How This Move Could Set Up Success for Lost Draw

The first leg of Lost Draw Cellars’ strategic move to bring itself closer to an Austin audience is complete, with the opening of its new tasting room 30 miles from the Texas State Capitol. 

Lost Draw — which merged with William Chris Vineyards in 2020 to form William Chris Wine Company — is building a new winery to go with the new tasting room in Johnson City, which is approximately a half-hour drive east of Lost Draw’s original spot in Fredericksburg and just under 15 minutes away from William Chris Vineyards’ estate in Hye.

The tasting room opened December 8, and Lost Draw Founder and Winemaker Andrew Sides will be front and center through the month, pouring onsite through the end of the holidays. The new tasting room will be open seven days a week, and the public can now make reservations for tastings on the company’s website.

Once the full tasting rooms and winery are completed, the Phase I tasting room will convert to a space for private experiences.

“This expansion project represents a huge investment that we’re making in the future of the Lost Draw brand,” said Sides, who also acts as the Chief Operating Officer for William Chris Wine Company. “We’ve always wanted to increase Lost Draw’s presence and expose the brand and experience to new customers. Having this destination in Johnson City will give us access to a whole new crop of thirsty Texans and visitors to our state’s growing wine region, which excites us tremendously.”

The property was purchased in 2019 and seven acres of vineyard was planted in 2020. The opening month will also serve as an opportunity to showcase the new vineyard’s fruit. As part of the opening festivities, the team will also host a complimentary barrel-tasting experience featuring the first wine made from the estate fruit at Lost Draw Ranch Vineyard, which the tasting room is nestled in. All experiences at the Johnson City tasting room will evolve to represent seasonal wine releases. 

Lost Draw at Johnson City’s full project footprint will encompass a members-only tasting room, a tasting room for the general public, exclusive spaces for private tasting experiences, an outdoor bar and patio, and a state-of-the-art production facility. 

The Johnson City location will be more than 9,000 square feet after the winery is complete. It has a projected completion date of September 2023.

While it’s not a big move on the map, Sides said the placement of the new location would be the key to attracting new audiences from Central Texas’s two largest cities.

“The location is much closer (by about 30 miles) to Austin and from parts of San Antonio, making it way more reasonable for a day trip for folks from these growing metro areas, whereas much of the customer base for our Fredericksburg location has been based more locally,” Sides told Vintner earlier this year.  “Also, the sheer space and capacity of the new property will allow us to host more guests every day, which will accelerate exposure to the Lost Draw brand and wines.”

Staffing plans include a mix of new hires and transfers from the company’s other locations.

“We’re fortunate to have an amazing staff at Lost Draw that’s incredibly excited about the growth and expansion happening with this project,” Sides said “We’ll no doubt need to increase our head count as the new property gets built out, but we have lots of interest among our current team in helping to bring the Lost Draw story to life there, and they’ll be critical in building the customer experience and onboarding new team members.”

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