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Bending Branch Winery

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Jennifer McInnis Fadel
 
March 18, 2020 | Jennifer McInnis Fadel

Updated tasting room hours and services

The health and wellbeing of our family, employees, and customers are paramount. As of this week, these are the updated measures we are taking:

  • Both Bending Branch Winery and Ursa at Branch on High tasting rooms are closed to the public.
  • Curbside pickup/delivery with limited contact will be available at both locations, noon to 5 p.m., Thursday-Sunday. Watch the videos for more details
  • There will be minimal staff in the tasting room to maintain a safe social distance.
  • Office personnel is working from home and holding daily videoconference meetings.
  • Production will continue with additional safety measures.
  • Daily staff briefings have been held, and we have expressed that any staff member who is uncomfortable working will not be required to work.
  • No one is allowed on the property if they are experiencing symptoms or have come into contact, or even potentially come into contact, with someone who has contracted COVID-19 coronavirus.
  • The April Wine Club release for Bending Branch Winery will be 100% shipped with no cost for shipping to the members. An email was sent to members on March 17. There is a forthcoming video and separate blog entry with more details.

We are so thankful to our incredible team, who has been working every day – even on their days off – to ensure we are doing everything we can to help #flattenthecurve and #slowthespread to buy our local medical facilities the time that they need to prepare as best as possible for what’s to come.

Owner and Winemaker Dr. Bob Young’s history of experience in public health medicine and epidemiology during his time a physician is an incredible resource in guiding us. Our management team also consists of our General Manager, Jennifer McInnis Fadel, who has a more than a decade of experience in multimedia and breaking news; and our Direct to Consumer Manager, Jennifer Cernosek, who oversaw the wellbeing of children and staff at a summer sleepaway camp for about seven years. There is a depth of knowledge within the rest of our versatile team. With them and our partnership with Dayna De Hoyos, Stellahaus Film, we plan to continue updating you through our blog, videos, and social media to continue to maintain the incredible sense of community that makes Bending Branch Winery special. Stay tuned for some innovative experiences we are planning.

 

 

Time Posted: Mar 18, 2020 at 7:11 AM
Jennifer McInnis Fadel
 
March 15, 2020 | Jennifer McInnis Fadel

Curbside pickup available at both locations

Curbside pickup is available at Bending Branch Winery and Ursa at Branch on High.

UPDATED PROTOCAL: Out of concern for staff and customers, wine will be delivered curbside from a safe distance rather than placing in vehicles. 

Bending Branch Winery

Customers can order online and select "Pickup" as shown below. 

Call-ahead orders can be placed as well at 830-995-2948.

Ursa at Branch on High

We are offering a call-ahead order option. Please call 830-995-3394 to place your order. 

When you arrive

Once you've placed an order, simply call us when you're nearby. Someone from our team will bring the wine out to your vehicle. 

 

Time Posted: Mar 15, 2020 at 7:34 AM
Jennifer McInnis Fadel
 
March 13, 2020 | Jennifer McInnis Fadel

Commitment to COVID-19 precautionary measures

Dear friends of Bending Branch Winery, 

Many of you have supported us for years. So, you understand the priorities that Owner and Winemaker Dr. Bob Young places on medicine, health, and community.

As we face the COVID-19 coronavirus national emergency, we have taken precautions to safeguard our team, our customers, and our Comfort-area community. We want to share some of the proactive measures we have put in place this week. 

If you are planning to visit, you will see heightened sanitation measures, social distancing, and service on our open-air patios and deck. Additionally, we are offering call-ahead orders that will be available for curbside pick up. The tasting room number is 830-995-2948.

Bending Branch Winery estate will be open regular business hours this weekend. The Members Lounge will be closed so that our team can concentrate on these measures. 

The Pearl Farmers Market has been canceled through March 22. Bending Branch has also canceled all tours and events in March and April. 

We will reevaluate additional precautions in the coming days and weeks. Please follow our social media and check our blog for updates. 

MORE DETAILS

Visitation

  • Bending Branch Winery estate tasting room will be open normal operating hours and the Members Lounge will be closed this weekend, March 12-15, 2020.  
  • All service will be outside in the open air at the estate tasting room patio and deck. 
  • The tasting room will be open only for order pick up, the restroom, and for food and merchandise. 
  • The doors will remain open to provide ventilation.

