We are absolutely THRILLED to announce our results from the 2021 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition that took place in early March. There were over forty-eight judges, representing various North American wine regions, evaluating nearly 5,700 wines from over 1,000 wineries. The awards that Bending Branch Winery and Ursa Vineyards received are an amazing recognition of the hard work of our incredible winemaking teams and wonderful growers.
Pictured: Greg Stokes, Deborah Elissagaray, Dr. Bob Young, Brenda Young, Alison Young
Our California brand, Ursa Vineyards, also had impressive results. Nestled in the pastoral foothills of Placerville, California, Ursa was founded in 2001 by husband-and-wife winemaking team, Greg Stokes and Deborah Elissagaray. A mutual interest in Tannat is what brought together Ursa and Bending Branch Winery, when Dr. Bob Young hired Greg as a consultant in 2007. Their professional relationship flourished, and when Bending Branch was founded in 2009, its first wines were made by Bob and Greg at Ursa. The Young family purchased Ursa in 2014, making Greg and Deborah a permanent part of the team. Ursa wines are featured at our tasting room in downtown Comfort, Ursa at Branch on High.
* Not yet released.
Join the Bending Branch and Ursa teams for a special Drinking Double Gold happy hour on Zoom this Friday, March 19th. Winemaker Greg Stokes will join us to talk about all of these stellar wines. Find the event details and Zoom link on our event page.
Join the Bending Branch team on Facebook Live as we announce the winners of the 1840 Blending Experience! Grab your favorite bottle of Bending Branch and join us at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 6th.
There are a total of 51 entries that will go through a first round of judging over two days the first week of March.
Owner Dr. Bob Young and General Manager Jennifer McInnis will evaluate the top 8 blends live and announce the winners.
Winning teams will be treated to a special wine dinner at Bending Branch Winery on Saturday, May 22nd, catered by our friends at The Bread Box.
Was your blend the winner? We can’t wait to find out!
Follow the event on Facebook.
We've made it to the voting round of the 2021 YourSA San Antonio Express-News Readers’ Choice Awards.
Thanks to our loyal fans, Bending Branch has been voted Best Winery for the last five years: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019. (There was no competition in 2020.)
Let's make it six years in a row!
Vote here: http://bit.ly/VoteForBBW
You can vote once per day through March 5th. Thank you for your continued support!
“Weather permitting.” It’s the headline of the week!
Our hearts go out to all who have been contending with consequences of the storm, and to all the hardy souls who have been working diligently to keep us safe through the arctic blast. Some of our Bending Branch team have had challenges, too, but we’re keeping tabs on everyone.
Here is our plan, weather permitting. The tasting rooms at Bending Branch Estate and Ursa at Branch on High are scheduled to open again at noon on Saturday. In the meantime, contact us at email@example.com if you need to get in touch. There is no one on site to answer the phone since many of us are working from home with sketchy power and internet. We’ll answer your email as soon as we are able.
Until then, here is news you can use about this weekend’s wine club Drive-Thru Pick-Up Party. All club members with Saturday reservations have been rescheduled to Sunday, at any time between noon and 5 p.m. You do not need to change your reservation, just show up on Sunday between noon and 5 p.m.
We will miss you if you cannot attend on Sunday. You may cancel your reservation through Tock. See more drive-thru party details and the Tock link HERE.
Although we won’t be hosting the Drive-Thru Pick-Up Party on Saturday, the tasting room at Bending Branch Estate will be open from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday the 20th, for wine club pick-up and curbside service only. You do not need a reservation to pick up your wine and chocolate.
We will not be at the Pearl Farmers Market on Saturday the 20th, but we plan to be at our usual location on Sunday, February 21st, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
We hope to see you as the weather becomes more cooperative, and we apologize for the change in plans. Once again, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance.
Book a live virtual wine and chocolate tasting on Valentine’s Day, and enjoy premium wine and chocolates from the comfort of your home. Not just for sweethearts, this experience works for long-distance family members, friends looking for a Galentine’s Day excursion, singles looking for a group event, and more.
Enjoy three premium bottles of Ursa Vineyards wines – 2018 Grenache (750 ml), 2017 Petite Sirah (750 ml), and 2015 Souzão Port-style wine (375 ml). The Port-style Souzão was just released and is a dessert wine aged in bourbon barrels.
Local confectioner Sweet Comfort infused dark chocolate with wines from Ursa Vineyards. Includes 2 Grenache-infused truffles, 2 Petite Sirah-infused truffles, and 4 Souzão-infused truffles.
Our wine professionals will lead the group of participants through tasting each wine and pairing the wines with the specially curated box of chocolates. The Zoom link and instructions will be emailed to participants prior to the tasting event.
Package is $125. Gold Rush Club pricing applies ($100). All package orders are eligible for $10 promotional shipping. Choose your time and purchase HERE.
