If you haven’t heard, there are some big bills on the floor that will impact both Texas wine drinkers and Texas Wine Drinkers. One will impact all people who consume wine in the state, the other will impact those producing and exploring wine made in Texas. One is decidedly more controversial than the other. Whichever side of the debate you fall on, now is the time to make your opinion known.
House Bill 2291 (as stated on Winefreedom.org)
“Texas law bans its citizens from receiving shipments of wine from out-of-state wine stores, internet wine retailers, wine clubs and wine auction houses. HB 2291 would remove this ban and create a free market in wine for Texans and giving its wine lovers access to hundreds of thousands of wine now unavailable to Texans.”
In my limited and haphazard research, all consumers that I’ve spoken with are supportive of this as it would allow for more diversity in the wines we can receive. Tom Wark has great insight into the bill because of his work as a writer and with the National Association of Wine Retailers.
Jason Isaac [R] of Dripping Springs has set forth as the Truth in Labeling act, requiring wines labeled as “Texas Wine” to become made with 100% Texas grapes within 5 years.
“A wine is entitled to an appellation of origin indicating the wine’s origin is this state or a geographical subdivision of this state only if: 100 percent of the wine’s volume is derived from fermented juice of grapes or other fruit grown in this state; and the wine is fully produced and finished in this state.”
This isn’t a revolutionary concept. Many of the top producing regions have regulations indicating percentages, most require 100%. Still, there is plenty of opposition. Concerns about supply, financials, and weather hiccups which can devastate harvests are often cited as reasons to oppose.
Here is my take: I am interested in learning about wine. I want to identify characteristics of grapes, how that grape changes by region or year. I want to be able to taste Texas wine and learn the varied nuances of the product without interference. I want to know that when it says Texas wine, it means Real. Texas. Wine.
Does that mean I won’t still buy and enjoy wines that are blended with grapes from other states? No. But that means I know that I’ll be tasting a product that the winemaker carefully crafted with a profile in mind. I will still enjoy and respect a good wine, despite its multi-state origin, but those wines will not alter my expectations of what grapes grown in Texas can do.
For many wine drinkers, origin is just a name on the bottle. If they like the wine, they like the wine. They will still visit and enjoy the experience at the winery. They will still identify the producer with wines they enjoy. But if they come to a place in their wine journey where PLACE matters, they won’t be confused.
I care about the Texas Wine Industry as a whole and the people who have created their livelihood in the industry. I would not propose or oppose anything I thought would have a detrimental effect on the industry. Whether you support or oppose the bill, I’d love to hear your thoughts. As with everything, there is always more to learn, two sides to every story. For me, for what I love about wine, for those committed to furthering our identity as a region, I want to know what is in my glass.