One of the most popular wineries in the Texas Hill Country is William Chris Vineyards. The winemaking team there has been fortunate to have skilled winemakers over the years and the current winemaker is Tony Offill. Tony came to William Chris with an excellent reputation and has proven to deliver fantastic wines. We are proud to feature Tony Offill as this month’s featured winemaker!
- What did you do before becoming a winemaker (if anything)?
First career. I started in the cellar while I was in college.
- What is the toughest challenge about being a winemaker in Texas?
Weather is the obvious answer. Late frosts, high winds during bloom, heavy rain, or heat waves at almost any time can all shape a vintage. You learn to pivot and take what nature gives you. But the unpredictability can also lead to really special wines.
- Is winemaking an art or a science or both?
Both. You need numbers so you can create.
- What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
Thai food and Riesling.
- If you didn’t make wine, what would you do?
Something else in the wine industry. Not sure I would want to do anything else.
- What first attracted you to winemaking and how long have you been doing it?
There wasn’t really an attraction, I just knew I couldn’t sit at a desk. The first day in the cellar was long and intense and I fell in love. I’m on my ninth vintage.
- What is the most common question you are asked as a winemaker?
“Don’t you just love it?”
- After a long day in the winery or vineyard, what do you do?
Cook and drink wine.
- What’s the greatest part about being a winemaker?
That your labor is enjoyed.
- What is your winemaking philosophy, that is, what are you trying to achieve with your wines?
Our style is a hands-off, low intervention approach to create the best expression of a place and time.
- Anything else you would like to add?
The industry feels like it’s on the brink of something big; we need to keep pushing.
Kelli Appelbaum says
Tony, thank you for a great wine tasting experience in the barrel room of William Chris, Uplift and Lost Draw.
The Cappellos and Appelbaums