Texas Wine Industry
Texas Wine Future is in Washington State’s Recent Past
In 1981 there were 20 wineries in Washington State when Texas had 8. Washington now has 750 and Texas has 270. There are many parallels between Texas and Washington. They grow grapes in a dessert and we grow grapes in a high dessert. They have diversified their viticulture and so has Texas. Washington State is now 2 in the US in wine production and Texas is 4th. To see Texas’ future is looking into the recent past ofWashington State wine. Merrill and I had the opportunity of visiting Washington State, Vancouver, and Victoria. Washington has more than 158 days of rain yet they have 4 inches less than we have in Bryan-College Station where we have less than 40 days of rain per year.
The large difference that exists in the marketing of Washington State wines is that virtually every restaurant has a significant Washington wine list while Texas is lucky to have token representation of Texas wines on the lists. When you walk into a Washington State retailer and walk into the wine section, the first thing you see is a large selection of Washington State wines right in the front of the wines section. In Texas many retailers do not even have a Texas wine section and many hide the Texas wines in the back of the wine department.
Texans are proud yet you would never know by the way most retailers display and promote Texas wines. In spite of the very many awards given to Texas wines as example, Messina Hof winning Top All Round Winery besting 947 wineries from 22 countries at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, there is still suspicion that we cannot produce world class wines. I think the time has come for the wine buyer of Texas to demand Texas restaurants to have a Texas wine section. It is also time for the Texas wine buyer to demand Texas wine sections that are at least 16 feet in length. The maturity of our Texas wine industry is now. There is a large number of world class Texas wines producing many varieties and styles. The success of winery tasting rooms exemplifies the demand for Texas wine products. Now the retailer needs to make a commitment and follow the explosive growth of Texas wineries.