FREDERICKSBURG, Texas (KXAN) — Take a drive down U.S. 290 in the Hill Country and you will notice dozens of wineries lining the road, especially in Fredericksburg.
While many people used to make the drive to Fredericksburg for peaches, now they also come for the wine.
“So it is really attracting a lot of different people from the industry,” said January Weise, executive director of Texas Hill Country Wineries. “When I started we only had 24 wineries, and now we are at 62 and talking to a handful more about joining.”
Those are just wineries who are members of Texas Hill Country Wineries, a nonprofit trade association formed to promote wine and tasting rooms.
According to the USDA 2019 Texas Wine Grape Varieties Survey report, the high plains had 3,320 acres planted with 10,300 tons produced, while the Hill Country had 1,090 acres planted with 1,760 tons produced.
“Fredericksburg is the crown jewel of the Hill Country,” said Chesney Castleberry who is co-owner of the Rhinory, a new vineyard on 290 near Fredericksburg.
The Rhinory just opened its doors this summer.
“Every time you go up and down the highway, there is something new,” said Craig Stevens, co-owner of the winery.
It can be a competitive market, but the Rhinory has a special attraction that sets it apart.
“I was like, ‘OK, I like wine, I love wineries, I love rhino conservation,’ so we really put those two ideas together,” said Stevens.
If you visit the Rhinory you will have an opportunity to meet Blake the Southern White Rhino. Stevens said his goal is to educate people about the endangered species but also serve up good wine.
The Rhinory offers a rhino experience where you can pay to pet and feed Blake.