Texas Wines and Wine Writing Ethics

Oct16th

Introduction

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with Gus Clemens, who went to business college when he was just 12 years old to learn how to type because he knew even then he wanted to be a writer. He’s held editorial positions with the San Antonio Express-News and the Star Magazine in New York and has written or contributed to about twenty books about Texas and a range of other subjects. Enjoy!

 

Highlights

  • When did wine become a part of Gus’s life?
  • What led to Gus writing his first wine column?
  • Why was a column about sacramental wine one of the most memorable for Gus?
  • What is Gus’s best tip about writing?
  • Why is the Texas High Plains AVA well-suited for grape-growing?
  • What aspects of Texas weather pose a challenge to grape-growers?
  • How much wine does Texas produce?
  • Why is the Hill Country AVA the most visited AVA in the United States?
  • Are most Texas wines consumed within the state?
  • Why did Gus expand his column beyond Texas wines?
  • Who were the pioneers of Texas winemaking and how did they get started?
  • Where should you start a tour of Texas wine regions?
  • Why is Fredericksburg such a popular tourist destination?
  • How can you pair Texas wine with classic Texas foods?
  • Which wine advertising campaign is Gus’s favourite?
  • What is Gus’s least favourite wine advertising campaign?
  • What advice would Gus give to his 30-year-old self?
  • What’s the worst wine advice people give?
  • Why is the farm more important than the lab when it comes to wine flaws?
  • Which two people would Gus want to share a bottle of wine with?
  • How can you learn more about wine?
  • What are some wine hacks you can use at restaurants?

 

About Gus Clemens

Gus Clemens is a newspaper wine columnist, wine blogger, wine humorist and award-winning author whose wine columns appear in newspapers around the country.  Gus went to business college when he was just 12 years old to learn how to type because he knew even then he wanted to be a writer. He’s held editorial positions with the San Antonio Express-News and the Star Magazine in New York and has written or contributed to about twenty books about Texas and a range of other subjects.

Today Gus owns an advertising agency, Clemens and Associates, in San Angelo and writes a regular wine column for several Texas newspapers, including the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, the San Angelo Standard-Times and the Abilene Reporter-News, that often gets picked up through the Gannett news chain of more than one hundred papers throughout the U.S. He joined me now from his home in San Angelo, Texas.

 

Resources

 

Wine Reviews

 

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  • You’ll find my books here, including Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines and Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass.
  • The new audio edition of Red, White and Drunk All Over is now available on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com and other country-specific Amazon sites; iTunes.ca, iTunes.com and other country-specific iTunes sites; Audible.ca and Audible.com.

 

Transcript & Takeaways

Welcome to episode 46!

In today’s episode I’m chatting with Gus Clemens, who went to business college when he was just 12 years old to learn how to type because he knew even then he wanted to be a writer. He’s held editorial positions with the San Antonio Express-News and the Star Magazine in New York and has written or contributed to about twenty books about Texas and a range of other subjects.

Today he owns an advertising agency in San Angelo and writes a regular wine column for several Texas newspapers that often gets picked up through the Gannett news chain of more than one hundred papers throughout the U.S.

He joined me now from his home in San Angelo, Texas.

I’ll put links to Gus’s, website and social media handles in the show notes at nataliemaclean.com/46.

If you’d also like a free copy of my Ultimate Food & Wine Pairing Guide, just email me at natalie@nataliemaclean.com and let me know what you like about the podcast and what I can do to improve it for you.

I’m just two weeks away from relaunching my online video course and I cannot wait to share it with you. Thanks to your feedback, the new course name will be:

The Wine-Smart Course

A Full-Bodied Framework to Taste, Pair & Buy Wine Like a Pro

You’re going to learn so much in this course with me and I can’t wait to meet you personally inside the private members’ area.

Okay, on with the show!

 

You can also watch the video interview with Gus that includes bonus content and behind-the-scenes questions and answers that weren’t included in this podcast.

 

Well, there you have it! Here are my takeaways from this terrific discussion with Gus:

  1. I love Gus’s enthusiasm for all things wine and how he lives the adage that if you find something you love to do and you never have to work.
  2. He reminds us again of the caveat emptor as wine consumers: those wine scores that we see on the liquor store shelves and in advertising are the highest that the store or advertiser can find and not necessarily the consensus of other critics or consumers.
  3. He reveals surprising insights about the Texas wine industry: the Texas Hill Country AVA is the second most visited in the U.S. behind only Napa. Now, Napa is less than 1,000 square miles and the Hill Country AVA is 14,000 square miles.
  4. The reason that Texas isn’t too hot to make wine is elevation. About 85% of Texas wine grapes are grown on the High Plains at elevations of 3,000-4,500 feet where the temperature can drop 40 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
  5. Tempranillo and mourvèdre are the leading red grapes with Viognier and alvarinho/albariño for white.

You’ll find links to Gus’s website and social media handles in the show notes at nataliemaclean.com/43. I’ve also posted a link to the video version of this interview.

What was your favourite tip or quote from this episode? Share that with me on Twitter or Facebook and tag me @nataliemaclean, on Instagram I’m @nataliemacleanwine.

If you liked this episode, please tell a friend about it, especially one who’s interested in learning more about Texas wines and the issues associated with wine writing. My podcast is easy to find, whether you search Google on its name Unreserved Wine Talk, or on my name.

Finally, if you want to take your ability to pair wine and food to the next level, join me in a free online video class at nataliemaclean.com/class.

I can’t wait to share more wine stories with you next week.

Thank-you for taking the time to listen to this one. I hope something great is in your glass this week, perhaps a wine that pairs well with Tex-Mex!

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