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2009-08-13 digital edition

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2009-08-13 / Community News

Celebrate Grape Harvest with a Texas Wine Trail Tour

New Texas Wine Trail Web page offers event and tour information

With annual grape harvest celebrations kicking off around most of the state in August and September, many Texans are planning their next Texas wine trail tour. The Texas Department of Agriculture is making it easier for wine enthusiasts to plan the perfect wine weekend with its new Texas Wine Trail www.gotexanwine.org/ texaswinetrails/index.html page on the popular GO TEXAN wine Web site www.gotexanwine.org.

"Texas is one of the fastestgrowing wine destinations in the country," Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said. "The Texas wine industry and our Texas wine trails are an important part of our state's agriculture tourism and economic health. Nearly 1 million visitors each year enjoy discovering the Texas wine industry."

The Texas Wine Trail page provides a list of the Lone Star State's eight individual wine trails, and with just one click, consumers can visit each trail's Web page to find trail descriptions, maps, upcoming events and other related links.

Texas is home to eight wine trails: Cross Timbers Wine Trail, www.crosstimberswinetrail.com; Dallas Wine Trail, www.dallaswinetrail.com; Fredericksburg Wine Road 290, www.wineroad290.com; Grapevine Wine Trail, www.grapevinewinetrail.com; Munson Wine Trail, www.munsonwinetrail.com; Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail, www.texasbluebonnetwinetrail.com; Texas Hill Country Wine Trail, www.texaswinetrail.com; and Way Out Wineries Road Trips, www.wayoutwineries.org.

As visitors navigate the Texas wine trails, they will experience uniquely Texan offerings. As part of the Way Out Wineries trail, Brennan Vineyards boasts the only tasting room in the state housed in a historic building - the 130-year-old McCrary House. On the Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail, visitors will pass through historic locations such as the birthplace of the Texas flag and the blues capital of Texas. Operating out of the DFW International Airport, La Bodega Winery, a member of the Grapevine Trail, is the nation's only airport-based winery. Meanwhile, the Cross Timbers Wine Trail region was home to wineries and vineyards during the 1800s before they were shut down by Prohibition.

In addition to sampling awardwinning wines while exploring Texas wine trails, visitors can take part in special events. For football fans, the Way Out Wineries hosts its September Tailgate Road Trip and this year will feature the firstever Pigskin Cook-off, pairing barbecue with the latest vintages. The Hill Country Trail hosts a Wine & Wildflowers event each spring, and the Munson Wine Trail offers the McKinney Art & Jazz festival.

As travelers work their way through Texas' wine trails, they can document their visits with the GO TEXAN Winery Passport and earn collectible gifts. The Texas Winery Passports are available at all winery tasting rooms.

Each winery has its own "code" that consumers enter in the passport. After visiting four wineries and obtaining their codes, participants can go to www.gotexanwine.org and click on the "Passport Rewards" logo. There, they enter the codes to receive free, commemorative rewards such as wine journals and reusable wine totes.

Texas is the fifth-largest wine producing state in the nation. The Texas wine industry contributes nearly $1.35 billion to the Texas economy.

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