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 →
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 →
Some weeks ago I wrote about a wine carrying the familiar “Go Texan” mark of the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) that was made mainly (85%, as it happened) of non-Texas grapes. In the course of researching that story, I asked the TDA the minimum proportion of Texas grapes required in a wine carrying the Go Texan mark. They did not know the exact rule so I submitted a Freedom of Information Request for this information. Recently, they came back to me with the definitive answer: the minimum proportion of Texas grapes in a Go Texan wine is…Zero percent. In other words, you can put Go Texan on wine with grapes from anywhere.
This is not what I expected on the day that I first saw a wine with the Go Texan mark. Nor is it what the vast majority of consumers think Go Texan means based on the ones I have asked the question to (which is pretty much everyone that I have met over the last few weeks). The most common answer I got was that Go Texan meant 100% grapes. Seventy-five percent was another popular answer. Both numbers have a reasonable basis. One hundred percent is what common sense tells us. Seventy five percent is an existing federal standard for denominating a wine’s origin. The only people who answered zero percent were people who knew my predilection for asking trick questions. Continue reading →
Crave readers will recognize the above symbol as the distinctive, protected, mark of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) “Go Texan” campaign. The campaign even has its own web site, GoTexan.org. According to that site, the aims of the campaign are to promote Texas agricultural products. Under “Rules and Guildlines” the Department says firmly “Maintaining the integrity of the GO TEXAN mark is the key to preserving the powerful brand positioning GO TEXAN members enjoy. These guidelines are provided to ensure proper use of the GO TEXAN mark. If you have any questions Continue reading →