Big Thicket Messenger - Local News
Stories Added - August 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company

Staples travels to DC
Big Thicket Messenger - August 2008

The 42nd annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival celebrates some of the best of Texas this Summer by featuring Texas winemakers and grape growers who will share their stories about the culture, spirit and personality behind the Texas wine industry.
“Texans have a great sense of pride in our state’s wine industry, and this festival provides a wonderful way for us to invite people from all over the world to come to Texas and discover our state’s unique vineyards and wineries,” Commissioner Staples said. “Texas is among the top agriculture producing states in the nation and we are excited to show festival goers how our wine industry is truly a rising star.”
On Tuesday, June 24, Commissioner and Mrs. Staples, along with Governor Rick Perry and First Lady, Anita Perry, joined together for the Celebration of the Lone Star State, at a dinner that kicked off the 2008 Smithsonian Folk Festival the festival is a cultural heritage exposition that takes place every Summer at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
“Texas: A Celebration of Music, Food and Wine,” began on June 25 through July 6 in the shadow of the Washington Monument and historic Smithsonian Museums. It featured the Texas Winemaking Tent, sponsored by the Texas Department of Agriculture. In the tent, winemakers and growers from across the state will “talk terroir” and discuss “making wine for Texas tastes,” as well as demonstrate winemaking techniques.
The Texas Winemaking Tent housed four stations representing the winemaking process, the vineyard and harvesting, crushing and fermentation, aging and bottling, and a sensory station. Visitors can informally talk to the winemakers, learn about winemaking equipment, enjoy photographs and even participate in some hands-on opportunities.
“This is a great opportunity to tell people that Texas is more than beer and barbecue, and that we are a significant wine and culinary destination,” Raymond Haak, owner of Haak Winery, said.
Texas wineries selected by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in participating included: Alamosa Wine Cellars (Bend), Fall Creek Vineyards (Tow), Grape Creek Vineyards (Fredericksburg), Haak Winery (Santa Fe), Kiepersol Estates (Tyler), Lightcatcher Winery (Fort Worth), McPherson Cellars (Lubbock) and Texas Hills Vineyards (Johnson City). Texas master sommelier Guy Stout of Houston joins the wineries, providing his take on Texas’ most promising varietals.
With a state as big as Texas, each region has its own soul and climate, which allows Texas to produce a remarkably diverse assortment of wine. Today, Texas is the fifth largest wine producer in the United States, with more than 160 licensed wineries in operation and 210 family-owned vineyards covering more than 3,200 acres of land. Visitors from around the country and around the world are discovering ‘Texas’ vineyards and participating in wine tastings as part of their trips to the Lone Star State.
For more information on the special event, visit the festival’s site at www.folklife.si.edu/festival/2008/Texas/index.html.




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