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Bending Branch Winery

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Sara Potter
 
June 15, 2022 | Sara Potter

Ursa Tannat earns 99 points at the 2022 California Commercial Wine Competition

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!

Ursa’s results:

2018 Tannat, Ferrel Ranch, El Dorado *

  • Best of Class of Appellation, Double Gold/99 points

2020 Viognier, Hidden Mesa Vineyard, Sierra Foothills *

  • Best of Class of Appellation, Silver/91 points

Major Red, Sierra Foothills *

  • Best of Class of Appellation, Silver/88 points

2018 Mencía, Silvaspoons Vineyards, Alta Mesa

  • Silver/91 points

2018 Souzão, Sierra Foothills

  • Silver/91 points

2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Ferrel Ranch, El Dorado

  • Silver/88 points

2018 Syrah-Sirah, Sierra Foothills

  • Silver/88 points

2018 Petite Sirah, Sierra Foothills

  • Silver/88 points

2020 Chardonnay, Wilson Vineyard, Clarksburg *

  • Bronze/87 points

2018 Barbera, Lone Meadow Vineyard, Sierra Foothills

  • Bronze/86 points

2018 Zinfandel, Sierra Foothills *

  • Bronze/84 points

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

Time Posted: Jun 15, 2022 at 1:09 PM Permalink to Ursa Tannat earns 99 points at the 2022 California Commercial Wine Competition Permalink
Sara Potter
 
May 18, 2022 | Sara Potter

Bending Branch Winery goes to Texas A&M University

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

 

Time Posted: May 18, 2022 at 1:54 PM Permalink to Bending Branch Winery goes to Texas A&M University Permalink
Sara Potter
 
April 11, 2022 | Sara Potter

Outstanding Local Business Award

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.

-->SEE THE VIDEO<--

Time Posted: Apr 11, 2022 at 2:25 PM Permalink to Outstanding Local Business Award Permalink
Sara Potter
 
March 23, 2022 | Sara Potter

The Derby Extravaganza is back!

After a 2-year hiatus, we are thrilled to celebrate our 10th Anniversary Derby Extravaganza. Join us as we celebrate Dr. Bob and Brenda Young’s Kentucky roots with a fun-filled afternoon at the beautiful Bending Branch Estate with live music, food, wine, hats, horses, and mint juleps.

~In partnership with Frost Bank. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Comfort.~

--> PURCHASE TICKETS <--

Ticket includes:

  • Live music from Big Cedar Fever
  • Catered meal from The Bread Box
  • Bourbon balls made locally by Sweet Comfort

Hat parade competition in three categories: Wine Theme, Derby Theme, and Most Fanciful

Best tent competition: Compete for best outfield tent set up and decorations

 

Ticket prices:

$60 General Admission

$50 for Bending Branch wine club members (Limit 2 club tickets per membership. Check your email for promo code.)

Includes a meal, a drink ticket, and a bourbon ball.

 

All-inclusive VIP Package (limited):

$1,000 table for 8 — includes admission for 8 people, buffet meal, snacks for the table, 4 drink tickets per person (redeemable for 4 glasses or 1 bottle), special VIP bar, and early entry to the venue at 1:30 p.m. VIP attendees will also receive 20% off additional wine purchases at the event.

 

Add-Ons:

Reserved seating options (seating only/admission sold separately)

$160 Table for 8  |  $120 Table for 6  |  $80 Table for 4

You will select a table when you arrive. Reserving a table DOES NOT guarantee shade, as the sun moves throughout the day.

 

A limited number of tables will be available in the outfield area, first come, first serve. If you do not reserve a table, please bring chairs. (See FAQs below.)

 

Note: The estate tasting room and Wine Club Lounge will be closed for this special ticketed Derby event. Ursa at Branch on High tasting room will be open noon to 8 p.m. at 704 High Street in downtown Comfort.

________________________________________

FAQs

What can I bring into the event?

Sunscreen, chairs, tables, pop-up tents, umbrellas, food, water. Tent legs must be staked or weighted down.

 

What is not allowed at the event?

ABSOLUTELY NO OUTSIDE ALCOHOL. Coolers will be checked by security upon entry.

NO PETS at this event, please.

