April 01, 2010

Longhorn bullshit

So, in my last post, I wrote about some "Texas" wines. Only the wines I wrote about weren't all from "Texas," necessarily. Thanks to Russ Kane at VintageTexas I found out that the subtle phrase "for sale in Texas only" on so-called Texas wine labels is essentially code for "the grapes and/or wine used are in part or completely from out of state." It allows the label to not have to list an appellation, hiding the real source of the wine.

I remember seeing that phrase on several bottles in various wine shops and sections at grocery stores on my Texas visit. I know that the Becker "Iconoclast" wine I wrote about had that phrase on the label. I'm not sure about the others, but I know I saw that phrase enough during my visit to wonder about it. Honestly, I assumed it was a taxation issue, so that you might pay less tax if you only sold in state.

Why assume that? Because there's an AVA for multi-state wine. It's call "American." You saw it on 1996 Washington wines when severe winter weather led to an extremely short crop that meant several wineries bought California and other wine to fill out bottlings. I've seen it elsewhere, without shame. Apparently, in Texas, the truth doesn't set you free. Perhaps other states have this sneaky kind of thing to obfuscate on the true source of the wine. I don't want to single out Texas unnecessarily. But I'm let down and frankly kind of pissed to learn all this. I'm a wine professional and that phrase wasn't even clear to me. How can that be ethical? Good going Texas.


here&now said...

I like angry Vincent. You're right, of course. If you can't figure this stuff out, the rest of us are doomed.

Vincent Fritzsche said...

Angry Vincent. That's funny. Nice to see your blog link. I had no idea.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you that American Appellation is a better and more honest way to go, but wineries in Texas think that it looks less Texan.

I have even had discussions with consumers that think that the words "For Sale in Texas Only" means that this is a special Texas product that only Texans can buy. Go figure!

This loophole is in the Federal regulations for wine bottle labeling not in the state. As more growing wine producing states like Texas find themselves in short supply they will also seek cover under this regulation.


Vincent Fritzsche said...

It looks less Texan because it IS less Texan. People complain about government regulation, but this is exactly why it exists. People want their wine to look Texan when it's not, find a loophole that lets them follow the rules even if the ethics are disregarded, and then they'll probably complain if/when the loophole is rightfully removed. If people would just be up front and honest, and deal with the real issue, wouldn't things be better? If they want it to me be Texan, grow the grapes in Texas. If that's a problem or costs too much or whatever the issue, tough. Ok, rant over.

Russ Kane said...

Say it ain't so, Joe....