Wine and Texas -- Valentine's Love Story

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There's a romantic streak deep in the heart of Texans and, come Valentine's Day, a chorus of Lone Star lips will be whispering that magical four-letter word: wine.

There's a romantic streak deep in the heart of Texans and, come Valentine's Day, a chorus of Lone Star lips will be whispering that magical four-letter word: wine.

"We definitely see an increase in our wine sales leading up to Valentine's Day," said Chris Hunt, a wine sales associate with Austin's Grapevine Market. "It's a big holiday for us and we'll do gift baskets and offer gourmet items. Typically, we have a promotion the weekend before which brings in customers. If this year is anything like we've had in the past, we expect to sell more wine."

The fruit of the vine has a long connection to special occasions and, in Texas, wine's link to romance is remembered almost as well as the Alamo. This, after all, is the nation's fifth-largest wine producing state and its winemaking roots date back to the 18th century. And while restaurants and wine retailers have fond feelings about February 14, the day presents a special challenge to the connoisseur Casanova: what wine goes with love?

Pairings from the Heart
"Whatever Texas wine you enjoy is the right wine," said Bobby Champion Jr., wine marketing coordinator for the Texas Department of Agriculture. "Texas is home to more than 130 wineries, so the selection is outstanding. In some cases, people planning something special for Valentine's might buy a more expensive vintage than they'd usually select, and it's always a nice gesture to choose the favorite wine of your significant other even if it's not your own."

If food is part of your V-Day plan, the experts have some advice that can help you narrow your choices. Consider these pairing suggestions:

  • Steak: Texas Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir
  • Fish: Texas Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
  • Poultry: Texas Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier
  • Oysters: Texas Chardonnay, Fume Blanc, Viognier
  • Dessert: Texas Riesling, Port, Orange Muscat
  • Chocolates: Texas Port, Muscat Canelli, Cabernet

Valentine's Events
For a lot of Texans, a romantic Valentine's Day destination is as near as their local winery. Much more than a manufacturing facility, many of these establishments have beautifully appointed tasting rooms and event facilities. During February, wineries across Texas plan special activities for couples.

Among the most popular is the Hill Country Wine Lovers Trail, an affiliated tour of 22 wineries in the scenic Texas Hill Country. The two-weekend event is held on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday before and after Valentine's Day. Visitors pay one price and can sample wine and chocolates at each stop on the tour.

Other Valentine's highlights include:

  • Feb. 9: Becker Vineyards, Lavender Haus Reception Hall Valentine's Dinner
  • Feb. 9. Chisholm Trail Winery, Black Tie Valentine's Dinner
  • Feb. 9: Haak Winery, Port and Chocolate Tasting
  • Feb.14: Messina Hof Winery & Resort, Valentine's Day Murder Mystery Dinner
  • Feb. 16. Becker Vineyards, Valentine's Luncheon
  • Feb. 16: Fall Creek Vineyards, Wine and Roses Valentine's Luncheon
  • Feb. 16: Fall Creek Vineyards, "Like Wine For Chocolate" Pairing Class

To find out about Valentine's events in your area, call the nearest winery. For a complete listing of Texas wineries, activities and contact information, go to http://www.gotexanwine.org.

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