Celebrate Spring with Texas Wines
June 21, 2024


Raise a Glass to Texas Wine
Texas is fast becoming a recognized State that produces quality wines. The Texas Wine Industry contributes over twenty billion dollars annually to the Texas economy. It has grown from four wineries in 1980 to 40 wineries in 2000 to almost 1,000 wineries today. The vast majority of these wineries are small wineries that do not distribute their wines, but they do sell some outstanding wines in their tasting rooms. Those wineries that do distribute produce thousands of cases of wine annually and mass produce certain Texas wines because of the availability of Texas grapes. Those wineries produce small boutique-style wines of superb quality. There are about 80 different grape varietals produced in the State of Texas from hybrids along the Gulf Coast Region like Blanc du Bois and Lenoir to the classic vitis vinifera grape varietals further inland such as Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Tannat, Viognier, Sagrantino, and much more. These grape varietals are well suited to the Texas climate and soils. For instance, Germany produces outstanding Riesel grapes because of the climate and soils. France produces wonderful red blends made of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Mouvedere, and Cabernet Franc in Bordeaux along with 100% Pinot Noir in Burgundy. These wines have been around for centuries. In 1976, California was recognized as an outstanding wine region in what is called the Judgment of Paris which brought immediate recognition to its Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot. Prior to that blind wine tasting event in Paris, wines were known by their wine regions. Afterwards, wines were known by their grape varietals.
In the early years of the Texas wines industry starting in 1976 when Texas got its first new winery since the end of Prohibition in 1933, Texas wineries and vineyards tried to copy what California had done by producing the same wines made from those outstanding grape varietals that California grows so well. Texas wineries and vineyards learned this was not the right path to follow. Vineyard Pioneers like Vijay Reddy experimented with different grape varietals to find just the right varietals that will produce quality grapes. Pioneers like Raymond Haak brought Blanc du Bois to the Gulf Coast and Paul Bonarrigo brought Sagrantino to Texas. It has taken years of experimenting and growing to establish what grape varietals grow best in Texas. This continuing research is being done by Texas Tech University and Texas A and University to find what grows best in Texas. The results are amazing. Texas produces some of the best Viognier and Tannant in the world even though other areas have been growing those varietals for year.
Texas currently has eight recognized American Viticultural Areas (AVA’s) recognized by the U. S. Department of Agriculture with two more AVA’s pending approval. Texas is beginning to reach its stride in the wine industry with Texas wineries earning hundreds of Double Gold and Gold Medals annually along with Best of Class in California under California judges. Texas wines continue their uphill journey with restaurants being one of those challenges. Texas wineries are trying to get their wines into Texas restaurants, but those Texas wineries need your help. As wine consumers, ask for Texas wines in Texas restaurants. Texas foods always taste better with Texas wines.

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