COMFORT, Texas - When you think of fine wines, your first thought might not be Texas, but you would be wrong.
The Texas wine industry is growing at an amazing rate, and a lot of that growth is in the Hill Country just north of San Antonio. While it's growing, the industry's future growth is in jeopardy because of state budget cuts.
The modern era of the wine industry in the Hill Country is about 20-25 years old... relatively young compared to California or Europe, but it's growing quickly and wine experts say it is becoming impressive.
Dick Holmberg started Singing Water Vineyards near Comfort in 1998; a veteran here in the Hill Country. While this vineyard is dormant right now, the state's one billion dollar wine business is definitely not. It's expanding almost monthly - a lot right here in the Hill Country
Holmberg told us, "We were bonded as a commercial winery in '04. We were winery Number 56 in the state of Texas. Today we're approaching 250 wineries."
State funding has produced a lot of the success. Marketing and promoting outside of Texas has turned producers into tour guides of sorts. Agri-tourism is huge. Visitors taking in the countryside and its fruit as a excursion from the city. It's attracting wine lovers - even those use to tastes from Napa and Sonoma areas in California.
Barbara Lawrence from east Texas is a big wine lover who enjoys wines from all over the world.
"We are very pleasantly surprised at the level of wines that are now being produced from Texas," said Lawrence.
But state budget cuts are jeopardizing all the progress this industry has made. Especially cuts in research to prevent problems like Pierce's disease - a devastating bacteria carried by bugs.
Holmberg put it this way. "You don't want to see that slip because there are things that will not be good for growing grapes in Texas."
Producers are not sure how long these cuts are going to be lasting, but they hope they don't stick around so long as to hurt a growing industry that's bringing in a lot of tax dollars to the state.