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A Different Kind of Texas Tea

The images of herds of longhorn, oil pumps on the horizon, and endless cotton fields might be the enduring images of the northwestern Texas plains, but if the area's burgeoning wine industry has anything to do with it, the vineyard may just become another regional icon. The climate is close to ideal for the cultivation of grapes, with its moderate elevation, warm days, and cool nights. Within a 15-minute drive of Lubbock, there are five wineries that open their doors to tours.

Emerging from a grape-growing experiment on a shady Lubbock patio in 1976, Llano Estacado Winery, located 5 miles southeast of Lubbock on FM 1585 between U.S. 84 and U.S. 87 (tel. 806/745-2258; www.llanowine.com), is now one of the largest and best wineries in Texas: Its wines have won more awards than any other winery in the state. The tasting room is open from 10am to 5pm Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5pm Sunday. Cap*Rock Winery, 5 miles south of Lubbock at U.S. 87 South and Woodrow Road (tel. 806/863-2704; www.caprockwinery.com), uses vinifera grapes to produce chardonnays, cabernet sauvignons, and other wines. Free tours and samples are available from 10am to 5pm Monday through Saturday. Pheasant Ridge Winery on Route 3, 12 miles northeast of Lubbock via I-27 (tel. 806/746-6033; www.pheasantridgewinery.com), is located on the site of one of Texas's oldest vineyards and offers tours and tastings Friday and Saturday from noon to 6pm and Sunday from 1 to 5pm. In the Depot Entertainment District, visit La Diosa Cellars, 901 17th St. (tel. 806/744-3600; www.ladiosacellars.com). Its tasting room is actually a fantastic wine bar (serving tapas and featuring live acoustic music), open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. The winery sources its fruit from Texas and produces about 2,000 cases a year. McPherson Cellars Winery, 1615 Texas Ave. (tel. 806/687-9463; www.mcphersoncellars.com), is the newest of the bunch, open from 10am to 5pm Monday through Friday and noon to 5pm Sunday.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.