Service

  • Wine tastings will be served as a flight in disposable sample cups on a platter.  A logo glass will be provided for the guest to pour samples into. Logoed wine glasses will be used for service by-the-bottle and by-the-glass.
  • We will have a glass return station, and ask guests to return their glasses to the station when they are finished.  We will wear sanitary latex gloves when handling used glassware and dishes.
  • When glasses come out of the dishwasher, they will be air-dried.  We are suspending polishing glasses.

Cleaning schedule

  • A sanitation routine has been established and a rotating schedule of staff members assigned by the tasting room manager will execute wiping surfaces, doorknobs, cleaning restrooms, washing glasses, etc.

Social distancing

  • We will offer call-ahead curbside service to guests who wish to remain in their cars for purchases and wine club pick-ups.
  • Guests can also call when they arrive for vehicle delivery at the circle drive.
  • Tables will be spread out to maintain distance between parties. 
  • We are suspending all tours until further notice, at least through April. 
  • We have met with our team to meet their needs and address their concerns for themselves and their families. 

Pearl Farmers Market
Pearl Farmers Market has been canceled through March 22 based on San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s recommendation to limit large gatherings to no more than 500 people, effective Friday. The city also is asking that all events with more than 250 people be canceled. 

Events 
April 5: BBW Wine Club Release will not be a traditional pick up party. We are working on more details and will provide updates. 
April 11: Easter Egg Hunt has been canceled and refunds have been issued.
April 16: The Bordeaux River Cruise has been canceled by Ama Waterways.
April 25: King William Fair has been postponed. As of now, Fiesta has been moved to November 5-15. 

Thanks you for your support and understanding.

Sincerely,
Jennifer McInnis Fadel
General Manager
Bending Branch Winery
 

Time Posted: Mar 13, 2020 at 4:20 PM
Sara Potter
 
February 10, 2020 | Sara Potter

Need bubbles for Valentine’s Day?

Perfect for a romantic evening with your sweetheart ...

We recently released Bending Branch Brut, and our fans are raving about it. Dry, with brilliant acidity and creamy mousse, this spectacular sparkling wine exhibits flavors of crisp Golden Delicious apple, Meyer lemon zest, and toasted brioche.

What is Méthode Champenoise?

It is a time-honored French method of making sparkling wine in which it undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle. This laborious, artisanal method results in the highest caliber of sparkling wines.

Available now in the estate tasting room, Ursa at Branch on High, and online. $36/bottle

Click here to purchase Bending Branch Brut.

 

Time Posted: Feb 10, 2020 at 2:39 PM
Sara Potter
 
December 10, 2019 | Sara Potter

Bending Branch Winery wins first-ever Texas sustainable winegrowing competition

Left: Winemaker Greg Stokes; Center: Laura & Drew Tallent, Dr. Bob Young, Kathryn Cook, Tallent Vineyard Manager; Right: Tannat from Tallent Vineyards, Mason TX

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo and Botanical Research Institute of Texas recently announced the winners from the 2020 FWSSR / BRIT™ Texas Sustainable Winegrowing Competition. Top honors were awarded to Bending Branch Winery in Comfort, Texas, in combination with Tallent Vineyards of Mason, Texas. Nice Winery in Houston, Texas won the Grand Reserve Champion award in combination with Alta Mira Vineyards of Anderson, Texas.

The top winning wineries were awarded for their sustainable practices in the vineyard and other areas of operation in addition to the wines they submitted to a blind tasting. - Bending Branch 2018 Tannat Rosé, Texas Hill Country

The inaugural wine competition of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo established a unique approach to a Texas wine competition by recognizing both the winery/winemaker and grape grower. Working with BRIT, wineries entered the competition by submitting written applications highlighting their sustainable practices, alongside their Texas wines for evaluation.

Subscribing to sustainable practices in a Texas vineyard presents many challenges. Nonetheless, Texas wineries embrace the quality results of sustainable practices and continue improving their programs. Applicants outlined their efforts boosting sustainability across five areas: vineyard management, winemaking, employee practices, customer service and social responsibility.

Texas wines submitted by applicants were judged by a panel of experienced wine professionals. The entries represented 12 different grape varieties plus wines blended from multiple grapes. The wide range of grape varieties demonstrates the diversity of Texas vineyards.

