Write Off the Vine: Texas Wine News – June 3, 2009

Write Off the Vine: Texas Wine News – June 3, 2009

Your Passport to Prizes

If you’re traveling across Texas these days, you might want to first grab your passport – your Texas Winery Passport, that is.

The Texas Department of Agriculture introduced the Texas Winery Passport in late 2008 as an interactive way to encourage people to visit multiple Texas wineries. The passport (available at Texas wineries and at www.gotexanwine.org) includes spaces for entering a “code” posted at each Texas winery. Collect four codes, go online to the redemption site , and TDA will send you a bonus gift.  In just a few months TDA has given away thousands of passports, and the giveaways don’t end after one completed passport. You can start a second passport – then a third, then a fourth – and redeem them for more wine-related gifts as you visit different additional wineries.

“We go through tons of passports,” Brenda Otte, a tasting room representative at Pedernales Cellars, said. “We make sure we have plenty on hand and we bring it up to everyone who comes in.” Otte thinks it’s a great way to encourage wine tourism.

In 2008, the Texas wine industry’s economic impact on the state exceeded $1 billion, and wineries are valuable partners in attracting city dwellers to rural areas of the state. To get your Texas Winery Passport, go to www.gotexanwine.org.

More on my experiences with the Texas Wine Passport at:

Changing of the Guard in Wine Media

The center of gravity in wine media is slowly shifting.  That, of course, assumes a very liberal definition of that term — one that includes not only internet news sites and weblogs, but the more interactive technologies developing and arising from the more static structure we’ve come to associate with online information retrieval. 

There is an unspoken assumption among the darlings of traditional print media: those who take advantage of the democratization of expression and communication that the internet has afforded aren’t true writers or broadcasters… they’re merely hobbyists.  The attitude is tacit and lurks just below the surface, but it’s nevertheless omnipresent.  However, the reality is that there has been a giant sleeping among the ever shrinking and more rapidly scurrying Lilliputians of the newspaper, magazine, and perhaps even network television industries.   That giant, the Internet, is gaining consciousness, strength, and soon a formidable sense of coordination and power otherwise known as Web 2.0, the likes of which the ropes of mass media will eventually fail to monopolize and subdue. 

Showing an especially intriguing skepticism for the decentralization of knowledge that information technology has afforded the rest of us is traditional wine media. There’s a bit of a struggle underfoot, and interestingly, there’s been very little open and candid dialogue about it.  How much longer can we pretend that the Web isn’t viably competing with, and ultimately threatening to replace, traditional media as the source from which enthusiasts gain their wine knowledge?

More on this essay at: www.vinterviews.com/essays-/28/202-generation-transformation

Two Great Upcoming Events from The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas

EVENT: 4th Annual Field of Dreams
Date: Thursday, June 25th, 2009
Time: 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Where: United Heritage Center at Dell Diamond, 3400 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock, TX 78665
Cost: $35 Foundation Members, $45 General Public, $100 Event Ticket PLUS Autographed Commemorative Event Poster
RSVP Required; For tickets or more information, visit www.winefoodfoundation.org or call 512.327.7555

Mingle with former Longhorn athletes and taste extraordinary food and wine while bidding on Central Texas’ most unique silent auction items at the 4th Annual Field of Dreams!

This grand slam tasting, presented by The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas and the Round Rock Express, features wine from Francis Ford Coppola Presents Winery plus cuisine from exceptional Austin area restaurants, including McCormick & Schmick’s, Nolan Ryan Beef, Cool River Café, NoRTH, The Salt Lick, Fleming’s Domain, Z Tejas, Freda’s Seafood Grille, Quality Seafood, Mirabelle, Cafe Spoonz HEB, Food Innovations, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Fantasy Cakes and Tiff’s Treats.
The “Soles for Souls” Silent Auction grew from our sponsors’ generous support of multiple children’s charities. Quan Cosby’s initial contribution of his autographed NFL “Combine cleats,” was the inception of one of the most unique silent auctions in sports history. The auction features shoes autographed by Mack Brown, Nolan Ryan, Ben Crenshaw, Ricky Williams, Brian Orakpo, and Roy Miller, along with a wide variety of sports memorabilia and a leather Breitling flight jacket signed by John Travolta.

The auction will also offer the chance to bid on exceptional wine donated by members of The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas and a special once-in-a-lifetime bottle of 2003 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley. This bottle is etched with the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Official Symbol and autographed by Olympic Gold Medalist Sanya Richards, America’s Fastest Female Athlete. This rare bottle is accompanied by track shoes autographed by Sanya Richards.

EVENT: IRON DRINK: Beer vs. Wine in Glass-to-Glass (non-mortal) Combat
Date: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
Time: 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Where: Ventana Restaurant at Texas Culinary Academy, 11400 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78758
Cost: $75 Foundation Members, $85 General Public
RSVP Required; For tickets or more information, visit www.winefoodfoundation.org or call 512.327.7555

This isn’t just dinner…it’s wine vs. beer in glass to glass combat! Join us in a five-course smackdown to decide once and for all…which is the better partner for food…beer or wine? Find out in the first ever “Iron Drink” dinner event. You’ll sit back and relax while enjoying an amazing five course dinner prepared especially for the occasion by the Chefs of Ventana Restaurant at The Texas Culinary Academy. You’ll be amazed as the Academy’s Wine Wizard, “Miss Jane” Nickles, and its Beer Genius, “Chef Jayson” Reynolds, each do their best to pair the finest wine and the perfect beer with each course. As you enjoy each course and its liquid accompaniments, Chef Jayson and Miss Jane will fill us in on the reasons behind their choices. At the end of every course, you get to vote on your favorite match up …did the wine win or did the beer reign supreme? Only you can decide. At the end of the evening, the total votes will be tallied, and the first ever “Iron Drink” champion will be named!

Stay Tuned to the WFFT website: Iron Drink Menu will be revealed one week prior to the event!

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