A new Hill Country wine tasting room is opening this yearl, courtesy of Texas small-batch wineries C.L. Butaud and Wine for the People. The tasting room will open at 12345 Pauls Valley Road — taking over what had been Argus Cidery’s tasting room — starting sometime this fall.
The new tasting room will feature seated wine tastings with flights available from either or both wineries, as well as a food-and-wine-pairing version. The on-site food partner is still being worked out. The space will feature ample outdoor space, with tastings taking place mostly outside, but there will be some indoor seats. Reservations are required, and people will be able to purchase bottles to continue to drink at the tasting room or bring home.
Both wineries are known for using 100 percent Texas grapes. C.L. Butaud’s current wine lineup includes several reds (a grenache, tempranillo, a red blend), a skin contact one (ramato), and its Pa Pa Frenchy line, with a red, rose, and wine. As for Wine for the People, there’s the Dandy Rosé (and a sparkling version), the Grower Project portfolio (an albariño, a rosato, a sangiovese, and a petite sirah), and the La Valentia (a Rhône blend), being released soon.
Both Wine for the People founder Rae Wilson and C.L. Butaud co-founders Brooke and Randy Hester met while working out of Fredericksburg wine incubator Slate Mill Wine Collective. They all wanted to eventually open their own respective tasting rooms, and decided to join forces this year when the Pauls Valley Road space became available.
When the tasting room opens, the wineries will continue to produce their wines at Slate Mill, but they do plan on relocating their productions into the Hill Country space in a few years. In the meantime, they will feature some barrels in the tasting room.
Wilson had wanted to open her own physical location for her wine for some time before the pandemic. She launched a Kickstarter in 2019 with the goal of opening a bar and bottle shop in Austin proper, but those plans changed with the novel coronavirus pandemic. Because of stay home orders, closed restaurant dining rooms, and lower-than-usual direct sales, the need for her own tasting room in an area with plentiful outdoor space became more urgent. “It was necessary, either we were going to open a tasting room or the business wasn’t going to continue,” she told Eater earlier in September.
In 2006, Randy Hester learned how to make wine at Napa Valley wineries like Cakebread Cellars, Colgin Cellars, Caldwell Vineyard, Realm Cellars, and Marciano Estate; Brooke worked on the business side of wineries, holding positions such as the chief financial officer of Patz & Hall Winery and the director of finance of U.S. operations at Naked Wines. They made their first Texas-grown wine in 2014, a tempranillo, at Texas Custom Wine Works in Brownfield. They continued to produce wines at various wineries throughout the state, officially moved to Texas in 2017, and they made their first wine at Slate Mill in 2019. (Brooke is currently also the director of finance of Hye, Texas whiskey producer Garrison Brothers Distillery.)
Wilson worked in restaurants and Schlafly Brewery in Saint Louis before she moved to Austin in 2005. Then she earned her sommelier certification and worked in wineries in Napa Valley and Portugal. She started Wine for the People in 2010, geared towards wine education, and produced her first wine Dandy Rosé in 2014.
Even though Argus Cidery, which opened in 2010, is now closed at the Pauls Valley Road location, owner Wes Mickel is currently working on the next phase of the cider company, to be announced soon.
C.L. Butaud’s and Wine for the People’s boozy tasting room neighbors include Last Stand Brewing Company, Revolution Spirits, Beerburg Brewing, Jester King Brewery, and Frankly Organic Vodka.