New York, New York! That is exactly where some local residents found themselves recently pouring Texas, and more specifically, Terry County wines for the folks in New York City. On May 30, the Texas Department of Agriculture Wine Marketing Program organized this opportunity for New Yorkers to experience Texas wine at its best.
Wineries invited were those who had won Gold or Double Gold in major wine competitions in the past year. Wineries with local connections invited included Duchman Family Winery, Llano Estacado Winery, Lost Draw Cellars and Triple D Winery. However, most of the other wineries participating use predominantly Terry County grown grapes.
Other wineries included 1851 Wineries, 4R Ranch Vineyards and Winery, Becker Vineyards, Bending Branch Winery, Bernhardt Winery, Blue Ostrich Winery, Brennan Vineyards, Fall Creek Vineyards, Haak Vineyards and Winery, Hye Meadow Winery, Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards, Messina Hof Winery, Pedernales Cellars, Rancho Loma Vineyards, Ron Yates, White Fox Vineyards and William Chris Vineyards.
These wineries represented all regions of Texas. The wine tasting was held in the City Winery in SoHo New York. Locals who participated included Katy Jane Seaton and Bree Nelson, representing High Plains Wine Growers and Mary Wilmeth and her daughter Liz Braquet.
Katy Jane, who is the Executive Director of the High Plains Winegrowers stated,
“This was an event that Texas Department of Agriculture had sponsored in years past and then the funding was lost. So we have to make up some time and get our name out there.”
Bree took part in a panel discussion during the event. Most of the attendees were NY wine enthusiasts, foodies and bloggers. Others participating in the panel discussion included Paul Bonarrigo, Jr. of Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association and Messina Hof Winery and Jennifer McInnis, Texas Hill Country Wineries Association and Bending Branch Winery. They each gave an overview of their AVA including the number of vineyard acres, climate, challenges and other facts and figures on wine grapes in Texas.
According to Mary,
“They were all very impressed with the quality of our wines and so many were surprised to learn that grapes were even grown in Texas. It was really educational for the people who attended.”
It was also a great opportunity to network with other wineries from around the state and some deals were struck on selling some grapes while at the event. Katy Jane stated,
“Our people did a really good job of getting out there and showing them what Texas and High Plains wines are all about.”
There was a lot of “Meet and Greet” that went on and bottles were exchanged with other wineries. Mary stated, “It was almost surreal to think that I was standing in big city New York City pouring my wines that were grown in the West Texas dirt of the High Plains and Tokio, Texas.”
Katy Jane stated, “Of the 20 Texas wineries in attendance, the lowest amount of High Plains grapes used to make these Gold and Double Gold award winning wines was 45%.
Most of them were made with 60 – 70% High Plains grapes and that brings me the greatest pride as the Executive Director and as a grape grower.” This was definitely a great opportunity to get the word out about Texas grapes and especially about Terry County – The Grape Capital of Texas.