Your questions on Texas wine answered

Assistant editor Jordan Mackay wrote "Sour Grapes" about Texas wine for the October issue.

From George Bohmfalk:

I read a couple of places a couple of years ago that there was some terrible bug or fungus or other pest ravaging Texas vineyards, and that it was expected to devastate like 90% of all vines. Then, nothing. Do you know anything about this, or was it just some oenologic equivalent of an urban
myth?

Jordan Mackay responds:

The bug you're talking about is most likely Pierce's Disease, a bacteria-like organism spread by an insect called a sharpshooter. It has been and remains a problem for grape growers in the Central Texas region. The South Texas and High Plains growing regions seem to be exempt from the
bug. Some grape varieties are resistant to the disease, but vinifera grapes—favorites such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay—are especially vulnerable. Pierce's continues to be a problem in the Hill Country and has the potential to wipe out large portions of harvests. The doom you heard prophesied is still a possibility, though there is constant research being done to make sure this does not occur. Because vines can survive in other parts of the state, the Texas industry will survive. By the way, California is deathly scared of the same thing. There is talk out there that the existence of the entire industry is in danger. For more information, read this article in Wine Spectator:
http://www.winespectator.com/Wine/Spectator/Archives/20000531/053100n1.html

To read a paper on the disease in Texas, follow this link:
http://horticulture.tamu.edu/newsletters/vine/abv0596.html

 

From Keith Grasso, Laporte, Texas:

In your article you didn't mention Messina-Hoff or Val Verde wineries. Also a list of wineries in Texas would have been nice.

Jordan Mackay responds:

You're right, I didn't have the space to mention every winery and there are some out there that produce some good wines. If you're interested in a list of Texas wineries, I recommend the Texas Wine Trails website:
http://www.neosoft.com/~scholars/texas.htm.

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