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"For sale in Texas only" (?) lower end Texas wines

Labeling the wine American is being honest and a good way to go instead of FSITO. And, it is "honester" too.

Jan 13, 2015
VintageTexas in Wine

Patrick Johnson of Blue Mtn Winery (TX)?

I do not have any problem with wine sold in Texas that is made under American Appellation. This is truthful and honest solution to the big problem we have: The shortage of texas grapes.

The shortage comes from two reasons:

1. the rapid increase in the number of Texas wineries for less than 60 five or six years ago to now approaching the bicentennial mark.

2. We have had three of the worst harvests in the past two decades. but 2010 appears to be the "harvest of the century", at least so far now that we are ten years into it.

The issue that I have is more with wine sold from Texas wineries that sell it under NO APPELLATION at all. YOu might ask, how to they do that? Well, federal law allows wine to the sold under no stated appellation if its label contains the words:

"For Sale in XXX Only"

XXX - Place the name of your state and in our case, Texas.

To me this in a mile-wide loop hole that is disingenuous at least, and perhaps even borders on fraud. The problem is that the use of FSOI-Texas is confusing to consumers. I have even been told by some misinformed wine consumers in Texas that FSOIT wines are special wines made in Texas FOR TEXANS! They could not be farther from the truth. While the use of FSOIT on the label does not necessaryily mean that the grapes or juice in the wine are not from Texas, it is commonly used to bypass stating the appellation on the bottle and hides the fact that the wine more than likely is not a wine made from Texas grapes or at times not even a wine made in Texas.

Texas is not unique on this FSOI issue. I have heard similar statements from wine consumers in other wine-producing states such as VA, PA, MI, OH and CO that have had similar experience.

The other side of this sword also cuts close to our tender parts, as well. Once Texas wineries get used to purchasing surplus grapes from CA, or WA on the cheap, which maximizes their profits, it is hard for them to stop and return to using Texas grapes that will likely cost them more per ton.

Hopefully, with the "Vintage of the Century" in line for 2010 in Texas, some of the pressure for Texas wineries to use the moniker FSOIT will subside.

For more on this, go to:



May 26, 2010
VintageTexas in Wine

Patrick Johnson of Blue Mtn Winery (TX)?

Oh Yes, it is true. I just got back from a trip to West Texas and stomp and hiked the area vineyards - some young and new like Times Ten Cellars, Cathedral Mountain VIneyard, and one, dead and gone, the old Blue Mountain Vineyard site - One of the many Ghost Vineyards and WIneries of Texas. I have also talked to Patrick Johnson who still lives in Alpine and now consults as a winemaker around the state (a good thing as he knows how to make wine) and is managing some of the vineyards in the area of Fort Davis and Alpine.

For more on my trip, see:

May 25, 2010
VintageTexas in Wine

Why would this happen??

I agree totally. I suggest that you return to your wine store and take the bottle with you for refund or replacement. No worthwhile wine store or market should refuse your request.

Nov 12, 2009
VintageTexas in Wine

Texas Hill Country Wineries

See the results of the 2009 Lone Star Wine Competition that was held last week in (whereelse) Grapevine, TX.

Last week, I blogged about my trek across the highways and byways of Texas from Houston up to Grapevine, Texas: An appropriate place to judge a wine competition. The blog notes my reflections on Texas terroir and my mental preparations assessing shades of arboreal green in the Texas roadside scenery, at: ( The wine competition was the 2009 (26th annual) Lone Star International Wine Competition (LSIWC).

In the LSIWC, nearly 500 wines from around the world were judged in over thirty categories by a panel of restaurant owners, sommeliers and other wine experts from Texas. I guess that yours truly fits the latter category although I did successfully pass my first level Sommelier exam. The co-chairs that organized and oversaw the LSIWC were Barbara Werley, M.S., Pappas Brothers Steakhouse’s Master Sommelier and Beverage Director, the first Master Sommelier in the 26 year history of the event; and Michael Zerbach, long time chair of the event and winner of the John E. Crosby, Jr. Award for his achievements in increasing the stature and visibility of the Lone Star Wine Competition awarded by the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association Board of Directors.

Interestingly enough, the LSIWC is four, four, four competitions in one…. a Texas Competition, an International Competition, and a Limited Production Competition. In the spirit of the local wine movement (, wines qualifying for the Texas Competition must be 75% volume from Texas grapes. Additionally, for the first time the forth facet of the LSIWC included a Rising Star award for the best showing by a young Texas wineries in red and white wine categories.

Texas Grand Star Winners
Fortified Wine – Haak Vineyards & Winery (, Madeira Blanc du Bois 2006
Red Table Wine – Driftwood Estate Winery (, Lone Star Cab 2006
White Table Wine – Grape Creek Vineyards (, Viognier – Lost Draw Vineyards 2008

More results and insights into the judging process at:


Jun 17, 2009
VintageTexas in Texas

The Grand & Wine Food Affair in Sugar Land?

It is a well run and pleasant event with a good history of value for wine consumers and advocates in the Southeast Texas region.

Details at: or call (281) 491-0216

See you there.

Russ Kane

Apr 03, 2009
VintageTexas in Houston

Best Texan Wines

I second the motion for Llano Viviano. It goes with other Texas premium wines Fall Creek Meritus and Messina Hof Paulo. If you get to Mason, Texas try a newer boutique winery called Sandstone Cellars. They have a wine simply called III (This refers to Blend No.. 3 from winemaker Don Pullum).


Dec 23, 2008
VintageTexas in Wine

1 week in Texas, help ?

