October Harvests Festive Opportunities for Toasting Texas Wines

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New wine garden at State Fair of Texas uncorks Texas Wine Month.

Texas wines shine in the spotlight this October for Texas Wine Month, an annual celebration of the state's thriving wine industry, and the state is uncorking the celebration in a big way at this year's State Fair of Texas in Dallas. New this year, the State Fair of Texas Wine Garden allows fairgoers to explore the world of wine while discovering and meeting the people who have put the Lone Star State on the worldwide winemaking map.

"The State Fair Wine Garden provides the perfect atmosphere for tasting and learning about Texas wines in true Texas style," said Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. "Winemakers from across the state will pour their wines. Considering that roughly 2.5 million Texans visit the State Fair, this will be a Texas-sized tasting and a reminder that Texas is the fifth-largest wine producing state in the country."

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Texas Department of Agriculture, Staples invites Texans to toast the state's wine industry, a rising star that contributes more than $1 billion annually to the state's economy. Currently, Texas has 135 wineries and 210 commercial vineyards in operation.

At the Wine Garden, wine experts will conduct "Wine 101" classes and numerous Texas vintners will be available to answer questions during scheduled tastings throughout the length of the Fair from Sept. 28 to Oct. 21. Located on Nimitz Drive across the street from the Creative Arts Building, the Wine Garden is sponsored by Kroger Food Stores.

"The Texas wine industry has made great strides throughout the past several years, and the winemakers are even more excited about the road ahead," said Paul Bonarrigo, chairman of the Texas Wine Industry Development Advisory Committee and owner of Messina Hof Winery & Resort. "The great thing about Texas Wine Month is the many opportunities for consumers around the state to sample wines they might otherwise never know about. When people taste a good Texas wine, they become lifelong customers - and that's good for the entire industry."

Sponsored by the Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Wine Month promotes partnerships between wineries, retailers, restaurants and communities. The celebration has generated wine festivals, winery tours, cross-promotions, in-store tastings and various other activities across the state. To view a calendar of Texas Wine Month activities, to learn more about Texas wines, to locate a winery or to explore your Texas wine personality, visit http://www.gotexanwine.org.

About the Texas Wine Marketing Assistance Program
In 2001, the State Legislature created the Texas Wine Marketing Assistance Program (TWMAP), a TDA division designed to expand opportunities for the state's grape growers and wineries. Since the program's inception, the Texas wine industry has seen unprecedented growth and today contributes more than $1 billion annually to the state's economy.

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Ashley Smith
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