Torr Na Lochs Vineyard & Winery located in Burnet, Texas has one of the most beautiful views of any Texas winery. But to keep wine lovers coming back to your winery, you need great wine too. Behind the wines at Torr Na Lochs is co-owner Karen DeBerry. This month we are proud to feature winemaker Karen DeBerry.
- What did you do before becoming a winemaker (if anything)?
My first career was as a CPA working first for one of the big accounting firms and later as CFO of a financial services company. I found I had a passion for horticulture, so my second career was owner/operator of a small landscaping company. After that, I spent 10 years overseas as an expatriate spouse (the best career ever!).
- What is the toughest challenge about being a winemaker in Texas?
The weather. You never know how the growing season will be and how the fruit will come in until it does! However, the variability of the weather makes each vintage unique, and that is what makes Texas wines so special.
- Is winemaking an art or a science or both?
I believe that winemaking is both art and science. For me, I try not to let the science get in the way of the art.
- What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
I don’t really have a sweet tooth, but I do enjoy a bold red paired with a really dark chocolate.
- If you didn’t make wine, what would you do?
If I didn’t make wine, I would probably still be growing grapes. In addition to the winemaking, I really enjoy the viticulture side of things. I’m happiest when I’m outside, so the vineyard is my happy place.
- What first attracted you to winemaking and how long have you been doing it?
A wine tour to Margaret River in Western Australia was our inspiration to plant a vineyard and build the winery. Learning how to make wine was a necessity, as we didn’t have the budget to hire a full-time winemaker. It is really satisfying, particularly with Estate wines, to have that first sip of a new wine that you helped bring to life.
- What is the most common question you are asked as a winemaker?
How much water do you add to the wine? My response—there’s only ever been one person who could make wine from water!
- After a long day in the winery or vineyard, what do you do?
Enjoy a glass of wine while watching the sun set over the lakes.
- What’s the greatest part about being a winemaker?
We are on our fourth vintage, and it still seems surreal that I am making wine instead of just drinking it! It’s hard work, and a bit nerve wracking at times, but it’s such a great feeling when the wine turns out just the way you envisioned it.
- What is your winemaking philosophy, that is, what are you trying to achieve with your wines?
Of course, we always want a balanced wine, but for me it’s important to let the fruit be the star. I don’t like to cover up the fruit characteristics with too much oak.
- Anything else you would like to add?
I am excited to be part of the Texas wine industry and participating in its growth and increasing the recognition of Texas wines on the broader stage.