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I live in a very unique area of Texas called the Hill Country. Probably because we have a lot of hill. (Pause for loud laughter). The landscape is dotted with wildflowers and linking the small towns are ranches of every size and type. Everything from huge cattle ranches to ranches that breed ad train horses to some great dude ranches. About 50 miles south of Fredericksburg, in Bandera, dude ranches have been operating since 1920. The self-proclaimed “Cowboy Capital of the World” is home to seven dude ranches, where guests can take trail rides and eat cowboyfare. And a lot of people who don’t own ranches still have horses and it’s very common to see them riding along the side of a two-lane highway or even down the road the runs past my little rural community. So yeah, Stetson and boots are pretty much the common dress.
Note: Who wouldn’t like to drink wine with Longmire?
But the Hill Country offers another unique industry–wineries. There are twenty-two wineries in the Hill Country, seven around Fredericksburg alone, with two more slated to open soon. Texas is now the nation’s fifth largest wine-producing state.A hard morning on horseback can be followed by an afternoon of wine and cheese. And nobody minds a bit.
The Hill Country doesn’t just sit culturally at the intersection of cowboy and urbane; it sits there geographically, too. Most of the region’s attractions are within an hour’s drive of Austin, the state’s hipster capital, and San Antonio, home of the Alamo. And in a state where a drive between cities can be derriere-numbingly long, the Hill Country provides easy stops in a short distance.
PS. Sam Elliott’s voice makes me horny but don’t tell anyone. Sam and a bottle of wine make my night.
So don’t be entirely surprised if that cowboy you saw riding herd this morning decides to wet his whistle late in the day with a glass of chardonnay or sauvignon blanc.