The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo and Botanical Research Institute of Texas announced the winners from the 2020 FWSSR / BRIT™ Texas Sustainable Winegrowing Competition. The inaugural wine competition established a unique approach to a Texas wine competition by recognizing both the winery/winemaker and grape grower. Wineries entered the competition by submitting written applications highlighting their sustainable practices along with their Texas wines for evaluation. The top winning wineries were awarded for their sustainable practices in the vineyard and other areas of operation in addition to the wines they submitted to a blind tasting.
The Grand Champion was awarded to Bending Branch Winery in Comfort, Texas, in combination with Tallent Vineyards of Mason, Texas. The wine was Bending Branch Tannat Rosé, Texas Hill Country 2018. Bending Branch Winery is under the ownership of Dr. Bob Young who teamed with Drew Tallent of Tallent Vineyards.
The Reserve Grand Champion was awarded to Nice Winery in Houston, Texas in combination with Alta Mira Vineyards of Anderson, Texas. The wine was Nice Winery Texas Blanc, Alta Mira Vineyard 2018. Nice Winery is operated by owners Ryan Levy and Ian Eastveld, and they worked with Jon and Denise Bowden of Alta Mira Vineyards.
Subscribing to sustainable practices in a Texas vineyard presents many challenges. Nonetheless, Texas wineries embrace the quality results of sustainable practices and continue improving their programs. Applicants outlined their efforts boosting sustainability across five areas: vineyard management, winemaking, employee practices, customer service, and social responsibility.
Texas wines submitted by applicants were judged by a panel of experienced wine professionals. The entries represented 12 different grape varieties plus wines blended from multiple grapes. The wide range of grape varieties demonstrates the diversity of Texas vineyards.
“Recognizing the collaborative efforts of grape growers and winemakers spurs innovation,” said Stock Show President and General Manager Brad Barnes. “The sustainability effort benefits our environment and consumers get to enjoy award-winning Texas wines. We’re excited to play a role in the future of this growing industry.”
BRITS’s President and Executive Director Dr. Ed Schneider also added, “This is a first for Texas wine competitions and we are most pleased with the results. Texas wine organizations are as passionate about their sustainable practices as they are about making great bottles of Texas wine.”
The 2020 FWSSR / BRIT Texas Sustainable Winegrowing Competition winners included:
- Grand Champion – Bending Branch Winery / Tallent Vineyards
- Reserve Grand Champion – Nice Winery / Alta Mira Vineyards
- Gold Medal – Lost Draw Cellars / Moonlight Vineyards, Roussanne 2018
- Gold Medal – Kiepersol Winery / Estate Vineyards, Texas Syrah 2015
- Silver Medal – Bingham Family Vineyards / Estate Vineyards, Dugout 2017
- Bronze Medal – Chateau Wright / Estate Vineyards, Heraldic Red 2017
- Bronze Medal – Bull Lion Ranch & Vineyard / Estate Vineyards, Montepulciano 2015
The next next event will be BRIT’s Vine to Table awards dinner and fundraising event on January 15, 2020. Bending Branch Winery and Nice Winery will be presented their champion awards at the event. Tickets can be purchased to the Dickies Arena event at http://www.brit.org/Vine2Table.
Visitors to the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo can enjoy a selection of award-winning wines at Vine-2-Wine events. Sip & Shop takes place January 22, 29, and February 5 in Amon G Carter. Tickets can be purchased https://www.fwssr.com/events/vine-2-wine-events.