One of the longtime wineries in the Texas High Plains is Pheasant Ridge Winery and the man behind the winery is famed viticulturist and winemaker Bobby Cox. Estate and 100% Texas wines are being made by Bobby Cox including Pinot Noir from the oldest Pinot Noir vines in the state of Texas. This month’s featured winemaker is Bobby Cox.
- What did you do before becoming a winemaker (if anything)?
I had a part-time job as a sommelier while I studied at Texas Tech University. I worked on straight commission. That’s not as crazy as it sounds because Texas Instruments had a large contingency of French in Lubbock at the time. As for the locals, the only thing they knew about wine was they were going to Hell if they drank it. After graduation, I grew flowers for my father-in-law.
- What is the toughest challenge about being a winemaker in Texas?
No one thinks it can be done.
- Is winemaking an art or a science or both?
Very much both. California has abandoned art in favor of science.
- What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
Wow! So very hard to pick just one. Okay, today grilled shrimp and dry Chenin Blanc. Jennifer (Bobby’s wife) and I could write a book on this question.
- If you didn’t make wine, what would you do?
- What first attracted you to winemaking and how long have you been doing it?
Food and wine pairing, and the fantastic terroir up on the High Plains. I made my first wine from Texas grapes in 1976 and planted my first vine in 1972.
- What is the most common question you are asked as a winemaker?
- After a long day in the winery or vineyard, what do you do?
Hey! I am 67. After a sixteen hour day, I go to sleep.
- What’s the greatest part about being a winemaker?
Seeing the look of astonishment on folks’ faces that my wines are not only good, but extraordinary. How can that possibly happen in Texas?
- What is your winemaking philosophy, that is, what are you trying to achieve with your wines?
Let the grapes talk. Our terroir can render fantastic wine if left alone.
- Anything else you would like to add?
The High Plains can do ANYTHING they are permitted to do. We can grow the best five dollar wine in H-E-B (we must have economies of scale to do that) and go head to head with the more expensive wines. Just give us a chance to show our stuff.