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Texas is the Fifth Largest Wine-Producing State in the USA

 

The first Vinifera grapes were planted in what is now Texas in 1680, about 100 years before they were planted in California.  

The Texas wine industry is growing and currently can boast the following: 

  • Over 170 Wineries now in 2009
  • More then 3,000 commercially producing acres of grapes
  • 8 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs)
  • Over ONE BILLION DOLLARS of economic impact
  • 8,971 jobs for Texans

2008 Wine Production Statistics

The Texas Wine Marketing Research Institute at Texas Tech University has estimated that 2.38 million gallons of wine were produced by the 170+ Texas wineries.

Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association (TWGGA)

TWGGA provides the necessary educational and marketing resources for currently producing wineries and vineyards, as well as information for those exploring the winemaking and grape growing opportunities in Texas.  They are located in Grapevine, Texas.

 

Texas Viticulture Areas


 


An Important message from Texas State Rep. David Swinford

GRAPE PRODUCTION, TOURISM AND VALUE ADDED PROCESSING

As Chairman of the Texas House Agriculture and Livestock Committee, my charge is to promote, protect and preserve agriculture in Texas.  That means we need to look around the country and see if there are things we should be doing in Texas that would promote agriculture.  During my travels around the state on the Ag Policy Special Committee that I also Chair, it was brought to my attention that our grape and wine industry had some serious problems.

Whether we choose to drink wine or not is not the issue.  The issue is that many Texans are drinking wine and it is being produced in other states' agricultural areas.  Wine is an agricultural crop that has been processed.  Grapes are water efficient, high profit crops that can have a huge impact on the economic survival of rural communities.  We have made an economic evaluation and comparison between the number I (California) and the number 2 (Texas) agriculture states related to the wine industry.  I want to give you the facts that we discovered.

The economic impact of wine in California was over $33 billion last year.  Wine is the number one finished agricultural crop.  Grapes, before processing, rank 3rd in terms of agriculture valve.  847 wineries produce 2.6 billion bottles from grapes grown by 4,400 farmers.  Grape acreage has grown to 2,527,056 acres in 1998.  In California, taxes, licenses and fees to state, counties and local communities exceeded one billion dollars in 1999.  There is no increase in social problems attributed to grape growing and wine production in California.  The wine industry has created over 145,000 jobs, paid $4.3 billion in wages, and provided 10.7 million visitors to the rural areas where grapes are produced and wine is processed.

Well, how do we compare in Texas?  California had retail sales of $2.66 billion in 1998 while Texas had $921 million.  California produced 524,971,095 gallons of wine in 1998 while Texas produced only 1,298,723 gallons.  In fact, Vermont produced almost twice as much wine as Texas.  The bottom line is that California produces 404 times the wine we do but only consumes 2.9 times the wine.  Texas consumes a lot of wine but most the benefits of production of grapes and processing of wine is in California.

At present, we have 39 small wineries in Texas scattered across all regions of the State.  We are pretty far north for most grape varieties but there is grape production going on today in Morse, Texas near the edge of Moore County.

Why does California have such a prolific grape industry, and Texas such a small one?  Mainly, California has passed laws to encourage the wine industry while Texas has the most regulations of almost any state in the country.  In simple terms, we are not providing a market for the grape farmers product In fact we have a distribution system for wine in Texas that almost guarantees failure for the winery in Texas.

We have two distributors in Texas that have exclusive rights to distribute wine and spirits.  If they do not choose to distribute the wine you produce, you are almost left without a market for your product.  Consolidation of wholesale distribution of wine has left a monopoly in place that makes small wineries compete with huge wineries for shelve space and the little guy most always loses.

We must do something to promote the grape industry in Texas if we want to take advantage of this huge rural development opportunity.  Can you picture vineyards scattered around some small communities and a small winery with tourist lining the streets throwing money at the local shops and cafes and spending the nights in bed and breakfast places and local motels.  Then shopping in our antique stores and taking nature tours run by local residents?   Well you could if you had been with our Texas Ag Policy Committee as we toured the Napa Valley in California this past August.  We are missing out on wonderful, environmentally sound, high dollar businesses by having 1891 laws on the books in Texas.

I will be offering the Farm Winery Act of 2000 that will allow grape farmers to come together to create small wineries that can offer tastings to promote tourism and create rural economic development.  We need to become aggressive about using our environment to preserve, promote and protect our rural way of life.

 

Please pass this on to other Texas wine lovers and encourage them to contact Ron Wilson's committee in support of Texas wineries. 

If anyone has questions or needs information on how to contact the Texas Legislature they may go to:

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/capitol.htm)


 

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Last modified: April 13, 2013