Melissa Grady
 
May 12, 2017 | Melissa Grady

Reflections From a Whirlwind of a Debate for Texas Winegrowers

As the legislative session draws to a close, we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished to help provide transparency to the consumer in Texas wine labeling. Unfortunately, the bill looks like it will die in committee, but Texas wine has captivated a national audience via Fox News, Forbes, and GQ to name a few. We have dedicated our business to growing and making authentic Texas-grown wines since day one and though the bill won’t become law anytime soon we have proved that consumers like you really do care where your wine originates.

Taking Texas Wine to the Lege

When state representative Jason Isaac introduced this bill we never anticipated we would get so far with our fight. Even landing a hearing is a victory – the first step in a long road to truly growing (with an emphasis on growing) the Texas wine industry into a mature and well-respected region. So, on April 24, our team road tripped to the state capitol to testify on behalf of Texas wine consumers and our state’s winegrowers.

While at the capitol, we stood with friends, colleagues, and farmers to raise awareness of truth in labeling, truth in marketing, and consumer transparency in our burgeoning industry.

Jason Isaac’s testified, “This is really a truth in labeling issue…You can’t be Texan with Texa-fornian wine.”

Emotions ran high as 32 people pled their case for either side. The opposition took us by surprise when they claimed (under oath) that, “Texas cannot make good wine with the grapes our farmers grow.”  Things heated up with a number of growers in attendance, some who had lost contracts with large wineries after supporting the bill. The Austin Chronicle did a great job capturing the divide in a recent cover story: “How Texas is Texas Wine?

Texas Monthly’s Jessica Dupuy summed it up quite well, “the drama that the topic has kicked up within the industry has no doubt left a mark on the next chapter for Texas wine. And it leaves an open-ended question that perhaps only consumers can answer: do you expect your Texas wine to be from Texas?”

Final Thoughts: Look Past Your Wine’s Label

As of now, the bill is all but dead but the fight to take our wine industry to the next level has only gained momentum as a result. Contrary to what some may say Texas is ready to play on par with California, Washington, Oregon, and New York. Unfortunately, for now, it will just take a little extra research on the part of the consumer if they are looking to experience the authentic taste of Texas’ terroir.

View clip from the House Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures Hearing 4.27.17

A complete recording of the hearing can be found here.

Texas Wine Labeling Hearing

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