Valentine’s Day is almost here! If your package needs to be shipped, timing is getting tight. If ordering to ship to a Texas location, we recommend submitting by 10 a.m. on February 10th. If ordering to ship to another state, please contact us at email@example.com to verify shipping time.
You can also pick up your package from Ursa at Branch on High, located in historic downtown Comfort. In fact, if you prefer to wait until the last minute, Ursa at Branch on High will be open until 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 13th. Cheers!
Bending Branch pioneered Souzão in Texas by planting the first acre of this grape variety at Bending Branch Estate Vineyards in Comfort. The 2014 vintage of Estate Souzão had an impressive review by Elin McCoy of Bloomberg when she rated it one of the best wines she tasted in 2017, and called it her “most surprising wine of the year.” Read the full story here.
Fast forward to our exciting new release of the 2017 vintage, exclusively for Bending Branch wine club members. The 2017 Estate Souzão from Lost Pirogue Vineyard reflects both an exceptional vintage in Texas, and the passionate care of growers Bruce and Jana Colgate. Vineyard designated wines, especially from an estate vineyard like Lost Pirogue, are singled out for label recognition because they are notably different from other wines.
Lost Pirogue Vineyard in Center Point is about 8 miles from Bending Branch Winery. Bending Branch has a long-term estate vineyard agreement with Lost Pirogue, and we maintain managerial control by providing the services of Westover Consulting. Bending Branch and Lost Pirogue Vineyard collaborate to execute the vineyard plan and strategies outlined by the vineyard consultant. Both the winery and the vineyard are located in the Texas Hill Country AVA, and Bending Branch performs all aspects of the wine’s production on its premises.
Bruce and Jana Colgate are not only grape growers and owners of Lost Pirogue Vineyard; they are great friends of Bending Branch owners Dr. Bob and Brenda Young, and longtime members of the 1840 Founders Club. They also volunteer at various Bending Branch events, and they hosted an event at their home in 2019 when we released the 2018 Picpoul Blanc harvested from Lost Pirogue.
At Lost Pirogue Vineyard, the combination of soils, weather, and terrain, the appropriateness of the grape variety for the particular site, and the dedication of skilled growers come together to produce fruit of great character. The results merit the vineyard name on the label.
We are delighted with this exceptional new release. Only 48 cases of 2017 Estate Souzão were produced, so get yours before it is gone! All Bending Branch wine club members may add one bottle to their February 2021 club release, if desired. 1840 Case Club members may add up to 6 bottles.
Price is $85 per bottle. Club members can call the tasting room at 830-995-2948 to purchase. Cheers!
Souzão on the vine on harvest day - August 9, 2017
2020 was a year like no other. It was complicated and demanding, and it forced us to be innovative throughout the year – sometimes from one hour to the next. It was exhausting and rewarding all at once, and we are stronger because of it.
We could not have done it without you. The support from our wine club members and extended Bending Branch family and fans sustained us through the last year. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.
Thank you for stocking up on Bending Branch and Ursa wines. Thank you for sending wine to your friends and families. Thank you for referring friends. Thank you for hosting corporate team-building virtual tastings. Thank you for attending our Friday happy hours on Zoom. Thank you for picking up curbside or at Pearl Farmers Market. Thank you for participating in drive-thru pickup parties. Thank you for visiting and supporting our new reservation experiences. Thank you for supporting local businesses. Thank you for making this journey with us.
It is a new year, and we are most proud that we survived the challenges of last year with our team intact. And what an amazing team we have.
We are optimistic, excited even, about 2021. There is light at the end of the tunnel as vaccines begin to roll out. We are eager to introduce new vintages and new wines, like our 2018 Estate Souzão, and we are hopeful to see many of you in person as the year progresses.
We look forward to raising a glass with you soon. Stay safe and healthy!
Jennifer McInnis Fadel, General Manager
Bob, Brenda, and Alison Young
And the entire team at Bending Branch Winery
One of the year’s most highly anticipated weekends is now a whole month long!
The 1840 Club Blending Party is now the Blending Experience, and it’s available to all 1840 and 1840 Custom Case Club members by reservation from January 2 through January 31, 2021. It’s easy and fun.
Don’t wait until the end of the month - reservations are limited! And remember, COVID-19 mitigation measures are in effect, so all seating is outdoors, by reservation only. Read our Service Advisory.
The Bending Branch winemaking team will recreate all submissions in February, when owner and winemaker Dr. Bob Young, and General Manager Jennifer McInnis will judge the entries. Winners will be announced at a virtual live celebration on Zoom at 4 p.m., Saturday, March 6. Winning teams will enjoy a creative Winner Dinner experience, to be determined at a later date depending on pandemic protocols.
May I enter the competition by myself, or must I have a team?
A team must be from 2 to 8 members.
May I have more than 8 people on my team?
Eight is the maximum team size.
Can a team include non-member guests?
All Blending Experience participants must be 1840 Club or 1840 Custom Case Club members. No exceptions. A non-member can join the club today for a minimum of one year membership and participate.
May I be a member of more than one team?
