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Planning and Fund Raising Begins for Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts OCT 04 2011

Planning and Fund Raising Begins for Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts

A steering committee of 27 Fredericksburg business leaders has announced the incorporation of The Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts, Inc. (TCWCA) as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit corporation and the selection of an organizing board of directors.

The mission statement says the new center is “dedicated to the awareness, understanding, and celebration of Texas food, wine, and agriculture through educational programming and hand-on experiences.”

Currently envisioned as a 30,000 square foot facility, the TCWCA will include a wine tasting room, restaurant and patio grill, demonstration kitchen with tiered seating, hands-on kitchen, retail sales area, permanent classroom space and event space.

Activities at the center would potentially include enthusiast classes for general consumers; wine tastings and food pairings; industry training for wine, food and hospitality professionals; culinary education for high school and college students; corporate team building using the culinary setting; special events and rentals; casual dining; and shopping.  Exhibits on Texas agriculture will be incorporated throughout the facility.

A business plan has been developed by the local steering committee, as well as a development timeline. A sub-committee has refined space requirements which will result in a capital budget.

A site selection committee has begun the process of identifying potential locations for the center in Fredericksburg and will complete a thorough analysis of the benefits and shortfalls of each potential site, such as cost of property versus donation, development costs of each property, traffic count and nearness to accommodations for center patrons — just to name a few criteria for evaluation.

Donations of $10,000 to the center have been received from both the Hill Country Wine and Music Festival, organized by Ken and Jenise Maxwell, and the Edible Texas Wine-Food Match, organized by Marla Camp and Terry Thompson-Anderson.

A feasibility study completed in 2009 by Fairweather Consulting indicated the center could attract some 34,000 deliberate culinary travelers to Fredericksburg during the first year of operation – visitors traveling to Fredericksburg specifically for the center.   The annual economic impact of these 34,000 new visitors could reach $11.2 million for Gillespie County, with a total annual estimated impact of $16.1 million for Texas as a whole.

Serving as the chairman of the board is local businessman Dave Davenport, with Ken Maxwell, owner of Torre Di Pietra Winery, as vice-chair.  Ernie Loeffler, director of the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau, will serve as secretary, and Ross Burtwell, owner of Cabernet Grill, will hold the treasurer slot.

Also named to the board of directors are Nichole Bendele, public relations director for Becker Vineyards; Shelley Britton, City Secretary, City of Fredericksburg; Ken Carr, of Austin-based Carr Development; Joe Cloud, owner of All Seasons Retreat; Debbie Farquhar-Garner, owner of Creative Marketing; and Tim Lehmberg, executive director of the Gillespie County Economic Development Commission.

Additional TCWCA board members include Kevin MacWithey, owner of Das Garten Haus; Mike Raymer, owner of Navajo Grill; Bill Renfro, retired banker; Cord Switzer, owner of Fredericksburg Winery; and Terry Thompson-Anderson, CCP, chef and cookbook author.

Ernie Loeffler, Director
Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau

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