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Texas wine -- yes Texas

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by vwhiten, Jul 26, 2015.

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  1. vwhiten

    vwhiten High-Roller

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    36th Wedding Anniversary
  2. Bo333

    Bo333 VIP Whale

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    We have some surprisingly (at least for me) very good wine here. I'm not a native Texan and didn't even know Texas made wine until I was introduced too it!
     
  3. KellyLovesVegas

    KellyLovesVegas certified personal trainer/retired space nerd

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    So far, the only Texas wine I've tried is a pleasant chardonnay from Messina Hof. Doing a wine trail tour is on our list of things to do after I retire at the end of August.

    https://www.texaswinetrail.com/
     
  4. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Not surprised. Soil, weather, know how -- that's all you need. But calling it the New Napa is like claiming winning the Open makes Zach the new Nicklaus.
     
  5. vwhiten

    vwhiten High-Roller

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    There are two wines from Fredericksburg Winery that I like - one is Enchanted Rock Red - it is 6.0 on the sweetness and a Pinot Noir/Ruby Cabernet -- (got if off the website - that is greek to me) - I just like it and the other is an Orange Muscat Canelli called Snow on The Mountain it is a 7.0.

    I read that over time I could start toning down and the sweetness and try other wines. I made the mistake of telling one of the owners at FBG Winery that I didn't like dry wines and he proceeded to tell me there is no such thing as a "dry" wine.

    Kelly when you are ready to take a tour the favorites among my wine friends is Becker's, Messina Hof, Grape Creek, 4.0 Cellars and Mendelbaum - they feature wines from Israel. My favorite wines are from Fredericksburg Winery - the people that run it tick me off from time to time. I have seen them be rude to tourists too. Problem is I love that wine and no one else sells it. HEB sells Messina Hof and Beckers.

    And totally agree far from a Napa equivalent (though I have never been) -- rumor had it that after the earthquake some of the Napa growers were going to come to the Texas Hill Country -- we do have new wineries popping up all over the place. Our quaint town has lots of unique shops on main street. When one closes it is usually a wine tasting room or wine oriented shop that opens up now.
     
    36th Wedding Anniversary
  6. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Earthquake?

    Seekers always find the next frontier. Oregon 40 years ago, Sta. Rita Hills 30, Napa way back when, Niagara region, southern Arizona, eastern Washington; soil, weather, know how.
     
  7. Someone

    Someone High-Roller

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    the funny thing is most of the Texas grapes for those wineries come from the high plains area near Brownfield. Lamesa, Ropesville and Plains, Texas

    that is actually the best area for grapes in Texas because of the cooler night temps and because of the drier climate that cuts down on fungus and makes water management much easier for the overall crop

    out near Del City is also a pretty good area as well than that is where Llano gets a lot of their grapes from through a vineyard owned by Philip Anschutz

    the hill country area has a lot of vineyards, but they have one major issue and that is a disease called Pierces Disease that kills the vines......it is the same disease ad Oak Wilt, Citrus Greening and Phoney Peach disease it is a bacteria spread by a sharpshooter that clogs the xylem tissues

    it can be controlled to a degree by pulling vines that show symptoms, but once you start getting it it will spread all over......all Vinifera (French) grapes are susceptible to it

    Grape Creek lost their entire vineyard at one time when the original owner was still alive and many of the others are fighting it as best they can

    some of the vineyards in the area are "eyeball grapes" so that there is at least grapes in a vineyard for people to see from the road and pull in, but the bulk of the production is high plains for the Texas grapes.....the eyeball grapes are generally Norton/Cynthiana or Black Spanish or a newer variety called Blanc Du Bois that was bred by Florida A&M to be a wine grape or a table grape or even a juice grape in Florida because they can barely get a vineyard up and running with Vinifera before PD kills it off

    Blanc Du Bois is making a pretty popular wine that is a good seller especially in the Texas market where sweeter wines sell well and where whites sell well

    also a lot of grapes come in from New Mexico and a lot of juice comes in from California and even from Europe depending in the winery and hoe large they are and what type of distribution they have and what type of retail presence they have.....the large winery near Fort Stockton on UTIMCO land Ste Genevieve brings in juice from all over the place depending on what they need

    they have probably 800 acres under production for grapes there and depending on what a spring freeze/frost does to them or hail they can have a huge crop or next to nothing and they have a PD issue there as well though it is more controllable than in the hill country

    if the label has the small word "Texas" on the FRONT label then it is at least 75% Texas juice.....if it has an AVA on the label like High Plains then it is at least 75% juice from that AVA......in Texas with the "Go Texan" marketing they have made it where for it to have that it also has to be 75% Texas grapes

    the vast vast majority of growers in Texas are OK with the importation of out of state grapes because it happens the world over for one thing and also because it is like the chicken and egg (vineyard or winery) except it is pretty much accepted that you need the winery that is up and functioning and making money and establishing a brand and that has a particular consumer or consumers it appeals to before that winery can take the chance to go and contract with a grower for a large amount of grapes and what has always hurt any new wine area is vineyard owners planting the wrong type of grapes for the market and even worse the wrong type for their climate and worst of all the wrong type for both and either the vineyard fails because of climate issues and production or it fails because the wineries they sell to struggle to sell the wines made with those grapes....or again both

    then you add in spring frost and hail issues that are common in Texas and the up and down nature of production from that and wineries need an established source of production to get up and running to make a brand and possibly get distribution and shelf space before they can afford to contract with a grower on a long term basis and the grower will take the risk to produce for him

