Lewis Wines is located in Johnson City and is owned by Doug Lewis and Duncan McNabb. Both Doug and Duncan handle all the winemaking, sales, etc. The winery opened February 2013.
Doug and Duncan were roommates in college and have been friends since. Doug worked at Pedernales Cellars helping winemaking, harvesting, and anything else which needed doing. Duncan would also help out too. They started making a few barrels of wine at Pedernales to learn the craft of winemaking, and in 2011 they started thinking about making commercial wine. Thus the hatching of the idea of Lewis Wines began.
There are no set hours for the winery as they are scheduling appointments only so people can meet and talk to the winemakers. I visited Lewis Wines with three board members from the Texas Wine and Food Consortium: Craig, Daniel, and Amy.
Tastings are held inside the winery among the wine barrels and stainless steel tanks. A tasting bar is set up on top of wine barrels and you taste while standing at the tasting bar. The tastings are poured from the uncorked bottles.
There is a tasting fee for the wines available but the tasting fee is refunded with a bottle purchase. Currently there are three wines to taste:
- 2010 Tempranillo from Kuhlken Vineyards and Bingham Family Vineyards
- 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from Newsom Vineyards
- 2010 Newsom Vineyard Malbec with about 8% of Petit Verdot blended in
We were first able to taste two tank samples which will be bottled on April 16. These were a Viognier and a Viognier/Chenin Blanc blend. The Viognier tasted sweet but it was a dry wine and I can’t wait for the bottles to be available, probably in May.
In addition to these wines, they recently bottled two more blended wines which we were able to taste even though they are laying down right now for some more aging. The two blends are:
- 55% Tempranillo, 35% Mourvèdre, 8% Syrah, and 2% Grenache
- 50% Touriga Nacional, 33% Tempranillo, and 17% Tinto Cão
Lewis Wines uses 100% Texas grapes. They get about 12-15 acres of grapes from Newsom Vineyards and other grapes from the High Plains come from Andy Timmons at Lost Draw Vineyards and the Bingham Family Vineyards. Grapes also come from Parr Vineyards owned by Robert and Dilek Parr and the Round Mountain Vineyard which Doug and Duncan actually manage. Right now grapes they get are Tempranillo, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Cão, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc. In spring 2014 they plan on planting their own vineyard of Touriga Nacional and Tannat.
The winery has many barrels in addition to the stainless steel tanks and they use American, French, Eastern European, and Russian oak barrels.
Duncan grabbed the wine thief and proceeded to get a couple barrel samples. We first tasted a 2012 Round Mountain Tempranillo and then a 2012 Syrah. They are going to keep the Syrah in the barrel probably 8 more months but Amy and I were ready to take a bottle home right then!
Lewis Wines already has a wine club where you can get discounts and wine shipments. The winery location has a beautiful view and the only situation is the high wind gusts which often come daily. They plan on building a barrier to help prevent the wind so people can sit on the patio of the winery and enjoy a glass of wine.
We all agreed there was no bad wine tasted and look forward to great things from Lewis Wines. I would highly recommend making an appointment to visit these two energetic winemakers and enjoy their wine.