Many wineries and vineyards around the state are getting ready for the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Annual Conference again this year. Cliff, several of our children and team members, and I enjoy this interaction each year with our friends and neighbors with vineyards or wineries.

Last year at the awards luncheon, Cliff and I were blessed to be able to sit at the same table with two long time friends who were pioneers in the grape growing scene in Texas who were honored that day.

V. J. and Subada Redding and son, Neal and Janice Newsom, and Cliff and Betty Bingham at 2022 annual TWGGA awards

As pioneer growers of wine grapes on the Texas High Plains, Neal and Janice Newsom planted their first grapevines in 1986. Their grapes are still highly sought after by wineries around the state. Through the years, Neal and Janice have helped so many growers starting to grow grapes. They were a great encouragement and help to us when we began planting in 2004.

They now have their own wine label and a couple of tasting rooms in Comfort and Tomball, as well as a bed and breakfast at their vineyard in Plains. But back to the awards dinner. Neal didn’t know that he was receiving the T. V. Munson Award which recognizes exemplary contributions to Texas grape growing.

Neal Newsom hearing that he has just be awarded the T. V. Munson Award at the 2022 TWGGA awards luncheon

Neal is such a humble man that it was a joy to see his hard work recognized. It was a very well deserved award. It wasn’t a surprise to anyone else at the luncheon.

The guys definitely enjoyed their visit during the meal. As well as did the wives, including myself, on the other side of the table.

The food as you can imagine from the photos was delicious as well. The meals were prepared by the chefs at the Embassy Suites Denton.

V. J. Reddy, another long time friend of ours, won the John E. Crosby, Jr. Award which recognizes lifetime achievement in the Texas wine and grape industry. V. J. started his vineyard in 1997. V. J. has used his intelligence as well as his determination to make his vineyard a success while encouraging other growers along the way. The Reddy’s have their own wine label now as well.

V. J. was a well deserved recipient of his award as well. He and his wife Subada are delightful people to be around. Their wisdom has helped many coming after them as well.

Former Senator Jane Nelson was there that day as well to encourage us in our work. Work that she helped to promote and protect through the years.

Another honoree that day was Shelly Wilfong, of This Is Texas Wine Podcast, received the Wine Press Award given to the wine, food, travel and agriculture writers for outstanding coverage of the Texas wine industry. This category includes social media, blogs, and state commissions who promote the industry.

Shelly’s podcast is well worth listening to. Look it up on your favorite podcast app.

You can read more about all three of these fine people at the TWGGA website.

The food the whole conference was wonderful. As Cliff is a past president of TWGGA, we were invited to the past president dinner which we were glad to attend seated with Neal and Janice Newsom.

Good food and good wine. Another nice evening with friends.

And next week, we look forward to seeing old friends as well as making new ones at this year’s conference in San Marcos.


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