Let's be clear: Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller's online behavior is beyond problematic
. But, for a change, the commissioner seems to have latched onto a cause a plurality of Texans can get behind.
In a July 1 letter
, Miller asked Gov. Greg Abbott to amend the recent order
that closed all Texas bars so that wineries and tasting rooms can reopen immediately.
Currently, wineries and tasting rooms are lumped into the same business category as bars. That's because more than 51% of their revenue comes from the sale of alcoholic beverages.
“I am sure you will agree tasting rooms are not bars, nor do they present the same reasons for concern related to excessive alcohol intake or inability to social distance as found in a bar,” Miller writes.
The letter noted that nearly 95% of all Texas wine is sold in tasting rooms, and without that revenue, Texas winemakers may not have the ability to purchase grapes for future Hill Country vintages.
"When these wineries suffer, we lose more than just wine," the letter continued. "The closure of these testing rooms has a damaging downstream effect on the grape producers, wineries and surrounding communities..."
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