June 12th, 2014: In a major rules announcement the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) today proposed that future use of the GO TEXAN mark on wine packaging will require that 75% of the grapes used to make the wine be from Texas. This replaces the existing rule under which 0-% of the grapes must be from Texas and makes GO TEXAN labeling consistent with Federal appellation labeling.
Yesterday, I reported the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) decision regarding my proposed change to the rules covering the use of the ‘Go Texan’ logo on wine. I interpreted their response as first: no change in the status quo (i.e. 0% Texas grapes required in Texas wines); second: I concluded that a paragraph that contained the sentence “Specifically, we will implement those ideas to limit the use of the mark on wine bottles based on the origin of the fruit.” was empty of meaning as the letter did not announce any specific measures to do so.
The TDA reacted quickly with an email today in which they totally reject my interpretation of their original letter. That paragraph that I had treated as an imprecise dismissal of changes in Go Texan was apparently the operational paragraph of the letter. In full, they said: Continue reading →
TheTodd Staples, Wine is involved in two important things. First, as you have doubtless seen from his frequent television commercials, he is a candidate for Lieutenant Governor. Second, he is about to deliberate over the future of the Go Texan rule regarding how much of the grapes in a wine marked ‘Go Texan’ must be Texas fruit. The rule he inherited is a travesty — it allows such a wine to contain 0% Texas fruit! Continue reading →
The public comment period on a rule change that I proposed to the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) – that a wine carrying the ‘Go Texan’ mark be required to be made only from Texas grown grapes – ended in December. We are now in a second public comment period that ends on February 10th. In the meantime, I have obtained the submissions of the first public comment period and analyzed them. The results are interesting…
Following their surprise decision to open a second comment period on changing the Go Texan rule that 0% of the grapes in a wine marked ‘Go Texan’ must come from Texas, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) published what they call ‘clarifying comments’ on my rules change proposal to make the Go Texan mark on a wine require 100% Texas grapes in the bottle.
Far from clarifying, the TDA’s comments might be better described as ‘muddying’ as they confuse the revenues coming in to the Go Texan program with revenues coming in to the Texas wine industry. The TDA staff comments are not signed by one individual (the attorney’s name at the end is a procedural requirement), so they represent the department’s view. In other words, responsibility for changing the 0% rule ultimately goes up the chain of responsibility to Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Todd Staples.
The full text of the TDA comments is here, and I urge you to read it. It brings into sharp relief the outdated way of thinking about the Texas wine industry and the New Texas Wine Industry. Continue reading →
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 →