Texas Wine Comes to Spotlight in October
October 7, 2022
Texas celebrates Texas wines for the entire month of October…all 31 days! Twenty-six of the Texas Hill Country Wineries invaded the Hilton School of Hospitality at the University of Houston last Monday leaving a great deal to talk about. Prior to this grand tasting of wines from some of the best Texas wineries, a wine media event was hosted to provide updates on happenings in the Texas Wine Industry. There were six winemakers at this panel discussion event. Karen Bonarrigo of Messina Hof, John Rivenbaugh of Kerrville Hills, Mike Nelson of Ab Astris, Julie Kuhliken of Pedernales Cellars, Susan Johnson of Texas Heritage Vineyard, and Andrew Sides of William Chris Wine Co. along with Panel Moderator January Wiese of the Texas Hill Country held court with wine media for 90 minutes answering questions posed by January and the wine media. Several main points came out of the discussions as follows:
1. All of the winemakers agreed that 2022 is a phenomenal year for grape quality with grape quantity down by 20% or more. The weather was blamed for smaller berries with winds during flowering knocking off flowers causing smaller, less intact grape bunches since the missing flowers did not get a chance to get fertilized and produce berries. The smaller berries were extremely intense in flavor and showed off grape characteristics in grand Texas style.
2. Texas wines are gracing the shelves of HEB, Kroger’s and SPEC’S in more spacious accommodations making Texas wines more available to the public.
3. The entire Panel agreed that the BEST quality wines would be found in the various Texas Wineries. The wines found on store shelves are good, but the BEST wines are found in winery tasting rooms. The smaller quantity batches of the best grapes will historically always be at the wineries. The six wine panelists stressed that to experience the BEST of Texas wines that you will need to travel to Fredericksburg and other winemaking destinations all over the State.
4. Money to borrow was becoming easier to get in the winemaking industry based on past performances of wineries and vineyards. This is a huge plus with almost all of the wineries and vineyards in Texas being family-owned.
5. Texas winemakers and vineyard owners are collaborating more and more to establish norms between individual winemakers and individual grape growers of what to strive for in growing grapes that winemakers want for award-winning grapes. This grape to winery relationship is not about quantity, but it is more about quality. As a result, grapes growers are being paid more in Texas than in previous years.
6. The depth of knowledge in growing outstanding grapes and in making the BEST wines is transitioning to that of California at Texas Universities and Colleges. The age of those entering the Texas Wine Industry is much younger than in years past. As a result, the experience levels are there with several internationally known winemakers coming to Texas because the winery staffs are there to support great wines.
7. Wine Tasting Room Staff is on a much higher professional scale which makes the Texas wine tasting experience so great.
Although talk is cheap, the wines that were available from the 26 Texas Hill Country wineries were extraordinary. The two hours of swirl, sniff, sip, swish, and swish were just not enough to fully explore the depth of how this industry has truly improved over the years. Participating Hill Country Wineries included:
• Ab Astris Winery
• Becker Vineyards
• Bending Branch Winery
• Bent Oak Winery
• Bingham Family Vineyards
• Dry Comal Creek Vineyards
• Fall Creek Vineyards
• Flat Creek Estate
• Hilmy Cellars
• Hye Meadow Winery
• Kerrville Hills Winery
• Lewis Wines
• Limestone Terrace Vineyards
• Los Pinos Ranch & Vineyard
• Lost Draw Cellars
• Messina Hof Hill Country Winery
• Pedernales Cellars
• Ron Yates
• Spicewood Vineyards
• Texas Heritage Vineyard
• Texas Wine Collective
• Torr Na Lochs Vineyard & Winery
• Vintners Hideaway
• Wedding Oak Winery
• Westcave Cellars
• Wildseed Vineyard
• William Chris Vineyards
The Montepulciano from Ab Astris was great! Dugout Red Blend from the Bingham Family Winery was well structured. The Sagrantino from Messina Hof was breath-taking. The Tempranillo from Ron Yates was exceptional. There were just too many wines of greatness at this event that justify Texas being a great State of Wines! More on Texas wines next week during Texas Wine Month!
Texas Restaurants serving Texas Wines
Hill and Vine on South Adams Street in Fredericksburg serves over twenty Texas wines. Housed in a white Texas Hill Country home, be prepared for opportunities to exceed your expectations of Texas foods paired with great Texas wines. Local foods paired with local wines are the ultimate match!