It was on a visit to see his then fiancée, Dominique Bowman Vining that Isaac Vining first encountered Water 2 Wine, a custom winery franchise located in South Austin. “I thought this is nice, I could see doing something like this.” Vining was about to retire from his job in Georgia and actually looked into starting the business in Atlanta, but couldn’t get the franchise rights.
The couple married last summer and Isaac planned to move to Austin in the Fall. About a month after the wedding, he had a heart attack. That night, Dominique, a self-described serial entrepreneur, couldn’t sleep and tried to distract herself by looking for business opportunities. Water 2 Wine came up in her search.
After Isaac recuperated, the pair researched the business. They learned about the 10-year history of the location, and how the previous three owners had operated the franchise.
The newlyweds believed their expertise and connections would allow them to succeed. Isaac’s background is in project and facilities management, he handles the day-to-day operations and he makes the wine. Dominique, has built a vast network through her career as a university administrator and various civic endeavors. She does much of the marketing, social media, and networking.
All the wine is made on site at Water 2 Wine, with ingredients sourced from 90 vineyards around the world. The wines are mixed in small batches of 20-30 bottles, have less than 10 percent of the sulfites of wines sold in big box stores, and are intended to last only a few years on the shelf.
If you find a wine that you love, you can order it by the batch as well as the bottle. If you are curious about the winemaking process, schedule time to be your own vintner. You mix the batch under the supervision of the wine maker, who will take care of fermentation, filteration and bottling. Whether you are the vintner or have Water 2 Wine do the blending, you can have your own labels put on the bottles. Water 2 Wine can ship your wine anywhere in the state of Texas.
The Vinings want their business to appeal to all types of people and plan an array of special events. In February they hosted a chocolate and wine pairing for Valentine’s Day. The business was a music venue during SXSW. Artists can display their work at Water 2 Wine and the Vinings offer either an opening or closing reception. On April 29, there will be a crawfish and crab boil.
Some Water 2 Wine events are exclusively for their wine club members. There are three membership levels and each comes with discounts on wine in bottles or batches.
Their South Lamar location is also available for private events and wine tastings.”There’s a lot of different wine options here [in Austin],” Dominique said, “but we like to think that we have the coziest .”