What did you do before becoming a winemaker (if anything)?
Professional killer. Actually, I worked in fine wine retail in Austin.
What is the toughest challenge about being a winemaker in Texas?
The distance between our High Plains vineyards and winery is frustrating. Inconsistent crop, both in quality and quantity.
Is winemaking an art or a science or both?
While science is important, I consider myself an artist.
What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
Champagne and anything, German Riesling and pho, Sancerre and oysters, Zinfandel and Cocoa Puffs.
If you didn’t make wine, what would you do?
Live in a bus down by the river.
What first attracted you to winemaking and how long have you been doing it?
This will be my nineteenth harvest as a professional. I was attracted to winemaking because of its history. To me, production of wine is a defining characteristic of human civilization. Winemaking allows me to work with my hands, to honor the agricultural legacy of my family and ancestors, and hopefully to make people happy.
What is the most common question you are asked as a winemaker?
Are you off your meds? Seriously, people ask how and why I got into winemaking.
After a long day in the winery or vineyard, what do you do?
Try to spend time with my family.
What’s the greatest part about being a winemaker?
Every day is different. Oh, and I get to drink for free every day.
What is your winemaking philosophy, that is, what are you trying to achieve with your wines?
Ultimately, I want to make wines that express where they were grown. Terry Theise, wine importer, says it more elegantly than I ever could.
“Beauty is more important that impact.”
“Harmony is more important than intensity.”
“The whole of any wine must always be more than the sum of its parts.”
“Soul is more important than anything, and soul is expressed as a trinity of family, soil, and artisanality.”