Last month, as part of initiatives with the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) and the Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA), Bending Branch wines and bourbons were presented at FOODEX JAPAN. For wines, we featured Texas Tempranillo, Texas Cabernet Sauvignon, and Texas Tannat. For bourbons, we showed Bending Branch 1840 High Rye and ChickenDuck High Rye.
Top Tokyo Takeaways:
Very quickly, I learned the term “Oishii.” I kept hearing it over and over again after Japanese tasters tried the Bending Branch wines and bourbons. It generally means, “Very good.”
Bending Branch Master Blender Alison Young has long been a fan of Highballs, sparkling water mixed with bourbon. This is one of the most common cocktails at restaurants and bars in Japan. ChickenDuck High Rye or Wheated Bourbon is perfect for a Highball because of the big flavor profiles.
Texas Tannat with American Beef. Texas Cabernet Sauvignon with Japanese Wagyu Beef.
Several Japanese chefs tasted the three wines that we presented. For pairing suggestions, multiple chefs talked about pairing Texas Tannat with American beef and Texas Cabernet Sauvignon with Japanese Wagyu beef. These work for me!
Texas wine truly is a novelty.
“Have you ever tried Texas wine?” was the question that I asked hundreds of tasters, and about 99% of the time, the answer was “No.” The follow-up question from the tasters was, “Wine is produced in Texas?!”
So aside from the surprise that wine is being produced in Texas was the surprise that Texas wine is good!
Other Texas producers participating in FOODEX JAPAN and the TDA Outbound Trade Mission included Island Getaway Rum, Pecan Grove Farms, Veldhuizen Cheese, and William Chris Wine Co. Special thanks to TDA and TDA Program Director Nikki Jackson, and SUSTA for their work organizing and supporting Texas businesses.
We’re often assessing all elements of our business, and wine packaging is part of the assessment. Many club members and customers have noticed that some newly released wines no longer have foil capsules.
This is an increasing trend in the industry, as the original purpose of protecting the cork from undesirable conditions is no longer as relevant in today’s conditions. In fact, the foil now serves primarily an ornamental function. Our decision to only use capsules in rare instances moving forward is another step in sustainable winery practices. The elimination of foils means less waste in landfills, better use of personnel time, and superior wine value.
Another benefit of eliminating the capsule is that there is one less step to a great pour of quality wine landing in your glass. Farewell to foils, and cheers to you for supporting sustainable endeavors!
COMFORT, TX (Feb. 24) – Out of their mutual shared interest in quality bourbon, Bending Branch Winery CEO Dr. Bob Young and President Alison Young brought some of their Kentucky Bourbon Country heritage to Comfort. Today, Bending Branch announces the launch of two new bourbon brands, Bending Branch 1840 and ChickenDuck.
“After successfully growing the Bending Branch reputation for quality, exceptional wines and experiences, we are excited to expand the Young family of beverage brands with the launch of outstanding bourbons from Kentucky,” said Alison Young, president and Master Blender of Bending Branch.
The Bending Branch 1840 brand features premium Kentucky straight bourbon and high rye bourbon whiskeys, aged for a minimum of four years in new American charred oak barrels, that Alison and Dr. Bob have sourced over the last two years for additional aging and bottling in Texas. 1840 pays homage to the year the Bending Branch Winery property was settled and to the original log cabin home on the property.
The first two 1840 Bourbons offered from Bending Branch are a premium high rye bourbon and a signature four-grain mash bill bourbon. The high rye bourbon offers aromas of vanilla, orangesicle and crème brûlée and opens to caramel and orange cordial on the palate. At 108 proof, this bourbon is exceptionally smooth. It retails for $75 and is available at Bending Branch and will soon be in Texas retail stores. The four-grain bourbon features a unique mash bill created by Dr. Bob. It is a small batch blend of three barrels, bottled at barrel strength of 109 proof. Only available at Bending Branch, this bourbon tastes of decadent vanilla buttercream. At $95, the less than 600 bottles that are available for sale have already begun to fly from the shelves.
