There is a great guest post on the VintageTexas website written by Dan Gatlin of Inwood Estates Winery. Mr. Gatlin has been in the Texas wine industry for 30 years, and has been involved in the wine business even longer. He offers a unique perspective into grape and wine production in the state.
Gatlin points out the great potential that Texas wine has to create old world style, terroir-driven wines. He says, "Like our European counterparts, our high-calcium soils yield earthier
wines that develop their complexity over time, and we will never be
known for the fat, round, fruit-bomb styles of the 'New World' that
typify California and Australia." I have to admit that I get excited thinking of Texas growing into a wine region known for producing a more "old world" wine here in the new world.
One of the many great points in this article has to do with the creation of wines that are true Texas wines, rather than California wines being produced in Texas. Here's a section of the article that really jumped out at me -
The ultimate vision shared by industry insiders and
our fans in the public is that Texas will someday ascend to an
authentic, peer-recognized, first-tier wine region similar to the other
famous regions we all know and love.
This will never happen as long as so much
California wine is being sold by Texas wineries under less than open and
honest pretenses. This practice undercuts the very foundation of what a
wine region is: a place where grapes are grown and wine is made. A
regional industry riddled with lack of authenticity results in a public
reputation that it is phony and contrived, like a tourist-trap. The
authenticity question underlies 400 years of winemaking tradition and is
the basis for the famous “Appellation” systems that people respect. We
will simply never graduate to peer acceptance in the larger wine
industry without authenticity.
I think that this point is exactly right. Gatlin goes on to suggest that a good solution to the problem would be to emulate the model of second-label wines that you find all over Europe. The primary label would feature all Texas Appellation wines, while secondary labels would be made from excess fruit, or from fruit sourced out of state. There are already a few wineries who are employing this method with their wines. This solution would eliminate the confusion that the current system encourages, which is a topic that I plan to explore in more detail in a future post. Ultimately, Texas cannot develop a unique wine identity if the majority of the wines produced here are made from out of state fruit. This issue needs to be addressed, and hopefully sooner rather than later. Quality producers like Inwood are the key to the future of the Texas wine industry.
Gatlin talks about a number of other really interesting topics in the post, so I recommend that you read the whole thing if you have time.