Jon Burger is the co-owner and winemaker at Houston Winery. The winery produces wines with mostly Texas grapes, but they do source some grapes from outside of Texas. Houston Winery has won medals in recent wine competitions for their wine. We are glad to have Jon Burger as this month’s winemaker profile.
- What did you do before becoming a winemaker (if anything)?
I work in the energy business currently with winemaking as a vocation (nights and weekends job).
- What is the toughest challenge about being a winemaker in Texas?
The toughest challenge as a Vintner is opening people’s minds to try and like Texas wines. There are lots of misperceptions about Texas wine, but we set out to change minds one person at a time.
- Is winemaking an art or a science or both?
It is definitely both. The science is selecting the correct grapes, preparing the yeast properly, and testing the wines for various properties and then fining and stabilizing. The art is in selecting the proper fermentation temperature, the time on oak and amount of new oak, and target flavor profile.
- What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
Steak and a big red wine.
- If you didn’t make wine, what would you do?
Work in energy. Oh wait, I do that anyway. And maybe make beer.
- What first attracted you to winemaking and how long have you been doing it?
I caught the bug in 2009 and made my first wine in 2010. As an engineer, I wanted a fun yet challenging hobby, but it quickly became a passion, so I made wine from anything and everything to learn about the process. I went through the UC Davis online certificate program which really helped to elevate the wines
- What is the most common question you are asked as a winemaker?
Lately, it is, “How did you get into being a winemaker?” or “What’s your favorite wine?”
- After a long day in the winery or vineyard, what do you do?
Pick one of the great restaurants around Houston to eat and have a glass of wine. It’s a great food city.
- What’s the greatest part about being a winemaker?
Working with great people and meeting the vast variety of people that make up this great city, plus making a wine that I enjoy and that other people do as well.
- What is your winemaking philosophy, that is, what are you trying to achieve with your wines?
I like to bring out each grape’s distinctive fruit in white wines and create big, bold structured reds.