follow the nuevo spanish wine trail!
Heidi Stine
January 28, 2011 | Heidi Stine

new members for january

TAPAS would like to welcome our newest members!

Time Posted: Jan 28, 2011 at 5:34 PM
Heidi Stine
January 27, 2011 | Heidi Stine

tapas elects 2011 board of directors


Jeff Stai, TAPAS President, (209) 559-0832,
Stuart Spencer, TAPAS Secretary, (209) 367-4727,

TAPAS Elects 2011 Board of Directors

Sacramento, CA - January 26, 2011 - At its Annual Meeting and Dinner at Tapa The World restaurant in Sacramento, the Tempranillo Advocates, Producers and Amigos Society (TAPAS) announced the results of the 2011 election for its Board of Directors.

Elected this year for two-year terms were:

Markus Bokisch, Bokisch Vineyards, (continuing)
Earl Jones, Abacela Vineyards, (continuing)
Les Martin, Red Lily Vineyards, (continuing)
Doug McCrea, Vina Salida, (newly elected)
Dorothy Schuler, Bodegas Paso Robles, (newly elected)

The full Board for 2011 will consist of:

Jeff Stai, Twisted Oak Winery, - President
Markus Bokisch, Bokisch Vineyards, - Vice President
Stuart Spencer, St.Amant Winery, - Secretary
Les Martin, Red Lily Vineyards, - Treasurer
Earl Jones, Abacela Vineyards,
Doug McCrea, Vina Salida,
Christian Miller, Full Glass Research,
Dorothy Schuler, Bodegas Paso Robles,

TAPAS thanks departing Board members Eric Alvarez (A Cellar Full of Noise) and Penny Gadd-Coster (Coral Mustang Wines) for their exemplary service over the last two years.

Tempranillo Advocates, Producers and Amigos Society (TAPAS) is a trade association comprised of over one hundred members, whose mission is: "To promote Tempranillo and other varietal wine grapes native to the Iberian Peninsula and wines produced from them in North America." See .

TAPAS Board 2011

Pictured: Jeff Stai, Heidi Stine (Exec. Dir.), Markus Bokisch, Dorothy Schuler, Earl Jones, Christian Miller, Les Martin, Stuart Spencer

Not Pictured: Dave Corey, Doug McCrea

Time Posted: Jan 27, 2011 at 10:50 PM
Heidi Stine
January 26, 2011 | Heidi Stine

twisted oak - small and hot

Congratulations to TAPAS member Twisted Oak Winery, which has been selected by Wine Business Monthly as one of the "Hot Small Brands" of 2010!  The selections were announced at a party hosted by the magazine in conjunction with the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium currently taking place in Sacramento, California. 

Time Posted: Jan 26, 2011 at 5:26 PM
Heidi Stine
January 20, 2011 | Heidi Stine

testing tempranillo in texas

Check out this article from Lubbock Online! The original can be found at:

Research looks to match grape varieties with South Plains climate

Created 2011-01-20 00:11

The face of the Texas wine label may be changing, and with it a greater variety of wines for consumers and an economical boom to the state from an already burgeoning wine industry.

The Texas Department of Agriculture and area researchers are making a push to place wine on the list of things most notable about Texas, especially in the South Plains.

Texas is the fifth-largest wine-producing state in the country with more than 200 wineries and over $1 billion contributed annually to the Texas economy.

Production of Texas grapes in 2010 was up 44 percent over the previous year. And while wine may not be the first item that comes to mind when thinking about Texas, the times are changing.

The Agriculture Department allotted $1.23 million in grants in 2008 to support the continued growth of the state’s wine industry. It has subsidized research on the viability of different types of wine grapes that may be grown in Texas in order to develop a long-term vision and marketable identity for the wine industry in the state. The bulk of that money, $1 million, has gone to Texas Tech, and the remainder to Grayson County College.

Out of that grant, in a joint appointment with Tech and the Texas Cooperative Extension, Ed Hellman is leading viticultural research in support of the Texas grape and wine industry at the Texas Agri-life Research and Extension Center at 1102 E. FM 1294.

Viticulture research focuses on grape production practices in an effort to match varieties that are well-suited to the climate where they are grown.

This research helps to identify potential grape varieties to field test in Texas for strengths and weaknesses in order to identify the ones that will yield the best possible wines for the state.

