Acclaimed Texas winery uncorks plans for new Hill Country destination
A Texas wine company that enjoys a faithful following in Fredericksburg is plowing fertile ground with a new winery and tasting room in Johnson City, a Hill Country neighbor.
William Chris Wine Co., based in the Blanco County town of Hye, recently started construction on a 9,260-square-foot winery and tasting room in Johnson City, representing an extension of its Lost Draw Cellars brand. Lost Draw already operates a winery and tasting room in Fredericksburg, which is about 30 miles west of Johnson City.
“We’re excited about growing the brand of Lost Draw,” Andrew Sides, founder of Lost Draw Cellars and co-founder and chief operating officer of William Chris Wine, tells CultureMap. “I think it’s got a really great reputation already, but there’s just so much opportunity to really get it out in front of more people, and give more people an opportunity to see what we’re doing and experience the difference.”
The new 2,000-square-foot tasting room, at 1686 U.S. Highway 290, is set to open in September or October. The rest of the project is tentatively scheduled for completion in late 2023.
Designed by Austin’s Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, the new winery will feature a public tasting room, club-member tasting room, covered porch, retail store, barrel storage, offices, kitchen, and outdoor bar.
The 22-acre site already is home to a seven-acre vineyard that William Chris Wine planted in 2020. Four types of Bordeaux wine grapes are grown there. The vineyard should yield more than 15,000 bottles of wine per year, Sides says.
William Chris Wine decided to add a location in Johnson City to attract residents of the Austin and San Antonio areas who want to visit a winery that’s closer than the Lost Draw Cellars property in Fredericksburg, according to Sides.
Fredericksburg is around 80 miles west of Austin and about 70 miles northwest of San Antonio. Meanwhile, Johnson City is almost 50 miles west of Austin and close to 65 miles north of San Antonio.
Aiming to capitalize on growing interest in the Johnson City area as a tourism spot, Sides envisions the new venue being a destination winery where visitors spend much of their day sipping wine, noshing on food, and socializing with family and friends. Nearby attractions include Pedernales Falls State Park, the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, and the Lyndon B. Johnson Historic Site and State Park.
“I think Texas wine is at a point where where we just have nothing but great opportunity for growth,” Sides says. “More and more Texans are really starting to embrace Texas wine, which we didn’t necessarily have five to 10 years ago.”
The Lost Draw Cellars property in Fredericksburg, at 113 E. Park St., will remain open. But Sides says the name and format of the Fredericksburg site likely will be tweaked. The facility opened in 2014.
Lost Draw Cellars got its start producing wines from grapes grown at Lost Draw Vineyards in the Texas High Plains region, which includes Amarillo and Lubbock. Last year, William Chris Wine purchased the 78-acre Hoover Valley Vineyard in Burnet from Reed and Joan Williams. The company’s other holdings include William Chris Vineyards in Hye, and the Skeleton Key and Grower Project wine brands.