“Recognizing the collaborative efforts of grape growers and winemakers spurs innovation,” said Stock Show President and General Manager Brad Barnes. “The sustainability effort benefits our environment and consumers get to enjoy award-winning Texas wines. We’re excited to play a role in the future of this growing industry.”

BRITS’s President and Executive Director Dr. Ed Schneider echoed the excitement. “This is a first for Texas wine competitions and we are most pleased with the results,” said Dr. Schneider. “Texas wine organizations are as passionate about their sustainable practices as they are about making great bottles of Texas wine.”

The 2020 FWSSR / BRIT™ Texas Sustainable Winegrowing Competition winners included:

• Grand Champion – Bending Branch Winery / Tallent Vineyards

• Reserve Grand Champion – Nice Winery / Alta Mira Vineyards

• Gold Medal – Lost Draw Cellars / Moonlight Vineyards, Roussanne 2018

• Gold Medal – Kiepersol Winery/Estate Vineyards, Texas Syrah 2015

• Silver Medal – Bingham Family Vineyards/Estate Vineyards, Dugout 2017

• Bronze Medal – Chateau Wright/Estate Vineyards, Heraldic Red 2017

• Bronze Medal – Bull Lion Ranch & Vineyard/Estate Vineyards, Montepulciano 2015

During BRIT’s Vine to Table awards dinner and fundraising event on January 15, 2020, Bending Branch Winery and Nice winery will be presented their champion awards. Tickets can be purchased to the Dickies Arena event here.

Visitors to the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo can enjoy a selection of Bending Branch wines at Vine-2-Wine’s Sip & Shop event on January 29, 4-8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.

Read more:

Dallas Morning News

Dallas Innovates (D Magazine)

Texas Wine Lover

Fort Worth Business Press

 

Time Posted: Dec 10, 2019 at 8:12 AM
Bill Fore
 
November 22, 2019 | Bill Fore

Thanksgiving Wine Suggestions

The thing about Thanksgiving …

Thanksgiving is that uniquely American holiday when lots of relatives who may not see each other often (or have much in common) get together for a big meal. Stuffing or dressing? Mashed or sweet? Pumpkin or pecan? And that’s before sports and politics.

Choosing wines for Thanksgiving can also seem challenging. The flavors of the traditional menu are as diverse as the guests. The key is balance.

Balance means a harmonious blend of the basic flavors in wine – tart, fruity, bitter, and alcohol. Tartness comes from acidity in grapes, fruitiness comes from ripe grapes, bitterness comes mostly from tannin in grape skins, and alcohol comes from fermentation. If any of these component flavors overwhelms the others, the wine can seem uneven or simply unpleasant. But if the acidity, tannin, fruit and alcohol are coherent and complementary, the wine is nicely balanced. 

Balanced wines have two great attributes. They are crowd-pleasers, and they taste good with many kinds of food – just the ticket for Thanksgiving. Here are a couple of good suggestions.

Turkey is a fowl, but it is also a game bird with rich, dark flavors and texture. Elegantly balanced 2018 Ursa Tannat Rosé walks the line between white and red wines, a flattering partner for the big bird. Dark meat lovers may prefer an aromatic red like the 2016 Bending Branch Tempranillo. Both these well-balanced wines are also compatible with the many heirloom side dishes on the holiday table.

The cousin who rarely drinks may prefer something a little fruitier like Bending Branch Thinkers Blanc. Also consider having a bottle of Bending Branch 2017 Texas Tannat® around for that uncle whose tastes tend toward whisky and cigars. In wine as in family, balance is the answer.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Bending Branch Family!

Time Posted: Nov 22, 2019 at 2:41 PM
Sara Potter
 
November 14, 2019 | Sara Potter

It's International Tempranillo Day!

Just outside of the West Texas community of Plains, you’ll find Newsom Vineyards – one of the oldest, most respected vineyards in Texas. In 1986, Neal Newsom and his family planted 5,000 vines on 5 acres. Today, the family has 148 bearing acres that produce nearly 400 tons of grapes annually. Many award-winning wines have been produced from Newsom’s grapes, and they were the first to plant Tempranillo in the state.

