The Texas wine industry is growing at (relative) leaps and bounds. Who'da thunk there were more than 180 wineries in the state, that they contribute more than $1.35 billion (with a “b”) to the state's economy each year, and that close to one million curious consumers visit Texas wineries yearly.
As good as these numbers sound, we're still no Napa: Texas is the country's fifth-largest state in terms of wine production, behind California, Washington, Oregon and New York. At least I think that's how its falls out. The Texas Department of Agriculture would like for us to move up the ranking.
And one of their tools to increase awarenessâ??and, consequently, salesâ??is the promotion of Texas Wine Trails. The trails link wineries reasonably clustered in a defined area, such as the Grapevine Trail north of Dallas/Fort Worth, and the Hill Country wineries north and west of San Antonio (www.texaswinetrail.com). To further publicize the trails, the TDA has created a series of web videos called the GO TEXAN Winecasts. To date, four such have been produced: the Hill Country Trail, the Bluebonnet Trail (near Bryan), the Grapevine Trail and Way Out Wineries (between the High Plains and the Hill Country). These aren't super-slick Mad Men productions, but they do convey the uniqueness of each region. Here's how to access them.
On YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/GoTexanWines
On the Web: www.gotexanwine.org.
At the very least, we all have to help Texas move above New York in the ratings. Oregon should be in the crosshairs as well.