February 23, 2017

A New Vintage For A Vernacular Building At Trilogy Cellars

photo by: Steve Newsom

Trilogy Cellars bought this circa-1926 building on the city's town square in 2015.

Trilogy Cellars opened its tasting room in a circa-1926 building on the town square of Levelland, Texas, in November of 2016. The structure has been standing since the town’s inception, but even in this small community, its original purpose has been lost to the ages.

“We’ve been in the courthouse, and it [only] goes back so far,” says Steve Newsom, who co-owns the local winemaking business with friends Chace Hill and Rowdy Bolen, of the county's records on the building. “But one of the things that we really tried to stick with was some of the original integrity of the building.”

Newsom, Hill, and Bolen all have deep agricultural roots in Levelland, in Texas’s Hockley County, and they purchased the building on the square from Hill’s grandmother in 2015 to house the public face of Trilogy Cellars.

Before buying the building, Newsom and his partners were able to look beyond details like drop-down ceilings and plastered-over brick walls to the bones of the structure, and they liked what they saw. Newsom gushes about the original tin ceiling tiles, which they were able to expose and re-paint as part of the restoration, and the original concrete floors that had been covered over by carpet.

“What you see is very much what was built in ’26,” he says of the building post-restoration. “It’s really challenging to preserve the historical qualities of some of these older buildings, when you’re doing a remodel, without damaging it. We had to really be gentle, and we put a lot of pressure on the contractors not to do damage in the process of doing their jobs.”

The result is a warm and inviting space lit by Edison bulbs, the perfect spot to sample wines like Trilogy Cellars’ Malbec, which won a “Best in Class” award at the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, or the Reserve Merlot, winner of a Silver Medal at the 2016 Texas International Wine Competition.

photo by: Steve Newsom

Newsom, Hill, and Bolen’s families have all farmed cotton in the region for generations, and more recently, the three of them have used their respective family farms to grow a selection of grapes, which they then sold to wineries all over Texas. A few years ago, they decided that they wanted a way to share their premium Texas High Plains grapes with the local community, and Trilogy Cellars was born.

The construction process took about 10 months from start to finish, and the refurbished building was ready to open its doors to the public in November of 2016. Although the majority of their winemaking operations are currently off-site, Newsom, Hill, and Bolen hope to eventually secure more space downtown, allowing them to move their production facilities closer to the tasting room.

“The building had an incredible sentimental significance to us,” Newsom says. “We did not have the mentality of, ‘Let’s go in and modernize.’ We really appreciated not only the history of that building, but the history of Levelland. It’s very, very important to us.”

If you ever find yourself in the Texas High Plains, here are a few things to know before you stop by Trilogy Cellars:

Location: 618 Ave. H, Levelland, TX

Hours: Monday-Wednesday 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m.-6 p.m.

You're having: The sweet, fruity Texas Gewürztraminer, or Relentless, a red blend.

Katherine Flynn is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores, and uncovering the stories behind historic places.

@kateallthetime

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