The Texas wine industry is booming today, with more than 400 wineries and a $2.2 billion economic impact, but that wasn’t always the case. When the Texas Department of Agriculture hired us to showcase the Texas wine scene on a national stage, the industry suffered an unfair reputation for being “less than” other wine producing regions. TDA selected Apron among 26 other PR firms to educate media across the state and the country about the impressive quality of Texas wines and the industry’s impressive growth.
To combat misperceptions about the quality of Texas wines, our media relations efforts used blind tastings to level the playing field. For example, we created Texas Two-Sip Tele-Tastings, the first-ever blind wine tastings hosted via webcast for prominent wine journalists across the nation. We also worked to include Texas wines in some of the state’s most prominent food and wine events, from The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo’s International Wine Competition to the Hill Country Wine and Food Festival. We hosted media tours around these events and invited prominent writers from Texas and across the nation.
“I had the chance to taste about 50 Texas wines at the festival and I came away impressed with how they have evolved over the last decade. I’d like to see more Texas wines cross the state line and persuade wine lovers that there’s a lot of fine winemaking going on north of the Rio Grande.”
Bloomberg News: Texas Wineries Grow Up, Beat the Heat, Seek Their Own Styles, John Mariani
In addition to existing events, Apron and Texas Wine traveled to New York City several times to meet with the nation’s most influential wine, food and travel writers. Through office visits and an exclusive media reception, we made contact with key editors and freelancers representing outlets such as Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Food Arts, Good Housekeeping, Gourmet, O Magazine, Redbook, Restaurant Business, Saveur, Travel + Leisure, Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast.
To support the state’s need for additional grapes, we expanded our media relations program to include agriculture outreach. We hosted media tours to the High Plains for harvest and planting with media guests representing the Dallas Morning News, Vineyard & Winery Management, Southwest Farm Press, High Plains Journal, Texas Highways and Practical Winery and Vineyard.
Over five years, we achieved tremendous success with this program before state funding was cancelled. Texas Wine increased its reputation, winning against California and other more prominent regions in blind wine tastings. Below are highlights from our efforts:
- Generated more $6 million in publicity value for the Texas wine industry
- Contact with nearly 1,000 local/statewide, feature and trade journalists, as well as bloggers and online media.
- Secured placements in national media including National Public Radio, Southern Living, Nation’s Restaurant News, Wine Enthusiast, Saveur, Food & Wine, Wall Street Journal and USA Today, among others.