Hometown Highlight: Ron Yates Winery
Between earning a law degree and starting his own record label, it’s not hard to see that Texas Native Ron Yates is driven and ambitious. Now, his ambition has taken him to a whole new level as he lays the foundation for the Texas wine industry with his recently opened winery named Ron Yates.
Located along the rolling Hill Country outside of Hye, Texas, sits the winery near Spicewood Vineyards, which Yates co-owns with his parents and sister.
With family members in the grape and wine industry (he also has a cousin in the industry), Yates says what really stemmed his passion for wine was his travels in Spain during his time in college.
“Spain really resonated with me,” Yates said. “It felt like home. There’s a sense of place and pride that the Spanish have and I liked that. They also had the same attitude I share, “You tell me I can’t do it and I’ll show you that I can.”
His determination and “I can” attitude has proven him equipped for the challenges. Yates says although there are challenges every day, one of the big challenges has been learning how to grow grapes and how to pick the right grapes. “It all starts in the vineyard - if you can’t grow great grapes, you’re not going to make great wine.”
According to Yates, the second biggest challenge has become his mission: convincing people that Texans can make great wine right in the Lonestar State.
“People still go, ‘What? Texas?,’” Yates said. “It’s starting to change though and it’s a lot different. You can see the look in their eyes change as they taste it [Texas wine] for themselves. We’ve come to understand which grapes grow well and which grapes don’t grow well in Texas. We’ve laid the foundation, so the next few years will be about continuing to open people’s eyes that we do make wine in Texas and I think the Texas wine industry will continue to grow.”
Currently 13 grape varieties are grown at the vineyard with nine wine varieties available at Ron Yates, with plans to expand. Tempranillo and Sauvignon Blanc are their two largest productions, but they are branching into Italian varieties. For now the winery is appointment only; however, once the tasting pavilion is completed in a month or two they will open it to outside of appointment. “People drive by all the time without appointments and if we have room, we’ll fit them in,” Yates said.
“Our goal for the future is to get better at our wine making and grape growing,” Yates said. “We have a good foundation and now is the time to increase the quality of Texas wine and take the steps to growing world-class wine. We’re going to keep growing, keep planting and trying new grapes and keep experimenting. We’re going to keep improving our vineyard production and wine making and press everyone else in this industry to do the same. It’s exhausting sometimes, but definitely exciting.”
“Our winery is a place for people to relax, drink a glass of wine and unwind and share a our part of our world,” Yates added.
Ron Yates wine is available for purchase through their website and online store and at the winery. To schedule a tasting, call 512-585-3972. For more information, visit them on Facebook or their website coming soon, yateswines.com.