Okay, you all know that I like to bring it for Texas wine. I love my Texas wine, and I love getting to know all of the great people at Texas wineries. One thing I don't love is confusing labeling on wines produced in the state of Texas. I don't love the fact that it is all too common for a friend to tell me that they bought a "Texas" wine over the weekend, then when they name the wine I am forced to tell them that the wine wasn't actually made from Texas fruit.
In order for a winery to be able to slap the word "Texas" on the front of the label, the wine has to have at least 75% Texas juice. For those wines that don't meet the requirements,
the state of Texas (really a federal statute) has allowed the wineries to not list an appellation on the front of the bottle, and instead tag the wine as "For sale in Texas only" on the back. This can be very confusing when you are facing a shelf of wines made by Texas wineries, and some of the wines are true Texas wines and some are not. The labels are not at all clear about where the fruit came from, and the fact that the bottles look exactly like their Texas siblings make it difficult for many wine buyers to know what they are buying.
This isn't to say that the wineries are all trying to pull something over on the public, although some may well be counting on the fact that consumers won't know the difference between their Texas wines and those that are not Texas Appellation. The fact is that there is just not enough fruit being produced in the state to supply all of the juice for Texas wines. So what can be done to eliminate the confusion, and help Texas wine consumers identify true Texas wines? One suggestion that was offered by Dan Gatlin of Inwood Estates in a guest post on the VintageTexas blog is for wineries to create second labels for their non-Texas wines. Another idea would be to label the wines with a specific designation for wines that don't quality for the Texas designation. There are many possibilities that would serve the purpose, but the key is to make the Texas wine world easier to navigate for consumers.
For those in Texas, what ideas do you have about simplifying the labeling of non-Texas wines produced in the state of Texas? For those from other states, what kind of unusual labeling do you have for wines in your state? Or maybe we Texans are the only ones with quirky and confusing wine lables.