Jester King Craft Brewery

The Wine Program at Jester King


At Jester King Brewery, the beer is the star of the show, but much effort has been put into cultivating our wine selection. The wine program here at Jester King is something we have been nurturing and growing over the years, and our goal is to have our wine selection parallel and complement what we do with our beer. Because our beer is deeply philosophically driven, we strive to represent beverages that are as well-crafted whether it be beer, cider or wine. Headed by Traci Walker as the Wine Coordinator, Dan Largess and Courtney Schwamb round it out to create the Wine Team.

The primary motivation of our brewing efforts here at Jester King is to capture a sense of time, place and people. Our beer encapsulates the unique character under the conditions in which it is made. Water, grain, hops, and yeast make up the foundation for beer. Our water is raw Texas hill country water sourced from an on-site well. We source grain from the only micro-maltster in Texas, Blacklands Malts in Leander, who works closely with local farmers to obtain grain for malting. And lastly, our yeast is not lab-derived yeast, and not even simply yeast, but in fact a mixed culture of yeast and bacteria indigenous to the region and collected from plants and flowers on our land, while our spontaneous beers employ ambient microorganisms for fermentation. Any additional ingredients or adjuncts are sourced from farmers and growers that we have a relationship with and know are thoughtfully grown. We frequently use the term “terroir” when discussing our beers with the effort we put into having our beer represent the flavors of our land, however, the term “terroir” is typically used in the winemaking world. This really gets to the heart of what we are trying to capture here; the flavors relating to the time, place, and people involved in the creation of the beer which cannot be replicated or recreated elsewhere.

Wine is the product of fermented grapes. It should be as simple as that, but in fact, hundreds of additional ingredients and chemicals can be added to a wine and producers are not required to notate these ingredients on the bottle. This is a standard practice in the wine industry and because of this, wine has become an extremely industrialized product, losing authenticity and therefore its terroir. The natural wine movement is essentially a push back in response to the over-industrialization of this industry. Rather than looking to technology, chemicals, and specific yeast strains to influence a wine, natural winemakers use the old world methods of viticulture and winemaking that harken back to how wine was made for centuries. It is these practices that give us a truly honest expression of the final product.

When sourcing wines for our Wine List, we think about what we would look for in anything we source for our beers. We look for those natural winemakers whose philosophies mirror our own – winemakers who work intimately with growers or better yet grow their own grapes, producers who intentionally oppose the use of preservatives and colorings that can go into mass-produced wines, and wines that are naturally fermented with native microorganisms. We want to represent those small producers making honest wines that uniquely tell the story of their origin on your palate.

We strive to curate a wine list that represents those who have taken strides for this movement in natural winemaking. Producers such as young Sicilian winemaker, Arianna Occhipinti, who from the start of age 16, has been an advocate for organic and biodynamic farming, hand harvesting, and natural fermentation. Or Brendan Tracey, American punk rocker turned French winemaker, who implores a mixture of cutting edge and traditional winemaking techniques to result in an uninhibited wine that captures the spirit of his land and of himself. We simply cannot fail to mention a true comrade in Texas terroir, Lewis Dickson of La Cruz de Comal. Located in Canyon Lake, Texas, Lewis operates a small vineyard that produces true natural Texas wines. His farming practices adhere to the same philosophy and mentality as us, using minimum human interference and utilizing spontaneous fermentation in order to let the quality of his grapes come through in a honest and wonderfully balanced finished product. His wine is bottled by hand, without fining or filtration, and without the addition of sulfites. In tasting his grapes at harvest, it is easy to see that a truly unique wine first begins with honest farming. Considering his efforts in the natural wine movement, especially here in Texas, we like to think of Lewis Dickson as the analogous wine producer to us.

Another goal for us as a Wine Team is to bridge the gap in folks’ minds between the worlds of wine and beer – both being fermented beverages. It is often that our beer making processes relate more closely to winemaking than to commercial brewing. In recent years, we have worked closely with Texas vineyards to source a wide variety of grape varietals for our fruited sours and spontaneous fruited blends. We feel that these beers in particular, are a step in closing that gap between beer and wine with their fruity complexity and tannins that shine through in the final product.

We find a kinship with our fellow producers and are extremely lucky to work hand in hand with folks that have a similar philosophy, and it is those producers that we choose to showcase in our wine program. Ultimately, we fill our Wine List with winemakers that remind us of our own mantra as a brewery of making a product that reminds us of a time, place and people.


Traci Walker, Wine Coordinator, Assistant Tasting Room Manager
Dan Largess, Assistant Tasting Room Manager, Wine Team
Courtney Schwamb, Beverage Director, Associate Tasting Room Manager