Winemaking sometimes works best as a team effort.
As their businesses’ needs evolve, winemakers who double as owners may find the need to delegate the actual winemaking to other trusted individuals in the organization. As directors of winemaking, they may take on a more hands-off, leadership administrative role.
As the company expanded, William Chris Wines’ Co-Owner Chris Brundrett — an accomplished winemaker — found himself needing to focus more on operations.
While Brundrett is the Director of Winemaking at William Chris Wines, which includes brands such as William Chris Vineyards and Lost Draw Cellars, his head winemakers have a lot of responsibility.
“Tony (Offill), our winemaker, was my assistant for several years,” Brundrett said. “He was an intern many years ago and we helped him get his first winemaker job. We remained great friends when he decided to make the change to William Chris.
“It’s a similar story with Brad Buckaloo, the winemaker for Lost Draw. He was a winemaker down the road, and Andrew (Sides) needed someone to be full time for Lost Draw while he ran the company.”
Sides and Brundrett remain involved in the winemaking process, but they can be assured Offill and Buckaloo are keeping the bus on the road on a day-to-day basis.
“Tony and Brad run all the day-to-day winemaking activities and take quite a bit of creative control,” Brundrett said. “It’s a very collaborative process for all four of our brands. Andrew and I run all of the fruit procurement process and involve our winemaking team deeply in the growing process in both our estate vineyards and our partner vineyards.”
Brundrett said producing wine for William Chris’s brands takes a team and great leadership.
“All of our brands are very vineyard focused which means we rely deeply on growing high quality fruit and use very soft hands in the production process to express where the fruit is farmed,” he explained. “This takes quite a bit of nuance from our winemaking team. We want to take risks and have courage to push the boundaries of possibilities in order to produce the best wine in the world.
“It also takes courage to take a deep look into quality and ensure we take fresh looks at our wines and judging what beautiful Texas grown wine should be.”