Last weekend, a large group of talented wine tasters (and avid beer and Negroni drinkers) descended on the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas, Texas. Our mission: to judge several thousand wines at the 28th annual Dallas Morning News/TEXSOM Wine Competition.

Before my plane departed from JFK, I knew one of the categories I would be judging: Texas wines. This made a lot of sense considering that I am leading a seminar on “Texas Terroir” this August at the Seventh Annual TEXSOM Conference. (I had been chosen for this seminar because I’m a native Texan and the only Texan Master of Wine.) I admit I was not too sure how that first day of Texas wine tasting would turn out. I’ve tasted a number of Texas wines over the last 10-12 years, but I haven’t often truly enjoyed the wines even if many have been pleasant.

I’m here to report that Texas grape growers and wineries are making some marvelous juice! I can’t wait to see the list of winners because I’ll be ordering many wines ASAP. I just hope they won’t already be sold out, as I know many are small-production wines.

It was genuinely thrilling to see the Texas Wine Flip-Flop. My fellow panelists, some of whom have far more experience with Texas wines, agreed. We were invigorated after the first few flights, and we were ecstatic as the afternoon came to a close. Judges working with wines from more established regions didn’t all walk away from the first day with the same excited energy. Granted, not all the Texas wines were winners. But those that were, especially those who won “Gold” medals, were truly world class wines. In the spirit of my home state, all I can exclaim is, “Yeehaw!”