A third possible revenue strategy for family-
size vineyards is to take advantage of current
farm-to-consumer trends and cash in on
agri-tourism opportunities by offering vine
yard tours, seasonal wine-related events and
annual wine festivals. Some creative produ
cers are offering wine tastings, harvest
events and live music as ways to celebrate
one of the state’s fastest growing specialty
The Texas wine industry is 99 per cent Vitis
vinifera. These are the classic wine grapes of
Europe which are also grown in California
and all other major wine regions of the world.
Before the new Texas wine industry, most
vineyards were small and for home or local
use. They consisted of the cold hardy, dis
ease and insect resistant American varieties.
This included hundreds of varieties; however,
the prominent varieties were the Munson
varieties; Beacon, Carman, Champanel and
Ellen Scott, Cynthiana from Arkansas and
Hebemont and Favorite.
Over 20 additional Pierce’s Disease tolerant
varieties are being tested in a new vineyard
on the Texas A&M University campus which
was planted in 2001.
In the acid soils of east Texas, Muscadines
can be grown to perfection; however, there
are only very small plantings. Cabernet
Sauvignon and Chardonnay have the highest
number of plantings in the state, followed by
Merlot, Syrah and Muscat Canelli as leading
variety in acreage planted. Texas is also
home to Zinfandel, Tempranillo, Sangiovese
and Viognier plantings. The Texas Depart
ment of Agriculture lists twenty-one wine
varieties grown in Texas. From 2005 to 2010,
large increases in plantings have been seen
for varietals like Syrah and Muscat Canelli,
while others like Sauvignon Blanc and Char
donnay have declined.
Wine industry structure
The Texas wine industry is defined by three
Wineries that produce grapes.
Wineries that do not produce grapes.
Grape producers who do not produce
The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA)
currently requires that “Texas made wine”
states it is produced in Texas and must con
tain 75 per cent juice produced in Texas.
However, because of production limitations,
inefficiencies in the supply chain between
stakeholders and the evolving structure of
the industry, this goal is impossible to meet
without improving the value chain from grape
producers to winemakers.
There are more than 200 wineries
in Texas, producing around 4,100 tons of
wine, making it the fourth-largest wine pro
ducing state in the nation. That puts Texas
behind California, New York and Washington
respectively. The University of Texas System
is the largest wine producer in the state with
over 400 ha planted near Fort Stockton in
West Texas. First established as an experi
mental vineyard in 1987, the university leases
the land to a group of Bordeaux wine makers
who produce two labels i.e. Ste. Genevieve
and Escondido Valley. The second largest
winery is Llano Estacado Winery.