Bending Branch Winery is a non-smoking, non-vaping property.

 

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Call the estate tasting room at 830-995-2948 or email info@bendingbranchwinery.com.

 

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

No. Check in will be electronic.

 

How do I purchase wine club tickets?

The code was sent to members via email on March 23rd. If you are a wine club member and did NOT receive the email, please contact info@bendingbranchwinery.com.

Time Posted: Mar 23, 2022 at 2:27 PM Permalink to The Derby Extravaganza is back! Permalink
Sara Potter
 
March 7, 2022 | Sara Potter

1840 Blending Experience 2022 Winner Announcement

One of the perks of 1840 Club membership is the opportunity to compete in the 1840 Blending Experience. During January of 2022, 44 teams became the winemaker for a day and participated in the competition. Participants were provided with barrel samples of four wines and the necessary measuring tools to master the perfect blend. This year’s blending wines were:

  • 2019 Charbono, Sierra Foothills
  • 2019 Malbec, Texas High Plains
  • 2019 Sagrantino, Texas High Plains
  • 2019 Tannat, Newsom Vineyards

  

Co-owner & Winemaker Dr. Bob Young and General Manager Jennifer McInnis Fadel evaluated all of the blends over a two-day period and narrowed down the finalists. On March 5th, they tasted through the final blends live at the Wine Club Lounge and announced the winners. Watch on Facebook Live

The top three winning teams will be receiving an invitation to a very special dinner at the winery.

Congratulations to:

1st place: Wine-Ocologists

2nd place: Saints of the Grape

3rd place: Bender Blenders

 

An honorable mention goes out to the 4th place team: Coassolo Torinese

Blend breakdowns:

Wine-Ocologists 90% Charbono – 10% Sagrantino

Saints of the Grape 64% Tannat – 36% Charbono

Bender Blenders 60% Tannat – 40% Malbec

We’d like to thank all of the 1840 Club members that came out to participate in this fierce competition, and cheers to the winners!

Time Posted: Mar 7, 2022 at 9:15 AM Permalink to 1840 Blending Experience 2022 Winner Announcement Permalink
Sara Potter
 
February 24, 2022 | Sara Potter

Texas Tannat Represents at the Wine Museum of Paris

A Bending Branch Tannat recently made its debut at the Wine Museum of Paris. Located near the Eiffel Tower, the Musée du Vin Paris was born thanks to the will of the members of the Council of The Échansons de France, an association whose goal is the defense and promotion of French wine in the world. The museum’s permanent collection, rich in more than 2,200 objects and property of the Council of The Échansons de France since 1984, pays tribute to all those who have worked to produce world-famous wines. Trades and traditions are evoked, illustrating several thousand years of know-how and the richness of French winemaking heritage.

So, how did a Texas Tannat make it all the way to the Wine Museum of Paris? Bending Branch Co-Owner and Winemaker Dr. Bob Young was inducted into the Renaud Society in 2009. The Renaud Society is a group of medical professionals with an interest in better health and a passion for wine. The Society honors the legacy of Professor Serge Renaud, father of the French Paradox, and supports wine and health research and education, and promotes the sharing of wine and health interests among medical colleagues worldwide. In May of 2019, Dr. Bob attended the International Wine & Health Summit held at UC Davis, where he met Dr. Tedd Goldfinger, Arizona cardiologist and Grand Maître of the Renaud Society. Dr. Bob left some Bending Branch wines with Dr. Goldfinger after the summit, including a 2014 Tannat.

  

On January 29, 2022, Dr. Goldfinger poured Bending Branch’s 2014 Tannat CM, Newsom Vineyards, at a Fédération Internationale des Confréries Bachiques (International Federation of Wine Brotherhoods) meeting held at the Wine Museum of Paris where it was met with rave reviews. In 2018, this wine earned a score of 90 points in the James Suckling American Wine Revolution and was also awarded a gold medal at the Lone Star International Wine Competition.

We are honored that our wine was represented in Paris and was met with such enthusiasm. We would like to thank Dr. Goldfinger for sharing the great photos and video from this tasting. We would also like to thank Marie Bourdillas from Vignobles Bourdillas for translating the video. Cheers to Texas Tannat on the world stage! Brought to you by the Tannat House of Texas.

