Monday, March 12, 2012

Texas Wines

 Before You Hit The Texas Wine Trails! 

Find a Texas Winery
I am extremely excited that Texas has a growing wine industry. And Texas wines are getting much better. However I have some real problems with many of its wines and wineries. As everyone who lives here knows, during the summer, most of Texas has very hot days and hot nights. But most grapes like hot days and cool nights. That’s why California is perfect for grapes. Hot days and cool nights equals great wine grapes.

Texas needs to grow grapes that like hot weather. That means grapes that grow well in places like Southern Italy and Spain. But Texas wine makers have been afraid to grow grapes that are not well known to American wine drinkers. So they have grown Cabs and Merlots and other grapes that do not do well in our heat. The result, Texas wines are light and often sweet.

But lately, especially around Austin, the wineries have been using Tempranillo grapes. It’s a Spanish grape that does well in our heat and the results are very promising. In Dallas, the Inwood Estate Winery uses Tempranillo. Their wines are pricey, around $45.00 but very nice. And Whole Foods carries Inwood’s wines.

Visiting Texas Wineries 
Gale and I have visited over half of the wineries in Texas. Unlike the California wineries, they tend to be spread out and driving to them can be a pain. However, Fredericksburg is a great trip and there are a lot of wineries in the Hill Country.

North Texas also has wineries with Grapevine being the epicenter. Grapevine’s GrapeFest is fun. It’s held each September and if you haven’t gone, you’ve missed a great event. However I recommend you consider staying close to the festival. Almost all the hotels have shuttle services, which is better than driving home after a day of tasting wine. 

Dallas has four wineries, and they have a wine tour. The Dallas Wine Trail will have its 3rd annual Spring Grand Tour on Saturday April 14th. The wineries involved are the Fuqua Winery, Inwood Estate Winery, Calais Winery and the Times Ten Winery. Times Ten and Calais are close to Munger Place. Times Ten is in Lakewood and Calais is in Deep Ellum. 

 Way Out Wineries Road Trip 
Texas wine trails have activities throughout the year. Gale and I have done the Way Out Wineries tour and it is great fun. There are wineries all over the state and in each region. So take the time to visit them and experience Texas wines up close. But before you go, take time to read my condensed Texas Wine Rules, they will help you have a much better trip! 

Texas Wine Rules    

Texas Wine Rule # 1. Here is my first and most important rule for Texas wines. If the grape is not grown in Texas, the wine is not a Texas wine, even if it is made in Texas!! An example would be using a California grape for a wine made in Texas. It is a California wine that just happens to be made in Texas! There are no exceptions to this rule!!

Texas Wine Rule # 2. If a Texas winery is “tasting” red wine and gives you a sweet Texas Cab or Merlot and tells you it’s their best seller…BEWARE! All that says is that no one who knows wine ever buys any of their wine. Because no one who knows wine would buy a sweet Cab or Merlot!!

Texas Wine Rule #3. Texas wine is expensive for the quality of the wine. There are good $10 Texas wines that unfortunately cost $20 or $25. And some good $20 wines that cost $40 or $45. They are good wines at $20, but not at $45. Texas wineries are small and have no cost advantages buying grapes, bottles, corks and labels. Until this problem is solved, you will pay a premium for the privilege of drinking Texas wine. 

Texas Wine Rule #4. There will be a fee to taste wine in a Texas winery.  In most Texas wineries the fee will be $5.00 per person. And unlike most California wineries, the Texas wineries usually do not wave the tasting fee if you buy a bottle of wine. So if you buy a $20 bottle of wine, you are spending at least $25 at the winery. This is only offset if the winery pours enough wine in the tasting to equal a glass of wine.   

Texas Wine Rule #5. The wine you taste at a winery often won't taste as good at home as it did at the winery. (This also applies to wine bought at any winery). The atmosphere at the wineries makes the wine better, and someone is telling you about the wine and how great it tastes. Be careful and think about why you really like the wine so you will not be disappointed. 

Texas Wine Rule #6. Never pay any attention to the medals and awards hanging in a Texas winery. Every winery seems to have won at some wine event somewhere. What does a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place ribbon really mean? Not much! A first place win at the (fill in the blank) wine competition does not mean it’s good. How many wines were entered? And who were the judges? People Choice Awards are the worst. A bunch of drunks, who may or may not know wine, picked the wine with the best sales pitch. So ignore the ribbons and only buy the wine if you like it!  

So those are some of my Texas wine rules, ignore them at your peril! But do take the time to visit a Texas winery; they are growing and their wines are getting much better. You’ll have fun, and with your support, Texas’ wines will continue to improve. 



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  1. Morning Harold. Enjoyed your wine blog, and I love the porch parties in your neighborhood. Talya's Mom

  2. Great information Harold. I'm glad you recapped your wine rules in one place.

  3. Cheers Gale and Harold! Once again I enjoyed reading your blog Harold, and thank you for good information about the Texan wines. Look forward to next Friday's Porch Party to hear more........