The Rohans first entry into the Texas wine industry was Rohan Meadery with wonderful meads. Since that start, they have added wines, ciders, and soon beers will be added to their production line and have rebranded to be Blissful Folly Farm. John and Wendy both share the wine, mead, and cider making duties, but John is the brewmaster when it comes to beer. Wendy answered the questions for both of them, and we are proud to feature John and Wendy Rohan as this month’s featured winemakers!
- What did you do before becoming a winemaker (if anything)?
John’s background is in chemical engineering, but he works as a software architect. I taught chemistry for years before doing the winery full time.
- What is the toughest challenge about being a winemaker in Texas?
There are so many variables to juggle making wine in Texas. This is compounded when you use 100% Texas grapes as we do. There is so much variability in grapes from year to year due to weather, pest pressures, etc. that at times it is hard to re-create what you did before. It’s a challenge, but also what keeps things interesting. And yes, honey also has terroir and variability from year to year.
- Is winemaking an art or a science or both?
Wine is both a science and an art; that is precisely why it is so beautiful!
- What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
When pairing wine, mead, or cider, it’s hard to beat a well-made loaf of bread with a great olive oil or tapenade, so versatile.
- If you didn’t make wine, what would you do?
We both have other interests already that we pursue on the side.
- Wendy: I am working on the first book in a murder mystery series that centers around the Texas wine industry.
- John: He would spend more time dabbling in AI and using his 3D printer. In other words, we might not be living indoors for long!
- What first attracted you to winemaking and how long have you been doing it?
We both love the melding of science and creativity…with a bonus at the end that you can create something that people will enjoy. We have been commercially active for 11 years.
- What is the most common question you are asked as a winemaker?
What is mead and how is mead made?
- After a long day in the winery or vineyard, what do you do?
After a long pruning or harvesting day, we like to sit on our back porch with a drink and enjoy the breeze after the sun sets.
- What’s the greatest part about being a winemaker?
The greatest part is the mystery. Yes, we can parse down (almost) all the chemical compounds that are created and that change as you ferment sugars to alcohol, but there is this beautiful moment when all the right components fuse together to create something magical.
- What is your winemaking philosophy, that is, what are you trying to achieve with your wines?
Our philosophy with our meads, wines, and ciders is all the same. Do not over manipulate. We grow organically on the farm using integrative approaches. Not all of our grapes sourced for our wines are organic, but we use as few inputs as possible to create natural products where the fruit or the honey can really shine through.
- Anything else you would like to add?
Our desire has always been to create community around craft beverages, and to draw people together around a common love.