Breaking News: Is Whole Foods Market Kicking California Wine Out Of The Texas Wine Section?

by Andrew Chalk

That is what Sabrina Houser has heard on “good authority”. She is with Dry Comal Creek Vineyards and Winery which I used as example when I wrote about non-Texas wine in the Texas wine section of a new Whole Foods Market in the Dallas area. If her source is correct, Whole Foods may be implementing a policy change whereby the Texas wine section will be populated only by Texas wines. California wine sold by Texas wineries will be moved elsewhere. This actually opens up the tantalising possibility of Whole Foods sourcing more Texas wines from more wineries (they could use the winners of our Viognier tasting or our Tempranillo tasting as a crib sheet to start off). Furthermore, it makes Whole Foods a leader in Truth In Labelling regarding Texas wines. 

Houser is so angry she has sent an email round to Texas wineries trying to round up support for the misleading labeling practice of putting “For Sale In Texas Only” on California wine (and often dressing the bottles up with Texas symbology in order to complete the artifice) rather than the alternative of simply labeling the wine with the origin of the wine.

The full text of her email is reproduced below. I have ruled out getting a Christmas card from Dry Comal Creek this year but I expect to see a lot of propaganda by the small number of wineries that use “For Sale In Texas Only” in their business strategy. They are making a lot of money out of it and will fund direct advertisements and surrogates in the media (both writers and commenters who use false names) to keep the jig alive.

From: Sabrina Houser <sabrinahouser@drycomalcreek.com>

Date: August 9, 2013, 12:18:06 PM CDT

To: Sabrina Houser <sabrinahouser@drycomalcreek.com>

Subject:Whole Foods Transition – Wines being moved out of the Texas Section. IMPORTANT

I have found out on ‘good authority’ that Whole Foods has directed the ATL (Assistant Team Leads a.k.a. = Wine Stewards) to move ALL non-Texas wines to other locations within the set. They have been provided a ‘list’ of wines that are to be moved nor their definition of non-Texas wines. I do not know which ‘wines’ are on the list, but for Dry Comal Creek Vineyards’, all of our wines are being removed from the Texas Section, including our 100% Black Spanish because it has the ‘For Sale In Texas Only” moniker. (which is only there b/c TTB does not ‘approve’ Black Spanish as the official name. They only approve ‘Lenoir”)

I believe all of this is has been predicated on Andrew Chalk’s ill-informed article and Russ Kane’s inappropriate effort to set up a ‘promise’ for wineries to use Texas fruit. Ultimately, this negatively impacts the consumer and the wineries who have supported Whole Foods. I have also attached Whole Foods mission statement about their ‘support’ of ‘local’ to be ‘treated with respect fairness and integrity at all times.”

Whether you are on the Whole Foods shelves or not, this is just the ammo that our adversaries need to continue to take jinks out of the credibility armor of the Texas Wine Industry.

This notification and future discussion is not about debating the issue of Texas fruit vs no – or partial Texas fruit in the bottle, I’m not debating that Whole Foods’ business model.  I’m notifying you that as a group in the Texas Wine Industry, I believe we need a ground swell uprising about who we are, what we do, that we do it well and should be PROUD of it. I don’t know the form, format, or venue that this needs to take place, but it needs to happen. Please forward to others as you see fit.

I will be directly contacting Mary York and Debbie Reynolds and John Riverburgh to discuss how all three of these groups can get together and jointly form a Task Force to address and PROTECT the Texas Wine Industry. Keep in touch.

Kind Regards, Sabrina Houser

4 Comments

Filed under Andrew Chalk, Rumors, Texas, TexSom, Whole Foods, Whole Foods Market, Wine

4 responses to “Breaking News: Is Whole Foods Market Kicking California Wine Out Of The Texas Wine Section?

  1. If I’m not mistaken Black Spanish is 100% Texas. TTB is the issue. Lenior is the TTB approved name which is BLACK SPANISH.

  2. Melissa P.

    Great job, Andrew! I think it was your article that brought to light this situation.

  3. Laurie

    You need to do more research on “For sale in Texas only” labeing laws. For you to state a small number of wineries use it is false. A lot of wineries in Texas use this. And some as years go by and more grapes are available you see less using it. The main problem is there are not enough grapes growning in texas to supply the demand. Some of the bigger Tx wineries like Becker, Messina hof, and St Genevive all have wines with FSITO. This is not a choice by wineries as you make it seem but a labeling law.
    My main issue with your articles on this is that you are hurting the Texas wine industry. They are losing space on the shelves, so they will not be selling as much so they need for grapes goes down. As a native Texan I want to see our state thrive in the wine industry thrive. In order to do that we must outsource some juice.

  4. Pingback: Is Texas Wine Like Orange Juice? | Vintage Texas Blog

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