In a Texas town called Comfort, there’s some seriously comforting wine being produced on the 20 acres of land at Bending Branch Winery. Dr. Robert Young and his son-in-law, John Rivenburgh, are among the new champions of Texas wines, sustainably made. Among them Cabernet Sauvignon, Vermentino, the 2014 Hoover Valley Vineyards Comfortage made from Texas-grown Rousanne grapes, and award winners including the 2012 Tempranillo (from grapes harvested at Newsom Vineyards in Plains, Texas) and a 2012 Old Vine Petite Syrah (from Paso Robles, California, grapes). Texas Monthly, in calling out Bending Branch Texas Tannat as the Wine of the Month in June 2015, says it “combines a striking mélange of rich color, palate-pleasing tannin, and a balance of dark fruit and rustic earthiness, a well-rounded introduction to a wine made from a lesser-known grape. To find a pure Tannat with balance is truly exceptional.” Says Young, “Tannat, our signature grape, has quickly emerged as a true champion of the terroir unique to Texas.” In July 2015, the San Antonio Express News voted Bending Branch Best Texas Winery.
Young, his wife, Brenda Mobley Young, daughter Alison Young and her husband, Rivenburgh, hadn’t set out to be winemakers. Dr. Young is a physician but had a passion for the art and science of winemaking. After studies in the Winemakers Certification Program at U.C. Davis, and with Rivenburgh on board, Bending Branch was born. Rivenburgh was also vice president and president of the organization Texas Hill Country Wineries, which he helped to grow.