ChickenDuck is serious bourbon that is purposefully crafted differently. It is named after two of the original chickens and ducks that roamed the vineyard managing pests and entertaining guests. Continuing Bending Branch Winery’s expertise in innovative techniques, the ChickenDuck bourbons use an advanced extraction technology that give them the qualities of bourbons that are aged for multiple years. 100% of the aging of these bourbons takes place on the property in Comfort.
The environmental impact of ChickenDuck is less than traditional bourbon whiskeys because of the extraction technology, reduction in barrel storage time and associated costs, and its almost complete reduction in evaporation loss (“Angel’s Share”) compared to bourbons aged a minimum of four years.
The first ChickenDuck bourbon releases are a high rye bourbon and a wheated bourbon. The high rye has aromas of brown sugar, baking spices and molasses and opens to sassafras and cracked pepper on the finish. The wheated bourbon entices with cedar chest and vanilla on the nose, and it follows through with caramelized sugar and buttery toffee notes. Both ChickenDuck bourbons retail for $42 and are available at Bending Branch. They will be offered in Texas retail stores soon.
Flights of four tastings are available daily at the Bending Branch tasting room. On April 1, Bending Branch is featuring a Bourbon and Bites Sensory Experience. Tickets are available at https://bit.ly/bourbonbites.
As part of the expansion into bourbon, the company is now referred to as Bending Branch, with its four brands: Bending Branch Winery, Ursa Vineyards, Bending Branch 1840 and ChickenDuck.
Bending Branch Winery has been nominated again for Best Winery in the 2023 YourSA San Antonio Express-News Readers’ Choice Awards. We are honored to have been voted Best Winery in this competition for the last 7 years.
We can’t do this without YOU!
Please take a moment to vote for Bending Branch.
You may vote once per day through February 15th.
Thanks to our members and loyal fans, Bending Branch has been voted Best Winery for the last seven competitions: 2022, 2021, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 & 2015. (There was no competition in 2020.)
Let's rock the vote and make it eight years in a row!
#YourSA23 #SupportLocal #SanAntonio #OpenLocalWine
Can’t go wrong with the Ursa Vineyards 2018 Zinfandel. Smooth and flavorful and great compliment to any holiday meal. Rated excellent by Wine Enthusiast.
Like holiday shopping, we’ll probably wait until the last minute to finalize holiday meals, but this season the Blanc de Blanc American will surely be a starter and the 2021 Petit Manseng will be a finisher. Having these two new exceptional wines available this year may lead us to untried menu options and new holiday traditions. Just in case a standing rib roast makes it back on the menu, a 2019 Tallent Tannat will be handy.
We will be pairing the Ursa Vineyards barrel fermented Chardonnay and Ursa Vineyards Mencía with grilled prawns, crusty sourdough bread, and a Caesar salad on Christmas Day. For dessert, we will enjoy a cheese plate paired with Ursa Petite Sirah.
My pick is 2017 Newsom Tannat Port Brownies. Use a box brownie mix (I recommend a dark chocolate) and add 1/4-1/2 cup of port to the batter. Enjoy some port alongside these delicious brownies! Happy Holidays!
I'm planning to open the 2019 Estate Tannat, Lost Pirogue Vineyard. We submitted this wine to just one contest, the San Francisco International Wine Competition, and it was awarded Double Gold/Best Other Red Varietal. This wine is so good because of its spectacular fruit that was hand-harvested from one acre, 11 miles away from the winery. It is our second release of Tannat from Lost Pirogue Vineyard. Because it is such a standout wine, it deserves a spot at holiday gatherings, and I’m looking forward to sharing it.
Christmas is one of my favorite holidays! I usually start the morning with last minute gift wrapping. Never fails! Christmas meals are a mix of Cajun and traditional for us. We will have a seafood gumbo (blue crab, andouille and Cajun sausage, chicken and shrimp). We also will have traditional Christmas food such as ham, cornbread dressing, mustard greens and potato salad because my dad doesn't eat gumbo. WHO DOESN’T EAT GUMBO?! I'll also make icebox lemon pies and pecan pies. Because we have so many different types of food, I'll open the 2019 Tallent Tannat, 2019 Souzão, and of course Bending Branch Brut!
