We launched our family estate wines in the great state of Texas last week with Randy and I on a whirlwind tour. Three cities – Austin, Dallas and Houston – on a quick five day swing through a hot, steamy state!
The humidity was as high as the warm welcome we received from everyone on our tour beginning with Austin’s native son Scott Roberts and proprietor of the ‘world renowned’ Salt Lick BBQ Restaurant.
Created in 1969 by his parents with BBQ recipes from his father’s side of the family that date back to the Civil War era, the Salt Lick is an institution. It’s not unusual to find their parking lot jammed with cars and buses – and on weekends, rumor has it that they average service to 3,000 people. It must be true, since there’s a sign in the restaurant that asks you only to dine for an hour and a half in fairness to the rest of the crowd!
Our newest Wine Ambassador is Dr. (retired) Aaron Combs – a brilliant orthopedic surgeon who has a passion for Texas, mountain biking, skiing and wine – a perfect combination! Aaron is uncle to our good friend Cari Guittard – part of the San Francisco chocolate dynasty and native of Dallas; this business is about relationships, isn’t it?
Aaron has opened doors for us in Colorado and Joe will be headed out to his ranch to participate in the Crested Butte Land Trust Wine and Food Festival at the end of July. Just a little caveat – Joe will have to hone his mountain biking skills – there’s a challenge on the table and a bit of hard riding to be done. We’ll send the family’s best.
Perhaps most endearing of all at the Salt Lick – as well as other restaurants in Texas – is the local custom of bringing in your own stocked cooler. People were throwing cold ones from table to table and oh, how I wish they had a license to sell – our Zinfandel was a great match to their barbecue!
Our introduction to the Bev Co International distributor was an elegant lunch at Fleming’s Steakhouse in downtown Austin. Operating Partner Darryl Wittle pulled out the stops with his hospitality and food pairings – we were able to meet many of the local restaurant owners, managers and wine buyers at this event and certainly appreciated the efforts of Bev Co’s Lynda Barnes and Fleming’s waiter, Fabian.
Onward to Dallas with Bev Co’s Jimmy Contreas introducing us to his accounts and to the Dallas market – and if you’ve never been to the Ritz Carlton, it’s worth a tour just to note the interiors.
We landed in Houston for the final day – and stayed at the Hotel ZaZa. How do I get their lobby chair in my carry-on to Lodi?
Our thanks to Wine Club Members Dr. Luke and Julia Burke for their never ending support of our winery. Luke and Julia hosted a private wine tasting reception in the home of Dr. Mark and Mary D’Andrea. Our heartfelt thanks for connecting us with their friends and new Wine Club Members.
And unfortunately, there are no photographs of the tasting that night – it was hot and we were busy pouring our newly released chilled Viognier to a very appreciative crowd.