Just What the Cowboy Ordered

Despite the horrendously monopolized alcohol distribution system in Texas, that state has always bred some of the most fervent wine lovers in the country. It turns out too that there may be no other state in the Union that so actively supports its own in-state wineries. The vast majority of the wine produced in the state of Texas is consumed by Texans.

The seriousness with which Texans take their wine is demonstrated at Vintage Texas: The Wine Blog Searching for Texas Terroir."

Vintage Texas is truly dedicated to giving wine lovers an intimate look inside the vibrant Texas wine industry and to looking at what Texas Terroir really means.

The site is run by Russ Kane, who describes himself in this manner on the site:

Russ Kane is a wine writer with articles and tasting notes that have
appeared in local and regional publications including Texas Culinary
Thymes, ArtsHouston, Baycomber, My Table Magazine, and

The fact that he is has been paid to write isn't a surprise when you read his posts. They are thorough, enlightening, detailed and educational. And they are fairly frequent too. Vintage Texas is coming up on its 1 year anniversary in June and as far as I can tell, there is no other blog in existence that so professionally and thoroughly covers the wines and wine industry of Texas.

I have some experience with Texas, having represented West Texas' Llano Estacado for a number of years back in the 1990s. What I learned from that experience was that anyone who wrote off the wines of Texas for no other reason than they were from Texas clearly hadn't tasted the broad range of Texas wines. Today there are many more bottlings and wineries from across the State.

Texas, as a state and a culture, has a strange reputation among those who have never lived there. That reputation as being the home of cowboys, shit-kickers, oil men and blond, big-haired cheerleaders does its wine industry no good. But that reputation isn't going away any time soon. That's why the state's wine industry ought to be very excited to have a blog like "Vintage Texas" up and running and doing such a good job.

8 Responses

  1. Arthur - April 20, 2009

    You mean to tell me there are vineyards east of San Joaquin Valley?!?!?!….
    Well, I’ll be….
    This is a perfect example of a niche blog and one that is sure to rattle the cages of California-centric wine lovers.

  2. Dylan - April 20, 2009

    Perception versus reality. When someone mentions Texas, wine isn’t the first thing which comes to mind. I’m glad that Russ Kane has taken this approach to break the current perception and bring wine to the front of the frontier.

  3. Kasey Carpenter - April 20, 2009

    the secret’s out.

  4. Alfonso - April 21, 2009

    Congrats to Russ for a very nice blog. There are many certifiably crazy people here in Texas with the dream of making wine. I once did too, but now I guess I am just part of the horrendous problem, trying to make the world safe for Italian wine, as Dr. Parzen says. In any event, Russ has done a great service to make a portal for info on the crazy Texas winemakers, many whom I love dearly. Anyone who has had to brave tornadoes, thunderstorms of a Biblical nature, snakes in the vineyards, bumble bees the size of walnuts and 98% humidity to bring in the grapes has got to love this wine business. It’s not so bad here Tom, well, wait we do have a bonkers governor. Oh well, pass the BBQ . Congrats, Russ!

  5. Russ Kane - April 22, 2009

    Thanks for the kudos. I am very surprised that I was even on your radar.
    The blog has been a wild ride. I started it as a mere writing excerise leading up to a book on the Texas wine experience – part snif & swirl, part roadside geology, part travels in other regions (similar and different to Texas) with lessons to learn.
    The most incredible part of this experience is the pioneering effort directed to define what is the Texas “sense of place”. The “how-to” manual just ain’t been wrote yet, but it is evolving! This place is full of great stories (both the agony and ecstasy) of discovery by growers, winemakers and consumers. I am pleased to be here to help tell them……
    “Texas wine is the chill of a blue norther tempered by the fire of the summer sun, the fierceness of a spring thunderstorm calmed by an endless sky full of countless stars, and the stick of a prickly pear cactus soothed by a bluebonnet’s kiss.”
    Quote credited to Chesley Sanders (Aficionado, Ft. Worth fireman and cowboy poet).

  6. Gregory Bruni - April 23, 2009

    Hello Russ and Tom,
    My experience with the two of you has been one of respect and mutual benefit. You have evaluated our wines many times through the years. Your worldly knowledge of wine has educated us at times and motivated us to become better winemakers. In return I know you enjoyed yourselves in the process!
    Thanks for your passion and continued support of Texas Wine.
    Congratulations on your success it is well deserived.
    All the best,

  7. mydailywine - April 27, 2009

    I am Texas girl but the heat made me fade..just like a grape I am perkier in California’s cool climes.

  8. Alfonso Cevola - August 28, 2009

    Russ Kane is the best!
    And great line, Tom, “Despite the horrendously monopolized alcohol distribution system in Texas.” you are such a funny guy! Such a funny guy!!

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