Winners of the Texas Sustainable Winegrowing Competition are Announced

The Botanical Research Institute of Texas and the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo are recognizing Texas wineries for sustainable vineyard practices through an inaugural contest.

The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) and the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo have announced the winners from their inaugural 2020 FWSSR / BRIT Texas Sustainable Winegrowing Competition last week.

The recognized Texas wineries were awarded for sustainable practices in the vineyard and operations. The awards were designed to honor both the winemakers and grape growers.

Bending Branch Winery in Comfort, in combination with Tallent Vineyards of Mason, took home Grand Champion for their Tannat Rosé 2018, and Nice Winery in Houston, in combination with Alta Mira Vineyards of Anderson, won the Reserve Grand Champion award for their Texas Blanc 2018.

Tannat grapes for this year’s winning wine were harvested from Tallent Vineyards in Mason. [Photo: Courtesy Bending Branch]

Additional winners (and their wines) included:

  • Gold Medal – Lost Draw Cellars/Moonlight Vineyards, Roussanne 2018
  • Gold Medal – Kiepersol Winery/Estate Vineyards, Texas Syrah 2015
  • Silver Medal – Bingham Family Vineyards/Estate Vineyards, Dugout 2017
  • Bronze Medal – Chateau Wright/Estate Vineyards, Heraldic Red 2017
  • Bronze Medal – Bull Lion Ranch & Vineyard/Estate Vineyards, Montepulciano 2015


Entrants worked with BRIT to submit written competition applications that highlighted sustainability. Alongside the written portion, each participant sent in a Texas wine for evaluation, which represented 12 different grape types and several blended from various grapes. Winery sustainability was judged for vineyard management, winemaking, employee practices, customer service and social responsibility.

“This is a first for Texas wine competitions and we are most pleased with the results,” BRIT’s President and Executive Director Dr. Ed Schneider said in a statement. “Texas wine organizations are as passionate about their sustainable practices as they are about making great bottles of Texas wine.”

Nice Winery in Houston won the Reserve Grand Champion award. [Photo: Jerry Levy]

BRIT is an international nonprofit research and education organization focused on the world of living plants through biodiversity exploration and species conservation. Its educational arm uses outdoor discovery and experiential learning to turn information into knowledge for students and teachers.

“Recognizing the collaborative efforts of grape growers and winemakers spurs innovation,” said Stock Show President and General Manager Brad Barnes. “The sustainability effort benefits our environment and consumers get to enjoy award-winning Texas wines. We’re excited to play a role in the future of this growing industry.”

The awards will be handed out at BRIT’s Vine to Table awards dinner and fundraising event to be held on Jan. 15, 2020. Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo visitors will be able to sample the winning vintages at Vine-2-Wine events, including Sip & Shop to be held in Amon G Carter Jan. 22, 29, and Feb. 5.

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