2011 USDA Grape Report


The average yields and average price per ton are lower than what I have seen in working with growers in Central Texas. Happily, growers are catching back up to 2005 levels in yeild and acreage. Looks like plantings from 2007-2009 are coming to fruit. We still need more plantings to meet the demand. New varieties are popping up and its great to see the heavy proven fruiters come into production. Central Texas has a long way to go to match the production of West Texas and High Plans. I would love to see more plantings in CTX of Tempranillo, Zin, Syrah, as well as lesser known varieties like Touriga, Mourvedre, Petit Verdot, Barbera. Winemakers can have a hey day with blends of these hot-climate reds.

Go Thirsty

Texas Department of Agriculture Launches New GO TEXAN or Go Thirsty Program


A Business Model Adjustment

Good lesson from Damian Mandola on having all your fingers in the pie; you can’t be the restauranteur, and the wine maker, and expect the competition to buy your wine. See http://www.robbwalsh.com/2010/06/news-flash-mandola-winery-sold/

Excuses to Visit Fredericksburg, Tx this December

For many in Central Texas it’s easy to find an excuse to make a day or weekend trip to Fredericksburg for an annual holiday shopping tradition or to visit the many area wineries for wine tasting. Here are a few more reasons to plan your trip in December.

Prospective Wine-Grape Grower Workshop, Thurs. Nov. 18, 9-4

People interested in commercial wine-grape production are invited to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s next Prospective Wine-Grape Grower Workshop, set for Nov. 18 in Fredericksburg.

The workshop, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $125 apiece or $200 for couples, is for those considering planting a commercial vineyard and those who already have planted and are thinking about expanding to commercial scale, said Penny Adams, the service’s viticulture adviser for the Texas Hill Country.

Online registration can be completed at http://agrilifevents.tamu.edu and entering “wine” as the keyword, or by calling (979) 845-2604. On-site registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 18.

The event will take place at the extension office in Gillespie County, 95 Frederick Road.

Prospective Winegrower Workshops

Grape growing is a labor intensive enterprise that requires significant up-front investment in comparison to many other agricultural crops. The Prospective Winegrower Workshop was created by the Texas AgriLife Extension Viticulture Team to educate farmers, entrepreneurs, or any individual considering planting a commercial vineyard. This one-day educational event consists of a series of presentations that provide an overview of the unique requirements and risks associated with establishment and operation of a commercial vineyard in Texas. The workshop is co-instructed by AgriLife Extension Viticulture Advisors at multiple locations throughout the state.

Workshop topics include:

* Vineyard Economics
* Necessary Viticulture Expertise
* Vineyard Site Considerations
* Risk Factors
* Vineyard Labor Requirements

Fee: $125, Lunch is provided ($200 per couple)
Register online: AgriLife Extension Events
Keyword Search: Wine

The Prospective Winegrower Workshop serves as a prerequisite for application to the Texas Viticulture Certificate Program, offered by Texas Tech University and Texas AgriLife Extension. Go to the Certificate Program website for information on this educational program.


October 12 Lead Instructor: Fran Pontasch
Location: Pittsburg, TX
November 18 Lead Instructor: Penny Adams
Location: Fredericksburg, TX


January 25 Lead Instructor: Fran Pontasch
Location: Stephenville, TX
March 16 Lead Instructor: Fritz Westover
Location: Houston, TX
May 2 Lead Instructor: Penny Adams
Location: Fredericksburg, TX
June 17 Lead Instructor: Dusty Timmons
Location: Lubbock, TX

Prospective TX Viticulturists: Grape Camp Fredericksburg, Tx Nov. 7 & 8, 2010

TWGGA & Agrilife Extension of Texas A&M Host a Grape Camp Nov. 7 & 8, 2010 in Fredericksburg, TX.

The annual Grape Camp is educational programming designed and delivered by theTexas AgriLife Extension Service for commercial vineyard owners and for anyone interested in learning about grape growing in Texas.

Grape Camp Fredericksburg, Tx

Register Here

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.

See: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/stories/052410dntextxwine.1d72b13e.html

Texas appoints wine committee

From Wines & Vines March, 2010
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples named 16  grapegrower and winery representatives to the 2010 Texas Industry Development and Marketing Advisory Committee. They are Ed Auler, Fall Creek Vineyards; Nicole Bendele, Becker Vineyards; Paul Bonarrigo, Messina Hof Winery & Resort; Bob Cottle, Pleasant Hill Winery; grapegrower Alphonse Dotson; Gary Elliot, Driftwood Vineyards; Gary Gilstrap, Texas Hills Vineyards; Mark Hyman, Llano Estacado Winery; Rick Naber, Flat Creek Estates; grapegrower Neal Newsom; Gabe Parker, Homestead Winery; Don Pullum, Sandstone Cellars; Bobby Smith, La Buena Vida Winery; Susan Stegar, Tara Vineyard & Winery; Cord Switzer, Fredricksburg Winery and grapegrower Michael Timmons. Wholesaler, package store, retailer, researcher and consumer representatives and a member of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission make up the remainder of the committee.

New Central Texas Winery Raises the Bar Again

Visited Perdenales Cellars last Saturday with a client and got invited to a private tasting of all the wines. Really amazing Texas wine making. I really enjoyed the viongier, tempranillo and reserve cabernet. This winery continues the raising of the bar in the Texas Wine Industry. Be sure to read about family history of this Central Texas Winery Gem! http://www.pedernalescellars.com/

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