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About David and the Wine Cellar

ABOUT DAVID MEBANE

New Orleans-born, Austin-raised, I always had a curiosity for travel and culture. That curiosity led me to France in 1995, after my freshman year at Texas A&M University. I worked in a small Normandy village as a tour guide at an abbey built in 1189 by King Richard the Lionhearted.

My love for France brought me back every college summer for work and study abroad programs. While working in the Paris office of PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1998, I launched Fat Tire Tours (www.fattiretours.com), which opened the following year.

Fat Tire Tours kept my wife, Kelly, and me quite busy during the decade we lived in Paris. Our son, Weston, was born in Paris in 2005. We returned home to Austin in 2007, and our daughter, Caroline, was born the following year.

Today we are grateful to still maintain a lovely pied-à-terre just blocks from the Eiffel Tower, which allows us to visit the City of Light several times each year. Paris is still our home away from home.  

OUR LOVE FOR WINE

During our years in Paris, Kelly and I grew to appreciate French wine for the simplicity yet complexity offered in every glass. I gravitated to a subregion of Bordeaux - St. Emilion - for my preferred full-bodied red, and to Sancerre (Loire Valley) for its fabulous sauvignon blanc and rosé. Of course we enjoyed wines from a variety of regions around France, but those two particularly stood out to us.

Wine has become an integral part of our meals, social lives, and lazy weekend afternoons.  Enjoying a glass at home in Austin brings back memories of the last time we enjoyed the same wine at a picnic in the Champ-de-Mars park. Wine offers the perfect compliment and vibe to every situation.  It is truly meant to be shared amongst friends and family.  

In 2015 I went to St. Emilion for my 40th birthday and discovered a number of excellent producers surrounding the village. In 2019 I took my first visit to Sancerre. I wondered why I had waited so long to visit each of these regions in person. While I was accustomed to drinking wine from large producers that have sales channels in Paris and the US, the true gems are the hard-to-discover small, family wineries that dot the landscape.

We made personal connections with several producers, and have their wines stocked in our Paris and Austin homes to this day.

DAVID'S WINE CELLAR

After years of sharing our wine inventory with friends and family, it was clear they enjoyed the same producers we did.  And perhaps more importantly, the fact that excellent wine doesn’t need to cost $100/bottle.  I began to explore the idea of importing from these small producers for our personal consumption, and for the enjoyment of friends who had come to appreciate these wines. 

In 2018 I organized my first order from St. Emilion for delivery to Austin. I included several friends in the order, and as word quickly spread, friends of friends.  My second order from the same château the following year saw a bottle increase of over 100%. In 2019, I placed my first order from Sancerre, which was larger than the first two Bordeaux orders combined. Those on the order (including myself) still regret they “didn’t order enough” from this excellent producer. 

The word was out that quality French wine is available, and at the right price. And it can’t be found anywhere else in town, so it is a virtual guarantee that these wines will be a new experience for all around the table.

Finally, I know from personal experience the frustration of going to a retail store and having to choose from hundreds (if not thousands) of bottles. I never know what I’m buying, and I end up choosing an ‘expensive’ wine based on the label. I cross my fingers as I watch my friends take their first sips at dinner. It doesn't have to be that way.

My goals are simple:

  • Share the wonderful wines I’ve experienced in France with my friends at home (and their friends too).
  • Offer wines that are a great value for the price. There is no need to overpay for an excellent bottle of wine.
  • Offer wines from small French producers that are virtually impossible to find anywhere else.
  • Offer a small selection of excellent wines, not an overwhelming selection of various qualities.
  • Equip friends to serve wine with confidence.
  • Have fun.  And wine is fun - especially if it comes in a jeroboam bottle!

THE WINEMAKERS

I have met many of the men and women that own and operate the wineries that produce the wines we offer at David’s Wine Cellar. Several have even visited me in Austin!

They are passionate about their craft and their product. They live on their terroirs with their families, and you can visit them yourselves on your next trip to France. They will welcome you with open arms (and bottles too!).

    I hope to raise a glass with you in the future.  Santé!