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William Chris Vineyards
by
Kathy and Terry Sullivan

William Chris VineyardsSummary: The wines produced by William Chris Vineyards are from 100% Texas fruit. The William Chris Vineyards' tasting room is located in an old house with an interesting tale involving former President Lyndon Baines Johnson as a youngster.

William “Bill” Blackmon and Chris Brundrett own and operate a vineyard management company with 40 plus acres in the Texas Hill Country and the High Plains.

William Chris VineyardsOn the property of the William Chris Vineyards’ tasting room, the winery has two acres of Malbec, Petit Verdot and Tannat grape varieties. In Willow City they have 18 acres of vines that include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec.

Chris Brundrett worked in the restaurant business where he became interested in wine. While visiting Texas Hill Country he had a wine epiphany, deciding to change his major at Texas A & M.  “Something special is going on here and I don’t want to miss it.” Chris started making wine while in college and still worked in the restaurant business. After college, he was offered a position at a Napa and a Sonoma winery but turned it down in order to stay in Texas. Chris met Bill Blackmon and eventually they decided to open their own winery offering a totally different wine experience. “I want to show people where their wine comes from.” They began with 400 cases and in 2013 expect to reach 8,000 cases.

History of the “Old House”

The winery opened in 2009 with the tasting room in a 100 plus year old house originally owned by the Deike family. The house has been renovated and visitors may see one room where old doors are showcased on the ceiling. The Deikes raised many children – enough to field a baseball team. No one outside of the family was allowed to play on the team with the exception of Lyndon Baines Johnson who lived nearby and had one of the only baseballs and bats in the area. A family photo of the team is framed and available for visitors to view.

William Chris Vineyards     William Chris Vineyards

Tasting Rooms

William Chris VineyardsThere are several tasting areas in the house. We tasted wine in one of the original rooms. It is a small area and offers an intimate tasting experience. An addition was added to the house enabling two tasting counters for large groups of people. Between the tasting rooms in the original house and the new tasting room, there is a room that originally wasn’t there. This room protects and showcases the original house well. The original house and well are examples of how the wine industry is preserving America’s past.

Wines

Mary Ruth 2013 Texas High Plains a blend of Orange Muscat, Blanc du Bois and Muscat Blanc was a very light yellow. The wine offered notes of orange blossoms and honeysuckle. This light-bodied wine was crisp and dry. The wine retails for $30.00. Sparkling Rosé was a blend of Chenin Blanc, Orange Muscat and Cinsault. The wine was a light pink with an orange hue. The wine offered floral notes and was crisp. This light-bodied, dry wine retails for $28.00.

William Chris VineyardsRed Wines

Emotion, a blend of Mourvedre, Tempranillo, Syrah and Cabernet Franc was a light translucent ruby color with a dark pink hue. The wine had red and dark berry fruit notes. The wine was medium-bodied with high acidity and low tannins. Emotion retails for $30.00. Hunter 2012 Texas High Plains was a blend of Merlot and Malbec. The wine was a translucent ruby color and offered notes of dark fruit with medium tannins. The wine was medium to full-bodied with high acidity. It retails for $38.00. Sangiovese 2012 Texas Hill Country was a translucent ruby color. The wine offered notes of cherry and leather. The wine had medium tannins and a crisp finish. This medium to full-bodied wine with high acidity retails for $43.00.  This wine is a Wine Club Exclusive. The Enchanté 2011 Texas Hill Country was a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. The wine was a translucent ruby color with notes of dark fruits and leather. The wine had medium to bold tannins. It was full–bodied with high acidity. The wine retails for $48.00. We compared this wine with the Enchanté 2012 Texas Hill Country blend of  Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Mourvedre. The wine had dark fruit notes including black cherry, black berry and leather. It offered bold tannins, a full-body and high acidity. The wine retails for $42.00.

 

William Chris VineyardsEnjoy a visit to William Chris Vineyards where you can hear the story of LBJ as well as taste wines produced only with Texas grapes.  Take the time to stop at the sign on your way out; it reads, “Thanks for being a part of the William Chris story. Enchanté y’all!”

William Chris Vineyards
10352 U.S. Highway 290
Hye, Texas 78635

GPS: N30º 14.614’ W98º 34.270’

Article written August 2013


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