The title of this post is taken from a comment that my friend Luke left me on Facebook yesterday in reference to the Gruet/Cap*Rock debacle. The comment does a good job of giving voice to the disappointment that many are feeling with the outcome of the Gruet purchase of the Lubbock winery.
In conversations with Texas wine lovers over the last couple of weeks, and actually with wine lovers from outside of Texas as well, I was finding a lot of excitement about the prospect of "Texas Champagne" coming from the Lubbock area. There really seemed to be very little negative that could be said about the deal. Certainly, the thought of a Texas winery with national distribution and the backing of a respected company like Gruet was enough to make many salivate over the potential impact on the state's wine industry.The only problem was that while we were salivating, issues were mounting with the sale, and with Laurent Gruet personally.
The events of the last few days have painted a clear picture of the financial issues that sunk the deal, and other reports, that have not currently been linked to the disruption of the deal, have also taken the shine off of a story that seemed so promising a short time ago. Word started circulating last week from television stations in Albuquerque that Laurent Gruet has been arrested for DWI five times, and convicted twice. A third conviction certainly could have created problems with Gruet himself acquiring the Texas liquor license needed to operate the winery, although there could have still been avenues that would have allowed Gruet Winery to operate Cap*Rock and get the needed licensing. Regardless of whether or not these issues had any effect on the sale, they certainly are unfortunate developments in a story rife with disappointment.
I have heard some in the Texas wine industry joke that Cap*Rock is under a curse, a belief that seems less laughable all the time. There is definitely still an opportunity for this story to have a happy ending, but for now the thoughts of what might have been have taken the sparkle off of what so recently seemed like cause for celebration. Hopefully the outcome of the auction that ends Tuesday, August 3rd will salvage the situation, but for now I guess the moral of this story is, "Don't pop the cork on your champagne until the money is in the bank."
Update: Russ Kane has some great comments on this post, and on his post on his VintageTexas blog about this whole mess. Check them out.