by Andrew Chalk, CraveDFW.com
Texas has nearly 300 wineries – but only on paper. Only about half that number are actually producing. Some wines come with Hill Country poets on the front label, “For Sale In Texas Only” on the back label, and California jug wine inside the bottle. Some wines with “Go Texan” on the front label come all the way from California as well. Some wineries have tiny back labels that look like they were printed on Aunt Mable’s ink jet printer and declare the origin of the grapes in tiny type. The front label says nothing about origin. This apparent violation of Federal labeling law is defended with the statement that the tiny ink jet label on the back is in fact the front label!
Amazingly, there are some Texas wineries that think these kind of tricks and sharp practices are perfectly OK. With this kind of ethos, can a quality restaurant stock and serve Texas wine?
The answer is that the tricksters are in retreat. Confined to fewer and fewer offenders who are being crowded out by the verdant modern Texas quality wine industry. These wineries are like artisan food producers and restaurants who practice full transparency as a matter of course and refuse to exploit gaps in the law that allow for less than fully honest dealing. They set their own standards of conduct that far exceed legal minimums.
These wineries are producing better and better Texas wine each year. They now beat California wines in blind tastings by professionals. They win medals against global competition. Smart buyers are snapping them up. When Inwood Estates released a Chardonnay grown in a vineyard within the City of Dallas that was on a par with comparatively priced ($50/bottle) California Chardonnays, all 14 cases were sold in 10 days.
Such a level of achievement was inconceivable just 10 years ago.
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