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Texas is the second most populous (after

California) and the second largest of the 50 US

states (after Alaska) in the US. Geographically

located in the south central part of the country,

Texas shares an international border with the

Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila,

Nuevo León and Tamaulipas to the south and

borders the US states of New Mexico to the

west, Oklahoma to the north, Arkansas to the

northeast and Louisiana to the east. Texas has

an area of 696,200 square kilometers and a

growing population of over 26.9 million resi­

dents (July 2014).

Houston is the largest city in Texas and the

fourth largest in the US, while San Antonio is

the second largest in the state and seventh

largest in the US. Dallas–Fort Worth and

Greater Houston are the fourth and fifth larg­

est US metropolitan areas, respectively.

Other major cities include El Paso and Aus­

tin, the state capital. Texas is nicknamed the

Lone Star State to signify Texas as a former

independent republic and as a reminder of

the state’s struggle for independence from

Mexico. The Lone Star can be found on the

Texas state flag and on the Texas state seal

today. The origin of the state name, Texas, is

from the word, “Tejas”, which means ‘friends’

in the Caddo language.

A Texas industry that thrived after the Civil

War was cattle. Due to its long history as a

centre of the industry, Texas is associated

with the image of the cowboy. The state’s

economic fortunes changed in the early 20


century, when oil discoveries initiated an eco­

nomic boom in the state. With strong invest­

ments in universities, Texas developed a

diversified economy and high tech industry in

the mid-20th century. As of 2010 it shares

the top of the list of the most Fortune 500

companies with California at 57. With a

growing base of industry, the state leads in

many industries, including agriculture, petro­

chemicals, energy, computers and elec­

tronics, aerospace and biomedical sciences.

Texas has led the nation in export revenue

since 2002 and has the second-highest

gross state product.

In terms of wine, Texas is divided into three

main wine growing regions with a vast range

of diversity and microclimates that allows

many different types of grapevines to grow in

the state.

The North-Central Region spans the north­

ern third of the state from the border of

New Mexico across the Texas Panhandle

and towards Dallas. This includes the

Texas High Plains AVA which has the high­

est concentration of grape growers in the

state. The eastern third of the state makes

up the South-Eastern Region which en­

compasses the area southeast of Austin

and San Antonio and including Houston. In

recent years this area’s wine industry has

been hit by Pierce’s Disease. The high

humidity around the northern end of this

area makes it difficult to grow vinifera

grapes, while vines in the Muscadine fam­

ily flourish.

Roughly in the centre is the Texas Hill

Country AVA where vinifera is grown. At

the far southwest end of this region, is the

state’s oldest winery, Val Verde, which has

been in operation for over a century, mak­

ing sweet fortified wines.