The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2012

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A LONE STAR LIFE Austin on Austin I by Anthony Head / photos by Kirk Weddle n late April, the fi rst Austin Food & Wine Festival was held—bringing zillions of thirsty Californians to the Capital of Texas for a long weekend. Among the throngs was Austin Hope, winemaker and faceman for the world-class Hope Family Wines of Paso Robles. Austin (the man) has actually been visiting Austin (the city) for 16 years (for one reason or another). That's a long time for not putting down roots, in my opinion that is. Austin met me at the South Congress Café, a café on South Congress Boulevard in Austin. It was Saturday morning, and over small plates of large Mexican breakfasts, bloody Marys, Mimosas, beers and I think somebody had Jack Daniel's, we chatted about Austin. "I love Texas. I've always loved Texas. Hell, I'm named after the capital. Texas is our biggest market. It contin- ues to get even stronger for us. This is a place where I like to launch brands. When the Troublemaker line rolled out, Texas was one of the stops. Austin, Dallas, San Antonio— this is where you come when you want to launch a brand." "Generally speaking if a wine does well in Texas, it'll usually do well across the country. Austin is in particu- lar. It's a culturally sharp city. Austinites know service, and they know food. " "I love Uchi, Parkside, Justine's—the food is progressive here. Great restaurants are just popping up everywhere. Austin is already a draw. And now with the Formula One race coming, you tie in a cool city, great music, lots of other things to do—my prediction is the Austin Food & Wine Festival will soon be one of the biggest wine events in the country." "Did you just drink that whole double Jack Daniels? [I'll ask the questions, Austin. I said: Why don't you do a Texas project with Texas grapes?] I like the concept of doing something here. I think that'd be cool, but . . . Austin's City Limit: Sorry girls, he's spoken for. Despite his fondness for Austin, Hope still loves being a California winemaker. 32 / the tasting panel / june 2012 ". . . we've gotten very aggressive trying to fi nd ground in in California to plant and get back into farming our- selves.When we fi rst started we were farmers. We got out of it largely for business reasons. Now were looking to plant again to ensure long-range sustainability." —Austin Hope, Austin, TX April 28, 2012 IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR TEXAS IN THIS CALIFORNIA WINEMAKER'S FUTURE? ! " # !" "# !# !"# $

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