Texas Hill Country 2020 Wine Symposium

In January, we held our 6th annual Texas Hill Country 2020 Wine Symposium at the picturesque  Horseshoe Bay Resort. For two days, Texas winery owners, winemakers, grape growers, and industry professionals alike gathered for seminars, lectures, and panel discussions. The symposium is an excellent opportunity for anyone in the Texas wine industry to further their education. This year the symposium hosted over 25 sessions in four dedicated tracts while allowing attendees to mix, mingle and network with their peers.


Texas Hill Country’s 2020 Wine Symposium kicked off this year bright and early, with the 3rd annual Golf Tournament, and the Texas Hill Country Wineries membership meeting. The first day of sessions drew 370 in attendance, with a winemaker panel and Texas Viognier tasting to kick off the morning. Our panel was sponsored by AgTexas and featured winemakers from Lost Oak Winery, Kerrville Hills Winery, Longhorn Cellars, Ab Astris Winery, and Kuhlman Cellars shared their knowledge with the group on how they crafted their award-winning Texas Viogniers. After the panel concluded, attendees went on their way, selecting from the four different tracks of Business, Vineyard, Marketing, and Winery sessions. Attendees learned about herbicides and their effects on grapes, wine barrel repair, and how to tackle canning wine – to name a few! Over lunch provided by Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association, our guest learned about the State of the Texas Wine Industry. Our panelists included, Jennifer McInnis and David Kuhlken of Texas Hill Country Wineries, Bree Nelson of High Plains Winegrowers, and Paul Bonarrigoof Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association. The learning didn’t stop there, after lunch attendees continued on with our different informative tracks, including a session from Yes We Can on how to can wine. Day 1 concluded with our 6th Annual Symposium Reception. Our reception was sponsored by Uncork Texas Wines with embossed wine glasses by Flextank. Our guests also enjoyed cocktails from Azeo Distillery, beer from Vista Brewery, and sparkling water from Rambler Sparkling Water. The reception was a perfect opportunity to meet and taste wines from Texas Hill Country winery members while networking. 


Coffee sponsored by Producers Supply and Capital Farm Credit kept our attendees fueled and ready for a second day of sessions. Heading into Day 2, sessions ranged from a Winery and Grower Panel to learning about Residual Sugars to AVA development. Over lunch sponsored by Comerica Bank, we had the pleasure of announcing and presenting our 2020 Texas Hill Country Winery Scholarship to 9 Texas students who are working towards a degree or certification in a field related to the wine industry. Our Community Outreach Committee is charged each year with selecting and awarding our academic scholarships. The Texas Hill Country Wine Industry Scholarship program awards are funded by Texas Hill Country Wineries event ticket sales, field day profits, the annual golf tournament and individual, winery or business donations. To date, over $25K in scholarships have been awarded to students across Texas.


After lunch, our attendees had the choice of attending a business session covering the Unique Challenges and Legal Considerations the Texas Wine Industry faces, learning how to make sparkling wines, or stopping by our Grape Exchange. The Grape Exchange has been a priority during the symposium since the beginning, although the format has changed over the years. The goal of the Grape Exchange tasting event is to connect growers, wineries, or crush operations who have available fruit or who have available Texas bulk wine. We believe we all grow when we help each other. This year’s Grape Exchange included grapes from Bingham Family Vineyards, Buena Suerte Vineyard, Messina Hof Winery, Reddy Vineyards, Slate Mill Wine Collective, and Texas Wine Company.  We ended the day with a final Winemaker panel and Texas Bordeaux wine tasting. Each of our winemaker panelists covered the process of making their award-winning French-style wines. Our panelists included Fall Creek Vineyard, Ron Yates Wines, Wiliam Chris Vineyards, Lost Oak Winery, and Bingham Family Vineyard


As the sun set on the final day of the symposium, we felt gratitude to all of our speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, volunteers, and attendees for another great year! There is no doubt that everyone involved is truly shaping the future of Texas Wine. Together we are investing in the future of our industry, sharing knowledge, and leaning on each other. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Texas Hill Country AVA wine and Texas Wine as a whole.  


*A special thank you to additional sponsors O-I Packaging and High Plains Winegrowers for sponsoring our registration, Clear Visions for helping with our printing needs, Peary Photography for capturing all of our special moments, and BriteIdea Marketing for their social coverage of the conference.