July 19, 2010

New expanded registry will benefit Texas wine industry

TDA, AgriLife Extension cooperated on extensive new buyer/seller venue

By: Paul Schattenberg, 210-467-6575  
Contact(s): Contact: Bobby Champion, 512-475-3303 Robert.Champion@TexasAgriculture.gov
Mike Sipowicz, 806-746-4010, mpsipowicz@ag.tamu.edu
Fritz Westover, 281-855-5608, fawestover@ag.tamu.edu
 
AUSTIN – Wine-grape growers interested in selling their fruit, as well as winemakers interested in buying wine grapes or selling bulk wine, may find their "connection" through the new Texas Wine Grape Registry.

“The registry gives wine-grape and wine buyers and sellers a way to share information about grapes and bulk wines available for sale,” said Robert Champion, state coordinator for wine marketing at the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Champion said the online registry is authorized through the state’s agriculture code and is hosted and maintained by the agriculture department. It provides up-to-date information for users, and those adding listings are responsible for the accuracy of the posted content.

Mike Sipowicz, Texas AgriLife Extension Service enology program specialist in Lubbock, partnered with Champion and the department to make the new registry a reality. Sipowicz said the registry will greatly enhance communications between wine-grape and wine producers and prospective buyers, helping the industry remain connected.

“The registry provides a venue in which people in the commercial vineyard and/or wine-making aspects of the viticulture industry may find those interested in their products who they otherwise may never have known about,” he said.

Most importantly, the registry will help provide a backstop for wine-grape producers during times when fruit production exceeds demand, he said.

“As an example, for the past several years wine-grape production in areas of the state has been below average, and, if many producers start to experience excellent yields at the same time, this could potentially cause problems for many growers,” he said. “The industry needs an outlet available for regional or on-site producers who may become overwhelmed by the amount of fruit being produced and are unable to handle it. In such an instance, the worst thing you can do is nothing, so you need to prepare for the possibility and open up the supply to buyers.”

The Texas Department of Agriculture modified and expanded their existing grape registry to host information sent directly from buyers and sellers. Those interested in using the registry to place a listing to buy or sell grapes or wine should send contact information and details on quantity, variety and price to Robert.Champion@TexasAgriculture.gov.

“This registry has been in place for years, and we are excited this year’s wine-grape harvest allows for increased buying and selling of surplus grapes,” Champion said. “More wine-grapes mean more registry use. I encourage sellers and buyers to contact me with their information.”

To view the registry, go to "http://www.gotexanwine.org/wineriesandgrapegrowers/resources/texasregistry.html".

-30-