Write-Off the Vine: Texas Wine News – August 1, 2009
TEXSOM & DrinkLocalWine: Excellent wine two-fer in Dallas in mid-August
By Kim Pierce
Mid-August is an excellent time to polish your wine creds with two back-to-back conferences. www.DrinkLocalWine.com hosts a one-day conference 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 15 with an in-depth look at the state of Texas wines and winemaking. And the 2009 Texas Sommelier Conference returns to Dallas Aug. 16-17, with more opportunities for in-depth exploration of specific varietals and regions.
DrinkLocalWine, the Web site that focuses on domestic wines not made in California or Washington, hosts its first conference in conjunction with GO TEXAN Wine in Dallas at Le Cordon Bleu; price is $35. Skip to the jump a more detailed description of the day. Local wine curmudgeon Jeff Siegel is helping to organize the event.
The 2009 Texas Sommelier Conference at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas is geared to the wine professional (Aug. 17 is open only to the trade). But wine enthusiasts can attend the Sunday sessions, 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., which will cover sake, the Rioja region of Spain, pinot noir, Austria and the Northern Rhone. It’s $75 for the day (lunch is $45 extra), or $25 per session. Go to www.texsom.com for details and registration.
Here’s the 2009 DrinkLocalWine conference schedule for Aug. 15 at Le Cordon Bleu:
Conference registration, 9 a.m.
What’s new in Texas wine: Trends and developments. 9:45 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Not cabernet or chardonnay: What grapes work best in Texas? 10:45 a.m.-noon.
Lunch, noon-1:15 p.m.
Why don’t retailers and restaurants like regional wine
Texas Twitter Taste-off, 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m.
Grapevine’s Annual GrapeFest Celebrates the Best of Texas Wine Every September
Come enjoy award-winning wine and culinary treats perfectly paired with the fun and excitement of Historic Downtown Grapevine at the largest wine festival in the Southwest. Voted one of the Top 100 Events in the USA and Canada for 2009 by the American Bus Association, this year’s GrapeFest will entice wine and culinary enthusiasts from around the world to gather for an event-filled weekend rich in character and tradition.
For 2009 the dates are September 17, 18, 19 and 20.
Wine lovers and their families are invited to experience a number of activities, including: Grapevine Winery Tasting Room Tours, Culinary Pavilion, GrapeFest Tennis Classic, KidZone, GrapeStomp, The People’s Choice Wine Tasting Classic – the largest consumer-judged wine competition in the nation, six stages of entertainment and much more.
Named for the wild Mustang grapes that blanketed the land when settlers first arrived to the area in 1844, the City of Grapevine is an internationally recognized leader and trendsetter in the wine industry. The annual festival showcases this historic town and its love for Texas wine while putting the State of Texas on the map for all wine connoisseurs. Offering four full days of fun and a number of unique events leading up to the festival, GrapeFest truly is a one-of-a-kind event with something for everyone.
I’m All Ears about Texas Wines and I am Giving Away Prizes
NOTE: The deadline to comment to this blog is August 2, 2009. Don’t delay.
You can win a free private tour and tasting for up to 25 people at Haak Vineyards (www.haakwine.com) or other prizes by telling me what your experience has been with Texas wines. To comment, simply click on the icon in the upper right side of this blog or go to http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=1022 and comment in the space provided at the bottom of the page (or simply email me at email@example.com or Twitter @VintageTexas).
More at: http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=1022
Swindell Update – The adventures of newlyweds! I heard it through the grapevine
We had a busy weekend! My sister came into town to visit and it was a blast! We woke up bright and early on Saturday and went to Messina Hof to pick and stomp grapes. After signing in we were “briefed” on how to properly pick a grape clusters and keep all ten of our fingers. Then they told us a little about how long Messina Hof had been in Bryan and some general history about wine making.
We headed out into the vineyard while they had wonderful music playing… it sounded Italian to me. We quickly divided up and different pairs walked down the row to begin harvest. Steven was on one side and my sister and I on the other. They encouraged us to taste the grapes, and let me tell you… they were SWEET! Everyone has been really worried about the drought, and while it may be bad for the corn/barley (so sorry beer drinkers), it has made the grapes sweeter!
More at: http://swindellupdate.blogspot.com/
Obscure Wine Grapes: Carignan
By Cathy Matusow in Robblog, Wine Time
You know about Rhone and Rioja reds, but you may not have heard of the grapes that many of these wines are made with, Carignan, Mourvedre and Grenache. These grapes are seldom seen on wine labels, but they are all pretty common in the Rhone region of France as well as the rest of Europe. Mourvedre is also grown in Italy under the name Mataro, and Grenache is widely used in Spain, where its called Granacha. Carignan originated in Spain and was part of the Rioja blend.
Becker’s Prairie Roti Martin Vineyard is a great example of what you can do with the right grapes in Texas. Bright plum and currant flavors, an intense purple color, and lush texture with very little astringency, make this a very approachable wine. It’s made from grapes grown on the sun-drenched High Plains of Texas, hence the name. Cote Rotie means “the roasted coast,” a reference to the Cote Rotie region of the French Rhone district.
The future of Texas Wine
By Terry Thompson-Anderson, CCP
Art by Jan Heaton
Photography by Randy Allbritton
Often, when pondering the future, it’s of great benefit to examine the past. Viewed in terms of its past, Texas winemaking has a long and rich heritage from which to draw. The lands that now comprise the state of Texas are among the oldest wine-producing regions in the United States, but the newest to establish an industry of winemaking. In fact, wine grapes were planted in Texas more than a hundred years before they were planted in California.
Most historians agree that the earliest vineyards—thought to grow the mission varietal grape, no longer found in Texas—were planted by Franciscan priests as early as the 1650s along the Rio Grande River near present day El Paso. Early European settlers in Texas also planted (for the most part, unsuccessfully) European Vitis vinifera grape varietals in an effort to maintain the wine culture they had enjoyed in their homelands. And German immigrants who settled in New Braunfels and Fredericksburg had great success producing wines from the native mustang grapes, although those wines would most likely not be palatable today.
Today, Texas has over 3,700 acres of family-owned vineyard land, and boasts eight American Viticultural Areas (wine grape-growing regions that have been identified by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau). Texas is the nation’s fifth largest grape and wine producer with over 170 wineries and counting. The industry contributes more than $1.35 billion annually to the state’s economy, and has created over 8,000 associated jobs with an annual payroll of almost $300 million in direct wages.