Texas Hill Country wines are quickly gaining in popularity, and with good reason. But sometimes we forget that Texas is a huge place and is in fact home to many wineries outside of the Hill Country region. West Texas is home to one of the brightest gems in Texas viniculture, the Val Verde Winery in Del Rio, Texas. This piece of Texas history was founded in 1883 by Italian transplant Frank Qualia and has been in constant operation ever since. That’s 130 years without a break, making Val Verde the oldest bonded winery in the state. Tradition is nice, but how about their wines? Val Verde is a small-batch producer, making only what is currently in season with a focus on local and Texas-grown grapes. Perhaps their most popular and noted wine is their award-winning Don Luis Tawny Port, which is aged for five years, has a distinctive orange-brown hue, and creates a full palate of flavors. Another thing we like about this particular winery is the tours. Yes, every winery in existence offers a tour and tasting package of some sort, but Val Verde offers theirs completely free. Tours begin whenever you feel like showing up and visitors — well, the ones 21 and over anyway — are treated to a complimentary tasting. Now that’s some Texas hospitality for you!