My absolute and all-time fave for the holidays is always the Tannat, Tallent Vineyards. The bold blackberry and hints of tobacco pair really well with smoky, spiced meats and cheeses which is perfect around this time of year!!
The Ursa Tannat Rosé is always a good "pregame" wine for the elves busy in the kitchen!
I am definitely going to enjoy the sparkling Blanc de Blancs on Christmas morning with a breakfast/brunch casserole! Then I plan to pair my favorite 2019 Mourvèdre (Desert Willow Vineyards) with a spiral-cut ham and lots of yummy side dishes!! Cheers!
My personal favorite red wine is our Mourvèdre! It’s such an easy drinking, versatile wine that pairs well with almost anything. I especially love it paired with a braised, slow cooked pot roast and roasted potatoes. Perfect for the fall and winter! It’s also a great sit back and relax wine, which we all need this time of year. Cheers and happy holidays!
It is always hard to pick a favorite wine when you work at Bending Branch. I am really loving the 2019 Mourvèdre and 2019 Texas Cabernet Sauvignon as of late. We will definitely ring in the new year with some bubbles, either Bending Branch Brut or Blanc de Blancs.
I will be drinking Blanc de Blancs and pairing it with creamy smooth cheesecake. Not just for dessert, but for anytime day or night!
We will have a delayed Christmas celebration while some family members are traveling. I plan on a bottle of Tempranillo paired with some tamales at least one evening and break out the new Cabernet Sauvignon Ice Wine for everyone to try.
I always look forward to having a glass of Angelica with my pumpkin chocolate cheesecake on Christmas Eve. And of course, this year I will be drinking 2019 Tallent Tannat alongside my smoked brisket. Lastly, I can not bring in the new year without Blanc de Blancs!
2019 Mourvedre, Desert Willow: Cuban sandwich (slow roasted citrus marinated pork butt, smoked ham, swiss cheese, mustard, dill pickle pressed in a panini or George Foreman grill til crisp) with black beans with olive oil
2017 Tannat Port-style, Newsom Vineyards: Almond biscotti with River Whey's "Whey Bleu" blue cheese
We will enjoy Texas Tempranillo with grilled chicken breast, bordeaux cherry compote, and farmhouse sourdough!
HOLIDAY FAMILY DRAMA PAIN KILLER RECIPE
-Consume both bottles in their entirety.
-Reduce all filters until nonexistent.
-Tell family members how you really feel.
-When confronted, always remember to quote the phrase: “In vino veritas”
-Eat popcorn and enjoy the show.
Dr. Bob Young and Bending Branch Winery are excited to be the official wine sponsor of the inaugural Thomas J Henry All American Cup presented by Tennis Ventures, featuring ten top U.S. men players that will be played at Freeman Coliseum, November 11-13, 2022.
Tickets will go on sale on to the public September 3 at 9 a.m. and can be purchased at AllAmericanTennisCup.com or at www.ticketmaster.com or by using the Ticketmaster App on your mobile device. Individual session ticket prices start at $45.
“This has been a long time coming, and we all owe a great gratitude to Pat Frost and Frost Bank for spearheading this effort for the past decade to make this happen,” Young said. “Bending Branch Winery has been privileged to play a role in that process. Texas has long needed and deserves to have one of the top annual tournaments since its the second most populated state in the country. This is important to the youth of our state to be able to see leading U.S. tennis players perform in person.”
Additional details from the San Antonio Sports press release:
The All American Cup will feature two teams consisting of five players. Brothers Bob and Mike Bryan, the winningest doubles team in ATP Tour history, will serve as captains and face-off in the three-day team event. The USA West team will be captained by Mike Bryan and led by Taylor Fritz, the number one ranked American. Fritz will be joined by teammates Marcos Giron, Jenson Brooksby, Mackenzie McDonald and Steve Johnson. The USA East team will be captained by Bob Bryan and headed up by former top 10 ATP Tour star, John Isner. Frances Tiafoe, Jack Sock, Denis Kudla and J.J. Wolf will join Isner on the USA East team. This year’s inaugural event will be played in San Antonio, Texas, and will alternate years with Austin, Texas. The Tennis Channel will broadcast the All American Cup to over 61 million households throughout the United States.
