Co-Founder & Director of Winemaking
Tony Offill, winemaker for William Chris Vineyards, has been in the Texas wine industry for the past six years. During his tenure at Texas Tech University, Offill completed serval harvests in the Texas High Plains, where he developed a passion for winemaking and winegrowing. He has since taken his passion for the craft and has worked to enhance the quality of Texas wines throughout the state. Offill relocated to the Texas Hill Country in January 2016 and joined the William Chris Vineyards team the following year.
“We built William Chris Vineyards off the idea that quality wine is not made, it is grown.”
– Chris Brundrett
While Bill manages our Hill Country vineyard operations, Chris oversees vineyards in the Texas High Plains working with our partners throughout the growing season. Chris monitors fruit quality while nurturing our relationships with the best winegrowers in the state of Texas.
Thoughtful winemaking begins with the harvest. Timing of each pick requires an understanding of chemistry coupled with a well-developed palate and a bit of good old fashioned farmer’s intuition. Each harvest also depends heavily on mother nature as weather patterns have a substantial impact on the balance of acidity, sugar content, and flavor profiles in a finished wine.
In the Cellar, Bill and Chris trust each wine to come into its own with as little intervention as possible. After fruit is harvested, destemmed, crushed, and pressed our winemakers use the pre-industrial method of open-air fermentation whenever possible.
Each day multiple punchdowns are done by hand facilitating a delicate maceration process during fermentation. Once each wine has been barreled (or transferred to a concrete tank) to age, we practice minimal handling. As a result, most of our wines take on increasing complexity and depth for years to come.
Our still wine is racked with the goal of minimum air contact over a 12-18 month period. Our barrel program consists of high-quality French, American, and Eastern European oak. We use first to third-year barrels with varying levels of toast matched to the needs of each varietal.
Chris and his team are innovators in the Texas wine industry when it comes to aging techniques. In addition to oak barrels they also age wines in concrete tanks. Our concrete tanks allow for a controlled introduction of oxygen throughout the fermentation and aging processes. We are actually the first vineyard in the U.S. to have a Galileo Tank imported from Bordeaux, France exclusively for William Chris Vineyards.
While Bill and Chris are passionate about single varietals, they also understand the importance of blending. With each varietal's strengths in mind, Bill and Chris work to showcase authentic expressions of each particular vintage.
Our primary goal is to consistently craft wines that are both balanced and emphasize the flavors that are unique to the terroir where the grapes are grown.
In 2016 we added a state of the art bottling line to our winery operations. Once the bottling line is set to accommodate the unique volume and shape of the bottles they are taken off the manufacturer's pallet and fed into the machine. A conveyor system moves them through the process.
First, they have nitrogen blasted into them to reduce the oxygen level within the bottle, then they go through the filler which also injects a small amount of inert gas on top to keep the wine from oxidizing in the bottle. Finally, the bottles get a cork or screw cap and pass through the labeler. At the end of the line, each bottle is inspected by our crew members then packed into cases - ready for sale.