Our friends over at Texas Hill Country Wineries are having one heckuva wine trail this October 1-31. Lasting the entire month and featuring 42 participating Texas wineries, this year's Texas Wine Month Trail is set to be their best yet. (Details: http://bit.ly/1wx8657) As Texas Winery insurance specialists, we here at Regnier Insurance want to make sure you don't miss out on this unique event. So we're giving away 2 tickets to 1 lucky winner! Enter to win at the link below. Deadline to enter is Sunday, 9/21: http://on.fb.me/1wmpbM2
NEW Texas Hill Country Wineries Brochure is Out! It Features 42 Wineries, a New & Updated Map, & 28 Eat, Sleep, Travel Partners. You can download (.PDF) it here: http://texaswinetrail.com/images/uploads/misc/FINAL2014Brochure.pdf
Rain or shine, we're under drought conditions - be good stewards of a precious resource.
By Mark Greenspan. (Source Article)
Quantification of water relations is key. That means we need to measure things. I’ve been a big fan of plant water status measurements, and you can refer to my previous articles on irrigation for deeper descriptions. The two pieces of plant moisture equipment that I rely on most are the pressure chamber and the porometer. I’ve described both in previous articles, but both are portable instruments that we use primarily during midday to measure plant water status. I find both tools to be indispensable. I only wish there were ways to make those measurements automatically because the short afternoon window, travel time and expense make extensive measurements with those instruments difficult and costly. I am looking at other options for these measurements; but until then, we are getting our money’s worth out of them. Knowing the water stress level of the vine allows us to modify our irrigation regime to dial in specific stress levels in the vines at certain times of the growing season and avoid going overboard with stress, potentially causing crop loss or quality reduction.
Soil moisture monitoring has also allowed me to reduce the irrigation quantities applied once irrigation cycles begin. By monitoring the total amount of moisture being stored in the soil from an irrigation and then depleted by the vine, I almost always apply between 18 to 22 percent of crop evapotranspiration (Etc) as a maintenance (non-deficit) level. That is far less than is being applied by many growers, who believe that they are “deficit” irrigating at 50 to 60 percent of ETc. I believe the issue with the ETc model, in general, is that it does not account for stomatal pore closure, which occurs in the vines as the season progresses, even without water stress, but is greater (i.e., more closed) under desirable levels of water stress for fine winegrapes. Because I’ve discussed these measurements before and have not changed my practices, I will not go into their use further in this column but rather discuss general practices under drought conditions.
Drought Management Practices
There are many other practices that should be applied during periods of drought. Here is a brief list:
To me and my certified crop advisor colleagues, irrigating deeper than the root system is a no-no. It not only pushes water past the root zone, where it cannot be taken up, but it also moves nitrate and other potential pollutants (think persistent and mobile pesticides) past the root zone and into the vadose zone (the zone between the root system and the water table). The soluble materials and water are either lost, or they move into the groundwater or in surface or subsurface run-off, all of which will occur in wetter climates.
TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, VISIT WINE BUSINESS MONTHLY.
By: Leslie Brenner of the Dallas News
We’ve been eating local (or trying to!) for years. Now it’s time to drink local.
It’s never been easier or more rewarding, because at long last, Texas wines, beers and spirits are really coming into their own.
Anyone who’s been following — and sipping, savoring and appreciating — Texas wines over the last couple of decades knows that our vintners have made amazing progress. “We’ve come a long way, but now we have wines to be proud of,” says Hunter Hammett, sommelier at the Pyramid Restaurant at the Fairmont Dallas hotel.
Hammett’s wine list at the Pyramid certainly illustrates his enthusiasm: It includes a whole section of Texas wines, complete with a map of Texas’ American Viticultural Areas. Among the wineries producing impressive wines, he says, are Brennan Vineyards in Comanche, Duchman Family Winery in Driftwood, Lost Oak Winery in Burleson, McPherson Cellars in Lubbock, Pedernales Cellars in Stonewall and Sandstone Cellars Winery in Mason.
The Pyramid isn’t the only restaurant featuring Texas wines prominently. They’re front-and-center on the list at Stephan Pyles’ Stampede 66. At Cafe on the Green at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, master sommelier James Tidwell leads off his wide-ranging global list with a formidable collection of nearly 30 Texas vintages. (Unfortunately, his staff doesn’t necessarily share his enthusiasm for them.)
Meanwhile, seemingly overnight, Texas craft beers are making a huge, foamy splash. “If you look back just seven years ago, there were only seven breweries in the state, and there were a small handful of brewpubs,” says Matt Quenette, beer director at the Meddlesome Moth in Dallas. “It seems like it’s growing exponentially: We’re at 108 breweries in Texas, and the majority of that growth has been in the last three to four years. Texas has the resources to be a Colorado or Oregon when it comes to craft beer.”
Not all Texas craft beers are worth drinking, he’s quick to point out — far from it. But we do have some truly impressive brews, including those from a tiny brewery, Jester King, and large-scale Real Ale Brewing Co. (Both are near Austin.) He also singles out several “brilliant, well-thought-out, delicious beers” from Dallas breweries: Velvet Hammer, an imperial red ale from Peticolas Brewing Co., Mosaic IPA from Community Beer Co. and Temptress, an imperial milk stout from Lakewood Brewing Co.
