Congratulations are in order! In 2014 Texas wines gave another telling demonstration of their continued march towards national recognition. They won more medals at major wine competitions than ever before. These competitions pitted Texas wines against the best from California, Washington, Oregon, Europe and Australia/New Zealand and they continued a trend that started as recently as 2011 of winning more contests than in the previous year. Continue reading →
This week Messina Hof Winery is celebrating the grand opening of Grapevine location, which is one of the first full wineries on tap in Texas. Messina Hof opens to the public at 10 a.m. on Friday, December 12. In addition, there will be special Winery Tours and Tastings Friday, December 12 – Sunday, December 14.
The special events will include tastings of Messina Hof’s most awarded wines, gourmet hors d’oeuvres and premium desserts, discussions with the Bonarrigo family and tours of the historic building. Tickets are $50 per person per event. To reserve tickets, call 800-736-9463, ext 234 or click this link for the website. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
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 →
“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 →