There’s a lot going on along Wakefield Drive and now you can add an urban winery to the list. Decant Urban Winery hopes to be open by Fall of 2018. Already popular in cities like Austin and Seattle, urban wineries are popping up in other US cities too – including Houston. Solaro Estate Urban Winery opened in 2014 on TC Jester Boulevard.
Just what is an urban winery? Grapes are imported from various wine growing regions around the world and fermented at the urban winery where customers can directly sample and buy the wine.
“Urban wineries are a renaissance,” said Kristina Tucker, who will be the chief winemaker at Decant. “Originally all of the wine produced in the US was produced in the major cities prior to prohibition. After prohibition the idea that wine had to be enjoyed only amongst the vines has created a distance between wine and its customers. Our customers want to be in close contact with their wine, so we are removing the stuffiness of wine and showing our customers the fun and craftsmanship of winemaking.”
Decant is a family business. Oak Forest resident Ron Tucker is the general manager and Kristina’s husband. Ron’s sister, Meredith Tucker-Hitchcock, who has a technology and advertising background, is doing marketing and public relations for the endeavor.
“We knew we wanted to have a winery, but it was once we saw the opportunity so close to home during the local farmer’s market that our plan came together,” said Ron.
Kristina Tucker graduated with a Masters of Science in Horticulture from Texas A & M, where she focused on Oenology, which is the study of wine.
Tucker-Hitchcock and the Tuckers have studied the business model on how to make and produce wine, including the importing and crushing of grapes, as well as aging, fermenting and bottling the end product.
“We are looking at best practices of other wineries to know what works but also matching that with our uniquely Houston stamp.” said Ron.
Tucker-Hitchcock says that Houston has one of the largest wine consuming populations and noted that the location of Decant in a former body shop on Wakefield between the Wakefield Crowbar and the Great Heights Brewing Company was well thought out too.
“This is a great community,” she said.
“Cisneros Design Studio is developing the architectural plans for the building to transform our metal warehouse into a wine production facility and tasting room,” said Ron. “The Tasting Room will be surrounded by the production facility so that customers are in the heart of where their wine was crafted.”
To start, the trio plans to offer a flight of a red wine, a white wine and a rose. The first wines will be a Beaujolais style which are younger and ready to drink, but will be aging wines as well for future releases. They are planning on offering cheese and charcuterie plates and intend to expand to other small bites.
“We are also looking at the possibility of hosting local food trucks and other types of events in the future at the winery,” said Kristina. “I think Decant will be a great place to relax with friends or have a small bite with Houston’s own fine wine.”
For more information, and to follow their transformation, visit Decant Urban Winery on Facebook.