on the range

Want to Start a Winery?

Luxurious winemaker Amici Cellars also offers a couple of steals

By Wes Marshall, 9:00AM, Thu. Jun. 20, 2013

Houstonian John Harris went to U.T. in the Seventies and got a great sales job for a high tech company. After that company sold well, Harris moved to a smart start-up called eFax, which did extremely well. So Harris and a few friends pooled their resources to start a winery called Amici Cellars.

After such a successful tech career, Harris was a little surprised about the hourly wages for a winery owner. For the first ten years, they are largely negative, i.e. he had to keep investing money for the privilege of working 60 hours a week. At least they were making good wines, including a killer Pinot Noir.

At that point, fortune smiled on Amici Cellars. A star winemaker named Joel Aiken, fresh from his successes as winemaker at Georges de la Tour, decided to join Amici as a partner. The winery has been booming ever since. We sat down recently for lunch with John Harris at Perla’s (one word review – yummy!) and filmed this fifteen minute interview. Enjoy it, and look for a review of two of his wines in the print edition of today's Austin Chronicle.

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