Ron Weiss has been a restaurateur in Austin since 1975. He is a founding partner of Jeffrey’s Restaurant and Cipollina West Austin Bistro, and has been the operating partner of both. He is also the operating partner of O’s Campus Café (currently with ten locations) on the University of Texas at Austin campus, jointly owned with his wife Peggy. Jeffrey’s was inducted into the Fine Dining Hall of Fame by Nations Restaurant News and received the Distinguished Restaurants of North America award. Peggy and Ron were named to Who’s Who in Food and Wine in Texas by Texas Monthly and the Texas Department of Agriculture. In 2000, Ron collaborated with David Garrido to establish a branch of Jeffrey’s at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.
A native Texan, Ron grew up in Galveston. He attended the University of Texas at Austin, earning an undergraduate degree in Biology, Chemistry & Physics. He then received a Master’s Degree in Communication and went on to do further post-graduate work in the American Studies department.
In recent years, Ron has served as Chair of the Texas Book Festival and on the advisory board of Explore Austin, an organization that mentors and provides outdoor adventures for underserved teenage youth. He also served on the University of Texas Libraries Advisory Council. Ron lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, children and grandchildren. Over the past ten years, Ron has been an avid rower, competing in local, regional and national regattas.
1. How did you get into wine?
My wife Peggy and I lived in London for a couple of years, where I developed a passion for French, Italian and Spanish wines. Later, as owner/wine buyer at Jeffrey’s Restaurant, I began to appreciate American and other new world wines. Most recently, I have begun to explore and enjoy Texas wines.
2. What is your favorite part of being on the TWJ judges panel?
What I enjoy most about being on the TWJ panel is having the opportunity to taste so many current releases of Texas wines—an opportunity that I would never experience otherwise. As a result, I have developed a new-found respect for the work of several Texas producers.
3. People in the wine industry often have side or “pet” projects or interests they are developing and/or working on. Do you, if so could you tell us more about the project(s)?
My main interest outside of the restaurant/wine business is rowing. I am part of a local competitive rowing team that places well in local, regional and national competition.
4. If there was one thing you wanted someone to know about Texas wine, what would it be?
When I talk with people about Texas wines, I encourage them to try current releases produced with varietals best suited for our Texas climate, such as Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Syrah, Vermentino.
5. Who inspires you?
I’ve had many mentors over the years, but my current inspiration comes from young people, in general, and specifically from our two adult children and two grandsons.
6. What is the last Texas wine you drank that you thought was worth telling someone about?
Spicewood Rose’ and Becker Cabernet Reserve
7. What’s your favorite wine pairing?
I enjoy Sangiovese and Tempranillo with Lamb Chops.