Tempranillo is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world, and the variety has emerged as a star in Texas. Bending Branch has produced Tempranillo every year since 2010, with the exception of vintage 2013. Unfortunately, late spring freezes wiped out the 2013 crop. Tempranillo is one of the most highly-awarded wines in the Bending Branch portfolio.

SPECIAL OFFER: In honor of International Tempranillo Day, receive complimentary shipping on three bottles or more of Bending Branch Tempranillo with coupon code TEMPRANILLO Thursday, November 14th through Sunday the 17th. ¡Viva Tempranillo!

 

2010 Tempranillo, Newsom Vineyards

Gold/Texas Reserve Class Champion – 2014 Houston Rodeo Uncorked!

Silver – 2013 Dallas Morning News/TEXSOM International

Silver – 2013 Lone Star International

 

2011 Tempranillo, Newsom Vineyards

Silver – 2014 Houston Rodeo Uncorked!

 

2012 Tempranillo, Newsom Vineyards

Gold – 2016 Houston Rodeo Uncorked!

Gold – 2015 Lone Star International

92 Points – 2016 Beverage Dynamics

85 Points – 2015 Wine Enthusiast

 

2014 Tempranillo, Newsom Vineyards

Double Gold/Best Texas Red – 2018 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo

Silver/Texas Class Champion – 2018 Houston Rodeo Uncorked!

Silver – 2018 San Francisco Chronicle

Silver – 2017 Lone Star International

 

2015 Tempranillo, Newsom Vineyards

Gold – 2019 Houston Rodeo Uncorked!

Gold – 2019 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo

Gold – 2019 Texas International

Silver – 2019 San Francisco Chronicle

 

2016 Tempranillo, Newsom Vineyards

Gold – 2020 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo

Silver – 2019 San Francisco International

 

Time Posted: Nov 14, 2019 at 9:11 AM
Bill Fore
 
October 30, 2019 | Bill Fore

Cryo-Maceration in Winemaking

Happening now in the winery...

Cryo-Maceration – Cryo or CM for short – is a technique we use to improve the extraction of color, flavor, and tannin from the skins of red grapes. Freshly harvested grapes are destemmed, put in half-ton bins, and then taken to the freezer. As the grapes freeze, large, slow-forming ice crystals weaken the cellular structures containing tannin, pigment, and flavor. Once defrosted, the subsequent fermentation can extract about 50% more of these critical compounds than a conventional fermentation without Cryo-Maceration.

Conventional Fermentation – around 20% to 40% extraction

versus

Cryo-Maceration – around 30% to 60% extraction

The first wine in which Bending Branch employed Cryo-Maceration, the Bending Branch Winery 2011 Estate Tannat CM, was awarded Double Gold, Texas Class Champion, Class Champion, and was named Top Texas Wine at the 2014 Houston Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition.

One useful side effect of Cryo-Maceration is that it allows us to defer the fermentation of a portion of our fruit until later in the season when there is more room in the winery and more time in the winemaking schedule.

 

Time Posted: Oct 30, 2019 at 12:28 PM
Sara Potter
 
August 30, 2019 | Sara Potter

Harvest 2019 Update

Harvest 2019 is underway at Bending Branch Winery. We have received all of our grapes from the Hill Country, and now Texas High Plains fruit is starting to arrive by the ton.

Recent update from owner Dr. Robert W. Young: “Bending Branch Winery has harvested most of its grapes from the Texas Hill Country AVA, and central Texas. We received outstanding Tannat and Picpoul Blanc from Lost Pirogue Vineyards in Center Point, about eight miles from Bending Branch Winery. The fruit flavors and chemistries of both varietals were amazing.”

“Thus far, all the fruit has been high quality with yields varying by vineyard, but mostly increased from last year. We have also processed Malbec, Tempranillo, Barbera, Mourvèdre, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Montepulciano, and Grenache for the red varietals, and Viognier and Pinot Grigio for whites. Bending Branch Winery is expecting grapes from the Texas High Plains vineyards by end of August.”

Click here for Texas Wine Lover's harvest update from the wineries in the Texas Fine Wine group.

