Exciting Times at CapRock Winery: Glazer’s to Distribute; Will Use as Much Texas Grapes as Possible
Most of you remember the see-saw situation that occurred this past summer on the Texas High Plains with the on-again/off-again/on-again sale of CapRock Winery in Lubbock, Texas. It culminated with the “for real” sale of the winery to San Antonio entrepreneurs Jim & Cathy Bodenstedt. For the details, see: http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=2107.
Earlier today I was in communication with Phillip Anderson, CapRock’s GM, to follow up a rumor that that Glazers will distribute their wines on the condition that they make Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Merlot. I also wanted to clarify what was known about the speculation that their wines will likely be made with too much out of state fruit to be made Texas Appellation. Well, Phillip got back with me pronto with the straight story.
Anderson said, “We have signed up with Glazer’s [as our distributor]. It will probably take a little while to get everything going, but that’s the plan. There weren’t any conditions like Cab, Chard, & Merlot, but we have always made Cab, Chard, & Merlot. Our goal is to be all Texas fruit within 2 years (hopefully sooner) with the possible exception of a sweet red & sweet white & depending on availability, Chardonnay.”
Well, in 2010 due to the huge Texas grape harvest, CapRock got off to a good start. They bought 20 tons of Chardonnay this year from the Texas High Plains Appellation, but I’m not sure that we can count on that every year. 2010 was a super year, not a typical year for Texas wine grapes.
Anderson said, “If we could drop Chardonnay, we might, but our reasons for keeping it are all about sales: People still want Chardonnay. If we could get everyone in Texas to drink Viognier instead of Chardonnay, that would be great, but I don’t expect that any time soon.”
He also thinks that Glazer’s is a good fit for CapRock and said, “Republic seems to have most of the Texas wines that would compete with us for shelf space, so it made sense to look at the distributor that would put us first instead of having to juggle our needs versus those of the other Texas majors. There are also some people at Ambiente who did a good job for CapRock and I hate to cost them sales. CapRock is going to make a major push into the market in 2011 and we needed a distributor that was completely on board.”
It also looks like CapRock will more than double the number of wines that they produce. Right now CapRock has eight wines and once they are ready to bottle they will have as many as 18 wines. Some of those will be primarily sold in the tasting room for now.
Anderson said, “I’m excited about our Roussanne, but I think it is more of a tasting room and select on premise wine. The same goes for our dry rose’ made from Grenache. I think it is going to taste great, but I don’t want to confuse anyone who is looking for our sweeter Blush Royale.”
“The great thing is how much Texas fruit we were able to get from the 2010 harvest. We have Roussanne, Grenache, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo, Muscat Blanc, Orange Muscat, & Chardonnay that we purchased and crushed locally this year. The fact that this was such a bumper crop this year helped us get great fruit even without contracts.”
CapRock has a few more irons in the fire, but nothing that Anderson can announce yet. The main thing is that at CapRock they are reassessing how they do things and are willing to look at any option to produce great selling Texas wine.
Anderson said, “It has been a rough year and I’m sure that there will be minor bumps ahead until we get our product mix right, but this is an exciting time at CapRock.”