Pictured bottom left: Dr. Tedd Goldfinger

Time Posted: Feb 24, 2022 at 1:18 PM Permalink to Texas Tannat Represents at the Wine Museum of Paris Permalink
Sara Potter
 
February 7, 2022 | Sara Potter

2022 YourSA Readers’ Choice Awards

We are honored to be nominated for Best Winery in the 2022 YourSA San Antonio Express-News Readers' Choice Awards. We can't do this without YOU!

Please take a moment to vote for Bending Branch.

VOTE HERE

You may vote once per day through February 28th.

Thanks to our loyal fans, Bending Branch has been voted Best Winery for the last six years: 2021, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 & 2015. (There was no competition in 2020.)

Let's make it seven years in a row!

Time Posted: Feb 7, 2022 at 8:56 AM Permalink to 2022 YourSA Readers’ Choice Awards Permalink
Sara Potter
 
December 17, 2021 | Sara Potter

Make your reservation now for the 1840 Blending Experience

Be the winemaker for a day! The 1840 Blending Experience is available to all 1840 and 1840 Custom Case Club members from January 2 through January 31. It’s easy and fun to compete. Here's how:

  • Assemble a team of 2 to 8 1840 Club members. 
  • Choose your date and time, then reserve a table by emailing club@bendingbranchwinery.com or calling the estate tasting room at 830-995-2948.
  • When you arrive for your reservation, you’ll be provided with barrel samples of four wines and the necessary measuring tools.
  • Once you’ve mastered the perfect blend, submit your formula on the official entry form before you leave. (You will not submit a sample of the wine.)

The Bending Branch winemaking team will recreate all the submissions in February, when Owner Dr. Bob Young and General Manager Jennifer McInnis Fadel will judge the entries.

Winners will be announced at the Wine Club Lounge at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 5. The winning teams will be treated to a very special Winner Dinner in the spring.


 
All seating is outdoors, by reservation only.

Please note that we may have to reschedule your reservation due to inclement weather.

Don’t wait until the end of the month – reservations are limited!

Looking for teammates?

New for 2022 – If you would like to be placed with other 1840 members to form a team, we are offering group dates on the following weekends:

Saturday, January 8  Noon-2 p.m.
Sunday, January 9  2-4 p.m.
Saturday, January 29  Noon-2 p.m.
Sunday, January 30  2-4 p.m.

Call 830-995-2948 or email club@bendingbranchwinery to reserve your spot on a team!

Blending Experience FAQs

May I enter the competition by myself, or must I have a team?

  • A team can be from 2 to 8 1840 Club members.

May I have more than 8 people on my team?

  • 8 is the maximum team size.

Can a team include non-member guests?

  • All team members must be 1840 Club or 1840 Custom Case Club members. A non-member can sign up today for a one-year 1840 Club membership.

May I bring a non-member along who will not be participating in the Blending Experience?

  • Yes, guests are always welcome to enjoy our standard tasting.

May I be a member of more than one team?

  • Each club member may only participate on one team.

May we have the Blending Experience at the Wine Club Lounge?

  • Yes, the Blending Experience is available by reservation at both the estate tasting room (7 days) and the Wine Club Lounge (Sat-Sun).

What if there are no reservations available when I can attend?

  • Plan ahead! Reservations are limited and end on January 31, 2022.

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. It will be your comp tasting/glass for this visit.
Time Posted: Dec 17, 2021 at 12:28 PM Permalink to Make your reservation now for the 1840 Blending Experience Permalink
Sara Potter
 
December 7, 2021 | Sara Potter

Holiday Staff Picks

What are the Bending Branch staff drinking for the holidays?

We've tasted them all. Here are our top picks!

 

Jackie Swan, Tasting Room Associate

I will be drinking our new release 2018 Tannat, Tallent Vineyards for our Christmas Day dinner. We will be having a standing rib roast with Yorkshire pudding. It's a family tradition.

Erin Shields, Wine Club Assistant

My family tradition is chili (with beans). My whole life we have had chili on Christmas Eve. Growing up this was always a tradition that we celebrated by gathering at my Grandma Margaret's. Although she is no longer with us and our family is in different parts of the country, we still prepare chili on Christmas Eve in our respective homes. My pairings would be Bending Branch 2018 Tempranillo and/or 2018 Ursa Zinfandel.

