Vintners need fruit more than pamphlets

Great article if you are interested to know how Texas Department of Ag. spends money on the wine industry and marketing. The money which has previously gone to promoting Texas wine may be reallocated and go more toward promoting Texas Beef if the Democratic agriculture commissioner candidate Hank Gilbert is elected. Incumbent Todd Staples has believed in selling Texas wine over other agricultural products and has put the money into the Go Texan marketing program.

Nearly $50 million a year allocated by the Legislature to tout Texas agriculture is going to be up for reallocation depending on the outcome of the election.

Let me be clear about my opinion on this topic. While I believe the marketing efforts of the Go Texan program have been beneficial in bringing up the reputation and recognition of Texas wines and the pamphlets, passports and labels have provided excellent tangible resources to tourism to the wineries the funding allocated for grape growing has been minuscule and overlooked.  Only a handful of vineyards have benefited from the $25,000 grants for grape growing. Texas is down from 3,600 acres to 2,500 planted acres. Not all of that 2,500 acres is producing because some is still immature.  Texas grape growers don’t even have access resources through the TDAg to send soil samples or tissue samples for anaylsis of diseases or profiles. Cattle ranchers have always had low cost and not cost resources to send cow manure for identification of pathogens for their herds and soil and range management contacts to turn to for help.

The Texas Dept. of Ag. can’t tell you whether the grape vines in a particular vineyard have been suffering from cotton root rot or pierces disease… they just guess and provided anecdotal information; nothing scientific for the viticulturists of Texas to have as a resource. That leave the grape grower to turn to private consultants and call on California sources for work in Texas which can be very expensive.


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