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Pat Brennan -- Personal Memories

Updated: Nov 8, 2021

Andrew Chalk

Photo: Brennan Vineyards
Photo: Brennan Vineyards

Pat Brennan, founder and owner of Brennan Vineyards, Comanche, TX. What a pleasure, and an honor, it was to know him as a Texas wine personality.

Focused on the big picture. He realised that winemaking in Texas was all about Texas grapes and wines made in Texas before those two things became table stakes in this business.

Humble. Despite formidable medical qualifications he never suffered from “Doctor’s Head-Size Problem”. He would always make his point to you like the most patient pedagogue, calmly explaining where he was coming from and being open about how confident he could be about each point he made.

Respectful of his fellow man. He would put his point of view to you as though you had the intelligence and open-mindedness to evaluate it for yourself. If you put a point to him he would consider it and ponder whether it altered his conclusions.

Judgement. Look at the people he chose to work for him at Brennan Vineyards. Among lots of great people one appointment that stands out - Todd Webster as winemaker. He is one of the best in the state but also quiet, and modest, doing his talking through the prize-winning and heart-winning bottles of wine he produces. Pat as a boss can be gauged by Todd’s long tenure. Fourteen years (and counting…).

Another judgement issue. When I campaigned in 2013 for wines carrying the ‘Go Texan’ signage to be 100% Texas grapes he predicted early on to me that the result would be 75%, not 100% (or the then unspecified level that could be zero), as that coincided with Federal audits. He was right.

He liked people. It’s an obvious point but he really did look at everybody else as a fascinating source of their own experience of life that could enrich his. He was an informed and animated conversationalist.

There was nobody else quite like him. Condolences to his family. He is a titanic loss to the Texas wine industry.



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