October 29, 2021

Celebrating The Texas Wine Industry Legacy

Texas has a proud history. We have preserved our history for others to learn from in a variety of fields. The Texas Wine Industry should have its Museum to preserve the Texas wine history and honor those who have made the Texas Wine Industry a 13+ Billion Dollar Industry employing over 100,000 according to a 2017 Texas Economic Impact Study Packet on American Wine Industry prepared by John Dunham & Associates. See TxWines.org for a copy of that Report. That Report was done when Texas had around 500 wineries. Texas now has around 700 wineries and still growing with the State of Texas having the fourth most wineries in the County. It is time for the Texas Wine Industry to preserve its great past for the future. I will lay out a challenge to the City of Grapevine and the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association (TWGGA) to build a Museum Building to preserve the history of the Texas Wine Industry and honor the giants of the Texas Wine Industry. I challenge them to raise the funds to build, operate, and grow that Texas Wine Museum and Hall of Honor.
Wines were first made in Texas by Spanish Missionaries in the 1600’s. European Immigrants came to Texas and brought their wine-making ways. The Qualia Family from Italy established Val Verde Winery near Del Rio in 1883 along with many others. Before Prohibition was enacted in 1920 by the 18th Amendment, Texas had over 100 wineries. Only one Texas Winery (Val Verde) survived Prohibition which ended in 1933 with the enactment of the 21st Amendment. Sacramental Wine was allowed during Prohibition which sustained Val Verde Winery. It was in 1976 that Doctor Roy McPherson established Llano Estacado Winery in Lubbock. He told me that he had to educate the TABC Staff on winery permitting since there were three generations of TABC Staff that had never permitted a Texas Winery. Four years later, there were four wineries in Texas (Messina Hof, Fall Creek, Llano Estacado, and Val Verde). Today, Texas has around 700 wineries. Texas needs to preserve this Wine History before it is lost!
Texas has many great Wine Pioneers which should have an initial place in the Hall of Honor. Among those include:
• Thomas V. Munson who showed the French how to save their wine industry from the Phylloxera root louse by grafting their vines onto resistant root stock from Texas
• The Qualia Family of Val Verde Winery fame for their 138 years in the Texas Wine Industry.
• “Doc” Roy McPherson from Texas Tech who re-started the Texas Wine Industry with the grape vine plantings on the Texas High Plains and the establishment of Llano Estacado Winery.
• Susan and Ed Auler who established the first winery in the Texas Hill Country.
• Merrill and Paul Bonarrigo who established the Messina Hof Winery. The third generation of winemakers is evolving at Messina Hof which establishes them in my opinion as Texas’ “First Family” of winemaking.
Obviously there are many others, but these FIVE would become the core of the Hall of Honor at this proposed Texas Wine Museum complex. I have an agreement with TWGGA to donate my wine book library and collection of cork screws in the future and hope it will be followed by others to assist in the establishment of this Texas Wine Museum!

Leave your comment

Please enter your name.
Please enter comment.