    also there is the idea of that is known as "chateau cashflow" which is the cheaper sweet wines that appeal to mass market consumers......this is where a winery especially in a new wine area will make their money and really where all wineries make their money until years and years down the road

    with "wine drinkers" being what they are you are never just going to plant a vineyard, get the best oak, grow the popular varieties (even if your area supports them) and then wait several years to get your vineyard into full/best production and quality and then make wine and put it in oak for a year or more and then put it in nice bottles with quality corks and expect high end consumers to beat down your door to get it unless you happen to score a gold or double gold in San Fran or if you get a 95+ in Wine Spectator and that is unlikely to happen right off

    so you need the cash flow and the wine that you simply crush grapes, let it sit in used barrels or in stainless tanks with oak slats for 3-4 months if that and you put it in a low cost bottle with a synthetic cork and sell it cheap to the masses

    plus of course that volume gets your cost of production and materials down for everything else including your higher quality wines

    the lack of understanding of that marketing fact has killed off many a winery before they even got rolling and really you can make a hell of a lot better money on the lower end if you can keep consistent, keep control of your VA and other sanitation issues and "corked" issues and get people in the door and get on a shelf somewhere and after that you have the money and equipment to go for the gold or double gold

    then if you do contract with a quality grower for the proper varieties, you wait for the right year, you know what you have when that year comes and you invest in the oak (if needed) and you let it age and blend properly well you can score a gold or a double gold or maybe get in the WS and get a high 90s rating......and then you really get people coming in the door and you bump the price of your chateau cashflow up $.75 cents a bottle and you bump up some of the stuff that you know is good that is not selling from $11 a bottle to $17.95 a bottle and people really start to buy it and you can make a name for yourself and develop a client base in that price range (bumping the price UP works more than you would imagine in some product areas especially at the right time) and you are "off" then you have to have the self control to really wait until another really good year of production with all the right factors to make another really expensive bottle/vintage and repeat
     
  8. bardolator

    bardolator Lifelong Low Roller

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    Interesting and detailed analysis, Someone.

    People have tried growing grapes practically everywhere. While one can likely find wineries of some sort in all 50 states (there's even one in Pahrump), some areas will always be better for growing the best wine grapes. Marginal wine regions, whether that be so because of pests, disease, soil, rainfall, extremes of temperature or humidity, inability to attract talent, or whatever other factors, have a hard time sourcing excellent grapes locally every year and thereby building a reputation. Our one winery which used strictly locally-grown vinifera grapes was devastated by extreme cold the winter before last. Yet even in the good years, its best wines were only comparable (by my uneducated palate) to perhaps $20 California wines.

    I remember tasting Hill Country wines and a few from up on the Pecos 15-20 years ago and thought of them as more of a novelty than anything else. Maybe they won't ever be much more than that. Yet the point is that they have survived, and in a vacation region like that, it's relatively unsophisticated tourists buying sweet wine that can make the difference.

    Hey Ken, have you toured any of the various wine regions in eastern Washington?
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2015
  9. Someone

    Someone High-Roller

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    I will say this 20 years ago in the Texas wine industry is probably about 5 light years from where the industry is now

    there has been a ton of work especially in the last 10+ years to fit the right grapes to the right areas and also the level of talent and skill in the winery is so far ahead of 20 years ago that there is really no way to compare

    there is always going to be less quality wines and that will be true for any area and the sweeter wines will always be a big seller and that is really true for any area....the difference is on the west coast they do not have to sell those out of the tasting room they are selling theirs with 20 or 30 state distribution so when people hit the tasting room on the west coast they will mostly likely pay a decent amount to have a tasting and many of them if they are new to wine will be ok with the "well this is too sophisticated for me" attitude, but they are "building up".......in other regions of the country and especially if people are paying they want to taste something they like or at least 3-4 of the 5 they might taste they want to like or almost like......if not they will be put off

    I can't believe anyone would even try Vinifera in Ohio specifically because of the extreme cold most likely killing them to the ground on a regular basis

    Texas had a killing cold in 2013 as well (as did all the USA), but that is rare it is generally a spring frost that kills just the new growth from the primary bud that gets Texas and the overall vine itself is OK and the secondary or tertiary buds then grow out (grapes are compound buds) and you get a smaller less consistent crop that year and possible a little smaller crop the next as well

    that is easier to overcome VS a freeze that kills the vine down to the ground or worse all together

    you still have to pick and choose (which is why tastings happen), but there are wineries in Texas now that are light years ahead of 20 years ago and they can put out a consistent product year in and year out and a higher quality product pretty consistently as well

    but there is still a ways to go even today with planting the right grapes in thr right area and making the right wine from them......but every year gets better
     
  10. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Indeed -- time, practice, failures and disappearance by the marginal players, failures and final success by the stick-to-it players, in whatever region. We've noticed a big difference in AZ wines in the 20-25 years we've been sampling, for instance.

    The freeze theory falls apart in the Okanagan and south-central BC -- and I'm not talking just ice wine in the success context. Massed distribution and 20-/30-state penetration does not cover the majority of California or West Coast wineries. Also California wine culture -- not the grapes or produce, per se, rather the experience/mindsets -- is as diverse as California geography. Hordes bussed in to Temecula for almond sparkling wine isn't Santa Rosa Road in Santa Barbara County isn't the Santa Lucia bench isn't the Gold Country isn't the Russian River isn't Lake County. Also, Appellation of Origin (state or county) is 75% and AVA is 85%.

    Bard, I'll actually be up that way in September on a work/fun trip. We've had WA wines of course, even get a sampling with one of our clubs, but we are babes in the woods on the depth/breadth scale.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2015
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