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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


Vitis Bourquiniana

varieties, LeNoir,

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

major stakeholders:


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.