I’m All Ears About Texas Wines and I am Giving Away Prizes

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 russ@vintagetexas.com or Twitter @VintageTexas).

Why We Get Excited about Texas Wine?

Texas is the fifth largest wine producing state and it has a long history on wine production going back to the Spanish settlers and missionaries in 17th centuries. While only one Texas winery, Val Verde Winery in Del Rio, Texas, successfully made it through the period of prohibition. It is now one of the oldest continuously operating wineries in North America.

Since the mid-1970’s the number of Texas wineries has grown substantially and now numbers over 170 wineries across the state. We have our big volume producer in St. Genevieve, some are medium to large size premium wineries with Llano Estacado, Fall Creek Vineyards, Becker Vineyards, and Messina Hof Winery and Resort. Yet, most are small boutique wineries with some being literally ma and pa operations. Many have said that the wine experience in Texas today is like it was in the 1960s in California.

There are currently over 3,500 acres of Texas vineyards planted across the state ranging from small two acre plots to somethat amass over 100 acres with literally tens of thousands of vines.

Some Texas wineries are producing classical style wines from Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot and even Pinot Noir grapes. Others are delving into vines that come from warm weathered regions and Mediterranean countries with varietals that include red grapes like Syrah, Grenache, Tempranillo and Sangiovese, and white grapes like Viognier, Roussanne and Muscat. There are still Texas wineries that are banking on wine made from two very interesting French-American hybrids: Bland du Bois and Black Spanish, and are making wines from these grapes like no others in the world.

Let me know what you think and become eligible to win prizes.

Examples of comments I am looking for are:

What has been your experience with Texas wines? The good or bad?
Have you walked in a Texas vineyard, tasted ripe grapes right off the vine, or helped harvest?
What do you think about the up and coming Texas wine experience?
Can you find the Texas wines you like at your favorite wine shop?
Have you tried to direct ship from a Texas winery to your home?
How do you think Texas wines compare with those from other wine regions?

Tell me what you like or what you don’t.

As I said above, I am all ears! So, give me your comments and be eligible to win free prizes. Let’um rip!

How to win

First you have to post a comment telling me about your experience with Texas wines, wineries or vineyards. Good or Bad!

VintageTexas readers that respond by posting a comment to this blog no later than Sunday, August 2, 2009, will be eligible to win a free gift. We have ten sets of Texas wine journals and Texas winery guides courtesy  of the Texas Department of Agriculture (www.gotexanwine.org). They will be given away to ten people selected in a drawing of the names submitting their comments. The drawing will be held on August 3, 2009.

But, Wait There’s More…

As an added benefit, the person submitting the best overall comment or comments as judged by VintageTexas will receive a complimentary tour and tasting at Haak Vineyard and Winery (www.haakwine.com) in Santa Fe, Texas, for up to 25 people.

Winners will be notified by email during the week of August 2, 2009, and prizes and the certificate for the Haak Vineyards tour and tasting will be sent to the winners by mail shortly thereafter.

I want to hear from you. This is your change to speak up about Texas wines.

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10 Comments

  1. Reply by rhill2990 (on Snooth), 26 minutes ago.

    I used to live in Lubbock, Texas. I enjoyed wines from the Llano Estacado Winery. I thought their Riesling and Gewurztraminer were both excellent. I thought they compared very favorably with any of those varieties, I have ever tasted. I have been to the winery but have never picked any grapes, etc. I do not have a favorite wine shop here in Ohio, I am forced to bring wine in via UPS. It has been awhile since I have had a bottle of their wine.

  2. Derek67 just replied to the topic you’re watching:
    I’m All Ears about Texas Wines and I am Giving Away Prizes

    ——————–

    Hello,

    I was in El Paso in 2005 and visited two wineries on the border: Zin Valle and La Vina. Both wineries made nice whites and Very good Zin (ZV) and Primitivo (La Vina). The chardonnay at La Vina was killer.

    DC

  3. From Alfonso Acevola:

    One of the best experiences I had was here
    http://acevola.blogspot.com/2006/11/tgisbjs-thank-god-its-sauvignon-blanc.html

    Over near Blanco Texas, harvest is long over. The hill country fields are sunburnt and ready for cool. Today it reached almost 90F ….It is November!

    So a quick run over to Dry Comal Creek Winery for a French Colombard & Jalapeno Shooter. Hot and cold at the same time. Worth a try. Wine~Texas style. It isn’t Tuscany, but it is a short break.

    The big room at the winery had the fan on, the Big Ass Fan. Real cool.