San Antonio has a rich tennis history and we’re excited to host this brand-new competition,” said Jenny Carnes, COO, San Antonio Sports. “The All American Cup will offer fans a great opportunity to see top men’s tennis players in action, solidifying Texas as a premier location for the sport.”
“Bob and I are excited to return to San Antonio and honored to captain the All American Cup. San Antonio is a great tennis town and we have enjoyed playing here over the last 20 years,” said Mike Bryan. “This will be a new experience competing against each other but I know everyone will be battling to win the cup.” The All American Cup will showcase the best of American men’s tennis featuring both singles and doubles matches and help support the work of the Bush ACE Outreach Program. For more information on the All American Cup including VIP packages and the full event schedule please visit www.allamericantenniscup.com.
The Thomas J Henry All American Cup is presented by Tennis Ventures and proudly sponsored by Frost Bank, H-E-B, United States Professional Tennis Association of Texas, San Antonio Sports, Noisy Trumpet, The PM Group, RS3 Strategic Hospitality, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Bending Branch Winery, Heineken, Uomo Sport and Mapei.
About San Antonio Sports A nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform our community through the power of sport. San Antonio Sports bids on and hosts premier sporting events such as NCAA® championships, which have generated a local economic impact of more than $950 million. San Antonio Sports’ kids programs, including i play! afterschool, annually provide life-changing opportunities for thousands of children. Additionally, San Antonio Sports serves as a catalyst for the development of quality recreational and athletic facilities in our community, including school parks. To learn more, visit SanAntonioSports.org
About Bush ACE Outreach Program The Program was launched in 2016, at the Bush Tennis Center in Midland, Texas to Advise, Counsel, and Encourage (ACE) area youth by connecting positive role models with elementary-aged children through the sport of tennis. Thanks to partnerships with the University of Texas Permian Basin (UTPB) and the United States Tennis Association (USTA), ACE has provided free in-school programs to over 40,000 elementary-aged children throughout the Permian Basin and free or discounted after-school and summer programs supported by the Bush Tennis Center. In addition to learning the sport of tennis, ACE promotes the core values of sportsmanship, integrity, self-confidence and hard work. New partnerships with the USTA Arthur Ashe National Junior Tennis & Learning program (NJTL), Baylor Tennis, Texas A&M Tennis, TCU Tennis, UTPB Tennis, UT Austin Tennis and UT San Antonio Tennis will allow the 2022-2023 Program goal to reach over 200,000 Texas children.
Pictured above: The All American Team Cup teams
Pictured in photo at top of page: Bending Branch General Manager Jennifer McInnis Fadel with the Bryan Brothers
Bending Branch wines are out of this world! A photo of Dr. Bob Young, holding bottles of Picpoul Blanc and Tannat, was launched into space last week. As part of a Tesla referral program, Tesla launched a mosaic composed of pictures of select customers on SpaceX’s lunar orbiter mission with the Korea Aerospace Research Institute of South Korea. The mosaic of Tesla owners was laser etched on glass and will permanently reside in space.
The Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral on the evening of August 4, 2022. The Tannat House of Texas is reaching astronomical new heights! These are truly Next World Wines.
Click HERE to see the photo in the mosaic.
Photo credit: Dayna DeHoyos
The California State Fair has announced the winners of the 2022 California Commercial Wine Competition. The highly anticipated event was held June 1-3 at Cal Expo in Sacramento.
This year, a panel of 44 official judges tasted and evaluated 1,953 California wines from 443 California wineries. The competition, which had been on a 2-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, celebrates the wine growing and wine producing industry in California. It is open only to wines made with fruit grown and produced in the eleven growing regions across the State of California. Wines are evaluated by class, varietal, style, and region based upon the source of the grapes. Total medals awarded were 99 Double Gold, 257 Gold, 878 Silver, and 583 Bronze.
