In recognition of Texas Wine Month, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples today announced that Texas wine promoters can apply for individual grants up to $10,000 to be used to increase the current marketing of Texas wine at wine-related events, festivals and educational activities, as part of the new Wine Regional Partnership Grant Program.

“Texas is known for cowboys, wide-open spaces and a special independent spirit. “We want to add another stellar item to the list – great tasting wine,” Commissioner Staples said. “The Wine Regional Partnership Grant Program is another way for us to enhance the growth, visibility and awareness of this booming Texas industry that contributes more than $1.35 billion a year to the state’s economy.”

Texas Department of Agriculture staff will evaluate grant applications, and scoring will be determined by criteria such as event history, attendance, feasibility, the benefit and impact to the Texas wine industry, public interaction and wine industry participation. The grants will be available over the course of the biennium, Sept. 1, 2009 to Aug. 31, 2011, with $60,000 allocated each biennium year. For more information regarding the application process and grant requirements, visit www.TexasAgriculture.gov and click on Grants/Funding.

These grants are made available through TDA’s GO TEXAN program, a broad-based strategic marketing program that promotes goods or services produced or value-added in the Lone Star State.

Also this month, Texas wines and winemakers across the state will be celebrated and toasted at statewide events. Texas Wine Month promotes partnerships between wineries, retailers, restaurants and communities through wine-related events and festivals.

Texans can attend many wine festivals and events around the state. Activities include:

Texas Fall Fest & Texas Wine Auction, Oct. 2-4, Horseshoe Bay

Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail Meet the Winemakers Dinner, Oct. 2, Bryan

Gruene Music and Wine Festival, Oct. 9-10, Gruene

GO TEXAN Food and Wine Dinner, Oct. 16, Austin

Taste of Georgetown, Oct. 17, Georgetown

Waco Wine & Food Festival, Oct. 17, Waco

GO TEXAN Texas Two-Sip Tasting, Oct. 21, Austin

Fredericksburg Food & Wine Fest, Oct. 24, Fredericksburg

Texas currently has more than 180 wineries and 280 commercial vineyards in operation. For more information about Texas wine, upcoming wine events and the Wine Regional Partnership Grant Program.