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 <email@example.com>
Date: August 9, 2013, 12:18:06 PM CDT
To: Sabrina Houser <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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