Kim McCallum, Tasting Room Associate

My thoughts for dinner are to make individual Beef Wellington’s paired with Tallent Tannat, a Tannat red wine mushroom sauce and cheesy potatoes gratin. As an appetizer a baked brie with raspberry chipotle puff pastry served with the bubbly Brut! And, I might add, playing Charlie Brown Christmas music by Vince Guaraldi.

Tom Kartrude, Tasting Room Associate

Our holiday meals must include a beef rib roast. The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Newsom Vineyards tastes like a great pairing for our favorite recipe for coffee and pepper rubbed rib roast (along with some Dijon mustard and crushed garlic). The 2018 is a bit lighter and more complex than most young Cabs, allowing it stand in well for Cabs with a little more age and finesse. The 2019 Napa Cab would be a great alternate, but with the limited supply I doubt it will still be available for the holidays…plus I think we just need to celebrate the holidays in true Texas style. After all, Santa may be watching.

Carla Carter, Tasting Room Associate

My go-to is Texas Tannat as a standalone or pair it with shrimp creole.

Deborah Elissagaray, Co-Winemaker at Ursa Vineyards

It's no surprise that the wine we'll be pouring is the D’Elissagaray Basque Blend. It takes me back to Amatchi's (grandmother in Basque) and her long family table (24 of us without guests!) and the smell of lamb and garlic potatoes and drinking wine out of any vessel, goblets to jelly jars.

Allison Thomason, Enologist

I act the same way at home as I do in the office, I snack all day! This year I will be snacking on my Mimi’s cranberry pecan jalapeno chutney on top of cream cheese with a glass of Desert Willow Mourvèdre to the point I almost ruin my dinner. After Christmas, I will read my new book from Santa with Double Barrel Tannat and ALL of the leftover fudge in the house.

Sara Potter, Marketing Coordinator

I’m looking forward to opening some bottles I’ve been holding on to for special occasions, like the 2017 Celebration Cuvée and also Chloe Cuvée. And bubbles, of course! I have a couple of bottles of Tannat Frizzante left and Bending Branch Brut is a no-brainer for Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Will Thomas, Tasting Room Associate

I am enjoying the 2018 Tempranillo, Newsom Vineyards which features nice berry fruit and integrated tannins making it a versatile food wine. I have paired it with smoked chicken and grilled cedar planked salmon with great results and plan on drinking it with filet mignon on Christmas Day.

Amy Wagner, Cellar Assistant/Tasting Room Associate

I’m definitely a Bending Branch Brut girl. As I get out of bed on Christmas, I look forward to the smell of banana nut stuffed French toast being warmed in the oven as I make my mimosa! This year we will have tamales on the menu, and I’m going to pair them with the 2018 Mourvèdre. I love this wine, and it really brings out the flavor in my tamales.

Susie Boswell, Wine Club Manager

The 2018 Double Barrel Tannat is by far the best we’ve ever had! We will pair it with prime rib for Christmas dinner.

Jennifer Cernosek, Direct to Consumer Manager

The Bubbles Trio that we are offering is a must-have, especially at $80 per package. Three bottles of Bending Branch Brut hits some of the major traditions for my family. Tradition 1: Each year, when decorating our Christmas tree, my husband Brandon and I always pop a bottle of bubbles to celebrate. Tradition 2: Perhaps a new tradition, my cousin Christy and I hosted Thanksgiving together for the first time. For everyone prepping food at her house that day, we started with a pour then toast of Bending Branch Brut. And while I could come up with a dozen other reasons to open celebratory bubbles between Christmas tree decorating (which is before Thanksgiving at my home) and New Year’s Day, celebrating with Bending Branch Brut is a staple to any New Year party (Tradition 3).