Hellman says, “This year is the first year we have been able to harvest the grapes we are field testing. They have been growing here for four years, under our care. It will take a long while to process and evaluate, but the research will help move the industry in Texas in a better direction, and our grapes will be in higher demand in other parts of the state. Texas and the South Plains will become more well-known for their exceptional wines.

“The wine industry here started with traditional varieties like Cabernets and Bordeaux, but maybe we can do better with other varieties in our hot climate. We are evaluating wine grape varieties flourishing in parts of Europe like Spain and Portugal and southern France and Italy where climate is a lot like it is here in the South Plains. The varieties aren’t new, but are new for here.”

Tempranillo is one of the varietals that is showing a lot of promise as a favorite among wine producers in Texas.

Mark Hyman, president and CEO of Llano Estacado Winery, said: “The research programs are outstanding and were desperately needed. We are excited about the process and have been testing the waters with Tempranillo, using small batches of artisinal wines and are releasing this spring a 100 percent Tempranillo cellar reserve wine. Identifying great varietals is the first step. We must also focus our efforts on training our tasting and sales people to educate consumers as the burgeoning wine industry on the South Plains produces wines that are highly marketable, but not well-known in this region as of yet.”

The initial stages have relied heavily on researching wine varietals and identifying the ones with the greatest sustainability and marketability.

But the next obstacle is educating Texas consumers about the varietals showing the most promise — which are not new to the world wine industry, but may be new to the Texas wine industry and its consumers.

Hellman and his research associates and assistants rely heavily on a scientific model of evaluation, beginning with a Geographic Information System (GIS).

GIS analyzes climates, soils and grape varieties of wine regions of the world in an effort to match them to similar characteristics here.

In conjunction, the physiology of grapevine adaptation to climate is investigated. Those results reveal which grape varieties and rootstocks will adapt best to climate and be disease resistant, which may lead to modifications of grape production practices that will improve the end result.

And the end result is the part that most consumers are interested in — which bottle of wine to purchase.

Hellman says, “There is an intense interest by wineries and growers to try these new varieties. Consumers are used to Merlot and Cabernet. But there are many other varieties and blends that will help our industry move forward. That’s why I came here to Texas to help the state become a significant wine-growing region. We can do even better by adding these other varieties.”

But before the best wine possible can be produced, the grapes harvested from the one-acre research vineyard at the Agri-life center must go through numerous tests before making the cut and eventual bottling.

Keith Jenkins is a research associate with the project who is putting the grapes through processing trials at every stage of production, including bottling.

After harvest, the grapes are crushed and placed into pickle jars that have been modified with a fermentation lock to keep the grapes’ natural gases in and air and unwanted bacteria out.

Utilizing the pickle jar method mimics micro-scale fermentation. Jenkins says, “It is easy to replicate and a lot of people are using this method because of scale and cost. We do have plans to expand to larger scale after time.”

The testing, however, involves many high-tech systems that measure sugar content, control pH balance and manage tannin content.

“Everything we are doing is working toward an optimal wine, but the challenge is getting consumers to try something new,” says Jenkins. “If they don’t know the name, they won’t try it. We are also working toward blends and even ports.”

Kim McPherson, who owns the local McPherson winery, says he is in agreement with the need to expand Texas grape varieties through research and with the need to educate Texas consumers on wines they may not be used to hearing about.

He says: “There are many varieties that make beautiful wines that love the climate like we have here, the heat — like Tempranillo, Grenache and Sangiovese. What we are looking for are six to seven varieties that we can hang our hat on that are seen as Texas wine.”

Time Posted: Jan 20, 2011 at 10:27 AM
Heidi Stine
January 3, 2011 | Heidi Stine

gimme garnacha wines

Check out Jane Firstenfeld's recent article on Garnacha in Wines & Vines!

Time Posted: Jan 3, 2011 at 5:34 PM
Heidi Stine
January 3, 2011 | Heidi Stine

congratulations abacela

Congratulations to TAPAS member Abacela, whose 2009 Albariño won a Platinum award from Wine Press Northwest!

Time Posted: Jan 3, 2011 at 4:49 PM
Heidi Stine
January 3, 2011 | Heidi Stine

congratulations twisted oak winery

HOT SMALL BRANDS 2010 from Wine Business Monthly:

Twisted Oak Winery, and The Spaniard, have been named one of their Ten Hottest Brands of 2010. 

Time Posted: Jan 3, 2011 at 3:30 PM