries have incredibly knowledgeable staff who would love to chat with you about Texas winemaking. You might even leave with several new favorites for your wine collection. Comment below your favorite Texas Hill Country Wines!