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Texas WineriesTexas just can't help it. They do everything big.

Today, Texas is the third-largest wine producing state in the nation boasting more than 200 wineries - one of which, Val Verde in Del Rio - has been run by the Qualia family since 1883 (pictured).

The central-western part of the state, known as the Trans-Pecos Regions, produces about 40 percent of the state's grapes, and is home to more than two thirds of all the wine produced in Texas.

Cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay are the most planted grapes in Texas. Sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, and merlot are also prevalent throughout the state's eight official designated wine areas including the Mesilla Valley and Escondido Valley in west Texas, and the Texas High Plains wine trail and Texoma wine region in north Texas.

And, in central Texas, not far from San Antonio lies Texas Hill Country which is fast growing a reputation for producing the best wines in the state. Several dozen wineries are found in this region of the Lone Star State, beginning with Fredricksburg - the traditional starting point for a vineyard tour that follows scenic U.S. Highway 290.

Viognier is the white grape that has proven to be most at home in Texas (even beating out France and California in some blind taste tests.)

Texas Wine Fun Fact: Did you know that a Texan, Thomas Volney Munson, was the man responsible for saving the French wine industry from the 19th century phylloxera epidemic? He came up with the solution of grafting European grape plants onto resistant rootstock. Yes, indeed. (And it's just another reason why wine is still big in Texas - and in France!)

Around the Web, discover other surprising facts about the Lone Star State's wine history and its big leap into the modern wine industry with facts and info on its wineries, tasting tours and wine events throughout the year...

More information about Texas wine around the Web:

Texas Wine Lover - Your first stop for everything you ever wanted to know about Texas wines including where to find them, wine reviews, Texas wine fun facts, and an online shop.

The Wine Society of Texas - With chapters in major cities and offering and online FAQ, virtual wine lecture series, events calendar, membership info, and a downloadable listing of wineries in PDF format.

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