It may not seem like a big difference to open a new location 30 miles from your original winery and tasting room, but Lost Draw Cellars founder Andrew Sides doesn’t see it that way.
William Chris Vineyards and Lost Draw Cellars merged in 2020 to become William Chris Wine Company. The latest move the company announced for Lost Draw is the construction of a new winery and 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.
Ground has already broken on the new facility, which will come in at 9,260 square feet and 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 said. “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.”
The plans have apparently been in the works for a while. Sides, who co-founded William Chris Wine Company with William Chris Vineyards owner Chris Brundrett in 2020, said the property was purchased in 2019 and seven acres of vineyard was planted in 2020.
“After the merger between William Chris and Lost Draw in October of 2020, we quickly began thinking about the Johnson City property as a perfect place to expand the Lost Draw brand and experience,” Sides said.
The new winery will feature a public tasting room, club member tasting room, covered porch, retail store, barrel storage, offices, kitchen, and an outdoor bar.
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.”