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Val Verde Winery in Del Rio, Texas Gets Even Better With Age

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An amazing claim to fame, Texas’ oldest continuously running winery, Val Verde Winery, can be found in Del Rio. Established in 1883 by Frank Qualia, an Italian immigrant to the United States, the winery has remained in the Qualia family for three generations, first passing to Frank’s youngest son in 1936, and then to his grandson in 1973. Upon arrival in Del Rio, Frank found that Lenoir grapes were prospering there, and on that basis, he founded Val Verde Winery. His son Louis (to which the winery went to after Frank’s passing) introduced the French Herbomont grape to Texas. Still in operation, and continuing to thrive, a fourth generation of the Qualia family is now working at the winery and learning to maintain its high quality and appeal.

Val Verde Winery in Del Rio, Texas Gets Even Better With Age

Photo: Facebook/Val Verde Winery

Located just minutes from the Mexican border, Del Rio can be found in Southwest Texas. The Val Verde Winery is actually located in one of the city’s historical residential areas. There you will find the opportunity for tastings, with the first wine being complimentary, followed by a choice of two different tasting fees. Five wines can be tasted for the price of the lesser fee, and the greater tasting fee covers all wines which are available at the time of your visit. The greater tasting fee also entitles you to keep the wine glass as a souvenir, and the winery provides oyster crackers with which to cleanse your palate. They also maintain the “1883 Wine Club” which allows the member to receive two 3-bottle orders of wine chosen by their winemakers in the spring and the fall (approximately $45 per shipment plus S/H and taxes), a free wine tasting for the member and one guest, and 20% off of all wine bottle sales and all non-wine merchandise.

Val Verde Winery in Del Rio, Texas Gets Even Better With Age

Photo: Facebook/Val Verde Winery

Val Verde’s vineyard includes 12 acres of Lenoir grapes, however, the winery mainly uses grapes that come from the High Plains. They produce anywhere between 2,500 and 3,000 cases of wine per year, as well as grow and maintain olive trees to produce their own olive oil. A complimentary tour of the winery is available after a tasting, during which you can learn much about its rich history. For example, it was given the Land Heritage Award from the Texas Department of Agriculture for more than 100 years of single-family ownership, and in 2013, it celebrated its 130th anniversary. While you’re touring the premises, bear in mind that the main building itself is the original from 1883 – something, of course, very few others within the United States alone can proudly say. Their winery can be rented for special events (i.e. weddings) and their gift shop features very tasteful glassware, wine accessories, and their house-made olive oil. You may even wish to purchase an olive tree of your very own! To simply say you visited the oldest winery in Texas is something of a bragging right in itself. Enjoy Val Verde Winery. Salud!

Sources:

Frommer’s

Val Verde Winery