If in the Texas HIll Country, I normally end up at Cooper's BBQ in Llano, Texas. It is simply the best....and definitely not fancy. You can also visit a number of Texas wineries in the area. For more information on wineries in the Hill Country and around the state, go to:

Also, please realize that Texas had a big immigration of Germans and other Europeans starting in the mid-1800's. The German heritage is really strong in Texas and particularly in the HIll Country centered around Fredericksburg, Texas. Therefore, you still have an influence in the cuisine and wine tastes.



Oct 22, 2008
VintageTexas in Texas

best place to buy wine in DFW?

Check out La Bodega Winery. It is actually in

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
Terminal A, Gate A15, Terminal D, Gate D14, DFW Airport, TX 75261
Phone: (972) 973-9463 (D15)
Fax: (817) 421-2495
Web site:
Gina Puente-Brancato, Owner

La Bodega Winery (now operating two locations at D/FW International Airport) is the world's first winery in an airport” bonded to produce wine on-site. We feature more than 30 premium Texas wines as well as La Bodega’s own award-winning wines by the taste, glass or bottles to go. Knowledgeable wine consultants educate consumers, travelers, meeters and greeters about Texas wine and its industry. La Bodega Winery can also produce personalized wine labels for any occasion, in any quantity. La Bodega also has one of the best selections of wine-related gifts in Texas and offers weary travelers an oasis in the airport.

Visitors Welcome:
Mon-Fri 9am-9pm;
Sat 10am-9pm;
Sun 12pm-9pm;
*Times may vary due to
changing flight schedules.

If you are looking for a wide range of Texas wines, go to Lone Star Wines. They are located in the Stock Yard area of Ft. Worth.

817) 626-1601
140 E Exchange Avenue # 108,
Fort Worth, TX 76164

TN: Seven Assorted Wines with Dinner (1970-2006)

That is very true. But, if you know these regions they all started the same way (Phase 1).

Phase 1 - Make wines with names people recognize and may or may not make a decent wine experience.

But, Phase 2 is actually more important.....

Phase 2 - The preiod of discovery where the growers and winemakers experiment and focus on terroir wines; those that reflect the elements from the soil, climate and tastes of the locale.

But, Texas (particularly the High Plains) is not really different than other warm weather wine regions - it has hot days and cool nights, soil that is poor in nutrients to reduce vigor, but iron and rich with a connection to limestone. Most of all, this region has a wealth of people that know how to grow things.

By comparison, the Teaxs HIll Country has all of the visual aspects of the "Wine Country Experience", the dry hills that look much like those in California, southern France, Mendosa, B&B's and a growing list of fine restraurants.

Texas is not going to be Zin country either. But, it is becoming known for wines like Viognier, Granach, and Tempranillo.

Thanks for your comments.


Oct 22, 2008
VintageTexas in Wine

How to Tip on Wine?

My suggestions that you need to try to frequent restaurants that have more modest wine mark-ups. In Houston, we are seeing a number of really good restaurants that are known for their wine selections (e.g. Catalan, Kova) that present wines at 20-30% over retail. This is great idea and makes more expensive wines affordable in a retaurant setting.

If you frequent these types of restaurants, you will not feel bad about tipping.


Oct 21, 2008
VintageTexas in Features

TN: Seven Assorted Wines with Dinner (1970-2006)

Actually, the modern Texas wine industry was founded on the "noble" varietals - Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay and Pinot and have won national and international awards and even made an 88 ratings in the Wine Spectator for some of these. However, as you can imagine, Texas is not Bordeaux or Burgundy.

There is a lot of action and experimentation these days with warm weather varietals from the Mediterranean - e.g. Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Viognier and several others. Give them a try. Quality producers are Becker, Brennan Vineyards, Llano Estacado and there about a lot of new micro-wineries popping up around the state, some like Barking Rocks, LightCatcher and Sandstone Cellars that are doing a great job.

For a list of Texas wineries go to:

Russ Kane

Oct 21, 2008
VintageTexas in Wine

Texas Hill Country Wineries

The Texas HIll Country has wineries making both new world and old world wines. Check out the links below for two side of the Texas wine coin:

Old World Texas Wines:

New Worl Texas Wines:

This part of Texas gives the complete wine country experience with wineries relatively close (you can hit 6-12) easily in a weekend depending on how much time you want to spend tasting and touring. It also has great B&Bs and a growing list of remarkable gourmet restaurants.

Russ Kane

Oct 21, 2008
VintageTexas in Texas

wine pairing with chicken fried steak?

I am in Texas and this is the epicenter of Chicken Fried Steak. Wine paring can be difficult as while it is beef, the dish does not have the weight for most "fruit bomb" red wines. My favorite wine pairing for chicken fried steak is a Sangiovese. It is medium body and has a good acidity to cut through the "hot grease bath" used in the deep fry. I was up in the DFW area a couple weeks ago and found a micro-winery that has a great Sangiovese with a Texas High Plains appellation. It is from Barking Rocks Winery in Granbury, TX about 45 minutes SW from Fort Worth. More information is available on this wine and winery at the link below.


Russ Kane

Oct 21, 2008
VintageTexas in Wine

Best Texas Wine

The responses to your posting are impressive. I have just had two trips to discover more on Teaxs wines.

I was invited up to the Texas High Plains AVA (high country in NW Texas around Lubbock). This is probably the best wine grape growing region we have here. Texas wines that have a Texas High Plains appellation indicated on the lable have won awards in both nationally and internationally. The interesting things is that these wines have come from large producers (e.g. Llano, Becker, etc.), but also from some smaller micro-wineries such as LightCatcher and Barcking Rocks - Yes, Barking Rocks Winery - both in the DFW area.

Oct 21, 2008
VintageTexas in Wine