My other holiday pick is 2018 Petit Verdot, Newsom Vineyards. I could not be more excited about this wine, and it is the first vintage of single-variety Petit Verdot produced by Bending Branch Winery. This grape was harvested with the intention of using it for blending, but when tasting it from the barrel, it was so good that the winemaking team chose to bottle it on its own. With less than 40 cases available to sell, it was first offered to 1840 members as an add-on to their December release. Very little of it remains. Not only is it incredibly good, but it is a conversation piece. Bringing a very rare wine to a holiday gathering is a thoughtful and special touch. It’s bold and will pair well with charcuterie, appetizers or the main course. So how to you get it? It’s not online, but you can call the tasting room at 830-995-2948 to purchase or stop in and buy a bottle. While supplies last, of course.

Colleen Mergele, Tasting Room Associate

We will enjoy 2018 Petit Verdot with dill mushroom soup with farmhouse sourdough bread.

Judy Sullivan, Tasting Room Manager

I will be enjoying the bubbly Brut with divinely decorated Christmas cookies!

Stephen Mergele, Ursa at Branch on High Tasting Room Manager

My family will be drinking the 2017 Mencía and the new 2018 Zinfandel. After dinner, it’s time for the 2013 Angelica with dessert.

Terri Reusch, Tasting Room Associate

We will have a bottle of 2020 Tannat Rose, Tallent Vineyards served with roasted turkey and all the fixings. And of course, a bottle of bubbly Brut to bring in 2022!

Karen Cook, Tasting Room Associate

I am decorating my glass with 2018 Tannat, Tallent Vineyards. I was fortunate enough to get a preview when we bottled this over the summer, and now I plan to enjoy it with baked ham glazed in chipotle and apple butter, and a sharp cheddar potato galette.

Jim Mitchell, Tasting Room Associate

On very special occasions, I like to grill a large Texas Tomahawk Ribeye. I marinate the ribeye overnight with a coconut garlic amino sauce, Rudy’s rub, Himalayan salt and crushed black pepper. I like to grill it old school style on an open fire pit with charcoal and mesquite wood. When the coals are ready, I sear the steak on all sides and then move the steak away from the high heat and take my time to slow cook it. Lots of patience and a glass of a good Kentucky bourbon is required. When the steak is ready, I top it with slabs of butter and let the steak rest several minutes. Now, it’s ready to eat and nothing goes better with it than a Double Barrel Tannat. I have currently have three bottles in my wine chiller – one 2017 and two of the 2018 vintages.

 

Time Posted: Dec 7, 2021 at 1:24 PM Permalink to Holiday Staff Picks Permalink
Sara Potter
 
October 21, 2021 | Sara Potter

Ursa Vineyards Winemaker Dinner

~Exclusively for Ursa Gold Rush Club Members~

We are thrilled to hold our first-ever Ursa Winemaker Dinner on November 19th at The Ingenhuett on High. Originally scheduled for November of 2020, the pandemic forced us to postpone this Ursa Gold Rush Club-exclusive event. Ursa Winemakers Greg Stokes and Deborah Elissagaray will be traveling from Placerville, California, to be a part of this special evening along with the Ursa at Branch on High team.

Tickets are on sale now for this Basque-inspired wine dinner prepared by Tina and Lucas Kent of The Bread Box. The event will feature wine and food pairing stations so guests can move around the space throughout the evening. The Ingenhuett on High has both indoor and outdoor areas for guests to mix and mingle.


MENU

6:30 p.m. Welcome wine | 7 p.m. Dinner

Charcuterie
Individual cups filled with Jamón, Manchego cheese, quince paste, olives, dried apricots, and pecans

Veggies
Cold smoked asparagus, mushrooms, squash, and tomatoes marinated in fresh Spanish oregano and extra virgin olive oil

Meats
Seared lamb marinated in fresh yogurt and herbs
Seared beef tenderloin marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh parsley

Dessert
Basque cheesecake

$50 per member. Limit 2 tickets per membership. This event is 21+ only.
**URSA GOLD RUSH MEMBERS – CHECK YOUR EMAIL FOR THE EVENTBRITE TICKET LINK.**


Not an Ursa Gold Rush Member? Visit our Wine Clubs page to join today! Contact Ursa at Branch on High if you need assistance: 830-995-3394 or club@ursavineyards.com.

Pictured: Deborah Elissagaray and Greg Stokes, along with Vespa and Coco, at Ursa Vineyards in Placerville.

Time Posted: Oct 21, 2021 at 9:13 AM Permalink to Ursa Vineyards Winemaker Dinner Permalink