This month we feature multi-talented winemaker Reagan Sivadon of Sandy Road Vineyards. Not only is he the winemaker there, he is also a co-owner. On top of that, Reagan is also an associate winemaker at Spicewood Vineyards and Ron Yates. If you haven’t been to the treehouse in the vineyard yet, you should immediately make a reservation to visit Sandy Road Vineyards and taste Reagan’s wines!
- What did you do before becoming a winemaker (if anything)?
I grew up working for my dad in our family construction business. He is responsible for my strong work ethic and ability to wake up daily at 5 a.m. Together we restored many historical buildings all across the state of Texas.
- What is the toughest challenge about being a winemaker in Texas?
Harvest. Because Texas is such a large state, there are multiple growing seasons. For example, we might be dealing with the end of our Hill Country harvest and the beginning of our West Texas and High Plains harvest. This means we are managing logistics of fruit coming from several locations, wine in various stages of the winemaking process, all while trying to fit everything into the building.
- Is winemaking an art or a science or both?
I feel its 100% science while also being 100% art. To me the whole process of making a new vintage wine is a new chemistry experiment every time. But at the end of the day, just like an artist, my name is on the bottle and I base my decisions about the wine using my own senses and past experiences.
- What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
That’s easy. Pizza and Sangiovese.
- If you didn’t make wine, what would you do?
Probably spend all day in my tractor.
- What first attracted you to winemaking and how long have you been doing it?
It started in 2007 when a good friend of mine, Ron, purchased Spicewood Vineyards. I spent a lot of time there getting to know more about wine and the vineyard. In 2012, I began working in the vineyard, and then soon after Todd Crowell, Head Winemaker, recruited me to work for him in the winery. Without the Yates family purchasing Spicewood Vineyards I would have never been exposed to the whole process of being a vigneron.
- What is the most common question you are asked as a winemaker?
“How did you add the different flavors to the wine?”
- After a long day in the winery or vineyard, what do you do?
Drink a beer and get ready for the next day.
- What’s the greatest part about being a winemaker?
Having the ability to create something others enjoy.
- What is your winemaking philosophy, that is, what are you trying to achieve with your wines?
That great wine starts in the vineyard. As a winemaker, the condition of the grape cluster at harvest is what you have to work with. Whether I am growing it on our estate vineyard or working with Texas growers, my focus always starts with the vineyard and then into the winery.
- Anything else you would like to add?
I’d like to add a special thank you to the Yates family for such a wonderful life changing opportunity. And also, a very special thank you to Todd Crowell. A mentor and buddy who has worldly knowledge of the winemaking process and him sharing it with me.