Texas Wine Tasting

Texas Wine History – My Winespill

State of the wine industry in 2019

The United States wine industry has grown from just over $30 billion in 2002 to more than $60 billion today and the number of U.S. wineries has grown by 50% to nearly 10,000, but in the past year have been leveling off. This could be due to the millennial generation, as they haven’t embraced wine consumption as many had predicted. Their incapacity to manage money and financial assets is part of the problem, but they have more interest in spirits and beer consumption as well as cannabis since its legalization. 

The segment of people who purchase bottles of wine over $10 are expected to grow 4-8 percent in 2019, roughly flat from the 2018 sales growth estimate. Dollar sales from off-premise retail stores will grow between 0.5 to 2.5 percent, while volume sales will grow between -0.5 and 1.5 percent. Both ending in lower volume and dollar sales than in 2018. The mergers and acquisitions of wineries will be coming to a natural end in popularity based on the major purchasers will need to focus on earlier bought ventures. Bottled imports will take a piece of the market share from US producers and an oversupply of grapes fueled by a high-yielding crop in 2018 will contribute to slowing wine sales. Grape growers, faced with an unprecedented challenge, are scrambling to find buyers, with many resorting to selling for rock-bottom prices before the grapes begin to rot on the vine. 

Enter Texas

This proves to be an opportune moment for many wineries from areas of the country where the climate can be an issue. Enter the Texas wine growers region where the fluctuations in weather patterns are extreme. That being said, there is tremendous pride in Texas wineries to claim that they use 100% Texas grapes. They believe it’s misleading to consumers if something that’s not made from 100-percent Texas grapes is marketed as a Texas wine. It’s a battle between authenticity and being able to move product at rates boutique wineries have to charge.

Today, under current standards, 25 percent of the grapes that go into a Texas wine can come from out of state. The ability to blend less expensive, usually from California, grapes with Texas grapes allows them to produce wines at a price that can compete with wines from western states and South American producers. Texas is now ranking fifth in U.S. wine production and is second to California in wine tourism.  

Create an experience

Where there is tourism there must be a good experience awaiting them with top notch customer oriented employees. The wineries must be ready to give an experience to remember where visitors are already planning their next trip. To hire the right employees is the first step, you will then have to coach and empower employees with leadership qualities discussed in the book. As was discussed in chapter three as the substitute for leadership is the contingency leadership approach to substitute leadership with a standardized set of rules. If you can implement a timesaving-based model for determining an appropriate decision-making style you will decrease the amount of time needed to make autocratic decisions.

You will find in Texas wine history that there are seven wine regions in Texas, each with an abundance of wineries. Texas is a big state and to cover the entire viticultural area of wineries is a difficult undertaking. Start by choosing a region, research the wineries within them and pick as many as you can fit into a weekend road trip.

Listen to A 15 minute History of Texas Wine

The Unknown Winecaster tells us about Texas Wine History while visiting Austin, Texas. He explains the Lone Star State’s wine culture and industry with an appreciation to the growers, winemakers, and wine lovers of Texas wine.

Latitude and Climate of Texas Wineries

Most Texas wineries lie between 35 and 29 degrees North latitude. Compare that to the European continent and North Africa, most of the Texas wine growing region would fall within the region of the Sahara Desert. All in all, Texas gets hot.

The Laws of Texas Only Wine

Be sure to get a true Texas wine that is made with at least three quarters of Texas grapes by finding “Texas” printed on the label. The laws are briefly touched on in this video.

A 15 minute History of Texas Wine ~ The Unknown Winecaster

Failed European Vines

The history of viticulture in Texas spans three centuries and precedes the introduction of wine grapes to California by almost a century. Franciscans in 1682 established a mission at Ysleta on the Rio Grande near El Paso and brought with them grapevines from Mexican missions. The El Paso valley and their productive vineyards were quite familiar with travelers of the day. Throughout the early 20th century this was a leading grape-growing and wine-producing area. With the influx of European immigrants from wine-producing countries brought a new interest in grape culture and wine-making. These immigrants settled in south central Texas and the Hill Country to plant quality vinifera vines from Europe. They didn’t hold the knowledge of the agricultural experience in Texas, which caused most of these endeavors to fail. 

Texas Survived Prohibition by Selling Wine to Churches

European immigrants brought their own vines from Burgundy, France, to Texas in the mid 19th century, creating a unique wine country. In the 1870s Munson and a Missouri colleague were credited with saving the wine industry of Europe by shipping carloads of Phylloxera-resistant native rootstocks to France and other vineyard regions. Munson developed more than 300 varieties of grapes better suited to the environment of Texas and the Midwest. Subsequently, many of these were table grapes or intended for grape-juice production, though some were said to have merit for wine making. When the state legislature voted Texas legally dry in 1919, the last of the wineries closed. The owners of the Val Verde Winery survived the dry years by selling table grapes and shipping grapes for home wine making. The winery reopened after the Eighteenth Amendment was repealed in 1933, and for many years was the only winery operating in Texas. Today, tourists flock to Texas vineyards, and the state sells more wine every year. 

Texas Varietals

Texas boasts some outstanding Mediterranean-style wines thanks to the compositional makeup of our soil being similar. This is a list of wine varietals in our region.

Aglianico = Southern Italy

Albariño = Spain and Portugal

Alicante Bouschet = South of France

Black Spanish = American hybrid

Blanc du Bois  = Florida

Cabernet Franc = French

Cabernet Sauvignon = Texas

Chambourcin = French-American hybrid

Chardonnay = Burgundy wine region of eastern France, try a Texas Marsanne

Chenin Blanc = Texas

Cinsaut = resistant to drought, South Texas

Concord = Kosher wine or grape jelly

Dolcetto = Piedmont region of northwest Italy

Gewürztraminer = Germany

Graciano = Rioja, Spain

Grenache = Spain, Texas

Malvasia = Greece

Marsanne = Northern Rhône, Texas

Malbec = Loire Valley, likes it hot so another good one for Texas

Merlot =

Montepulciano = Italy

Mourvedre = Rhone region of France and in Spain, The Texas Hill Country

Muscadine = Southeastern and south-central United States from Florida to Delaware, west to eastern Texas and Oklahoma

Muscat Canelli = Greece

Mustang = Southern United States: Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma

Negroamaro = Puglia region in southern Italy

Norton = American hybrid 

Petite Sirah =

Petit Verdot = Bordeaux

Pinot Gris = “spicy”

Pinot Noir = Burgundy region of France

Riesling = Germany

Roussanne = Southern Rhone Valley

Ruby Cabernet = resistance to heat, blend with cab

Sangiovese = Italy, Texas Hill Country

Sauvignon Blanc = France

Sémillon = Bordeaux

Syrah = Greece

Tannat = South West France in the Madiran AOC

Tempranillo = Spain, The Texas Hill Country

Touriga Nacional = Portugal

Trebbiano =

Viognier = South of France, The Texas Hill Country

Zinfandel = Apulia (the “heel” of Italy)


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