  4. Russ,

    I love the spirit of this post and as you know I am a big fan of Texas wines and bullish on the industry here as well. What has impressed me over the past several years about the folks who run wineries is that there is still that artisanal quality to what they do. More often than not, the people leading the tours, pouring in the tasting room, and taking orders are the very same people who own the winery and make the wine. The passion for wine and for sharing it with others is a defining characteristic of every winery I’ve visited. As an example, I recently visited Dry Comal Creek Winery near New Braunfels and they have a hand bottling machine, which they use to bottle small (as in very small) production wines. You don’t see that type of hands-on craftsmanship every day.

    I will say, however, that as I explore more Texas wineries it is interesting to note that many wines are made from blends of Texas wine and juice from other states. While I realize the economics of solely bottling what one grows may not be realistic for small wineries, as well as the fact that Mother Nature can be fickle, it could potentially be confusing for consumers. I understand the laws regulating the percentage of wine in a bottle that must be from Texas in order to label it as such, though I’m not sure all consumers do. I also realize that winemakers are trying to make the best wine possible and blending is an integral part of that process. I’d hate though for the reputation of the local industry to be tarnished; if consumers buy a bottle from a Texas winery I imagine they assume that the wine in it is from grapes grown exclusively in Texas.

    After all, there is clearly a lot of passion and hard work that goes into the bottling process wine and wineries should be allowed to buy juice from other states. I think the average consumer might not realize that in some cases what they are drinking is a blend of wine, for example, from Texas, California, and Oregon. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

    The Texas wine industry has a bright future. There are a lot of creative, passionate, and talented people running wineries and promoting Texas wines, and I am excited to see how the industry evolves over the next few years.

    Cheers!
    Dan

  5. TexasMan sent me this comment by email:

    I particularly enjoyed your blog on harvesting the Blanc du Bois grapes this year. What I liked was the unity of family, friends and community working together (without compensation) to help a local grape grower get her fruit to market. It harkens back to the days in Texas’ agricultural roots when neighbors willingly helped other neighbor.

    I hope that in the future as the Texas wine industry grows that this spirit will not be lost.

    TexasMan July 31, 2009

  6. David41059 sent me this comment by email

    What I did not like was the quality of the Texas wines back 15 or more years ago. Many were downright hard to drink being too sweet, oxidized or just generally out of wack.

    But, being a native son of Texas I have stuck with them and you know what, they have progressively gotten much better. Nowdays, the number of good wines far outweighs the bad.

    Today, I am proud to buy and serve Texas wines to my friends and business associates and clients. My personal favorites are Becker, Llano and Sistercreek (when I can find them).

    Dave

  7. Comments emailed from TomVintner

    I am just starting to grow grapes (Black Spanish) on some property I have near the Texas Hill Country. One bad things is that I went to Grape Camp and found out all of the bad things that can happen in a Texas vineyard, far too many to mention here.

    But the good thing is that Texas Grape Camp had experts from universities and state agricultural service and experienced growers in attendence and all willing to freely discuss my every concern and question. They even gave me lots of good tips on how to save money and do it right from the start.

    I really feel like I am getting in on the ground (actual dirt) floor in Texas. They have learned alot during the last 30 years so that I do not have to make the same mistakes as others that came before me.

  8. Russ,
    My wife and I have visited many Texas wineries in the past 10 years. Too many really to go back and count. It has been an amazing experience to watch the Texas wine industry grow into respectability. One of the first things we do when taking a weekend trip is to check and see if there are any wineries in the area.

    We’ve never been to Haak, but would love to go.

  9. My wife and I recently purchased our future retirement property near Fredericksburg. We had the opportunity to visit several of the area wineries. I’m quite impressed with the progress that’s been made over the past 10 years or so. Yes, there are some that can be described as mediocre (at best), but the average is far higher, and one REALLY stood out. Texas Hills Vineyard’s Kick Butt Cab (love that name!) is one of the best wines I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting, regardless of origin. It’s wine like this that gives me hope for the future of the Texas wine industry.

  10. WINNERS IN THE “I’M ALL EARS” CONTEST

    Derek Chase – Derek67
    ReneeDeLuca
    Jay Ehret
    Michael Currie
    David41059
    TexasMan
    Dan Schaeffer
    Alfonso Acevola
    ReneeDeLuca – on Twitter
    AndrewSGHall – on Twitter
    rhill2990 – on Snooth

    All participated in the “I’m All Ears” contest on VintageTexas.com – http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=1022

    I have Texas wine journals and wine guides for all of you.

    Winner of the grand prize is Dan Schaeffer for the best comment who will get the private tour and tasting at Haak Vineyards and Winery.

    Honorable mentions will go to a few of you and I will throw in a few extra items in the package.

    Make sure I have your email and US mail addresses. Email this information to me at: russ at vintagetexas dot com

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