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7 lesser-known U.S. wine regions to visit

By: Josh Lew on Jan. 17, 2013, noon
bell tower at Grape Creek Vineyards in Texas Hill Country

Photo: Grape Creek Vineyards

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Texas Hill Country

The wide-open spaces, forested hills and rugged landscapes of Texas Hill Country are attractive to anyone with a love of nature and an appreciation of uncrowded rural landscapes. Stretching through the heart of Texas between major cities like San Antonio and Austin, this region has become a buzzed-about vacation destination, thanks, in large part, to its growing winery scene. 

Several dozen wineries are found in this region of the Lone Star State. The historic and charming town of Fredricksburg, for example, is the starting point for a casual vineyard tour that follows U.S. Highway 290 and includes almost a dozen quality wineries. 

In addition to its vineyards and beautiful scenery, Texas Hill Country is home to outdoor activities such as horseback-riding tours, cave tours and river rafting, so wine lovers can enjoy a bit of nature while they are on the wine trail.