The oldest winery in Texas can be found in Del Rio, a little town in the southwest corner of the state. Frank Qualia, an Italian immigrant with vast winemaking experience who realized the potential for producing high-quality wines in the region, established the Val Verde Winery in 1883. He began his work at the winery by cultivating the land, planting the first vines, and producing wine in traditional Italian fashion. In South Texas, known for its calcium-rich and loamy soil, Qualia planted a family vineyard using cuttings from the native Lenoir grapes growing wild in the area. He established the Val Verde Winery in 1883, naming it for the county in which it is situated. As a result of producing sacramental wine for use in church services during Prohibition, the family-run business, now in its fourth generation, may lay claim to the title of Texas's oldest winery that is still in operation today.
The Val Verde Winery has established itself as essential to the Del Rio community. It has emerged as a well-liked attraction for visitors and wine lovers. It is well-known both for the quality of its wines and the breathtaking scenery it offers near the banks of the Rio Grande. The Qualia vineyard is nearly entirely made up of black Spanish grapes, some of which are more than 120 years old, but it contains a small number of Herbemont vines and some Blanc du Bois grapes. The winery also produces wine from grapes sourced from vineyards in the Escondido Valley and the High Plains.
The Val Verde Winery has been an essential contributor to the expansion of the wine industry in the state of Texas. It was one of the earliest wineries in the state and helped establish Texas as a significant wine-producing region when it opened in the early 1970s. Today, it continues to be an essential component of the state's wine culture and stands as a tribute to the tenacity and creativity of the early wine pioneers in the form of Texas.
Article Written by: Austin Texas Wine Society