Calling all Texas wine lovers!
If you ever wanted to give a shout out to Texas wines, now is the time to do it because the state of Texas (through the Texas Department of Agriculture) has designated the entire month of October as Texas Wine Month.
One of the ways you can show your love for Texas wine is by competing in the Rodeo Uncorked! wine contest happening on the group's Facebook page.
Through the month of October, Rodeo Uncorked! is holding a contest where winners will get two tickets to the Roundup & Best Bite Competition held in February 2020. The competition is one of the world’s largest gourmet food events paired with more than 400 award-winning wines.
To enter the Facebook contest, fans are asked to share a photo of themselves visiting any Texas winery to the Facebook group and explain what they liked about their visit.
The person with the best photo and explanation will receive two free tickets to the 2020 competition. The winner will be chosen the first week of November and will be announced on the Facebook group page.
Texas wineries are growing and like all things in the lone star state, wine is big, big, big. Consider that:
- The first vineyard in what would become the U.S. was established by the Franciscan priests in the 1650s in west Texas near modern-day El Paso.
- Texas is home to over 36 members of the Vitis grape family, with 15 being native to the state, more than any other region on earth.
- The Texas wine industry is the fifth largest among wine-producing states, trailing California, Washington, New York, and Oregon, according to the Texas Department of Agriculture. The federal government reports the Texas Hill Country is the second biggest wine growing region in the nation, outside of California.
- Texas ranks fourth in wineries by state, with over 500 wineries, up from less than 300 in 2009.
- The wine industry contributes more than $13.1 billion of economic value to the State of Texas, and employs 140,000 workers, mostly in the Hill County, the High Plains, along the Red River in North Texas, around El Paso and in the Davis Mountains.
- Agritourism is huge for Texas wines. Currently, 1.7 million tourists visit Texas wineries each year. The wine trail along highway 290 between Austin and Fredericksburg is second only to California’s Napa Valley as the most visited wine trail in the U.S.
- In 2014, Wine Enthusiast named the Texas Hill Country as one of the ten best wine travel destinations in the U.S.
- The 2019 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ International Wine Competition drew 413 entries from Texas wineries. The Rodeo awarded 12 Double Gold Medals, 55 Gold Medals, 164 Silver Medals and 131 Bronze Medals for a total of 362 medals for a medal-earning rate of 87 percent.
- Every year the competition features a top Texas Wine and a Top Texas Winery. From 2019, the Top Texas Wine was McPherson Cellars Les Copains White, Texas, 2017; and the Top Texas Winery was Haak Vineyards & Winery.
Clearly, Texas is making a name for itself among wine aficionados and, according to Wine Spectator Magazine. The magazine says Texas is “an emerging wine region on the cusp of something great.”
Today’s grape growers have learned what varieties do well in Texas based on climate and soil. They are using state-of-the-art viticultural and vinicultural to produce ever-improving top quality wines. Now that’s something to celebrate!
One of the best ways to observe Texas Wine Month is to visit a Texas winery during the month of October. The Texas Department of Agriculture lists 18 wine trails in the state, including several that are easy day trips from Houston.
Central Texas alone boasts seven wine trails, perfect for a weekend getaway that combines the beauty of the Hill country area with some of the best wines in the state.
Closer to home, you can have Texas Wine Month news and features available at your fingertips at the Rodeo Uncorked! Facebook group.
Here, you will find posts including Texas Wine Crush Wednesdays, Texas Wine Fact Friday, Texas Winery Spotlights, contests and information about Texas grape growers.
If you like Texas wines, you’ll love Texas Wine Month. Whether you hit one of the wine trails or pick up a Texas wine at your local wine purveyor, you will be supporting our state in its efforts to achieve national and international acclaim. And that, too, is something to celebrate!