WAXAHACHIE — A much-needed place to gather, unwind and uncork for those Ellis County residents and visitors who have a taste for wine has finally begun pouring glasses. The Cork House Winery is home to an array of wines made in-house by its owners and is located just one block off the downtown square of Waxahachie.
Husband and wife, partners in business, and residents, Doug and Karla Gibson, rang in the New Year by unveiling the newest addition to the downtown scene.
“I used to get my hair done in Grapevine once a month, and afterward we would go to the Sa Vino Winery on Main Street. We would drink wine and have big fun. Well, it became one of our favorites, and now we do what they do,” Gibson explained. “Sa Vino gets their juices and makes it at the winery. We had our own batches of wine made and customized them with our own label. I have one that says ‘Becker’s Best Chardonnay’ with a picture of my dog on it because my dog’s name is Becker.”
Karla joked, noting that Doug never drank wine before their relationship, but has ‘branched his way up’ from drinking wine brands such as Yellowtail or Berringers.
As previously reported by the WDL, “Karla said while they will not be growing the grapes to make their wine, they would get most of the juice from producers in Texas. Other places they source their juice from include: California, Italy, and Chile.”
After the wine is made in stainless-steel vats, it goes into the bonded room located near the back of the winery, where it ages until it is ready for consumption and purchasing.
“Over the years we talked with the owners about their winery and found out how they did it. I asked Doug ‘Why can’t we do what they do?' So we began our hobby and it’s gone wild. Well, I had no idea what you had to do to open a winery. If they were to tell me what you had to do and how much it takes, I would’ve never done it. It’s unbelievable,” Gibson said.
Legal permission to manufacture wine and operate a wine premise, bonded wine cellar or tax-paid wine bottling house must be requested through a Federal Application Process through the Tax Trade Bureau [TTB], which can be rather lengthy. Complications with licensing approval postponed the initial opening of the winery, which was set to for May 2016.
“It’s been way better than I expected and has gone way above and beyond my expectations. It’s awesome to see visitors and hometown friends come in and enjoy the wines that we have crafted,” Gibson stated.
The couple strives to have a relaxing setting where customers can enjoy a glass or bottle of wine without the atmosphere of a bar. On the menu, one can find an assortment of fifteen red and white wines and a cheese tray.
“We offer seasonal wines such as Christmas blends, ports, and limited releases. Our first Christmas blend, 'Lights Out,' was a spiced merlot,” Gibson said.
So far, top sellers include "Twisted Sister," "French Shiraz," "In Too Deep" and "Three Cheers & a Charm." Loved ones inspire two of the four top sellers.
“Our top selling white wine is Twisted Sister, and it’s named after me and my two sisters, Kathy and Jenny. Three Cheers & A Charm is a sweet wine was inspired by my three best friends from high school, Amy Jo, Susan, and Colleen. Amy, Susan and I were cheerleaders, and Colleen was a Cherokee Charmer,” Gibson said.
According to their menu, the top-selling red wine, the French Shiraz, captures the taste of black raspberries with aromas of lavender and spices. Their top selling sweet wine, a Cranberry Malbec named "In Too Deep," is defined on the menu as, “Refreshing lush cranberries paired with Argentinian Malbec.”
Fortunately, if one decides to visit and is unsure of what bottle or glass to try, the Gibson’s offer customers a wine tasting. The wine tasting allows four different wines and cost $12.
“We have a garden out back with tables and chairs that we will use as the weather gets warmer. There is also an area that will be dedicated to live music performances,” Gibson stated.
The Cork House Winery is located at 213 E Main Street and is open Tuesday through Thursday 2-8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 2-9 p.m. For more information, visit www.corkhousewinery.com or call (972) 921-1069.
Kelsey Poynor, @KPoynor_WDL