Crave readers will recognize the above symbol as the distinctive, protected, mark of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) “Go Texan” campaign. The campaign even has its own web site, GoTexan.org. According to that site, the aims of the campaign are to promote Texas agricultural products. Under “Rules and Guildlines” the Department says firmly “Maintaining the integrity of the GO TEXAN mark is the key to preserving the powerful brand positioning GO TEXAN members enjoy. These guidelines are provided to ensure proper use of the GO TEXAN mark. If you have any questions regarding the use of the GO TEXAN mark, contact us at (877) 99-GOTEX or gotexan@TexasAgriculture.gov.”
I hope that e-mail address is the right one to report violations of the guidelines because on Friday I used it to report that the Go Texan mark is being used to promote California wine. As I reported in my article asking Whole Foods Market to remove non-Texas wine from the Texas display, there was one California wine that actually used the “Go Texan” mark on the front label. Here is another picture of the label.
Doing so makes a complete mockery of the Go Texan campaign. It means that consumers cannot trust the Go Texan mark for the sole purpose for which it is intended.
I expect the TDA will come down like a ton of bricks on violators. If they don’t, they might want to change the name and logo to one of the examples below (put together by our production department and free for use on wines from Outer Mongolia):
To make the Go Texan logo only usable on Texas wine, the department need only apply the rule that any wine carrying the logo must be eligible for the “Texas” appellation under Federal labelling rules. This would also permit wines that carry a more specific origin (for example “Texas High Plains AVA” or “Mason County”) to also use the mark. However, anything labelled “For Sale In Texas Only” or non-Texas appellations of origin would be barred.
I am asking Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Todd Staples, for comment today and will report back on what the department says and does.