Why Pontotoc Vineyard’s Owner Might Show Up on your Doorstep

When you’re a unique winery with a unique owner, you come up with unique solutions.

Carl Money, owner of Pontotoc Vineyard in the Texas Hill Country, purchased turn-of-the-century buildings in the old ghost town of Pontotoc, including what had been the grocery store, hardware store, post office, barbershop, garage, gas station and movie theater, all with the idea of making the town into a Northern Hill Country winery. He also operates a weingarten on the main street of Fredericksburg, Texas, a popular destination for tourists.

His wines are available through high-end grocery stores, restaurants and taverns throughout the Lone Star State, but he still felt he needed to connect with his customers during the shutdowns necessitated by the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Where other wineries resorted to online sales and virtual events to keep their customers engaged, and while Texas reopened more quickly than most states, Money went old school.

He showed up on people’s doorsteps.

“I started something called Front Porch Wine Delivery,” Money said. “The day the shutdowns hit, I wrote a letter. In it, I said I will deliver a bottle of wine to your front porch anywhere in the state for free if you buy $100 worth of our wine.

“When I got the orders in, I drove them down.”

Money doesn’t go through a distributor, he said. While his product is carried in local grocery stores and served at Texas restaurants, he chooses to keep things purely direct to consumer.

“Once you drive out to someone’s house, you’re their friend,” Money said. “You know where they live, and you experience a part of their life.”

While all that driving can be a lot of work, it’s not as hard to get out to different Texas cities as you’d think, Money says. As a trial lawyer by trade, his life’s work has frequently taken him all over the state and travel is something he’s pretty accustomed to.

And as a fifth-generation farmer who once dreamed of owning a front porch milk delivery service, delivering wine is right up his alley.

The people make it worth it, he said.

“They run out, and they’re so tickled and happy,” he said. “A lot of them can’t believe it.”

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