One of the most popular new wineries in North Texas recently is Hidden Hangar Vineyard and Winery. At the helm of the winemaking is Mark Schabel. The winery often has online sales, so if you cannot visit the winery personally, order online for the chance to try some of Mark’s wines. We are proud to feature Mark Schabel in this month’s winemaker profile.
- What did you do before becoming a winemaker (if anything)?
I was a film student and server. While serving, I worked with two excellent Sommeliers that took me under their wings. The occupational hazard steered me toward becoming a winemaker.
- What is the toughest challenge about being a winemaker in Texas?
Weather. Mother Nature has other plans for you. I have protocols for winemaking to adjust to what surprises she may have in store.
- Is winemaking an art or a science or both?
Mostly science. The art portion is part tradition, history, and bench trials to see if the blend comes together.
- What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
I pair wine seasonally. Pan-seared Snapper with a capper white dill pan-sauce and a Sancerre in the summer; Beef Bourgogne with Montepulciano or Barolo on a cold winter’s night.
- If you didn’t make wine, what would you do?
- What first attracted you to winemaking and how long have you been doing it?
At first it was learning about regions, varieties, and tasting vintage and history. Now, I like more of the engineering and developing wine, and how to improve it.
- What is the most common question you are asked as a winemaker?
“You must love what you do?” I do, and not for the reason they think. I enjoy the challenges. Every day is different, every season is different. Experimenting and learning from it inspires me to make better wines.
- After a long day in the winery or vineyard, what do you do?
If its non-harvest time, it would be Latin dancing or hiking.
- What’s the greatest part about being a winemaker?
I enjoy bench trials the most. This is where the blend reveals itself, and I can stop poking at it.
- What is your winemaking philosophy, that is, what are you trying to achieve with your wines?
I strive to capture each vintage to make wines with personality, balance, and finesse. I want both grape varieties to show typicity, and the character from the site from which they are grown to reveal itself in blends.
- Anything else you would like to add?
There are more songs written about wine than any other food. In my opinion, it brings us together. I welcome other opinions as well, best shared with a glass of wine.