Time Posted: Aug 30, 2019 at 8:29 AM
Jennifer Cernosek
 
July 25, 2019 | Jennifer Cernosek

What we're drinking

 

Our staff has the advantage of getting to know Bending Branch wines really well. Read what some of our team members are enjoying right now. Comment to tell us your favorites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictured: Sara, Dr. Bob Young, Kim, Stephen, and Sami (Photo credit: Kin Man Hui/San Antonio Express-News)

Robert W. Young, M.D., Owner and Winemaker:
I’m drinking the 2012 Reserve Petite Sirah from Shell Creek Vineyards because it is tasting so incredibly good right now. It is bursting with black fruits and it has just the right integration of American oak.

Terri, Tasting Room Associate:
Normally, I would choose a red but it's HOT out there, so my favorite to drink right now is the 2018 Tannat Rosé, Tallent Vineyards. Here's why: It’s a great summer wine for those, like me, who typically enjoy a rich, full-bodied red. The initial burst of ripe strawberry flows smoothly into a lush, slightly nutty finish resulting in a rosé that is refreshing and robust at the same time. I love to drink it ice cold by the pool and with my favorite summer foods like brisket, barbecued chicken, and potato salad.

Jim, Tasting Room Associate:
My favorite wine is the Tannat RF|EM from Bella Collina Vineyards. It’s not the wine to drink outside on a hot day, but if you grill a good steak in the evening and are dining inside in the A/C, this silky smooth Tannat will enhance the steak. 

Stephen, Senior Tasting Room Associate and Wine Educator:
I'm enjoying the 2013 Tannat from Silvaspoons Vineyard. It manages to be both fruity and earthy. One of our best kept secrets.

Will, Tasting Room Associate:
My favorite wine to drink right now is the 2018 Estate Picpoul Blanc from Lost Pirogue Vineyard. The green melon notes, minerality, and crisp finish pairs well with one of my favorite summer dishes, pan seared lemon pepper trout. It is also exciting that we are able to source such quality fruit from just down the road in Center Point in the Texas Hill Country AVA.

Tom, Tasting Room Associate:
2014 Old Vine Petite Sirah from Shell Creek Vineyards is our hands down favorite for pairing with duck and lamb (and occasional venison) dinners at home. Alone, it is rich in aroma, intense in flavor, and balanced in tannins. The deep color and viscosity make for a beautiful glass of wine. It has a nose spanning both savory and bakery spices, combined with dark fruit flavors and a hint of figs. On the table, it compliments a range of our game and lamb recipes, and its lingering finish outlasts those often bold meat flavors.

Kim, Tasting Room Associate:
I'm a true Chardonnay fan, and for that reason I love our 2016 Comfortage! This 100% Roussanne variety is in the Chardonnay family and is aged in American oak barrels. The soft floral and fruit notes go down easily on a hot summer day.

Kelly, Tasting Room Associate:
One of my favorites is still our 2015 Malbec from Newsom Vineyards. I love the caramel on the nose and how surprisingly smooth and elegant it is. I love the fruit/cherry finish, and it’s one I’ll always go for – even in the summer. And on a really hot day, I’m loving the 2018 Estate Picpoul Blanc from Lost Pirogue Vineyards. It is light and refreshing, zingy but balanced – the colder the better!

Sami, Tasting Room Manager:
My favorite wine to drink right now is 2016 Texas Tannat®. It has so much big, bold fruit and flavor that I find myself having a hard time putting the glass down. I recommend drinking it with dinner in the A/C!

Amy, Tasting Room Associate:
My favorite Bending Branch wine changes often and it is so hard to have one favorite, but right now it is our 2016 Texas Tannat®. It’s very bold yet smooth and has an exquisite taste. It is definitely one that I encourage everyone to try.

Sara, Executive Marketing Coordinator:
I have many favorites, so it’s hard to pick just one. I’m enjoying Estate Picpoul Blanc and Tannat Rosé on hot days, but bold reds are my true love. The 2015 Petite Sirah from our friends at Newsom Vineyards is spectacular. Full-bodied and fruit-forward with deep, inky color, this wine is just luscious! It’s no surprise that it brought home Double Gold from the San Francisco Chronicle wine competition. Better hurry, there is not much of this vintage left.

 

All of these wines are available on our website. Be sure to stop by one of our tasting rooms and chat with the staff about your favorites!

Time Posted: Jul 25, 2019 at 2:55 PM