Grape Balls of Fire

Texas Monthly - Do you expect your Texas wine to be from Texas? It’s not a trick question. As wine connoisseurs have noted, slapping the outline of Texas on a label doesn’t guarantee that the wine is from our state. But if you’re among the growing number of people taking an interest in Texas wine, then help uncovering true Lone Star vintages might be on the way.

Currently, Texas adheres to a federal law laid out by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which states that for a wine to claim a state origin on its label, it must contain at least 75 percent of wine from that state. The remaining 25 percent is up for grabs.

In an effort to bring the truth about what's in Texas wine one step closer to consumers, Texas State Representative Jason Isaac of Dripping Springs filed House Bill 1514. The bill would require that wines labeled with a Texas appellation (or as coming from Texas) must be made with 100 percent Texas-grown grapes.

Mark Hyman, President and CEO of Llano Estacado Winery, one of the first commercial wineries in Texas dating back to the early 1970s, also voiced his concern about industry-wide cohesion, particularly with regards to the actual amount of grapes available in Texas. Hyman referred to an email exchange he had with Tim Dodd, the director of the Texas Wine Marketing Institute at Texas Tech University, who said that there are anywhere from 4,000 to 8,000 grape-bearing acres in Texas.

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