Following last year’s successful initial launch of the Wanderer Series Relief Project, William Chris Vineyards continues to give back with their latest release – a new wine, collaboration and philanthropy.
“While life is returning to normal for many of us, there are many Texans and people around the country who are still really struggling to get back on their feet,” said Ali Schmidt, sommelier, wine manager and manager of Bucket and rye in Austin.
Schmidt and Chris Brundrett, co-founders of William Chris Vineyards, went together for the Wanderer Series’ second release – a red mix that benefits Feeding Texas, a state network overseeing 21 food banks covering 254 counties.
As the largest famine relief organization in the state, working with 4,000 local partners to feed more than five million Texans annually, over 90% of the proceeds from the Wanderer Series Relief Project II will be distributed through Feeding Texas to local food banks across the state, with an additional small part going towards food education services for local food banking communities.
“Feeding Texas is such a great organization. Ali and I fell in love with the idea of not only feeding Texas, but also helping food banks provide food education, ”says Brundrett. “It’s one thing to give someone a box of yams. It’s another to learn why yams are important, interesting ways to prepare them, and why a family will benefit from eating vegetables instead of pop-terts. ”
Last year’s project was the brainchild of Craig Collins, an Austin-based master sommelier and Brundrett. For the second release, Brundrett was inspired by Collins to expand and believe that a new sommelier and philanthropy each year would maximize the project’s exposure.
Schmidt was an obvious choice for the collaboration. William Chris Vineyards collaborated with Emmer and Rye on a previous wine project, and Schmidt supervised with Collins. When contacted, she “jumped” at the possibility of being part of the second release. “A lot of work in the wine world is festive and fun, but it has been difficult during the global pandemic. This is a great way to do something super fun and give back. ”
That Wanderer Series Relief Project II is a blend of red wine with 92% Cinsault and 8% Carignan with a twist. Half of Cinsault is from 2019 Phillips Vineyard, while the remaining half is from 2020 Lost Draw Vineyard, both located in Texas High Plains. The result is afruit-forward wine with juicy strawberry notes and firm structure.
Served this versatile food-friendly wine with a little chill. Schmidt recommends firing the grill up for pairing spicy sausage, salmon, Portobello mushrooms, hot dogs, corn on the cob, pork tenderloin with cherry jalapeño relish and pasta salad.
The key to project success is the generous support extended by industry partners. Victory Wine Group handles distribution, design store Canales and Company from Austin created the label design, and Berlin Glass delivered the bottles.
“We were working on this label in the early days of the pandemic when nothing was certain and things felt bleak and based our design on brilliant light and color that represented a bright spark in a world. We are grateful for the opportunity to work on a project with such a worthy goal, ”says Jose Canales, CEO and Creative Director of Canales and Company.
Serving the community is crucial to William Chris Vineyard’s DNA. Brundrett wants to be an example to staff, customers, colleagues and partners that winemaking does not end with sales.
“The Wanderer Series Relief Project is about something bigger than ourselves, we all need to make the world a better place,” he says. “This is a great opportunity for our customers to get involved in knowing when they buy a bottle of William Chris wine that we support so many farmers in Texas and give people a great place to work, but we also support our community on same time. “
That Wanderer Series Relief Project II sells for $ 24 and can be purchased directly from the William Chris Vineyards website (currently shipping to 38 states) or in Texas from participating stores in Central Market, HEB, Kroger and Whole Foods. The first hundred cases purchased through William Chris Vineyard’s website receive two Yeti wine glasses.