If you’re just discovering Texas craft beers, knowledgeable guidance can be essential — which is one reason you may want to seek them out at the Moth, where Texas brews are carefully selected for inclusion on the gastropub’s global list.
If you know what you’re looking for — or want to experiment and play — you can grab a seat at LUCK (Local Urban Craft Kitchen) in Trinity Groves, where an impressive 40 local craft beers are available on tap, or the Rustic, which has a comprehensive selection as well.
Finally, there are the spirits. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is coming up on its 20-year anniversary, but it has only been in the last few years that the brown spirits — bourbon, rye and other whiskeys — that excite spirits connoisseurs are being distilled (not just blended and bottled) with seriousness in Texas. Among them are Garrison Bros. Distillery in Hye (in the Hill Country); Herman Marshall Whiskey in Dallas; and Balcones Distilling in Waco.
“The spirits are getting better, finally,” says Michael Martensen, former co-owner of Smyth and the Cedars Social and a Dallas cocktail and spirits guru. He’s very hot on the whiskeys from Balcones — particularly its Single Malt, which has won a slew of medals (beginning with double gold for Best Whisk(e)y at the 2011 New York World Wine and Spirits Competition), and Brimstone, a Texas scrub-oak-smoked corn whiskey.
“They’re all young,” Martensen says of the Texas whiskeys on the market. With more time in the barrel, they’ll smooth out and lose their sharp alcohol kick. Give it three or four years, and the sipping should be even better.
Where to find a good line-up of Texas spirits? Whiskey Cake in Plano and FM Smokehouse in Las Colinas both have good selections. In Dallas, Dee Lincoln Steak and Burger Bar and the Rustic offer many (though the Rustic doesn’t carry Balcones).
Insiders are buzzing, by the way, about a fledgling distillery, Firestone and Robertson Distilling Co. in Fort Worth. At the moment, the only whiskey Firestone sells is one called TX, which it blends but doesn’t distill; the release of its first distillation is in the not-too-distant future.
A recent visit to the distillery made quite an impression on Martensen, who had the opportunity to barrel-taste its first distillation. “It was drinking like a five-year-old whiskey,” he said. “I think it has to do with the Texas heat.” With all the crazy temperature variation we’ve been having, he says, “the barrels are expanding and contracting and expanding and contracting. That’s how you get the flavor out of whiskey.”
That would seem to promise even more exciting things in the future for Texas whiskey: Extreme whether is definitely something we do well.
But no need to wait: There’s plenty of wonderful sipping to be done right now, right here.
ORIGINAL DALLAS NEWS ARTICLE: http://www.dallasnews.com/entertainment/columnists/leslie-brenner/20140322-drinking-local-has-never-been-better-in-texas.ece
Why does your winery need insurance?
Winery tours are incredibly popular these days and a great way to spend a weekend, especially in Texas and New Mexico. However, with each wine special event — whether a tasting, tour, catered dinner or wedding — there are risks that should be insured.
If the event is hosted on the winery’s property, there are “two big things,” according to Peter Liesenfelt, account executive for Wine American Insurance Administrators.
“If someone at a tour or event slips on the floor and falls, it is covered under general liability. The other thing that comes up is liquor liability, where there is a risk of someone drinking too much getting into an accident.
Laurie Infantino, president of the Insurance Skills Center, agrees that a winery needs both a commercial general liability policy and a liquor liability policy. The CGL protects against bodily injury for things like slips, while the liquor liability policy protects against negligence in serving liquor either to a minor or to someone who becomes too intoxicated and causes an accident.
Insuring wineries becomes more complicated when the special events are more than just a tasting, insurance experts say.
For example, if the winery is taking guests on a tour on a mechanized car or train, or has amusement rides, there’s a bigger exposure. Or, if the winery has a house on its property that it rents out to guests, there is additional risk.
If an outside caterer is hired for a special event, wineries should collect certificates of insurance naming the winery as an additional insured and making sure coverage is in force for general liability, workers’ compensation and even auto insurance, advises George Hunt, an agent with United Valley Insurance Agency.
“You want to make sure they have auto in case they back over someone with their vehicle while delivering the food,” for example, “and make sure they have workers’ comp for workers doing the serving so that if someone gets hurt, the person can’t come back against the winery,” Hunt adds.
These are just a few of the basic reasons why your winery needs insurance. To learn more about all the insurance coverages Regnier Insurance can provide for your winery, please visit www.regnierinsurance.com/wineries or feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 252-9435.
Congratulations to our clients who were winners of the Texas Monthly's Best Texas Wines of 2013!
Brennan Vineyards (Lily 2012)
Brennan Vineyards (Tempranillo 2011) - HONORABLE MENTION
Calais Winery (Roussanne - La Cuvée Principale 2012)
Calais Winery (La Cuvée Du Manoir 2011) - HONORABLE MENTION
Flat Creek Estate (Pinot Grigio 2012) - HONORABLE MENTION
Hye Meadow Winery (Viognier 2012) - HONORABLE MENTION
Pedernales Cellars (GSM 2011)
Pedernales Cellars (Viognier Reserve 2012)
Wedding Oak Winery (Sangiovese 2010)
To see a full list of winners, check out the full article HERE.