The tasting was complimentary and all opinions are our own.
Upon arrival at Uplift Vineyard, we were served a chilled, crisp white wine in a stemless glass as we stepped into a comfortable golf cart to drive us on a tour of the vineyard. This welcome set the tone for our day.
The white wine is called Uplift Blanc and has a Lost Draw Cellars label. Let me give a little backstory. In 2019, William Chris Vineyards started buying grapes from a well-respected vineyard in the northern region of the hill country. Hoover’s Valley is an area outside of Burnet, and the Hoover Valley Vineyard was established by Reed Williams in 2013. The 78-acre property has 55 acres of mature vines of 13 different varieties. These vines are some of the oldest in the Hill Country, and the fruit had become sought after by many winemakers.
In 2021, William Chris Wine Company (WCWC) purchased the Hoover Valley Vineyard and incorporated the grapes into both William Chris and Lost Draw wines. In time, a new label began to take shape, as did a new name for the vineyard.
You may have heard a little about the efforts to create new American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs, within the large Texas Hill Country designated region. One of the areas is the geographically defined Llano Uplift region, a low geologic dome about 90 miles in diameter, stretching across the counties of Llano, Mason, San Saba, Gillespie, and Blanco. The formation of this region has to do with tectonic movement at a time before the dinosaurs roamed the Earth. If you’d like to learn more, check out this website.
Because of this unique geography, steps are underway to create the Llano Uplift AVA. Thus, the Uplift Vineyard name seemed a perfect fit. And because this new label is to have wines made only from this vineyard site, the Uplift name seemed ideal for the new wines.
Along with the new name and new label, a new winemaker was also put in place. Claire Richardson was formerly the assistant winemaker at William Chris Vineyards. She heads up the winemaking team for Uplift with the assistance of consulting winemaker Jean Hoefliger.
So, the white wine served upon our arrival was made, bottled, and labeled by Lost Draw – all before the development of the new Uplift label. The wine is a classic Rhône Valley white blend with 62% Viognier, boosted by Roussanne and Marsanne, making a bright, crisp wine perfect as a summer sipper.
Now, back to our experience at the Uplift Vineyard. As we stopped at the back of the vineyard, we were seated at a table and told about the unique geographical influences of the area. With a view of the vineyard and surrounding hillsides, we enjoyed the 2020 Aglianico. This relaxed time in the vineyard was a special touch not offered by many Texas wineries.
As we arrived back at the tasting room, we settled at the dining table in the elegantly appointed tasting room. We were treated to several red wines as we discussed the project and plans for the future. The wines included Montepulciano, Sangiovese, and a Bordeaux-style blend named Whitlock. This particular 2020 Whitlock is 90% Malbec with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is intended to showcase the best grapes from the vineyard each year.
There were a few surprises during our visit, and I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I’ll leave out the details. There is a tasting fee and the tasting takes an hour and a half for up to six people. If the drive seems too much to fit into your day, a barrel experience is available in Stonewall in the temperature-controlled warehouse space that stores their wine in barrels. This tasting will likely only be available until mid-summer, so if you’re interested, book now.
The top 10% of the fruit from the vineyard will create the Uplift wines. The max they expect to produce in a year would be 1,200 cases, with the remaining grapes used in wines for William Chris Vineyards and Lost Draw Cellars. Tastings at Uplift Vineyard feel exclusive and private, with wines only available to those tasting at the estate and wine club members. Releases will be scheduled in the spring with Italian varietals and fall with Bordeaux grapes. Members will soon have space for enjoying a glass or bottle on the second floor above the tasting room overlooking the vineyard.