Write Off the Vine: Texas Wine News – May 28, 2009

Write Off the Vine: Texas Wine News – May 28, 2009

The Wine Society of Texas (www.winesocietyoftexas.org) Announces Scholarship Grant Program Awards totaling $4,000 for assistance in education and promotion of the Texas Wine Industry. 

Houston, Texas – The Wine Society of Texas (WST), a 501c3 non-profit educational organization, announced that it will award five grants totaling $4,000 in support of educational conferences for the Texas Wine Industry, a new book on Texas Wine industry, and three individuals studying viticulture at higher education institutions. 

This scholarship assistance program is consistent with the founding ideas of WST and its continued mission to enhance the appreciation of wines, foster the knowledge of enology and viticulture, support charitable activities, and educate wine consumers throughout the State of Texas.  The funding for the WST Scholarship program is provided from charitable donations, local WST Chapter fund raising events, and annual statewide wine events/competitions.

Following is a summary of this year’s award recipients:

Dr. Russell Kane (www.vintagetexas.com) in Houston for an upcoming book project on the Texas Wine Industry.  Dr. Kane has been very active in the Texas Wine industry having served on the WST BOD in the past, at large board position with TWGGA, and done presentations for the Texas Department of Agriculture. 

Rebecca Robinson of the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas (www.winefoodfoundation.org).  Ms. Robinson will use the money to help sponsor several wine classes and symposiums.  The foundation’s mission is to connect their members and the general public with the value, creativity and craftsmanship inherently present in the culinary and viticulture arts

Jarratt Irwin who is attending Texas A&M University studying Horticulture/Viticulture as part of a Masters of Agriculture (www.tamu.edu).   Mr. Irwin plans to use the grant to help cover his expenses during the summer when he will be interning at a Texas Winery.  Mr. Irwin hopes to start a vineyard/winery and specialty cut flower farm in West Texas.

Robert Nida who is attending the Montpellier Sup Agro school in France.  The school’s main focus is trying to solve problems that come with making wine from

Wine Matters: Part 1 – Texas Tech viticulture program first in state
By John Griffin – Express-News Food Editor

LUBBOCK — The Texas High Plains has 9 million acres that could be planted to grapes. Talk to some of the local farmers now growing everything from albariño to viognier, and you’ll wonder why the entire area isn’t completely covered with vines.

Prices for High Plains grapes are healthy, much stronger than prices for other crops produced in the area, from cotton to watermelon.

“Our soils are very well suited for vineyards,” said Ed Hellman, who teaches viticulture at Texas Tech University and Texas Agrilife Extension.

Not only that, the days are long and warm with contrasting cool nights, which helps grapes mature more slowly while developing needed acid and structure.

“A lot of sunlight means good color,” he said.

More at: http://www.mysanantonio.com/life/food/Wine_Matters_Texas_Tech_viticulture_program_first_in_state.html

Wine Matters: Part 2 – Texas grapes good as gold
By John Griffin – Express-News Food Editor

LUBBOCK — On a late March morning, with traces of snow scattered about the ground and gusts of winds that were bracing, to say the least, Mark Bogar needed no ice to chill down the chenin blanc he was pouring.

The wine, Becker Vineyards’ 2008 Fleur Sauvage, was grown in Bogar’s High Plains vineyard and is a testament to the land’s suitability to growing first-class chenin blanc.

The off-dry wine, with aromatics reminiscent of the wildflowers for which it was named, is just one of a growing number of wines to showcase the rich fruit grown in the region.

Texas Hills Vineyard’s Kick Butt Cab uses grapes from nearby Newsom Vineyard, which supplies the fruit used in award-winning wines from Llano Estacado, Becker, LightCatcher, Sunset Winery, Fredericksburg Winery and Barking Rocks.

Becker’s Prairie Rotie blend of grenache, mourvedre and cinsault comes from grapes grown in Andy Martin’s vineyard here, while CapRock’s 2008 Viognier is made using Cliff Bingham’s organic grapes.

The list is growing, and so is the call for more.

Grapes from the Texas High Plains are in such demand these days that you’ll hear tales — and not tall ones, either — of grape rustling. It may not be the hanging offense that cattle rustling was in the 19th century, but it shows how lucrative the business is nowadays.

More at: http://www.mysanantonio.com/life/food/Wine_Matters_Texas_grapes_are_good_as_gold_.html

Blend of new courses at Tech aids local, state wine industry
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Never one to rest on its academic laurels, Texas Tech now becomes the first university in the state – and one of a handful in the nation – to offer an undergraduate program in viticulture and enology. Viticulture is the science of grape growing and enology is the study of winemaking.

Why does this matter to you? We’ve all heard of Napa Valley. And we’ve all heard of Sonoma and Bordeaux. At some point, the South Plains, West Texas, and Eastern New Mexico could become a region that people around the world will recognize, acknowledge, and respect for its distinctive wines.

Think that idea is far-fetched? The wine industry has expanded rapidly in the past five years or so, and not just in Texas, according to Ed Hellman, a Texas Tech professor of viticulture with a joint appointment at Texas Agrilife Extension.

“You look at states like Oklahoma, New Mexico – even Nebraska and Kansas – and there are burgeoning industries there,” he said. “This has created a need for graduates, which is why we can offer this new degree specialization. Even eight years ago, we couldn’t have been teaching these subjects; we didn’t have the faculty to teach them.”

Texas alone now has more than 162 wineries fermenting vintages, making it the fifth-largest producer in the U.S., and showing no signs of slowing down. Just look in our own backyard. In alphabetical order, there’s Caprock Winery, La Diosa Cellars, Llano Estacado Winery, McPherson Cellars, and Pheasant Ridge Winery. Texans are sipping more wine than ever before, according to a recent study by Texas Tech’s Wine Marketing Research Institute.

More at: http://www.lubbockonline.com/stories/052709/edi_444146185.shtml


Recent VintageTexas Blog articles on Texas High Plains vineyard visits:

Dear Lord, We Could Use a Little Rain and Please Keep the Frost Away – Part 1 of a 3 part series:


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