New Texas Winery Association Formed To Promote Texas Wine Quality

carousel_picnic-on-lawnby Andrew Chalk

Texas Fine Wine” is a new association of wineries in the state formed to promote quality Texas wine. Its founding members are four of Texas’ best wineries: Bending Branch Winery, Brennan Vineyards, Duchman Family Winery and Pedernales Cellars. The founders plan to get the organization up and running (mainly through through promotional events for the trade, public and media) in the first year, and then open up membership to all Texas wineries with a quality-oriented philosophy.

That philosophy will, of course, include a commitment to use Texas grapes whenever possible. More significantly, it will include a commitment to label wines with the correct place of grape origin. For example, if a Texas winery sells a wine made from California grapes, they would label it ‘American’, consistent with Federal wine labeling law. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that a wine producer group in Texas has come out so unambiguously as a body in favor of honest labeling of Texas wine.

Writers and consumers have pressed for the industry to take this approach for years. Many individual wineries have adopted the practice already. It is a sign of the maturing of the industry that a producer organization can now endorse it.     

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What Texas Fine Wine members will not be able to do is conceal the origin of the grapes using a legal artifice that exists in the state: the weasel words ‘For Sale In Texas Only’ on the label take the wine out of ‘interstate commerce’, exempting it from the Federal law requiring the grape origin to appear on the front label. Once out of interstate commerce, state law applies and, unfortunately, the State of Texas allows wineries to omit the source of the grapes completely. This loophole is almost invariably used to make a California bulk wine look, to the consumer in a wine store, like a Texas wine. Look for Texas symbology all over the labels of these California wines and then steer well clear.

Not only is this an attempt to conceal information from consumers, it is harmful to Texas wineries using Texas grapes. They have to compete with this bulk wine. Consumers eventually find out the deceit and simply decide to avoid all wine that looks like Texas wine in case it isn’t really what the label suggests.

The Texas Fine Wine members have not yet drawn up a written ‘Members Code of Practise’ but regard honest labelling (including no use of For Sale In Texas Only) to be a central principle of the organization.

The idea of origin labeling of Texas wine as an alternative to For Sale In Texas Only was given momentum last year when veteran Texas wine writer Russ Kane promoted a pledge for wineries to commit to it. Many did.

Another interesting policy of Texas Fine Wine is to promote the sale of Texas wine outside Texas. This kind of promotion is almost unheard of hitherto, but is the natural result of the steady improvement in the quality of wines made in the state. Texas will become a wine exporter.

Texas Fine Wine will be managed by PR veteran Denise Clarke, Certified Sommelier and Certified Specialist of Wine. For more information about Texas Fine Wine, go to TexasFineWine.com and follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

To put the founders of Texas Fine Wine into context, here is a list of their medals at recent wine shows.

Bending Branch Winery

  • Double Gold – 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Newsom Vineyards at the 2013 San Francisco International Wine Competition
  • Top Texas Wine – 2011 Tannat CM, Estate Grown at the 2014 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition
  • Class Champion and Double Gold – 2011 Tannat, Estate Grown at the 2014 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition
  • Double Gold and Reserve Class Champion – 2011 Texas Tannat , Reddy Vineyards at the 2014 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition
  • Gold – 2010 Tempranillo, Newsom Vineyards at the 2014 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition
  • Gold – 2010 Texas Tannat, Texas High Plains at the 2013 Dallas Morning News & TEXSOM International Wine Competition
  • Gold – 2010 Texas Tannat, Texas High Plains at the 2013 Lone Star International Wine Competition

Brennan Vineyards

  • Gold – 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve at the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
  • Gold – 2011 Tempranillo at the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
  • Gold – 2011 Lily at the 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
  • Double Gold, Class Champion and Texas Class Champion – 2012 Viognier at the 2014 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition
  • Gold – 2011 Tempranillo at the 2013 Pacific Rim Wine Competition
  • Chairman’s award (unanimous Gold) – 2011 Dark Horse at the 2013 Riverside International Wine Competition.
  • Gold – 2011 Lily at the 2013 Dallas Morning News and TEXSOM Wine Competition
  • Gold and Grand Star – 2012 Lily at the 2013 Lone Start International Wine Competition
  • Duchman Family Winery
  • Reserve Class Champion – NV Texas Bianco at the 2014 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition
  • Gold – 2011 Bayer Vineyard Tempranillo at the 2014 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition
  • Texas Class Champion – 2010 GSM at the 2013 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition
  • Silver – 2011 Trebbiano, 2012 Dry Rose, 2011 Dolcetto and 2011 Vermentino at the San Francisco International Wine Competition
  • Silver – 2010 Montepulciano and 2010 Sangiovese at the 2013 Dallas Morning News and TEXSOM Wine Competition

Pedernales Cellars

  • Grand Gold – 2012 Viognier Reserve at the 2013 Lyon France International Wine Competition
  • Gold – 2012 Viognier at the 2013 Dallas Morning News and TEXSOM Wine Competition
  • Gold – 2010 High Plains Tempranillo at the 2013 Dallas Morning News and TEXSOM Wine Competition
  • Gold – 2011 Tempranillo Reserve at the 2013 San Francisco International Wine Competition
  • Double Gold – 2010 High Plains Tempranillo at the 2013 Lone Star International Competition
  • Double Gold – 2010 Tempranillo Reserve at the 2013 Lone Star International Competition
  • Gold – 2011 GSM at the 2013 Lone Star International Competition
  • Double Gold, Top Texas Wine, Class Champion and Texas Class Champion – 2012 Texas Viognier
  • Gold – 2010 Texas Tempranillo at 2013 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition

3 Comments

Filed under Andrew Chalk

3 responses to “New Texas Winery Association Formed To Promote Texas Wine Quality

  1. Hurrah! Our voices have been heard! I wish the TFW great success. It is exciting to see some of the top wineries joining to create this much needed organization. Finally a group of wineries seeking to establish sound and critical marketing rules for production in Texas. I commend them and support every effort to “raise the glass” for quality in Texas wines. I do hope they offer a consumer and/or associate industry membership as well.

  2. Pingback: A Winos Guide To The U.S. 290 Wine Road – Caveat Emptor | cravedfw

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