This week’s Super Interesting Legislative Fight relates to who can claim their wine is “made in Texas” (HB1514/SB1833). The pro camp argues that only wine made with 100% Texas grapes should be technically allowed to market itself as “Texas” wine. The anti camp says the Texas wine industry isn’t mature enough to keep up with demand yet, and that this restriction would cause undue hardship to growers contending with the state’s crazy weather.
Current Rule: If it’s made with a minimum of 75% grapes grown in Texas, it can be labeled as a Texas wine. This is in line with federal labeling regulations. States such as California and Washington have adopted stricter standards for geographic labels.
Who’s in the pro camp and why?
Mostly smaller winemakers who say the proposed regulation would enhance the value of the “Made in Texas” designation. They also say wine drinkers often feel duped when they’re informed that the “Texas wine” they’re drinking might have 25% California grapes in it.
Who’s in the anti camp and why?
The Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association, which points to highly unpredictable weather that leads to yields that are often insufficient to support high-volume production of 100% Texas wines. They also say there are other, bigger issues facing the industry at the moment, such as contamination from herbicides.
So, what’s going to happen?
Right now, probably nothing, because the bill is stuck in committee and the legislative session is about to end. It’s something to keep an eye on though!
Do you have strong feelings about the integrity of “Texas” wines? Want to start a 100% Texas grape winery? Well, it starts with a winery permit from the TABC, so give us a call and we can help get you started!