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The Wine Society of Texas Announces Scholarship Grant Program Awards totaling $4,000 for assistance in education and promotion of the Texas Wine Industry. 

Midland, Texas (17 December 2012) - The Wine Society of Texas (WST), a 501c3 non-profit educational organization, announced that it is awarding grants totaling $4,000 in support of five individuals from around the State.   

This scholarship assistance program is consistent with the founding ideas of WST and its continued mission to enhance the appreciation of wines, foster the knowledge of enology and viticulture, support charitable activities, and educate wine consumers throughout the State of Texas.  The funding for the WST Scholarship program is provided from charitable donations, local WST Chapter fund raising events, and annual statewide wine events/competitions. 

Following is a summary of this year’s award recipients:

$1,000 James Whitley Founder’s Grant is awarded to Deirdre Deel.  Ms. Deel is currently a student at the Conrad Hilton College and plans to use the funds to further her education for academic teaching and to hopefully become a Certified Wine Educator. 


$1,000 Russ Kane Grant is awarded to Rebecca Acrey.  Ms. Acrey is a student at Texas Tech in the Viticulture program and plans to become a grape grower after graduation.   She just completed an internship at Tara Vineyards in Athens, TX.

$1,000 Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo Grant is awarded to Nicole Gabler.  Ms. Gabler graduated in December from Sam Houston State University and will start at Texas A&M in the Spring.  She works at the Weimary at Grohmann Farms and is also working with local wineries to develop a regional wine trail known as The Blackland Prairie Wine Trail focusing on the German and Czech heritage around the Weimar, TX area.  

$500 Bryan Brady Memorial Grant is awarded to Joshua Fritsche. Mr. Fritsche works at the William Chris Vineyards in Hye, TX and will use the financial assistance to continue his education while making his first vintage of wine from Mourvedre grapes.


$500 Bryan Brady Memorial Grant is also awarded to Robyn Zachry.  Ms. Zachry plans to use the grant to help start up a German Wine import business in Houston, Texas.  The website for the new business is www.goldenoctoberimports.com.

This is the eleventh consecutive year that the WST has provided grant assistance through the Scholarship Grant Program providing over $34,000 in total.  “The Wine Society is pleased to continue its long tradition of providing meaningful scholarships to worthy individuals.   This is our way of “going local” to support Texas talent and invest in the future of Texas wine.” said Ms. Elizabeth Lutton, State President of the WST. 

For more information about the scholarship program or the WST please visit the website at www.winesocietyoftexas.org or contact WST by phone (210-863-3684).


President's Column - Simple Pleasures

Right now, in most of our Texas cities, we are broiling with 90 degree plus heat. Summer vacations away from the heat seem to be a distant dream for some of us, who are locked into "staycation" mode because of bad economic circumstances. However, there are always a few simple pleasures in our lives which help us to endure, even in hot, tough times. These simple pleasures don’t cost a lot of money, but lead to great satisfaction. In the summer, three of my simple pleasures are my gas grill, fresh vegetables from the local farmer’s market and cool, aromatic white wines, such has Viognier and Riesling. Some new grapes which are also starting to appear along these lines include Albarino, primarily from Spain and Torrontes, from Argentina. Normally, a red wine drinker, I gravitate toward white wine during the summer when the temperature in Texas tops 80 degrees. All of these wines go well with lightly grilled fish and chicken. Recently, I discovered that some of my favorite grocery stores have a turkey version of bacon wrapped filet mignon, which pairs well with white wine and tastes wonderful on the grill.

Even though many of us are enjoying turkey mignon instead of steak nowadays, we don't have to give up the wine events that we love. It is a myth that wine events have to be expensive. All of our Wine Society of Texas local chapters work hard to put on affordable, yet high quality wine events. Therefore, support your local chapter by attending its latest event.

For those of you in the "staycation" mode, it is not difficult to locate a Texas winery or tasting room near you.  A weekend or even a day among the vines or in the atmosphere of a tasting room is one of the great affordable pleasures that anyone can have for a small tasting fee.  So support your local Texas wineries, which are presently struggling with the usual threat of intense heat, plus the additional threat of the economic downturn.

Whatever way to escape and beat the heat that we chose this year, let us enjoy the simple pleasures of this life and be thankful for what we have. Wine and friendship go a long way toward enriching the quality of our lives, regardless of our circumstances.

- Elizabeth Lutton, President, Wine Society of Texas
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