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May 23, 2010 04:54 AM

Patrick Johnson of Blue Mtn Winery (TX)?

I've just moved to TX from CA and am trying to get my head (heart and tongue) around Texas wines. Have heard stories of an amazing vineyard in Ft Davis killed off by Pierce's and its legendary winemaker, Patrick Johnson. Anyone know where he is, what he's doing? If the stories of Blue Mtn's excellence are true?

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  1. Googled this blog post:

    Sounds like the writer spoke with him in Houston (or from Houston) and the article is current. There's a place to comment at the bottom. Maybe the author will get back to you. Good hunting!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Midlife

      Pat works part-time at Driftwood winery ( as a winemaking consultant. The last of the Blue Mountain Cab was bottled by his former employer, Luz de Estrealla, and it is amazing. If you can find it (mostly in West Texas) buy it.

      1. re: kingdr13

        If true, those folks would do well to mention him on their website, which they don't. This seems to be a characteristic of winemakers everywhere -- don't mention your consultants or backstage wonders. Owners take all the credit. But thank you, kd13, we'll check out the winery and ask about Pat.

      2. re: Midlife

        this is a great blog. thanks, midlife, for pointing me to it. it's the first evidence of serious evaluation of Texas wine I've found. i had a devil of a time getting a comment to the blogger, but eventually it seemed to go through.

        1. re: Midlife

          thanks midlife! that is a great blog-- and the first serious, thoughtful evaluation of Texas wine I've come across. I did send a comment to the author, but blogspot put me through the hoops, and I'm not sure it went through. . .

        2. Oh Yes, it is true. I just got back from a trip to West Texas and stomp and hiked the area vineyards - some young and new like Times Ten Cellars, Cathedral Mountain VIneyard, and one, dead and gone, the old Blue Mountain Vineyard site - One of the many Ghost Vineyards and WIneries of Texas. I have also talked to Patrick Johnson who still lives in Alpine and now consults as a winemaker around the state (a good thing as he knows how to make wine) and is managing some of the vineyards in the area of Fort Davis and Alpine.

          For more on my trip, see:

          1. I have had some surprisingly good wines from Texas. "Surprising," in that they were as good as they were. Several were quite tasty, and I brought them back to California to share with my friends. But none that *** I *** tried were "amazing" or "world-class." And there were none (again, of the ones I have tried) that I would intentionally buy again, given the alternatives.

            Now, please -- before anyone gets up in arms and starts shouting "Remember the Alamo!" -- let me say that I *do* believe there is potential in Texas, but that time is necessary for that potential to be fully realized. Time is needed to let the vines reach "middle age," and time is needed for the winemakers to gain experience with what to do x, y, and z vintages IN Texas (as opposed to elsewhere).

            Finally, let me add that I, in no way, have had every wine from Texas, nor have I tasted wine from every winery in Texas. There are, after all, over 100 different wineries in Texas, and I've only had wines from perhaps two dozen Texas vintners or so. HOWEVER, one also needs to be aware that *some* wineries are buying grapes from California and elsewhere from which to produce their wines, and at least one winery is buying wines in the bulk market from as far away as New Zealand and Italy and then are bottling the wines in Texas under their own label.


            3 Replies
            1. re: zin1953

              I think most consumers here would be shocked how many Texas Wines actually say "American" on the back of the bottle.

              1. re: mac8111

                I do not have any problem with wine sold in Texas that is made under American Appellation. This is truthful and honest solution to the big problem we have: The shortage of texas grapes.

                The shortage comes from two reasons:

                1. the rapid increase in the number of Texas wineries for less than 60 five or six years ago to now approaching the bicentennial mark.

                2. We have had three of the worst harvests in the past two decades. but 2010 appears to be the "harvest of the century", at least so far now that we are ten years into it.

                The issue that I have is more with wine sold from Texas wineries that sell it under NO APPELLATION at all. YOu might ask, how to they do that? Well, federal law allows wine to the sold under no stated appellation if its label contains the words:

                "For Sale in XXX Only"

                XXX - Place the name of your state and in our case, Texas.

                To me this in a mile-wide loop hole that is disingenuous at least, and perhaps even borders on fraud. The problem is that the use of FSOI-Texas is confusing to consumers. I have even been told by some misinformed wine consumers in Texas that FSOIT wines are special wines made in Texas FOR TEXANS! They could not be farther from the truth. While the use of FSOIT on the label does not necessaryily mean that the grapes or juice in the wine are not from Texas, it is commonly used to bypass stating the appellation on the bottle and hides the fact that the wine more than likely is not a wine made from Texas grapes or at times not even a wine made in Texas.

                Texas is not unique on this FSOI issue. I have heard similar statements from wine consumers in other wine-producing states such as VA, PA, MI, OH and CO that have had similar experience.

                The other side of this sword also cuts close to our tender parts, as well. Once Texas wineries get used to purchasing surplus grapes from CA, or WA on the cheap, which maximizes their profits, it is hard for them to stop and return to using Texas grapes that will likely cost them more per ton.

                Hopefully, with the "Vintage of the Century" in line for 2010 in Texas, some of the pressure for Texas wineries to use the moniker FSOIT will subside.

                For more on this, go to:



                1. re: VintageTexas

                  Russ and Jason,

                  I'm curious as to the labeling legality of NO source of origin at all on ANY wine. I know that alcohol is essentially state regulated, but aren't there some federal FTC rules that have to be adhered to on all products for consumption? I, personally, don't think I'd ever buy a bottle of wine with no source on it, though I can see why a Texas winery might want to market their wine to Texans and not let on that the fruit is from somewhere else. NO appellation lets them keep their Texas company info on the label without interfering with Texan pride.