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Specialist of Texas Wine Level 2

Quick Details

CS (Plan to take exam)
AS (Don't plan to take exam)

New for 2023, the Specialist of Texas Wine Advanced Course (STWAC) continues the first of its kind program initiated in 2014 with the Level 1 class. The highly successful Level 1 class has now amassed over 200 certified Texas wine specialists. Never has there been a wine program this successful with those working in the wine industry and educated wine consumers having a focus on Texas’s rich winegrowing and winemaking history, its geology and geography, its connections with wine regions around the world, and its wines of recent acclaim.


The Advanced Course extends the series of classes that were initiated in Level 1 but featuring more in-depth information on the wine regions of Texas, their characteristics, and their unique wines and styles.  Your instructor, who is also the course developer, is Dr. Russ Kane, who is the longest tenured Texas wine writer and has followed the evolution of the modern Texas wine industry. He is also an award-winning Texas writer, author, Vintage Texas blogger, and knowledgeable and internationally traveled wine enthusiast. Dr. Kane has served on the board of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association and honored with their Wine Media Award in in 2009 and 2013, served on the board and as Executive Director of The Wine Society of Texas, judged in many international wine competitions, and was a member of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Wine Industry Development Advisory Committee.


Paid students attending the course will receive a copy of a primer titled “Starting a Vineyard in Texas” by Dr. Kane’s friend and wine industry associate, Jim Kamas, a Texas TAMU Agrilife Viticulture Specialist with both B.S. and M.S. in Horticulture with extensive experience in grape and fruit growing in Texas.


The program exposes students to unique landscapes of each of the eight wine regions in Texas: Texas High Plains, Texas Hill Country along with its Bell Mountain, and Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country sub-AVAs, Texoma, Escondido Valley, and Davis Mountains AVAs. It also delves into non-AVA regions of East Texas and Gulf Coast, and proposals for new AVAs in Texas. The context for the Advanced Course is that Texas like other well-known wine regions in Spain, France, Italy and Australia is a warm growing region. However, it also has incursions of chilling cold in the Spring, Fall and Winter. The issues this situation brings to Texas winegrowing and winemaking will be addressed and explained.


Course Highlights


This course includes multiple learning units held over four class and tasting sessions via Zoom that are dedicated to the following:

  • Texas’s timeline and more details on its transition from an early wine culture to a modern wine industry.
  • The details of T.V. Munson’s role in saving the European vineyards from the scourge of Phylloxera and his Texas native grape legacy that permeates rootstock selections worldwide to this day. Plus, how Munson’s work with native grapevines still contributes to new approaches in using vinifera-native hybrids to remedy other vineyard diseases.
  • A “deeper dive” into Texas’s wine regions looking at the origins of its soils, climatic conditions (temperatures, typical weather events, precipitation, and potential effects of global warming), and remaining wine industry challenges including herbicides.
  • A penetrating look at the issues that differentiate warm growing regions like Texas from cooler growing regions and the critical differences important in varietal and blend selections, and winemaker decisions, and its wine styles.
  • A focus on starting a vineyard in Texas and considerations for opening and operating a Texas winery, including varietal selection, natural hazards, and economic analyses and considerations (e.g., price and availability of grape varieties in various Texas AVAs, Pierce’s disease, sustainability and economic effects from herbicide damage, and a review of economic models and management of income streams for success winery operations).
  • An archive of one-on-one videos with Texas growers, winemakers and winery owners discussing many of the topics that area presented in this course.
  • Students will have access to over 180 course slides (some presented in class and some given as homework reading with following discussion sessions) and a bibliography of over 100 references and resource documents used in the development of this course.


Wine Tasting, Blend Exercise, and Final Exam


The Advanced course also includes tasting of selected Texas wines and a blending exercise in which students plan, taste, blend, and evaluate their wine blend creation.  This exercise will be carried out partly in class and partly as homework with a written blending sheet submitted to the instructor.  The blending exercise will be graded and compose up to 20 percent of each student’s final grade. The balance of the students’ grade will be determined by a comprehensive certification examination of at least 50 multiple choice questions.



Student Drobox Access & Zoom Classes


The students will have access to a special Dropbox location where copies of the course slides (both those used in class and those assigned for homework), videos, extensive bibliography of course references and sources of related information, and supplemental files (blending sheet, tasting notes, exam answer sheet, and course evaluation form).


The Specialist of Texas Wine Advanced Course will be given live via Zoom meeting. This set-up allows interested students from all around Texas and in other states to participate in the class lectures, blending exercises, class Q&A, certification testing to become certified as an Advanced Specialist of Texas Wine. The Texas Wine School will provide links for students to use to access the student Dropbox and the classes on Zoom meeting.