The third annual Hill Country Wine Symposium took place at the Horseshoe Bay Resort on January 10-11. The event was sold out with 250 people which shows the enthusiasm and interest that the Texas wine industry draws.
This was the second year I volunteered to help the Texas Hill Country Wineries host the event, and even though I did not get the opportunity to attend the many seminars held, I still had a great time meeting people and knowing I was helping a great event be a success.
Registration started early on the Tuesday as people arrived earlier than expected, but we were ready for the large crowd. Seminars for the event were held in a ballroom and two smaller rooms. The welcome address was first in the ballroom followed by the keynote speakers from Hedges Family Estate with “Growing, Making, & Marketing Authenticity: A Washington State Perspective”.
After a break to visit the many exhibitors in the hallways of the event center, two seminars started with “Managing Compliance as your Winery Business Grows” and “Practical Grapevine Physiology: Growth, Development & Impact of Management Practices.” As you can see, there were topics for every asset of the wine industry from wineries to vineyards to marketing, and more.
A delicious lunch both days was included in the registration fee with one being sponsored by BE Implement and the other by Frost Bank. During lunch in the ballroom, speakers offered education and on the first day, Andy Timmons presented the High Plains Growers Report. The second day introduced the 2016 Hill Country Wine Industry Scholarship Awards.
The next seminars were “Facebook: It can drive you CRAZY or CUSTOMERS. The choice is yours” or “Exploring the Sensual Impact of Grape Rot on Finished Wine.” The latter event offered the attendees the opportunity to smell some wine faults and if daring, taste them. I had the opportunity to sit in this seminar after helping pour the wines at all the tables, and wow, there were definitely some wine faults, including one that I couldn’t get near my mouth!
The last seminars of the day were “Chef & Sommelier Wine Tasting: Why the Glass Matters” and “Ozone Use in the Wine Industry.” I again helped pour the wine for the three wine glasses in the “Glass Matters” seminar. The goal was to show how different wines in different types of quality wine glasses really does showcase the wine better.
The education was over for the day, but now was the time a lot of people were looking forward to attending, the Grape Exchange. This event had wine tasting in reverse with vineyards pouring the wines wineries made from their grapes, including in some cases, wine made from the vineyard themselves. The other part of the event was a BYOW (Bring Your Own Wine) and there were a few tables with a large selection of Texas wines. Everybody obviously enjoyed the large selection of wines to taste and savor from around Texas.
Wednesday started with two seminars: “Retailer Education for Wineries: Part 1” and “Working with Wine Influencers: Where PR & Advertising Converge.” I listened into most of the “Wine Influencers” presentation and was interested to see how wineries should work with wine influencers like Texas Wine Lover.
The next set of seminars were “Retailer Education for Wineries: Part 2” and “In’s & Out’s of Wine Crossflow – Basic Overview of Cross Flow Technology, how & Where to Employ it in the Winery.”
After lunch, the two seminars were “Training & Support Strategies for Staff” and “Effective Vineyard Spraying.” While those seminars were being held, it gave over a full hour for the volunteers to get prepared for the last wine tasting and seminar of the day, “Understanding Typicity and its Effects on Buying Decisions.” After all the wine pouring for the two days, I had more respect for the staff that work at wineries opening bottle after bottle, and pouring glasses of wine for customers.
The two day event ended with the Texas Hill Country Wineries Annual Owners & Membership Meeting.
Once again, the two event was a big success and the dates for next year are yet to be announced. The only thing I know is I will be there to volunteer again!
Photos courtesy of Texas Hill Country Wineries