We recently wrote how the Texas Wine Growers (TWG) formed in partnership with eight leading Texas-grown wineries including Calais Winery, Hawk’s Shadow Winery, Lewis Wines, Lost Draw Cellars, Perissos Vineyard and Winery, Pontotoc Vineyard, Westcave Cellars, and William Chris Vineyards. Their mission is: “to promote and protect the integrity of Texas Wine by making wines solely from grapes grown in the terroir of Texas.”
Part of that announcement which wasn’t made clear was that Frances Money of Pontotoc Vineyards is the acting Executive Director. More information about the Texas Wine Growers is now on their website: http://www.texaswinegrowers.com
Today more information comes from William Chris Vineyards about the formation of Texas Wine Growers and their resulting action with a letter sent to their wine club members.
Dear William Chris Family,
Every day we are pleased to share a piece of our world. We are grateful to every one of you for being a part of our story.
Ten years ago, we made it our mission to showcase Texas’s terroir. We tailored our wine tasting experience to reflect and embody the soul of Texas-grown wine and the people who make it. We have always stood firmly in support of Texas winegrowers. Every vintage has presented us with challenges. Yet, we have worked in partnership with our friends, family, and fans to overcome the obstacles that growing wine in our state can present. We are driven each day by those of you who have just as much passion for Texas-grown wines as we do.
As many of you know, we have worked tirelessly this legislative season to help bolster the integrity of Texas wine. Many of you helped us in our collective effort to make wine labeled “Texas” represent that origin – for that we can’t thank you enough. Despite our best efforts, the ‘Truth in Labeling Act’ found opposition within the wine industry.
Organizations that we have supported since the beginning of our journey not only opposed the bill but also took an aggressive position towards those of us who supported it. For this reason, and with thoughtful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to rescind our membership in the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association (TWGGA) where the bureaucracy within cannot and will not support Texas-grown wine.
As a result, we are pioneering an effort to help move Texas’s wine industry forward with origin authenticity as the cornerstone. William Chris Vineyards, along with eight other industry leading Texas-grown wineries, has officially formed the Texas Wine Growers organization. The formation of Texas Wine Growers continues to gain support with our acceptance into the world-wide wine organization called Wine Origins which exists to uphold our shared belief:
“The geographic place names of wine regions are the sole birthright of the grapes that are grown there, and when these names appear on wines that do not contain fruit from that region, they lose their integrity and their relevance, becoming merely words.”
We are forever grateful for your continued support, and we promise we will always support and promote Texas-grown wine.
Chris Brundrett, Bill Blackmon, and the William Chris Vineyards Team
(reprinted with permission)
Richard E Jones - Grapevine, TX says
Seems someone has forgotten. “United we stand. Divided we fall.” Always better to have dissent within an organization than a war from without. Perhaps this group should attempt a better dialog with the membership. Reasoning is different than my understanding of industry cohesion.
The explanation of your dissent is somewhat lacking in full detail. My understanding is that in order to be be identified as a true Texas wine, the word Texas must be on the label. The use of imported grapes denies the winery from adding this designation. What’s the problem?
I am neither a winery owner or a winemaker but am a friendly member of TWGGA and as such hate to see the disintegration of an organization that has spent many years in its’ support of the industry. Without it, you would not be enjoying the privileges you enjoy today. Poor judgment and bad reasoning.
Jeff Cope says
Thanks for the comment. Perhaps this post from last year might clear things up a little bit.
Robyn Klenk says
The problem is that you assume if a wine is labeled Texas it is made from 100% Texas fruit. Not so. A “Texas” wine can (and from some Texas wineries does) contain 25% imported fruit. It seems if a wine is reported to be from a specific state or region it should be 100% from that state or region. They are just asking for all Texas wine producers to be open about where their fruit is from. The consumer deserves to know this information. So they can make an informed decision.
Richard E Jones - Grapevine, TX says
I’m well aware of that. You will find that the same or similar criteria for “location” based wines are in effect in numerous states. I find no fault with that. People will always gravitate to the wines they like. If they require a tweak” to make it palatable to a greater sudience, Why not?
The real problem I see in Texas is that there are just too many “boutique (little) wineries who because of size and probably money cannot establish their reputations beyond a very limited area. Only a few produce enough wine to make their businesses truly commercially feasible.
Don’t take this the wrong way. I love Texas wine and extol its’ virtues at every opportunity but, were it not for self promotion, weekends, holidays and local events (weddings, festivals, parties, etc., many would not have the resources to stay afloat..
Not being negative, just stating the facts as I observed the industry going from just 28 wineries in 1995 to over 375 today and you all need to be very proud of that. I love what the industry has done over the last 22 years.
Incidentally, there is a great need for more acreage growing grapes here in the state. I’m sure that fact has an impact on a wineries’ ability to produce enough wine annually.
And I repeat, United you stand. Divided you fall.