Meet the Winemaker: Mike Batek of Hye Meadow
Located on a sprawling property under towering oak trees, Hye Meadow Winery will make you feel right at home. There are many places on the property to kick back and relax while enjoying a glass of wine from 100% Texas grapes. Hye Meadow Winery’s winemaker, Mike Batek is a Texas native who fell in love with wine and the allure of the story behind the bottle. Get to know the winemaker behind Hye Meadow Winery, as we sat down to talk with Mike about how he first started as a winemaker, his favorite Hye Meadow Wine, and more.
What led you to become a winemaker?
I really wanted to grow grapes and the lure of making wine seemed a natural progression. As much as growing is appealing, making and sharing the finished wine was what caught my heart.
What has surprised you about being a winemaker?
The most surprising thing about being a winemaker is how easy it is to make wine and how nuanced it is to make something that stands above what others make around the world.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a winemaker, and how have you overcome them?
The hardest challenge in winemaking in Texas is the variable weather and how that affects the quality of the fruit being used. I have really focused on building relationships with a few key vineyards and trying to build a coherent approach to end goals of fruit quality. It is a constantly moving target, but one that will ultimately drive Texas to become recognized as a quality producer of fine wine.
What goals in winemaking are you still working to achieve?
The key goal is having wines worthy of aging and striving to build processes that build each year to a higher quality for our Texas wine lovers.
What is one of your favorite varietals to work with and why?
Our Estate Montepulciano is my favorite varietal because of its chemistry and wonderful flavors. The berries are full of flavors and really shine in making a wine with high acid and perfect pH which allows it to age gracefully.
Which wine, that you’ve made, is your favorite?
I would have to say my 2015 Boooom, a Negroamaro blend that came to me at 3:30 am that I wrote on a piece of paper. It was a Double Gold winner in the San Francisco International and won Best of Class in multiple competitions.
Who do you most admire in the world of Texas wine, and why?
There are many people who helped me get started with advice, tales of woe, and opportunities to learn (free labor, freely given). The people who stand out are Dusty Timmons and Rick Neighbors. They both opened up and shared contacts and gave encouragement which is priceless in trying to get your feet under you.
What do you hope for the future of Texas Wine?
My hope is for the industry to grow to a point that Texans realize they don’t have to leave their state for incredible wine.
Any tips for future generations of winemakers?
Find good mentors who will both help and challenge you.
Stop by Hye Meadow Winery for one of their new paired tastings, play a round of yard games, or pet the resident donkeys. You can also pick up your wines curbside or place your order online and your wine might just be delivered by Mike Batek himself!