William Chris Wine Company Announces Key Hiring Updates

David Oelrich, People Manager; Skip King, culinary director; Valerie Elkins, Membership Director; and Kelsey Kramer, Director of Education, will drive strategic growth for the company and the wine industry

AUSTIN, Texas (June 1, 2022) – William Chris Winery (WCWC), parent company to leading producers of 100% Texas-grown wines in the Lone Star State, including William Chris Vineyards, Lost Draw Cellars, Skeleton Key and Grower Project brands, announced the appointment of key new hires, including David Oelrich as Chief People Officer (CPO), Skip King as Kitchen Manager, Valerie Elkins as Director of Memberships and the promotion of Kelsey Kramer to Director of Education, effective immediately.

“These are some of the most exciting times in WCWC’s history. This recent string of hires and promotions is a testament to the true success of the company,” said Andrew Sides, co-founder and COO of WCWC “More than the accolades, increased sales and expanded markets, the level of talent and internal development that we have acquired and achieved excites me most for the future.”

Bringing over 14 years of human resources experience to WCWC, David Oelrich has been appointed as the company’s first human resources director to lead, evaluate, coach and support team members to cultivate a culture motivational work and to develop the infrastructure to maintain the growth and success of the company. Previously, Oelrich served as Senior Director of Human Resources at Molecular Templates, a growing biotech startup in Austin, Texas.

Joining the WCWC team as the new Culinary Director, Skip King, a Houston native, brings over 25 years of hands-on restaurant and hospitality experience to his role in maintaining everyday food and wine pairing experiences for all. locations, with plans to expand and enrich seasonal offerings. As part of his role, King will also lead the development of William Chris Vineyards’ on-site garden to complement the culinary program and wine tasting dinners, while building new relationships with local farmers to source high-quality produce and protein. . Over the past two and a half decades, King has gone from line cook to sous chef to executive chef positions at restaurants including Oceanaire Seafood Room in Houston, Texas. For the past six years, King has immersed himself in the wine industry. he served as Director of Wines at Morton’s of Chicago and most recently as Assistant Winemaker and Executive Chef at French Connection Wines.

“The wine industry is constantly changing and something that will always be a bit unpredictable, but our focus on building and developing teams all committed to the company’s vision and values ​​has helped us build a unfazed culture,” Sides added. “The most rewarding thing about being part of this company has been seeing the impact on individuals coming together for common goals and being enriched by the work they do. It’s something really special. .

Valerie Elkins joins the team as Director of Memberships and will be responsible for driving member engagement, as well as creating opportunities to further personalize the member experience and create programs to better meet club member needs. of wine. Elkins, who brings 22 years of experience, will oversee a new Wine Club Ambassador program that will help ensure members get meaningful value from being part of WCWC Wine Clubs. Previously, Elkins led mid-sized organizations in technology development and process management in the financial services industry. Most recently, she spent nearly three years working in wine tasting room management where she developed a passion for promoting and protecting the integrity of Texas Wine.

“It’s exciting to be part of an organization that is a true leader in innovating and advancing the Texas wine industry,” says Elkins. “I have a great passion for the exceptional quality of wine produced by our winemaking team and look forward to working with our team to ensure our guest experiences and membership programs are world class.”

Finally, WCWC is proud to announce the promotion of Kelsey Kramer from Content Marketing Manager to Director of Education. Since joining William Chris Vineyards in 2020, Kramer has gone from Tasting Room Ambassador, where she designed five immersive wine experiences and developed the private virtual tasting program during the COVID-19 pandemic, to Content Marketing Manager. Kramer brings 13 years of experience in the hospitality industry and seven years of experience in wine education and training. In his new role, Kramer’s responsibilities will include identifying, developing and maintaining all educational initiatives for staff, industry, commerce and guests with the aim of raising knowledge standards about WCWC. , the Texas wine industry and their context within the wider world of wine. In addition, Kramer will be responsible for maintaining WCWC’s technical trademark database of its wine collections, vineyards and vintages, and providing daily educational access to staff members.

“As the person who learns best by teaching others, I am thrilled at the opportunity to benefit as much from this new position at William Chris as from the team I have had the pleasure of working with on a daily basis for two years,” says Kramer. “It is through encouragement and creativity that I hope to contribute to the growing strength of the Texas wine industry by facilitating the transmission of knowledge from person to person.”

In October 2020, William Chris Vineyards co-founder Chris Brundrett and Lost Draw Cellars owner Andrew Sides merged their companies to create WCWC, which is the parent company of William Chris Vineyards (2008 est.), Lost Draw Cellars ( 2012 est.), Skeleton Key (2015 est.), and Grower Project (2015 est.), and is the leading producer of 100% Texas-grown wines in the Lone Star State.

For more information on William Chris Vineyards, please visit williamchriswines.com and follow on Facebook and Instagram @WilliamChrisVineyards. For more information on Lost Draw Cellars, please visit lostdrawcellars.com and follow on Facebook and Instagram @LostDrawCellars.


William Chris Vineyards was founded in the Texas Hill Country in 2008 by Chris Brundrett and Bill Blackmon. Deciding to set up a pioneering farm in the historic town of Hye, Texas, they began the project to restore the 1905 Deike Farm, which became William Chris’ original tasting room. Over the past decade, William Chris has expanded his vineyards and partnered with family farms across the state to source only the highest quality fruit in Texas. In October 2020, Brundrett, who was recently on Wine Enthusiast’s 2020 40 Under 40 list, teamed up with fellow winemaker and owner of Lost Draw Cellars, Andrew Sides, to merge their businesses and create William Chris Wine. Company (WCWC), which is the parent company. of the William Chris Vineyards (2008 est.), Lost Draw Cellars (2012 est.), Skeleton Key (2015 est.), and Grower Project (2015 est.) brands, and is the leading producer of 100% Texas-grown wines in the Lone Star State. The WCWC prides itself on expressing the authentic taste of the Texas terroir through its wines while offering a unique and world-class experience. They use a hands-off approach to winemaking, allowing the characteristics of the fruit, vineyard or AVA and vintage to shine through in the finished product. William Chris Vineyards is happy to share a piece of their world and can’t wait to share it with you. For more information, please visit williamchriswines.com and follow on Facebook and Instagram @WilliamChrisVineyards.


Founded in 2012 by Andrew Sides, Troy Ottmers and Andy Timmons, Lost Draw Cellars is a family business with deep roots in Texas. As a proud producer of 100% Texas grown wines, Lost Draw began producing wines from the highly acclaimed Lost Draw vineyards in the high plains of Texas. The tasting room and winery is located in the heart of Fredericksburg, Texas in a historic building that has been owned by the Ottmers family for four generations and was once a Gulf Distribution business. The team is committed to producing quality wines that showcase the unique terroir of Texas. Lost Draw prides itself on working with grapes that thrive in the region’s semi-arid climate and strives to continually improve the growing process in a sustainable way. In addition to the vineyards they run themselves, the team partners with some of the best wineries in the state to support Texas farmers. Learn more about Lost Draw Cellars and schedule a visit at lostdrawcellars.com. Follow them on Instagram (@lostdrawcellars) or Facebook (Lost Draw Cellars).

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