From Barrel to Bliss: Discoveries at William Chris Vineyards’ Exclusive Cellar Experience

Embark on a vinous journey with William Chris Vineyards as they unveil their exclusive cellar experience tailored for both enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike. This article gives you an insider's view into the profound "Cellar Experience: The Makers". Delve into a world where every sip is an education, and every moment is steeped in the warm hospitality.

One of the best things about wine is learning more about it. Whether you are learning about the grapes, the regions, or how it is made, learning is always fun. William Chris Vineyards has opened up some great opportunities for the public and William Chris Wine Club members to learn more about their wines by creating different “experiences” designed to teach you more about them and “experience” them in a wonderful setting.

A few of the experiences are The Vineyard Table Experience, The Winemaker’s Tasting (Large Group), and the Cellar Experience: The Makers. Here is a short description of each option.:

The Vineyard Table Experience

This experience is the most personal as it is designed for four (4) persons per table and features five (5) selected wine and food pairings with a focus on experiencing the difference in flavors of the wine before and after food tastings.

The Winemaker’s Tasting (Large Group)

William Chris Vineyards’ Wine Ambassadors will take you on a tasting journey with a variety of Texas wines. You will gain an appreciation for Texas wine, its winemakers, and the Texas wine industry. This experience is for up to 12 people.

Cellar Experience: The Makers

A tasting experience in the vineyard’s Barrel Room, where you will sit amongst the barrels of aging wine in an intimate setting, learning about the limited release wines and the various vintages from William Chris Vineyards. This experience is capped at 8 attendees to keep the setting intimate.

About the Experience

I attended the latter of the experiences, the Cellar Experience. It is designed for up to eight (8) attendees, and the cost is $15 per person for wine club members and $45 for non-wine club members. The experience is scheduled for 60 minutes, and is only available on Fridays, Saturday’s, and Sundays. Reservations are required.

This experience is not held at the vineyards and main tasting room off of Highway 290 but is held at the wine cellar facility located about 10 minutes from William Chris Vineyards at the “William Chris Wine School”. I did not know about this facility until I attended the experience and was very impressed that William Chris Vineyards had such a nice facility away from the main vineyards and tasting room.

William Chris Wine School is accredited to offer the WSET Level 1 and Level 2 Awards. WSET is the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, a UK-based organization recognized internationally for maintaining a consistent standard for wine theory and tasting technique of wines from around the world. They also offer the Texas Wine Ambassador Certification, an exclusive certification through William Chris Vineyards.

My Experience of the Experience!

My wife and I arrived a little early (we of course did not want to be late for this!) and entered the beautiful tasting room of the William Chris Wine School where we were greeted by happy smiling staff who offered us a glass of wine while we waited. Also in the room were others there for another wine tasting event where they were going to learn more about the topic of, you guess it, wine! For our particular session, the other couple was running a little late, so during our wait we received another top up of our beautiful glass of wine.

Once the other couple arrived, we made our way past a few buildings and into one of the William Chris cellar buildings (wine in hand, of course) where we received yet another top up while our ambassador for the experience told us a little about the building. I won’t repeat what I heard in case you want to have this experience as I don’t want to ruin it for you!

After our brief introduction, we made our way into the cooler and darker depths of the cellar, wine barrels lining all the walls and making some walls of their own. There was a small break in one of the walls of barrels where we were led into a very intimate and tastefully prepared room with a large table, wine glasses, and tasting menus. At this point, I was regretting wearing my short sleeve shirt and leaving the sweater in the truck I brought specifically to handle an environment such as this. It was chilly!

As I expressed to my wife, I had left my sweater in the truck and it was going to be a cold experience, she pointed out to me the beautiful blankets draped over the backs of each of the chairs. I was so relieved and impressed they had thought this through when designing this experience. As I sat down, I donned the blanket, and all was good again.

As we were now all seated, the experience began, and for the next hour we learned a lot about William Chris Vineyards, their history, their founders, their wines, and their future plans. We tasted a variety of amazing wines, including limited-release wines and the most successful vintages. Our wine ambassador was very knowledgeable and told us in-depth and interesting stories of the various people behind the bottles we were tasting. These stories were intertwined with the winemaking philosophies inspiring William Chris wines.

At the end of the experience, we were given the opportunity to purchase any of the wines we tasted, and I took the opportunity to acquire a couple of bottles of my favorite one. The 2017 Mourvedre. Being a member of the wine club gets you a good discount by the way.

My Assessment

At the end of the experience, I was so excited I had organized this for my wife and me. We both loved it and was appreciative of the design and execution of the experience as it made wine tasting and wine education so much more fun. It was truly an experience. Even at $45 for non-members of the William Chris Wine Club, this experience is worth the price of admission. You will get plenty of wine through the generous pours, plenty of wine knowledge from your wine ambassador, and a feeling of peace and serenity in the barrel room. Unfortunately, you don’t get to keep the blanket!

About the Author

A native of Texas, Ken “Texan” Pierce is a renowned alcohol aficionado with over 15 years of experience in the Texas wine, whiskey, and beer industry. With a vast number of alcohol production resources right in his back yard in the Texas Hill Country, Ken has made it his mission to promote and advance the Texas winemaking, distilling, and brewing industry across the country.  His uncanny ability to identify tasting notes and pairings makes him a respected authority within alcohol enthusiast circles. When he’s not reviewing the latest craft spirits, you can find Ken playing his guitar, trying to sing, and sipping on a Texas libation.

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