Vineyard and winery owners across the state of Texas are being asked for the first time to contribute to a statewide crush report being compiled by Texas A&M AgriLife’s enology program to help gauge the grape and wine industry’s status.
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Viticulture and Enology Program recently received appropriated funds in SB 1 to carry out a crush report with the state’s wine and grape industry. The AgriLife Extension viticulture and enology programs are based in the Department of Horticultural Sciences within the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
“The Texas wine industry has had an interest in a crush report for years but did not necessarily have an avenue to carry one out,” said Justin Scheiner, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension viticulture specialist and associate professor in the Department of Horticulture, Bryan-College Station. “Some states, like Virginia, with significant wine industries have contracted with private companies. And other states, including California, have mandatory reporting requirements and work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
Wine industry more than tripled in past decade
Since 2010, the Texas wine industry has grown from approximately 200 winery permits through the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to over 750 today. Likewise, vineyard acreage has more than doubled over that same period. Vineyards and wineries are now located in over half of the counties across the state.
The survey is a collaborative effort between AgriLife Extension, the Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas Artisan Vineyards Cooperative, Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association, Texas Hill Country Wineries, North Texas Wine Country, Texas Wine Growers, Gulf Coast Wine Growers Association, and Cross Timbers Grape and Wine Association.
“The major reason that Texas A&M was asked to carry out the crush report and vineyard survey is that we have many connections with the industry and close relationships with many industry members and organizations,” Scheiner said. “We also can carry out a quality survey for the state.”
Gathering the data
A crush report is a survey of winery production – things such as tons of grapes crushed or processed, cases bottled and types of grapes and wine. The vineyard production survey is similar but on the vineyard side – varieties, acreage, age and production.
Reporting is voluntary, but a crush report is the best means to gauge industry growth, Scheiner said.
Vineyard and winery owners/operators are asked to go to Texas Crush Report and Vineyard Production Survey to complete the survey.
“This first report can be used as a basis to determine growth and changes from year to year,” he said. “There are also a number of questions to help everyone better understand the industry from production activities, size and scope of producers, trends and new grape varieties.”
The information gathered in this survey may be used to:
– Assist marketing efforts to promote Texas grapes and wines.
– Facilitate beneficial legislative action.
– Identify common challenges for vineyards and wineries.
– Determine research needs and priorities.
– Identify demand for specific grape varieties.
– Establish a foundation to measure growth and change in the future.
To protect the confidentiality of survey respondents, Scheiner said Texas’ crush report and vineyard production survey data collection and analysis will be carried out exclusively by AgriLife Extension’s viticulture and enology team working across the state through the Department of Horticultural Sciences.
Utilizing the survey data
The grape and wine industry has been successful in advocating for legislation that enables growth and development, and the survey will only supply data to support those efforts, Scheiner said.
For example, legislative support allowed the industry to have wineries in dry counties and ship wines to consumers. And several legislative sessions ago, the industry became able to direct funding from excise taxes on wine toward research and education on grapes and wine. In 2017, an economic impact study reported a $13 billion impact on the state of Texas. That sum includes approximately $800 million in state and local taxes.
“A crush report and vineyard survey are a means to show that the industry is growing as well as show the potential ROI on previous legislation,” he said.
A public report of statewide data and data by region will be issued in October, Scheiner said.