Each club member may only participate once, on a single team.
May we have the Blending Experience at the members lounge?
Yes, the Blending Experience is available by reservation at both the estate tasting room and the members lounge.
What if there are no reservations available when I can attend?
Plan ahead! Reservations are limited and end on January 31, 2021.
What if I cannot come to the winery during the month of January? Can you ship the wines to me?
All blending entries must be done in person, by reservation, at Bending Branch Winery. No exceptions.
Is there a charge for the Blending Experience?
The Blending Experience is complimentary for 1840 Club members and 1840 Custom Case Club members. The Blending Experience is the member’s complimentary tasting/glass for this visit.
Do I have to be present at the virtual live celebration to win?
Entries will be judged in a blind tasting, and winners need not be present to win. But you won’t want to miss the celebration 4 P.M., Saturday, March 6, 2021, on Zoom.
A great gift A great gift for the Texas wine lover. These are the Top Picks that earned us Best of Herd at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo wine competition.
Includes 2 bottles each of:
$130. Wine club discounts apply. PURCHASE HERE
Available curbside or take advantage of $10 promotional shipping to 30+ states.
Deal extended! Cover all your bases with the Holiday Five mixed bundle:
$100 special. No additional discounts. PURCHASE HERE
Available curbside or take advantage of $10 promotional shipping to 30+ states.
Enjoy two premium bottles of red wine packaged in a wooden Bending Branch gift box.
Our world-class Cab was awarded Gold/Best in Class Cabernet Sauvignon at the 2020 Lone Star International Wine Competition.
A Bending Branch favorite, this secret family blend is named after Owner and Winemaker Dr. Bob Young’s granddaughter. Its cork is a unique glass stopper.
$125. Wine club discounts apply. PURCHASE HERE
*ONLY AVAILABLE FOR CURBSIDE PICK-UP AT BENDING BRANCH WINERY.*
Stock up on bubbles for the holidays!
Bending Branch Brut is good for every occasion. Dry with brilliant acidity and creamy mousse, our Méthode Champenoise Brut offers flavors of crisp Golden Delicious apple, Meyer lemon zest, and toasted brioche.
$36 PURCHASE HERE
Experience a guided wine tasting with one of our wine educators. Our virtual tasting package includes two bottles of each featured wine:
The tasting is conducted on Zoom with one of our wine educators and lasts approximately one hour. Click here for details and dates.
Not sure what to get the wine lover in your life? Gift cards always fit.
$25 - $50 - $75 - $100 PURCHASE HERE
At checkout, please specify in your order notes if you prefer a physical or digital gift card.
A variety of merchandise is available at the tasting room including coffee mugs, Swig tumblers and water bottles, journals, T-shirts, baseball shirts, hoodies, and plush blankets.
Call 830-995-2948 to place a curbside order, or stop by the tasting room. We're open seven days a week from noon to 6 p.m.
Enjoy a self-guided, outdoor tasting of four wines. Souvenir wine glass included with paid tasting. Open for tastings seven days a week. Click here to make a reservation.
For the first time, Bending Branch bottled large formats of one of its premium wines, 2017 Petite Sirah, Newsom Vineyards. When tasting wines from the barrel in 2019, it was clear that this wine was special. Plans were made to bottle it in magnums, and we packaged enough to offer each 1840 Custom Case Club member the opportunity to add one magnum bottle to their December club release. We were thrilled, and not surprised, when this wine was awarded Double Gold at the 2021 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Wine Competition.
The shape and color of a wine bottle are often associated with a specific region or wine style such as Burgundy or Bordeaux. There are antique styles, traditional styles, and flashy shapes driven by modern wine marketing. The weight of wine bottles also varies broadly from simple glass to high-tech, ultraviolet resistant glass with a deep punt and thickness that results in heft intended to imply prestige.
In addition to the standard 750 milliliter wine bottle, there are a couple dozen recognized bottle sizes, though few of them are in common usage. Small sizes such as the “split” and the half-bottle are useful in the consumer market. The magnum, equal to two standard bottles, is the most popular large-format bottle, making an impressive presentation. Larger, ceremonial-size bottles, often named for Biblical kings and historical figures, include a range that tops out with the colossal 30-liter Melchizedek.
Aside from the fun of having a Texas-size bottle on the dinner table, there are a couple of important things to know about a magnum. The air trapped between the cork and the wine, and the slight evaporation of wine through the cork, cause the gradual oxidation that helps a wine mature over time. A magnum contains twice the volume of wine, so the effect of air on the wine is reduced by half, slowing the aging process, and potentially revealing subtle nuances that may develop in the wine over longer aging. If you have the patience, aging a magnum can be rewarding, but you’ll find the Bending Branch Winery 2017 Petite Sirah, Newsom Vineyards, is delicious in any size.
1840 Case Club Members:
Quantities are extremely limited. Contact the tasting room at 830-995-2948 to purchase yours today.
Retail $95 / 1840 Case Club pricing $76