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:
Dear Texas Wine Industry Supporter,
The Texas Department of Agriculture recently received a request from a member of the public to change the rule on GO TEXAN certification for wine. The proposed rule changes would require wine using the GO TEXAN mark on the label to be made from 100% Texas-grown grapes with no variance.
Currently, the Texas Administrative Code states the GO TEXAN mark can be applied to wine which is produced or processed in Texas. The current rules can be found in the Texas Administrative Code, Title 4, Part 1, Chapter 17, Subchapter C, Rule §17.52.
TDA values your opinion and would like your thoughts on the attached petition for a proposed rule change. We are certainly interested in your thoughts on the implications to marketing and production of Texas wine, but we are also collecting data on the feasibility of the proposal as well. Because of statutory deadlines, please provide the Department with your written comments by 5 p.m., Wednesday, December 4, 2013.
If you have any questions regarding this request, please contact me. Thank you for your assistance and for your support of Texas agriculture.
Lindsay A. Dickens | Coordinator for Marketing
Texas Department of Agriculture | 1700 N. Congress Ave. | Austin, Texas 78701
(512) 463-9639 | Texas Department of Agriculture
This means that we are at an important juncture in the growth and ongoing success of the Texas wine industry. This is a chance for the state to take a clear stand in favor of authenticity and quality on its way to becoming a fully mature wine-producing area.
Clearly from their e-mail the TDA is listening. At this point we need supporters of this change to send their comments to the TDA via Lindsay Dickens (gotexan@TexasAgriculture.gov) before the December 5th deadline. Stop and do it now! It means more demand for Texas wine. More demand for Texas grapes. More planting of wine grapes in the state, and less California bulk wine passed off on consumers who think they are buying a Texas wine.
California bulk juice shippers and their surrogates in Texas will speak up and their wishes will prevail if supporters of 100% Texas fruit in Go Texan wine don’t speak up. The result will be a smaller Texas wine industry and the Go Texan logo becoming a mark of irrelevance.
This is an important opportunity. Let’s make the most of it!