Texas is the seventh largest wine grape producer in the country, and the South Plains is home to more than 80 percent of those grapes.
“It is a good place to grow grapes,” said Jason Centanni, Llano Estacado Winery’s winemaker. “We have minimal instances of rot or mildew, we also have low pests. The dryness keeps away mildew and mold but also insects, so really, our dry and windy climate is what helps us out.”
Few people know how much wine West Texas actually produces, said Mike Laughlin, hospitality director at Llano Estacado Winery. To raise awareness, winemakers are bringing about a new local event: the Lubbock Uncorked festival, to be held on April 15 from 3 to 9 p.m.
Laughlin, who is the festival’s co-chair, said the goal is to “highlight this region’s contribution to the Texas wine industry.” The event will be at the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts at 511 Ave. K and hosted by the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce.
Attendees will pay for a ticket and in exchange will receive a commemorative glass as well as drink and food tickets.
“Essentially, people can go around and see what they want to sample, and we will, of course, have local food there as well,” Laughlin said.
Tickets cost $25 if bought in advance from www.selectaseatlubbock.com or the downtown office of the Chamber of Commerce. Patrons can also to choose to pay $30 at the door.
The festival will also feature live music and wine education classes, such as how to pair wines with cheeses. People whose first choice of a drink isn’t wine will also be able to sample local restaurants’ food and a beer in a tent featuring a collection of craft beers.
“We do several festivals here each year, some in association with other wineries, ” Laughlin said. “But this is kind of a chance to grow past that to bring some recognition not just to our wines but to the whole area.”
Lubbock Uncorked is not the only wine-oriented event going on this weekend. On Saturday, Lubbock Monterey AMBUCS is hosting its inaugural event, Trek for Trykes Wine Walk at Llano Estacado Winery. Registration is $30 and includes five wine tasting tickets for adults.