We recently wrote about Cedar Hollow Winery & Vineyard where they are just celebrating their one-year anniversary. The winemaker behind the winery including receiving a Best of Class award at 2023 San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition is DeWayne Hill. We are proud to feature DeWayne Hill as this month’s featured winemaker profile!
- What did you do before becoming a winemaker (if anything)?
My father was a general contractor, and I grew up doing all kinds of construction work. I still enjoy building things which is a big part of putting a winery/vineyard together. I also owned a Canon office equipment dealership in Dallas for about 25 years.
- What is the toughest challenge about being a winemaker in Texas?
The biggest challenge I’ve found is meeting the demand for variety here in Texas. Currently we have 26 wines and still have others to add soon.
- Is winemaking an art or a science or both?
It is definitely both, but I would call it more of a discipline since the science has long been established and the art is in following best practices.
- What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
Honestly, it’s the next one that my wife comes up with. She is really good at food and wine pairing. My go to is a ribeye and a bold Cabernet.
- If you didn’t make wine, what would you do?
Hopefully something that involves traveling the world, visiting wine regions, and learning more about the history of wine.
- What first attracted you to winemaking and how long have you been doing it?
I was fascinated by the processes and the equipment involved after visiting a few wineries. I began to study the industry and asking questions of people in the business who I found to be very willing to share their stories. I started making wine at home in 2016 with the intention of making my way into the business. Over the next 3-4 years I spent a lot of time basically volunteering my time helping a couple wineries through their startup phase.
- What is the most common question you are asked as a winemaker?
The most common question is, “How long does it take to make a batch of wine.” And the answer is, it depends on which wine I’m making.
- After a long day in the winery or vineyard, what do you do?
Usually, it’s a late dinner and a glass of wine with my wife. Sometimes it’s sitting around our big fire table on the patio visiting with our friends and neighbors.
- What’s the greatest part about being a winemaker?
Sharing what you make with other people and having them enjoy the fruits of your labor. I also like the fact that wine is patient. It’s good at waiting for me to have time to get back to it when I’m busy doing other things or traveling.
- What is your winemaking philosophy, that is, what are you trying to achieve with your wines?
My philosophy is that wine will practically make itself if you start with the best possible ingredients and don’t screw it up. Primarily, you must let it do what it does and never rush through any step along the way. In our first year, we’ve landed some top awards in several major wine competitions. The goal now is to make batches large enough to not sell out as quickly. We want to build a library of reserve wines and an underground wine cellar for storing them.
- Anything else you would like to add?
I’d like to add that I couldn’t do what I do without the love and support of my wife and business partner, Amy.