If I Was Appointed the Texas Wine Czar

If I Was Appointed the Texas Wine Czar

I would do the following ten things to promote Texas wines:

1. Annex a state that had at least 10,000 acres of quality producing grape vine to erase the deficit we have in the number of acres of Texas grapes. Going from 60 to over 200 Texas wineries has stretched our 4,000 acres too far. This has forced some Texas wineries to make Texas wine with out of state grapes

2. Banish the use of the phrase “For Sale in Texas Only” on the back wine bottle label of “Texas” wines. This phrase is code for there are not enough Texas grapes in this wine for it to be called Texas appellation.

3. Proclaim that winemakers must learn how to make more good table wines from grapes that can be grown anywhere in the state like the French American hybrids: Black Spanish, Norton and Blanc du Bois.

4. Make Texas restaurants feature at least two Texas wines on their wine lists that sometimes run to 25, 50, 100 or more wines.

5. Even more importantly, require that restaurant patrons ask for Texas wines when they go to restaurants. There are wines that go with nearly any meal; including Texas Beef, seafood, BBQ, TexMex and Asian selections. Restaurantuers will provide what their customers want. But, only if they ask, and it may require asking several times.

6. Additionally, enforce that all restaurant local Farm-to-Table menus that feature Texas produce, cheeses, seafood and meats include Texas wines instead of wines from Australia, France, Argentina or Sardinia. They may be local wines somewhere, but not here.

7. Mandate that all Texas vineyards and wineries take advantage of the free services of the state supported regional viticulturalists and state enology specialists (their and our tax dollars at work). No one should make Pinot Grigio that looks like a Rosé or smells like rotten eggs. Many growers and winemakers already do and are making great strides in quality. Unfortunately, some don’t and spoil it for the rest of the industry and consumers.

8. Give all wine consumers in the State of Texas an amnesiac to make them forget the Texas wine made in the 1970’s.

9. Make every citizen of Texas take to the road and discover a wine trail in their part of the state and actually sample wine in a winery tasting room. There are now at least nine wine trails in Texas. The ambiance of a winery and the surrounding countryside can be captivating.

10. Make all Chambers of Commerce in Texas feature Texas wines at local conventions and social functions instead of wines from California, Argentina and other foreign lands. Keep the revenue right here and working for the benefit of all Texans.

If you can stand to hear more of my proclamations and mandates for Texas wine (and other stuff), you can hear my interview by the Wine Curmudgeon; download the (6MB – MP3) podcast.

Interview of Russ Kane by the Wine Curmudgeon

If you were Texas Wine Czar, what would you do?


You can vote for Rubio, the worlds cutest Labradoodle, in his Halloween costume as Sherlock Homes complete with “hounds” tooth cape and deerstalker hat. He is trying to solve the “Lost Bone Mystery”. Go to: http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/inspector-rubio-sherlock-holmes-costume/]

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  1. Dear Czar, some comments, starting with point one.

    1. We don’t need any body else! Your 10,000 acres are being planted as fast as we can. The memory up here on The High Plains of the boom and BUST of the 80s and 90s is fading but we learned from that blow. Our vineyards don’t look like CA vineyards anymore, closer spacing, better varieties and trellising that suits us gives the new generation a much better shot at success. We have 8,858,846 in The High Plains AVA and if we only planted 5% of that area the resulting 443K acres of vine would supply most of the wine for the USA much less Texas. Maybe Texans could drink more wine?
    2.Amen Brother! preach on!
    3.Argggg! NO! let us grow the very interesting grapes we grow up here, Viognier, Mourvedre, Tempranillo, Albrino, Vermentino, Dolchetto, Sangiovese, Roussanne, Trebbiano, Carignan, and many more.
    4.How about all Texas?
    5.Yes, Ask, please ask for our wines.
    6.Think local.
    7.We have a great team and if you call they can make a big difference.
    8. Forget please forget.
    9. &10. Local support is great!

  2. Bobby…thanks for the sanity check. Some things on my list were more serious than others.

    I definitely agree with your list of varietals: Viognier, Mourvedre, Tempranillo, Albrino, Vermentino, Dolchetto, Sangiovese, Roussanne, Trebbiano, Carignan.

    But, Black Spanish and Blanc du Bois can be done where these others just can not be grown. Progress is definitely being made with BdB and Black Spanish needs more work as a table wine.

    Your 1983 Cab was something that I will never forget!

    I like the Czar uniform and hat and will not give them up!


  3. My husband and I love Texas Wines! We discovered Dry Comal Creek in New Braunfels back in college and have since explored many of the Munson Trail wineries in North Texas.

    I agree with you on the Blanc du Bois – I think it’s a great grape for our state and that Texas wineries really shine when they use the grapes that like to grow here, instead of just trying to imitate the grapes from other places.

    I would encourage every wine-drinking Texan to find a winery or two they love and join their wine club. It’s a great way to try new wines and usually saves some money in the long run!

  4. love this photo!

    thanks for the retweet the other day… peepaw liked him some orange wine!

    we’ll have to connect one of these days… always enjoy Vintage Texas and have it in my reader… cool stuff, man…

    blog on, j

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