Eleven Ursa Vineyards wines were entered in the competition, three of which earned Best of Class Appellation awards. The star of the show was the 2018 Tannat, Ferrel Ranch, which earned a Double Gold medal, Best of Class Appellation, and a whopping 99 points.
“We’re thrilled with the results from the California State Fair. I love that all our wines placed, but especially our flagship Tannat with Double Gold, 99 points, AND Best of Appellation El Dorado. It’s an honor to have done so well and in such good company,” said Deborah Elissagaray.
Congratulations to Ursa Winemakers Deborah Elissagaray and Greg Stokes!
2018 Tannat, Ferrel Ranch, El Dorado *
2020 Viognier, Hidden Mesa Vineyard, Sierra Foothills *
Major Red, Sierra Foothills *
2018 Mencía, Silvaspoons Vineyards, Alta Mesa
2018 Souzão, Sierra Foothills
2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Ferrel Ranch, El Dorado
2018 Syrah-Sirah, Sierra Foothills
2018 Petite Sirah, Sierra Foothills
2020 Chardonnay, Wilson Vineyard, Clarksburg *
2018 Barbera, Lone Meadow Vineyard, Sierra Foothills
2018 Zinfandel, Sierra Foothills *
Dating back to 1854, the California State Fair Wine Competition is America’s oldest and most prestigious wine event. For more than 160 years, the California State Fair has showcased the Best of the Golden State. Visit the Cal Expo website for a full list of winners: FULL LIST
* Available now at Ursa at Branch on High
On May 11, 2022, we had the privilege of spending the evening at Texas A&M University. Hosted by the Department of Horticultural Sciences, Bending Branch Winery was featured during Spirited Learning — a new, collaborative, and interactive experience created to bring awareness to wonderful Texas wines.
Bending Branch Founder and Co-Owner Dr. Bob Young spoke about our winemaking processes, and General Manager Jennifer McInnis Fadel led a wine tasting for the 250 attendees. Bending Branch Enologist and Texas A&M alumna Allison Thomason also attended and assisted with the event. Allison graduated with a degree in Agricultural Systems Management in 2017 and then stayed and received her Master of Science degree in 2018.
The evening began with a very special award presented by Dr. Amit Dhingra, Department of Horticultural Sciences Professor and Department Head. Dr. Bob and Brenda Young were acknowledged for the creation of the Phillip Young Foundation Excellence Award, an endowment in honor of their son Phillip that will provide annual scholarships to underprivileged and minority students interested in working in the Texas wine industry and pursuing degrees in viticulture or enology. The Young family is passionate about this cause and excited to make this investment in the future of Texas wine.
Photos and video by Dayna DeHoyos/Stella Haus Films
Dr. Bob and Brenda Young and Bending Branch Winery received an award for Outstanding Business at the 2022 Comfort Chamber of Commerce banquet held on March 31st at Riven Rock Ranch. Dr. Bob did not know that he was receiving this honor, but his team knew in advance. He thought he was attending the banquet with his daughter, Allison, and General Manager Jennifer McInnis Fadel, but several other staff members just happened to show up. It was a complete surprise to him.
This award was given in recognition of countless contributions and support for the local community. Dr. Bob served, including as Chair, for several years on the Comfort Area Foundation to help improve the lives of Comfort residents. Dr. Bob and Brenda give back via events and wines that have a charitable component. Examples include the annual Derby Extravaganza that benefits a local charity (the 2022 recipient will be the Boys & Girls Club of Comfort), and Brenda’s Cuvée wine that raises awareness and funds for Team Fox. The wine has helped raise more than $30,000 for Parkinson’s Research.
Dr. Bob’s unique résumé in medicine, public health, and winemaking positions him and Bending Branch as industry examples in the battle to control COVID-19. His leadership and expertise in public health helped navigate the Bending Branch team of 30+ employees, as well as the Comfort community, during the pandemic. He is proud that the Bending Branch team remained intact during unpredictable times, and it continues to grow.