Local wineries weigh in on Texas HB 1514 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Local wineries weigh in on Texas HB 1514

Under federal law, wine bottles can't have the 'Texas" label unless they are made with a minimum of 75 percent of Texas-grown grapes (source: KCBD video) Under federal law, wine bottles can't have the 'Texas" label unless they are made with a minimum of 75 percent of Texas-grown grapes (source: KCBD video)
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

If you look at a bottle of local wine, you might see “Texas” on the label, which by federal law means that wine is made with a minimum of 75 percent of grapes grown in the Lone Star State.

But, a bill filed by State Representative Jason Isaac of Dripping Springs aims to change that.

In House Bill 1514, Representative Isaac wants Texas labeled wines to be made up of 100% Texas-grown grapes.

We spoke with some of our local wineries to see what they think of the bill, and how it might affect their production.

Tim Abascal is the Winery Manager at Caprock Winery in Lubbock.

He says he supports House Bill 1514, but says he could see where it would be a financial issue for Texas wineries that participate in mass production.

“It does cause a little bit of a pain for Texas wineries to get all Texas juice," he said. "Um, it creates a competitive market for growers, which is good. But I think it keeps us honest. I think it keeps it where if it’s going to say Texas, it should be Texas not just 85 percent, so I’m ok with it."

“It’s easier to just push a product as a Texas winery from juice from another place, because people would assume the winery is in Texas, the juice is Texas," Abascal said. "And so, I don’t have a problem with it personally.".

Mark Hyman, president of Llano Estacado Winery, says he thinks it’s not a bad thought, but believes it isn’t realistic at this time.

In a statement, Hyman says:

“Texas is simply not yet ready for this to happen. Why? Because the state has not demonstrated that we have long term, sustainable, quality yields “consistently” year after year in an abundant enough supply to put this into effect just yet.”

As a member of the Texas Wine and Grape Grower Association, Hyman says that group’s board of directors has voted to oppose bill.

For now, it’s a waiting game, as Representative Isaac told The Texas Tribune he would consider an amended version that would phase in the label change at 80 or 90 percent.

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