When in the High Plains, I visited a different kind of winery which was Texas Custom Wine Works (TCWW). They are not technically just a winery because they can do anything a customer wants in the wine industry. They are a custom processing facility in Brownfield which produces wine and other products. Besides making wine, storing wine, helping with wine problems, and other things on the enology side, TCWW can also help with providing grapes, vineyard advice, etc. on the viticulture side. Last year TCWW bought out a wine lab so now they can provide analysis too.
I contacted Mike Sipowicz, Director of Winemaking at TCWW, for an appointment to visit. I arrived at TCWW with Bill and Gail Day of Buena Suerte Vineyards. We met Mike Chaloupka who is TCWW’s General Manager and he informed us Mike Sipowicz was busy with some potential clients, but he would be glad to take us on a tour of the facility.
The last time I was at TCWW they had just started bringing in tanks and other equipment, and now it was fully operational. Most wineries have a grape press for when the grapes arrive after harvest, but TCWW has three of them of different sizes. They also have a bottling machine which can handle any kind of bottling needed, whether it be still wine bottles, sparkling wine, crown caps, Stelvin screw caps, etc.
While Dusty Timmons and Jet Wilmeth work on the viticultural side, Dr. Steve Talcott specializes in other beverages which require fruit processing. During our visit, they were just in the process of finishing up work for a customer on flavored water in 750ml plastic bottles for which Steve provided the expertise.
One thing Texas Custom Wine Works is doing now, which usually had to be shipped to California to do, is make sparkling wines. They use a pressurized tank of 1,000 gallons to make the sparkling wine. A carbonator machine would provide an additional benefit and just may be a future purchase. Recent sparkling wines made are the William Chris Vineyards sparkling Blanc du Bois and the recent Grape Creek Vineyards Euphoria which is a blend of Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Muscat Canelli. TCWW will work with the winery and can do the entire winemaking from start to finish or take the finished wine from the winery and just provide the sparkling touch.
TCWW welcomes winemakers from wineries who prefer to work closely with them to be present instead of being long distance. They want to build efficiencies at the facility so people can stay there to remain in close contact during the process.
Texas Custom Wine Works will have a tasting room soon at the location and provide tastings of wines from clients who will also let them sell their wine. While sitting in the tasting room talking to Mike Chaloupka, Mike Sipowicz came in as he had finished the meeting with the potential clients. I told Mike I had recently visited wineries which had used them and his winemaking skills, Majek Vineyard & Winery and Whistling Duck Vineyards & Winery, and was impressed in both situations.
There weren’t any extra questions we had because Mike Chaloupka had done a wonderful job on the tour. I know if I was thinking about starting a winery, vineyard, or even just making commercial wine, I would certainly contact Texas Custom Wine Works initially. Oh, and that meeting Mike Sipowicz had with potential clients? They became clients.