Write Off The Vine: Texas Wine News – August 17, 2010
Proposed Federal Alcohol Law Could Limit Texas Wineries’ Growth
Local and state wine makers are calling on Congress to kibosh a proposed federal law that could threaten to their expansion into markets outside Texas.
The bill, the Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act of 2010 (CARE Act), is rooted in an effort by alcohol wholesalers to expand states’ authority to regulate the direct sale of wine, beer and other spirits.
It arrived on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in April after alcohol wholesalers launched a multimillion dollar lobbying campaign to retain their place between alcohol producers and consumers in different states.
The wholesale industry began throwing their political weight behind such measures in 2005 after the Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional for states to allow their local producers to sell directly to consumers while prohibiting similar direct sales between their residents and out-of-state producers.
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Texas’ Top Wine Brands
SIRI focused on the leading brands of Texas-made wines in its latest analysis for Wines & Vines. It’s no surprise that Ste. Genevieve, owned by Mesa Vineyards, still leads in sales. Its 52-week total was just shy of $10 million. For perspective, that would make it the sixth-leading brand in Washington State.
Llano Estacado is the clear No. 2 Texas winery with $5,421,041 in sales during the most recent 52 weeks, and at a significantly higher price-point than Ste. Genevieve. Sales of Texas wines overall were up 2.5% during the recent four-week period. More information on Texas top ten brands is available at:
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Texas Beverages: Deep Eddy Vodka
by Jessica Dupuy (Eat My Words/Texas Monthly)
Up until now, we’ve had a relatively mild summer. At least by Texas standards. Decent rains. Temperatures hovering in the 90s. And with the exception of a few flash floods, no major weather disasters. But it’s August now, and the dog days of summer are rearing their snarly heads at us. (You didn’t think we’d get by without a stretch of Century-mark temperatures did you?) So what do you do when it’s, well, hotter than Hades outside?
Some stay inside, blast the AC all day, and pray for mid-October to get here—fast. Some venture out only after the sun has set with a nice chilled (read: sweating) glass of Texas Viognier. Others submerge themselves in the closest beach, lake, river, or backyard pool and try to dull the oppressive sunrays. (These types also come armed with a cooler stocked with iced beer.) Me, I like it somewhere in between. And I’ve recently found a refreshing beverage to quench the greatest of summertime thirsts: Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka.
It’s the magical result of what happened when Sweet Leaf Tea founder Clayton Christopher teamed up with Savvy Vodka distiller, Chad Auler (Also of Fall Creek Vineyards) to marry two fantastic beverages: Iced Tea and vodka.
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Red, White, and Bubbly Carpet: TexSom 2010
Nearly 300 people attended the standing-room-only, sold-out TexSom 2010, the 6th-annual Texas Sommelier Conference, which began yesterday at the Four Seasons hotel in Irving (Dallas, Texas). That’s reigning “Best Sommelier in Texas” June Rodil who helped out with pouring duties for the “Emerging Regions of Italy” seminar.
The event draws some of the best and brightest stars in the world of wine, like Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey (left), who took time out to pose for a paparazzo with Jamie Adams, VP The Sorting Table. The ever-affable Bartholomew Broadbent is a sponsor and a perennial attendee.
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The Texas 2010 Grape Harvest Continues: Norton Pressing at Beavers Family Vineyard and Winery
We pressed the Norton wine today. It is always nice when family comes over and wants to help. Here you can see my daughter and little James helping with the press.
We were able to get a full 15 gallons from the Norton grape harvest this year. We put it all in a 15 gallon demi-john and it is sitting at 70 degrees now for the Malolactic fermentation to finish up. What was really nice is that having the slightly higher temperatures and the lower pH all but completely removed the hydrogen sulfide gas that we got last year fermenting at a slower and lower temperature. And the color is just fabulous.
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BYOB: Taking a Guided Tour of Grapevine’s Wineries
North Texas has “poor clay soil, high humidity and really warm nights,” in the words of a tour guide at Delaney Vineyards, but that hasn’t stopped a few entrepreneurs from trying to jump start a wine tourism boom in Grapevine.
Grapevine, home to seven wineries, has hosted an annual wine festival for more than 20 years. But for tourists who miss out on the organized fun, printed brochures have long provided the only introduction to the region’s viticulture.
“We wanted to bring the community together so people didn’t feel like they needed a map,” explains Shelly Biro, co-owner of Grapevine Wine Tours, which began offering guided tours late last month.
Participants in Grapevine Wine Tours are shuttled to three Grapevine wineries in a 22-passenger bus, with a mid-tour meal stop.
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A Crush on Texas Wines
Even though I live in Denver over half the time, I am a Texan through and through. As such, I want, I mean really want, to love Texas wines. We spent the last two weeks re-exploring the Texas Hill Country wine region to reacquaint ourselves with what is going on with Texas wines. While I may not be in love, I definitely now have a crush on Texas wines. All puns intended…
So here is a little background for those of you who at this point have wrinkled your noses and said “Texas wine?” In 2001, there were only 46 wineries in the whole state, now there are about 200. 95% of Texas wine is consumed in Texas. The Texas wine industry employs over 9,000 people and has an economic impact of over $1.4 Billion. In 2009, Texas produced 2.4 million gallons of wine (5th in the U.S.). 2010 has been a bountiful harvest (more crop – 3,700 fruit bearing acres and good weather) so look for wine production to jump. Orbitz Travel called the Texas Hill Country the second fastest growing wine destination.
At the time of this writing, mid-august 2010, it is harvest time and we wanted to be in the middle of it all. Get some County Line Bar-B-Que sauce and a little grape juice all over us. We were honored to start our trip as the lunch guests of Ed and Susan Auler, who, by many, are considered the First Family of Texas wine. They started Fall Creek Vineyards in 1975 with the help and guidance of famed Napa wine consultant Andre Tchelistcheff.
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GUS CLEMENS: Texas Wine Joining the Conversation
Wine is booming in the United States, and Texas yearns to be part of the story. The Lone Star State already is the fifth-largest wine producing state. Texas is fifth-largest wine producing state, but it achieves that by making just one-half of 1 percent of wine produced in the U.S.
Texas proudly has around 170 wineries. California has more than 2,800; Napa County alone more than 400.
While Texas is no threat to top wine states, it is part of the conversation. Wine production is the most lucrative agricultural use of land, so naturally the Texas Department of Agriculture vigorously pushes wine production.