Texas probably isn't the first place you think of when it comes to wine, and that's understandable. The state got off to a promising start in the mid-1600s, when Franciscan monks established North America's first vineyard here. Texas wineries continued to thrive through the 1800s, but Prohibition completely shut down the state's wine industry between 1919 and 1933; it took until the 1970s and '80s to really rev up again.
Since then, though, Texas has been more than making up for lost time. It's now the fifth largest wine-producing state (behind California, New York, Washington and Oregon), and the number of Texan wineries almost quadrupled between 2001 and 2011. Texan vineyards produced 1.2 million cases of wine in 2009, and its wine industry contributes $1.7 billion a year to the state's economy.
Read on to learn more about Texan wines and to plan a Texas wine trail vacation.