Advance Planning for Texas Wine Month in October

Need an excuse to drink in October? Besides the common association of the month with beer and Octobrefests around the globe, the state of Texas has once again declared October: Texas Wine Month. The official celebration kicks off with a Taste of San Antonio on October 3 and crescendos with the Madisonville Mushroom Festival (no kidding) on October 25.

The Rice University Continuing Education Program is doing its part with a course on “Tasting and Enjoying Wine” which starts September 23 and runs through most Tuesdays after that through October 28. It costs $260 and features Charles M. Bear Dalton, not coincidentally a fine wine buyer for Spec’s Liquor Stores, who will instruct one and all on the basics of wine tasting, how to serve wine and how to order wine in restaurants without looking like a complete idiot. Go to www.gscs.rice.edu.

The Texas State Fair Wine Garden will open up for its second year offering a wonderful alternative to funnel cakes and turkey legs. Besides basic classes and a chance to meet some of the leaders in the Texas wine industry, there’s a really good opportunity to drink a lot of wine before you get back on the Ferris Wheel. Or go buy a cow.

Anyway, Texas Wine Month ties into the inaugural GO TEXAN Restaurant Day on Wednesday, October 1, now being organized by the Texas Agriculture Department. The Ag Department is busy looking for chefs and restaurant owners willing to serve food or drink that has a pure Texan pedigree.

On the statewide dine-out day, a portion of all proceeds will benefit local food banks. Already more than 300 restaurants have signed up across the state. Go to GOTEXANRestaurantROUNDUP.com for information. -- Margaret Downing

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