What to Know About McPherson Cellars
This month’s destination spotlight is none other than the famous McPherson Cellars. Known for captivating our tastebuds with delicious wine and making a name for themselves in the U.S. wine business, here’s all you need to know about the urban winery (with help from winery operations manager, Emily Simpson).
Q: What is the history of McPherson Cellars?
For over 50 years, the McPhersons have been a pioneering family in grape-growing and winemaking in Texas, and the winery is currently owned by Kim McPherson. The family patriarch (and Kim’s father), Dr. Clinton A. “Doc” McPherson, was one of the “Fathers” of the modern Texas wine industry. In 1976 “Doc,” a Chemistry professor and Bob Reed, a Horticulture professor at Texas Tech University founded Llano Estacado Winery in Lubbock, the first post-Prohibition Texas winery. Until his passing in January, 2014, “Doc” remained one of the state’s prime grape-growers and was the first in Texas to plant Sangiovese in his Sagmor Vineyard. Kim’s mother, Clara, while a professor in Texas Tech’s Department of Food Nutrition Science, established the university’s Hotel Restaurant Management degree program. His younger brother, Jon, has been a winemaker in Temecula near San Diego, Calif., for over 20 years and has twice won the prestigious “Golden Bear” award for the most medals won in a single year in California.
Kim graduated from Texas Tech with a degree in Food Nutrition Science and then completed the Enology and Viticulture program at the University of California at Davis. He worked at Trefethen in Napa Valley before returning to Lubbock as winemaker for Llano Estacado from 1979 through 1985 and for CapRock Winery from 1990 until 2007 where he also made McPherson Cellars. Kim and Jon produced wines together in California under several labels including Il Fratello and Cucamonga Cellars. Kim’s Texas wines have won over 500 medals in state, national and international wine competitions including several Double Gold Medals at the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition and numerous Best of Class awards. Kim and “Doc” were inducted into the Who’s Who in Food and Wine in Texas Hall of Fame in 1999 and Kim created the McPherson Cellars label in 2000 to honor his father. He converted the historic 1930s-era Coca-Cola bottling plant in downtown Lubbock into a winery, and McPherson Cellars opened in the fall of 2008. It is one of the most beautiful, modern and efficient wine facilities in Texas and one of the most unique wineries in the country. In 2013 Kim was ranked No. 20 on a list of the Top 100 Most Influential U.S. Winemakers and McPherson Cellars was No. 87 on the Top 101 Wineries for 2014, moving up to No. 83 in 2015. He continues to play an innovative and dynamic role in the development of the Texas wine industry.
Kim believes in “planting to the land” so his focus is on Rhone, Italian and Spanish varietals. Under the McPherson Cellars label he produces the following wines: Viognier, Roussanne, Reserve Roussanne, Albariño, Sangiovese, Tre Colore (red Rhone blend – no oak), La Herencia (Tempranillo blend), Les Copains White (white Rhone blend), Les Copains Dry Rose (Rhone style rose), Les Copains Red (Red Rhone blend), Sparkling and two specialty wines, Chansa Solera Reserva Cream Sherry and La Diosa Sangria.
Q: What are three things people might not know about the winery?
One – you can bring your own lunch and eat it out on our beautiful patio.
Two – We have four different spaces available for special events. We even converted a three-car garage into our private tasting room, Sagmor.
Three – Our building used to be the old Coca-Cola bottling plant in the 1940s.
Four (bonus!) – Our winemaker’s father, Clinton “Doc” McPherson, was one of the founding fathers of the modern Texas wine industry.
Q: What are the biggest events of the year? Anything coming up soon?
Our biggest events are Wines & Vines Festival that benefits Lubbock Meals on Wheels and the Annual Winemaker Dinner at the beginning of each year.
Q: What wine pairing recommendations do you have for some of our favorite foods?
Albarino pairs well with oysters and ceviche because of its high acidity and rich aromas of peach, mango and pear. La Herencia pairs well with your favorite Texas barbecue. The full-bodied spice and juicy bramble fruit in the wine accompanies barbecue, with or without barbecue sauce. Roussanne’s herbaceous tea-like aromas and subtle lemon candy drop characteristics pairs well with veal, pork loin, Asian dishes, fish or even a chicken potpie. Tre Colore is the perfect every day pairing wine. Light bodied and fruit forward, this wine accompanies any dish from pizza to grilled salmon.