One winemaker who started years ago with unique and innovative ideas with his winery is still going strong. That winemaker is Brock Estes of Fly Gap Winery. The winery is located in Mason, Texas, which is becoming a destination location. You can find Brock’s wines such as the Dank lineup at other tasting rooms, and when you do, you will not be disappointed. We are proud to feature Brock Estes as this month’s featured winemaker!
- What did you do before becoming a winemaker (if anything)?
I managed restaurants before I became a winemaker.
- What is the toughest challenge about being a winemaker in Texas?
The toughest challenge about being a winemaker in Texas is getting wine snobs to try your wine with an open mind.
- Is winemaking an art or a science or both?
Winemaking is both an art and science, but I lean towards more art and some science.
- What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
Great pizza and great wine are hard to beat.
- If you didn’t make wine, what would you do?
If I didn’t make wine I’d probably be a blacksmith, truck driver, Dr. Pepper salesman, or own a sandwich shop.
- What first attracted you to winemaking and how long have you been doing it?
Don Pullam got me into wine. I was invited to pick fruit at his vineyard. As soon as I stepped foot into the vineyard and asked a million questions, I knew immediately that winemaking is what I was going to do.
- What is the most common question you are asked as a winemaker?
Sometimes people look at you when you’re pouring and they all say, you must have the coolest job ever! I’m just looking right back at them jealous of their corporate salaries and 401k.
- After a long day in the winery or vineyard, what do you do?
After a long day in the winery or vineyard, I feel amazing. I feel like I just got out of a battle. Getting finished after a long day especially in the vineyard feels like I finished a football game or walking out of the French doors after a great sermon at church. I just feel like I accomplished something, then I go and try to be a young dad and do activities with my kids.
- What’s the greatest part about being a winemaker?
The greatest part about being a winemaker is watching people enjoy your wine.
- What is your winemaking philosophy, that is, what are you trying to achieve with your wines?
I like earthy and minerality. In the beginning, I was way too forward on that approach. Instead of having a taste of terroir be at the forefront, it’s better to be present in the background. The fruit can speak for itself quite a bit. I do believe a winemaker is an artist and can express the fruit in unique ways. I remember once questioning myself if ideas or things I tried really matter. It was right around the same time that I was doing blending trials. I put 2% Tannat in Tempranillo juice. The Tannat took over the blend. It was at that moment that I realized all the things that I’m passionate about that are not measurable with any instruments other than our own perceptions are very important and can make a huge impact in the winemaking.
- Anything else you would like to add?
We are set to open Dank Lounge in October. It’s right off the square in Mason, Texas. It will be the only place to get Fly Gap wines. We are set to bottle four new wines very soon. We are excited to be in Mason. There are more wineries scheduled to open on the square. By this time next year, there should be seven or eight tasting rooms on the square.