There have been reports recently that the Texas Winery Passport program will end on August 31st, 2011 because the Texas government cut the wine marketing budget. Even some Texas wineries we have visited recently have told us the same thing, and one even had a sign posted with that information.
I decided to find out the correct information straight from the main source, Robert (Bobby) Champion Jr., State Coordinator for Wine Marketing at the Texas Department of Agriculture. Things of course are being restructured because of the budget cut and unfortunately people will be losing jobs on August 31st, but Bobby told me:
For now, the passport program will continue but there will be significant changes. What those changes will be is still being determined. Because the program is so large and extensive, we are having to look at every aspect to see what is possible and cost-effective as things proceed forward.
That is fantastic news for Texas wine consumers who love visiting wineries. Let’s hope the Texas Winery Passport program will continue. However, just in case you do have any filled passports or are close to filling some, visit more Texas wineries, fill those passports, and submit them to the Texas Winery Passport program site (http://www.gotexanwine.org/passport/index.html) by August 31st.