GRAPEVINE, Texas — The 28th annual Grape Fest kicked off with the Texas Wine Tribute, a black-tie gala and one of the most prestigious annual Texas wine industry events. The Texas wine tribute presented the much anticipated “Tall in Texas” award to Dr. Richard and Bunny Becker of Becker Vineyards on Sept. 6.
The “Tall in Texas” award is bestowed to a Texas winery in recognition of the winery’s leadership role in the dedication to, support of and promotion of the Texas wine industry.
Becker Vineyards is one of the largest wineries in Texas, as well as one of the largest contractors of Texas grapes and fruits. As tireless supporters of the Texas wine industry, Becker Vineyards is one of the leading advocates for Texas wines being produced from Texas-grown grapes.
“Bunny and I are very honored at the recognition,” said Richard Becker upon receiving the award.
“It was very exciting. There were other people in the Texas wine industry in attendance like Gene Estes of Lone Oak Winery and Jim Evans, president of the Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association. It was a lot of fun!” Becker said.
Wines served for the Texas Wine Tribute Dinner included Becker Vineyards Viognier 2012, Reserve Grenache 2012, Reserve Cabernet Franc 2012, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Canada Family 2012, and The Clementine (late harvested Viognier) 2012.
For 20 years, the Beckers’ approach to winemaking has been to produce premium wines and to share their winemaking knowledge with others within the industry. Known for taking a classically French approach to winemaking, Becker Vineyards ensures that during the winemaking process, all the necessary steps are taken to produce the highest-level premium product possible. Becker Vineyards is credited with the being one of the earliest proponents of premium Texas wines.
From the winery’s earliest beginnings, Becker Vineyards has been a strong supporter of the Texas Wine & Grape Grower Association, joining the organization just after the Beckers began producing wine. Dr. Becker served as the organization’s president in 1998 and has held consistent membership for 20 years. Dr. Becker has also been a leader in the research of Pierce’s disease, working in conjunction with and financially supporting the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service for 19 years.
As a leader in the mentorship of other winemakers throughout the state of Texas, Becker Vineyards has hosted a variety of events and training sessions focused on their production methods, helping to educate other winemakers and to raise the awareness of premium wines. In February 2014, Becker Vineyards hosted the Texas A&M AgriLife Grower Field Day and Benefit Dinner.
The event provided education for existing, new and future Texas grape growers and Texas wineries, Becker Vineyards has also been a continuous supporter of education through many collegiate programs, including those at Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University, as well as the Texas Center for Wine & Culinary Arts.
“Dr. Becker is one of the founders of the Buffalo Gap Wine & Food Summit and in 2011, Dr. Becker suggested that the Viticulture and Enology Program at Texas Tech be the beneficiary of their annual event,” said Dr. Ed Hellman, professor of Viticulture, Texas Tech University.
“Since that year, the non-profit has supported the Buffalo Gap Wine & Food Summit Graduate Fellowship with $2,500 each year, which is dedicated to supporting a graduate student studying viticulture and enology in the Department of Plant and Soil Science at Texas Tech. The fellowship achieves two important goals: one, training tomorrow’s leaders of the grape and wine industry, and two, supporting research to enhance grape production in Texas,” said Hellman.