Guest article by Susannah Haddad
Upon arriving at The Austin Winery, it’s clear that The Yard development in South Austin is going to be big. Currently home to businesses like St. Elmo Brewery, Vuka, Spokesman Coffee, and soon Still Austin Whiskey Co., the city’s first whiskey distillery, The Yard supports local while offering plenty to do.
Co-founders Ross McLauchlan and Cooper Anderson have been making wine since long before The Austin Winery had feet. With their balanced skill set and a gap in the Austin market, they enlisted the help of Matthew Smith, third co-founder and Chief of Operations, then opened their doors.
Walking in, you know these guys don’t mess around with innovation and efficiency. The open warehouse space not only houses a tasting room, but also The Austin Winery’s office and production facility.
Innovation Intersecting Tradition
One visit to The Austin Winery’s tasting room, website, or vineyards, and it’s clear sustainability is at the forefront of their ideals. Sourcing from biodynamic vineyards, shipping grapes rather than finished product to reduce freight costs, and using locally-made glass bottles and recycled corks are a few ways the company reduces its carbon footprint.
The start-from-scratch model has made implementing these new methods much easier than it would be for The Austin Winery’s hundred-year-old traditional winery counterparts. The model also means the main focus is on quality over quantity. While national growth may be in the 10-year plan, the next few years are dedicated to perfecting and increasing current production at a “slow and steady pace,” while educating customers about the bright future of Texas-made wines.
Texas Wines Get a Bad Rap
“California wines were scoffed at by aficionados through the 70’s,” McLauchlan said. Texas grapes are now the youngest of an ancient lineage, but McLauchlan seems certain that with more time and education, Texas wines can shed the bad rap and get the notice they deserve. While a good percentage of The Austin Winery’s grapes come from the High Plains of Texas (south of the Texas panhandle), the business sources grapes from California and Washington, as well.
From Quarter Horse, which might become my go-to red wine to pair with dark meat, to Euphoria, the winery’s first and only bagged wine, perfect for summer festivities around town, all The Austin Winery wines have a distinct personality.
The team favorite is Work Horse, made from Texas grapes consisting of merlot and petit verdot varietals, which come together to create the ideal glass of evening red wine.
Visit The Austin Winery
The Austin Winery aims for delicious, thoughtful, and affordable wines, while emphasizing appreciation and education for the blue collar work behind the magic of wine making.
Interested in trying some of their wines? Find them at local favorites such as Buenos Aires Cafe, Epicerie, Winebelly and other local businesses. You can also visit The Austin Winery tasting room at 440 E. Saint Elmo Road, A1. It’s open six days a week (closed Monday) with varying hours. They request you make reservations for groups of 8 or more, and private parties are also available.
@theAustinot wants to know:
Do you have a favorite Texas wine?
Susannah Haddad is a native Austinite and artist. After leaving Austin for school and, she made it back to Austin and still calls it home. She loves gardening, reading and making art.