This year the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition announced a FIRST TIME BREAK THRU announcement. For the first time in the ten year history of the competition a Texas Wine was the Top Winery from the over 900 wineries that entered the competition . These wineries were from over 23 countries. I am very proud to say the Top Winery is Messina Hof. We won 24 awards, all from Texas Fruit. It was disappointing to see how many Texas Wineries entering wines that were NOT from Texas Fruit. I believe a Texas Winery should ONLY enter wines made from Texas Fruit. The People’s Choice Competition at Grapefest in Grapevine has that requirement.
Messina Hof has a 5 year plan and that is to plant or to contract only Texas Fruit within 5 years. Unfortunately we still have insufficient acres planted in Texas of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc. These grapes represent the varieties that are most purchased out of state by Texas Wineries. It is wonderful that we are planting Italian and Spanish varieties that grow well in Texas but these varieties are very difficult to sell broad market. Domestic Tempranillo sales were off 12 percent in 2012. Domestic Sangiovese sales were off 8 percent in 2012. Domestic Sangiovese and Tempranillo sales in the USA constitute 1/10 of one percent of the US market. Both of these varieties have been very successful in Tasting Room sales.
As our industry matures more Texas Fruit will become available. Someday All Texas Wine will be made from Texas Fruit. I know all Texas Growers look forward to that day.