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Meet Russ Kane, the Doctor of Texas Wines

Texas Wine

Image: appelationamerica.com

Texans have produced wine for 400 years or more, but only recently has commercial wine production taken off. In the past decade or so, the number of Texas wineries has grown from about fifty to well over 200; production of wine has doubled to 1.2 million cases; jobs in the industry have grown from about 2,000 to 12,000; and the economic impact of the wine industry has grown from about $130 million to over $1.7 billion.

Yep, wine’s big in Texas now. And one person who knows that as well as anybody is Dr. Russell Kane, a.k.a. The Texas Wineslinger. His website, Vintage Texas, doesn’t seem to show much at first, and it’s not clear from a quick visit just how intensely interested in Texas wines the good doctor really is. His book, “The Wineslinger Chronicles,” was published just last year to good reviews. The blog, though; that’s where the free-run juice is! Thoughtful and thought-provoking posts, photos and more, all focused on Texas wines and industry. Everything from the “Texas Two-Sip” taste test to “locapour” can be gleaned from his pages.

Russ has been featured in articles and interviews in Texas and beyond (Australia!), he reports on the science and the art of great winemaking wherever he finds them, and he provides no-nonsense advice that’s clear and understandable by those of us who don’t know a tannin from a Trockenbeerenauslese.

No doubt he’s the maven of Malbec, the cognoscente of Chardonnay, the virtuoso of Voignier.

Talk about the sweet life! He tastes, he pairs with food and eats, he travels. He interviews the greats of Texas wine-making, such as Dr. Richard Becker of Becker Vineyards. Then, to add insult to injury whipped cream to his pecan pie, he travels around other states, and other wine-producing regions globally, to compare Texas vintages and varieties to the best the world has to offer. It’s a tough life, I tell you.

After spending a while reading Russ’s posts, I can only say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” I’ve gone on (self-scheduled) wine tours in Texas, and I’ve tasted a few sips of the fruit of the vine around the world too. It was right there, in my hands and on my tastebuds, and somehow I let it get away. Kudos to Dr. Kane, of course, for making it happen. (Maybe he’ll put me in his will? Nah.)

I’ll be back often to Dr. Kane’s blog to learn which wineries to visit this year, what festivals to eat and drink my way through, and which bottles to be placing in my rack and on my table. I must admit, I cook with wine more than I imbibe; I can fix that, now that I have a coach…

Enjoy the (Texas Wine Magic) Heat!

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