TEXAS (KXAN) — A Texas winery has been ranked one of the world’s best vineyards, one of only six wineries based in the United States to earn the distinction.
William Chris Vineyards, located in the Texas Hill Country city of Hye, came in at No. 56, honored alongside vineyards based in Italy, Australia, Portugal and South Africa, among other places.
“I think the secret is out about Texas wine and it’s not surprising anymore,” said Chris Brundrett, co-founder of William Chris Vineyards. “I think that it was some definite, well-deserved acclaim for all the hard work. We’ve been going since 2008 so it’s pretty, pretty amazing.”
William Chris Vineyards was the sole Texas winery to make the Top 100, the lone entry from the Lone Star State joined by five California vineyards. But what’s the secret to Texas winemaking and the key ingredients for a perfect pour?
The secret to Texas winemaking
The art of the craft comes down to the quality of the grapes, Brundrett said.
“If we don’t have amazing grapes, there’s no way we can make it with amazing wine. And that takes not only the right varieties in the right place, but also really dedicated people. It’s not enough to work hard and it’s not enough to work smart: You have to be both.”
Those dedicated teammates include 136 families who help contribute to the company’s operations, from growing premier grapes and producing subsequent wines to distributing it beyond their vineyard’s reach, he said.
Growing wine industry in Texas
While many people think of California vineyards when they think of some of the country’s best wines, Brundrett said there are so many diverse growing regions in Texas that bring their own unique elements and flairs to the final products. From the High Plains to the Hill Country, he said the state’s diverse landscape and ecosystem breeds exceptional wines.
“Texas is just one of the most diverse growing regions in the country and in the world,” he said.
What began in 2008 with four cases and $40,000 alongside his co-founder, Bill Blackmon, has transformed into a multimodal company that includes its vineyard, Lost Draw Cellars and its Skeleton Key wine, available in retail spots across the state and country. Fourteen years in, he said the team is still chasing the perfect pour.
“Ultimately, I don’t think we’ve made our best bottled wine,” he said.