Interview with Summer Revival Wine Co-Founders Becky and Ian Atkins
Summer Revival Wine Co. is a new label to join the Texas wine community, but the team is not new to the wine scene.
Texas native couple, Ian and Becky Atkins, met after graduating college. In the early days, Ian was a member of the military, while Becky opened and ran restaurants outside of the base near El Paso, Texas.
After the military days, both Becky and Ian found themselves immersed in wine buying and restaurant management. As their love for wine grew into a fascination with the varietals grown in the Pacific Northwest, They decided to follow their glasses and move to Portland, Oregon. From there, Ian became educated in making minimal intervention wine, while Becky continued to expand and manage their restaurants.
It wasn’t long before the husband and wife team shifted all of their focus to winemaking. In 2016, the Atkins established Flat Brim Wines, applying Ian’s signature production method on Oregon’s grapes. Together, the couple took on the founding roles of the company. Although they were finding success in the Pacific Northwest wine industry, and loved living in Portland, they felt like something was missing.
“We were making wine and selling it all over the country, really all over the world. But we weren’t doing anything customer facing. We weren’t having conversations directly with the customer. We were exclusively selling our product to restaurants or grocery stores who were communicating with the customer,” said Ian.
It wasn’t until they recognized the trajectory of growth, and the opportunity offered by the Texas wine community, that they made the decision to bring themselves (and their wines!) back home and to join the Texas wine industry.
“We looked to Texas, and to open something here that allowed us to really have those conversations and contribute to the growing industry in Texas. And to share our passion with the community through education and experience,” said Ian.
Summer Revival Wine Co. was established in 2020 and opened its tasting room doors in Dripping Springs, TX in Spring 2022. As a new label to the Texas Hill Country, their first goal was to deliver on their promise to foster consumer listening and community-building from the start.
Becky admitted, “We’re still super new. So we’ve been spending the last couple months really focusing on listening to the customers, and being prepared to pivot as needed, to really build our confidence and roots in what we’re doing here.” After a few months settling into the community, Becky said, “ Now we’re at that point where we want to expand that and have this be an opportunity to showcase things going on with other high quality winemakers in our community. And to be a destination for people to come in and experience those things and meet with other people.”
Summer Revival Wines brings people together, but is careful to keep their multiple labels separate. The name Summer Revival Wine Co. not only distinguishes itself from Flat Brim wines, but it also gives an ode to their own experience coming back to Texas. As many Texans can relate, the heat of the summer represents a whole new awakening and adjustment to the climate. That feeling is what their wines aim to help you accomplish for those summer days.
One instance of sensory description comes from the unique tasting notes listed on each of their wines. If you’ve ever picked up one of their bottles or looked on their site, you would have noticed the distinct and relatable language they choose to express what you might experience from all your senses.
Take for example, if you were to take a sip of the 2021 Pinot Grigio, Atkins uses imagery to paint a very poignant scene where “The aroma is ruby red grapefruit, green strawberries, and fresh paper. Tastes like orange nerds, grapefruit soda and margarita salt.”
The description allows for wine newbies and wine lovers alike to imagine what their sipping experience could be and compare it to other personal memories.
“I want it to grab your attention and reflect our experience. That’s what I tell people- It tastes what it just tastes like to you, but for me, it might just taste like what I might be smelling like the scent of spraying down a hot sidewalk in the summer because that’s a memory that’s specific to me. It’s just your lived experience. It’s good to bring up another memory from your life. That’ll be unique to each person,” said Ian
Just like the label and the descriptors suggest, each wine serves a purpose. Ian’s approach towards winemaking is just as unique as their story and your experience. While minimal intervention wine is transparent to knowing its source, Ian takes a different approach in how it may taste. As a winemaker, he prepares you to try certain varietals that you’re probably used to being a lot heavier; but his wines are rather lighter than you’re used to. He can also do the reverse, in making a light white wine about the same weight as a red wine.
“I think what I would love for everyone to take away is that they had a unique experience here and they haven’t seen it anywhere else. Through how we approach our displays, conduct our tastings and present a small menu. It’s all because I want people to take away a unique experience, something different than what you’re used to in the past,” said Ian.
Summer Revival Wine Co. is taking as many steps it can to develop its own practice and strengthen the connection to others in the community.
In terms of branching out to partnerships like Sommly, Ian said ”I think that we decided to opt into as many Texas programs as we can.” Becky followed up by stating, “It’s important to us that we’re able to represent the quality of Texas wines, and Texas. To represent the uniqueness of the whole country. We want to be something that people are intrigued to dig a little deeper to learn a little bit more about.”
The winery is rooted in values and is dedicated to upholding these values for whatever comes next. They are proud to be representing both Oregon and Texas’ wine growing regions.
“I think as time progresses, we will have more Texas wines and Northwest wines. But I think the Northwest wines really provide a lot of context for my winemaking. So I don’t see them going away anytime soon. You can’t leave your past behind,” concluded Ian.