Tag Archives: Texas wine

How Does Texas Wine Fare In Texas Restaurants? A Study From Dallas

wine4by Andrew Chalk

Texas has nearly 300 wineries – but only on paper. Only about half that number are actually producing. Some wines come with Hill Country poets on the front label, “For Sale In Texas Only” on the back label, and California jug wine inside the bottle. Some wines with “Go Texan” on the front label come all the way from California as well. Some wineries have tiny back labels that look like they were printed on Aunt Mable’s ink jet printer and declare the origin of the grapes in tiny type. The front label says nothing about origin. This apparent violation of Federal labeling law is defended with the statement that the tiny ink jet label on the back is in fact the front label!

Amazingly, there are some Texas wineries that think these kind of tricks and sharp practices are perfectly OK. With this kind of ethos, can a quality restaurant stock and serve Texas wine?   Continue reading

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BINGHAMS UNVEIL THEIR PLANS FOR PHEASANT RIDGE

bobbycoxby Andrew Chalk

Last week, the biggest news in the Texas wine industry was Bingham Family Vineyards formal announcement that they had acquired Pheasant Ridge Winery and Vineyard. The property, includes the winery, a tasting room and 25 acres of vinifera grapes. The news was greeted with relief and anticipation by Texas wine drinkers as the Binghams are a ‘safe pair of hands’ for the vineyard assets.

One puzzling sentence in the widely-reported press release was a sentence that read We are thrilled to have the original Pheasant Ridge founder and winegrower, Bobby Cox, on our team. What on earth did that amount to?

Bobby Cox is one of the closest things to a legend in the Texas wine industry, having proved that vinifera grapes could produce world class wine in Texas back in the 1980s. And at Pheasant Ridge Winery at that (he co-founded it in 1979, and suffered when it nearly went bankrupt in the early 1990s and he handed the keys over to the bank. Although the winery was within eyesight of his Lubbock home, it was too painful to go back). He considers his 1982 Pheasant Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon the best wine he has ever made.    Continue reading

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Stop The Presses! The Texas Department of Agriculture Wants Your Opinion on Making ‘Go Texan’ On Wine Mean 100% Texas Grapes

go1by Andrew Chalk

We wrote about the astonishing situation regarding the use of the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) Go Texan mark on wine a few weeks ago. The unsettling truth is that, under current rules, the mark can be used on California wine. I wrote that this makes the mark meaningless and that Texas grape growers and winemakers would be better off if the Go Texan mark could not be put on any wine at all.

Then I had a better idea…. make Go Texan mean 100% Texas fruit. It would not only make the mark meaningful to consumers and reward Texas winemakers and growers, it would also make Texas the first and only state which had a clear, uniform way of specifying that its wines were 100% state-grown fruit. I expect the idea will be copied by other states, but let’s do it first.

I submitted a rules change to the TDA and, stop the presses, this e-mail circular just came in from them:   Continue reading

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Achtung Baby! Texas Winery Haak Vineyards Wins Gold and Two Silver medals at the Largest International Wine Competition in the World!

haak1by Andrew Chalk

This just in.

“Haak Vineyards & Winery announced today that it was awarded a Gold and two (2) Silver Medals by the largest international wine competition in the world with over 12,000 entries competing. The AWC-Vienna 2013 awards and trophy presentations took place in the imperial ambiance of the Vienna City Hall in the presence of 3,000 invited wine professionals. On that evening Vienna City Hall advanced to the center of the wine world. All wine entries were judged in an Absolute Blind Tasting in single flights by an international tasting panel. In this way, all wines received a fair chance in the competition. Haak Vineyards & Winery has set the standard for quality, innovation and creative wine styles in today’s wine industry. The Haak winning wines were a 2008 Madeira Blanc du Bois (Gold), a 2006 Madeira Blanc du Bois (Silver) and a 2010 Madeira Blanc du Bois (Silver). Raymond Haak was honored to join the ranks of world class medal and trophy winners at this prestigious ceremony in the city hall of Vienna, Austria”.    Continue reading

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DOUBLE STANDARD? GO TEXAN FRUIT IS 100% TEXAN BUT NOT THE FRUIT IN WINE?

png;base6416114207c3de9b1fby Andrew Chalk

Leanne Holley, editor of Texas Wine and Trail Magazine saw my piece about Go Texan wines being 0% Texas fruit and sent me this picture, taken by wine enthusiast James Freeman, of a billboard next to I-635 in Dallas. According to what it says, Go Texan fruit and vegetables have to be grown in Texas. Why doesn’t the Go Texan program have the same 100% rule for Texas wine?    Continue reading

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October is Texas Wine Month at JW Marriott

marriottby Andrew Chalk

In the Hill Country, 36 wineries will be participating. Pay $25 for a minimum of one and up to three tastings at any of these wineries. Sign up here. Plan to reserve your accommodation right away at the J.W. Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa. To commemorate the 31 days of celebrating Texas Wines, they will offer a wine pairing dinner menu with Texas wines in 18 Oaks Restaurant nightly during the month of October.

Their press release read “Carefully selected by the chef, the finest meats, seafood and local produce will be complemented by the Texas Wine region’s best vintages”. I checked with their PR and all of the wines to be served are Texas wines:   Continue reading

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TWGGA President’s Speech Replacement

Jim Backus as Bacchusby Andrew Chalk

This Wednesday, the Texas Wine and Grape Grower’s Association (TWGGA) meets in Austin to hold their ‘Legislative Forum’. It’s a meeting to discuss all things legislative relating to the Texas wine industry. By a remarkable coincidence, I had a dream the other night in which Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, appeared and proceeded to replace the TWGGA President’s opening address with a speech of his own. I reached into the back of his rental car and glimpsed this text.

“Fellow Texas grape growers and winemakers. This year, the Texas wine industry stands at a crossroads. We know that we have regions that can grow grapes as well as anywhere in the world. We know that we have viticulturalists as expert as those in other regions. We know that we can make world class wines from those grapes, witness the success of TWGGA member wineries  in the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition (a competition that is, in the view of many informed observers, the most competitive in the United States).        Continue reading

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