article by Megan Winkler of Culturemap Austin.
Editor’s note: This is the inaugural year for CultureMap’s Top Texans Under 30, a program that celebrates the twentysomething power players making a difference in their industries and communities across the Lone Star State — and, in some cases, the world. The full list is here. For now, read all about Ross McLauchlan and Cooper Anderson.
Urban, funky, and snob-free, Austin Winery epitomizes Austin innovation. Founders Ross McLauchlan, 27, and Cooper Anderson, 29, have a love of community, a spirit of inclusiveness, and a dedication to bringing fine wine to Texans without the fluff of Napa.
CEO McLauchlan and head winemaker Anderson are hands-on, hitting the road to help harvest and crush their grapes from their eco-conscious and biodynamic vineyard partners across the United States. Everything else — from fermentation and filtration to bottling and serving — takes place in Austin, where age-old craftsmanship is always on the menu, but white tablecloths aren’t. The same attitude can be expected at their upcoming space at The Yard, located at St. Elmo and South Congress, which is set to open this fall.
Everything they do is as local and sustainable as possible, down to the recycled cork, locally made bottles, and artwork created by Texan artist Nic Mathis.
We recently chatted with the pair, who took a break from winemaking to let us in on a few secrets.
CultureMap: What inspires you to do what you do?
Ross McLauchlan: I’m inspired by the community of small business owners in Austin and the unifying power of wine. A soccer ball and a bottle of wine is the fastest way to find friends anywhere in the world.
Cooper Anderson: Every year is a different challenge, but I get to find creative expression within those confines.
CM: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other Texans trying to innovate in their industry?
RM: Be ready for delays. Navigating government compliance can be tougher than selling your products. Remember, if it were easy, someone would have done it by now.
CA: Attract people outside the typical demographic of your industry.
CM: Sum up Texas in three words:
RM: Gritty, groundbreaking, frontiersmen/women.
CA: Can do attitude.
CM: What’s one thing that people might not know about you?
RM: I meditate twice a day to calm my competitive nature and try and gain perspective.
CA: I’ve voted for my dog for president in the last three elections.
CM: Finish this sentence: “It’s a great day when … ”
RM: Our new space opens at St. Elmo and South Congress.
CA: I can finish my day of winemaking with beers and sandwiches.
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Cooper Anderson, 29, and Ross McLauchlan, 27
Co-founders, Austin Winery
Cooper Anderson and Ross McLauchlan co-founded Austin Winery on the premise that it should be as relaxed and local as possible. The first of its kind within Austin city limits, the urban winery is distinctly Texan. Although the grapes are grown elsewhere, everything — from the fermentation and filtration to the bottling, serving, and enjoyment — takes place in town.