You may think fall is all about cider, tea, and hot chocolate, but we’ve got another beverage on our minds — wine! Fall signals the end of the grape growing season so it’s the perfect time to slip on those fuzzy socks, snuggle up under a cozy blanket, and sip that Chardonnay (or perhaps a Beaujolais Nouveau? 😉) or whatever your heart desires 🍷

To celebrate the harvest season, we teamed up with Wanderlust Wine Co. (*cough cough*, a member of our Business Arts Council and venue sponsor) for Beaujolais Nouveau Day, featuring live music by 8 1/2 Souvenirs, Julie Slim and RendezVous, and of course… wine!

Get a glimpse behind the proverbial curtain and get to know Wanderlust owner and sommelier Sammy Lam, what he loves about Austin, and why he thinks local music is essential 👇

This is Sammy 👆

Long Center: Something we just like to do for fun — what song should folks put onwhile they read this interview?

LC: We’d love for our audience to know more about you and how Wanderlust got started right here in Austin, TX. What’s your story?

SAMMY LAM: Crafting the World’s Largest Wine on Tap Winery!

In 2020, amidst a global challenge, I embarked on a venture that would redefine the world of wine and hospitality, giving birth to Wanderlust Wine Co. The vision was audacious: to create a haven where people could embark on a sensory adventure, exploring wines from all corners of the globe.

This dream didn’t just stop at wine; it expanded to embrace coffee, food, and community-centric events and activations. These partnerships added new dimensions to our offerings, weaving a tapestry of experiences and community while ensuring that wine remained at our core.

The years brought remarkable growth. Wanderlust Wine Co. now proudly stands with 3 current locations, all of which are continuously working toward enhancing our offerings and elevating the collective experience for our patrons. Our mission remains clear: to provide a space where diverse flavors converge, where conversations flow, and where every sip and bite tells a story.

Our dedication to excellence has not gone unnoticed. Wanderlust has been honored with prestigious awards, including the title of Best Winery, bestowed upon us by the Austin Chronicle in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, the wine-loving community embraced us with the People’s Choice Keggy Award by Free Flow Wines, a testament to the love and passion we pour into our craft as well as our mission toward sustainability in wine.

On a deeply personal note, I was humbled to be recognized as the Businessman of the Year by the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a recognition that goes beyond an individual achievement and speaks volumes about the collaborative spirit of the entire Wanderlust family.

This journey is a testament to the power of dreams, persistence, and the unwavering commitment to excellence. Wanderlust Wine Co. is not just a destination; it’s a celebration of flavors, a testament to diversity, and a reminder that every glass we raise is a toast to the extraordinary journey we’ve undertaken together. Here’s to the spirit of exploration, the joy of discovery, and the richness of every moment we share.

A patron pours wine from Wanderlust's signature wine taps at Beaujolais Nouveau Day, photo by Dusana Risovic.
LC: There’s a lot to love about the Austin community, but what about it brought you here and keeps Wanderlust here?

SAMMY LAM: The Austin community is more than just a location for Wanderlust Wine Co.; it’s an integral part of our story and identity. What brought us here and keeps us rooted in this vibrant city is a beautiful blend of factors.

First and foremost, Austin’s open-hearted embrace of innovation and entrepreneurship is what drew us in. It’s a city that champions dreamers and risk-takers, and that resonated with our vision of creating something truly unique in the world of wine. Austin’s spirit aligns perfectly with our own journey, where we turned a dream into reality during a time of global challenge.

The sense of community in Austin is also a driving force. We’ve been welcomed with open arms, and it’s this warm reception that keeps us deeply connected. The diverse and inclusive nature of the Austin community mirrors our values at Wanderlust. We believe that wine is for everyone, and in Austin, we’ve found a community that celebrates this inclusive ethos.

Austin’s thriving food and beverage scene, including its vibrant coffee culture and food truck delights, has allowed us to expand our offerings and provide a richer experience to our patrons. The collaborative spirit of the city’s culinary artisans and partners has added an exciting layer to our journey.

Moreover, the recognition and accolades we’ve received from Austin, such as being named the Best Winery by the Austin Chronicle, have been truly heartening. It reflects the appreciation and love we’ve received from this community.

In Austin, we’ve not just found a place to do business; we’ve found a home. The eclectic energy, the warmth of its people, and the spirit of continuous reinvention are the forces that keep Wanderlust firmly rooted here. Our commitment to excellence and the joy of sharing flavors are amplified in this incredible city. So, in many ways, we believe that we didn’t just choose Austin; Austin chose us, and it’s a choice we cherish every day.

A group of friends toast to Beaujolais Nouveau Day at Wanderlust's East Austin location, photo by Dusana Risovic.
LC: We teamed up on an event to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau Day. Can you tell all of us what the day commemorates and why we celebrated?

SAMMY LAM:  Beaujolais Nouveau Day is a delightful holiday that commemorates the release of the first wine of the season from the Beaujolais region in France. It falls on the third Thursday of November every year, and its significance lies in the celebration of new beginnings, the joy of the harvest, and the anticipation of something fresh and exciting.

This day holds a special place in the hearts of wine lovers around the world, including us at Wanderlust Wine Co. It symbolizes the art of winemaking, the journey of the grape from the vine to the glass, and the moment when we can savor the fruits of the harvest. For us, it’s an extension of our commitment to sharing the world of wine with our community, be it the classics or the novelties.

We celebrated Beaujolais Nouveau Day as an ode to the tradition of winemaking and the sheer pleasure of indulging in a wine that’s just been born. It’s a reminder that every glass we raise is a toast to the beauty of exploration, the joy of discovery, and the richness of the journey. Just as we embrace innovation and diversity in the world of wine, we celebrate the traditions that make wine an integral part of our lives.

This celebration was not just about a single day; it was a reflection of our ongoing journey at Wanderlust Wine Co. A journey marked by dreams turned into reality, deep connections with the Austin community, and the commitment to excellence in every sip. Beaujolais Nouveau Day resonates with the essence of what we stand for: embracing new beginnings and cherishing the timeless traditions in the world of wine.

Long Center Members and friends enjoy Thanksgiving-themed charcuterie provided by H-E-B Catering before kicking off the Beaujolais Nouveau Day celebrations. Photo by Dusana Risovic.
LC: What made you want to partner with the Long Center on this event?

SAMMY LAM: Our partnership with the Long Center for this event is deeply rooted in our shared appreciation for the arts and the belief that great performances and exceptional experiences deserve to be celebrated. The Long Center, as a hub for the performing arts, has a rich history of hosting incredible events and performances throughout the year, and we are deeply humbled by the opportunity to co-host and celebrate the arts, be it in the form of music or the artistry of winemaking.

The Long Center’s commitment to creating a space where the arts can flourish aligns perfectly with our own mission at Wanderlust Wine Co. Just as we curate experiences that blend the magic of music and wine, the Long Center fosters an environment where creativity, talent, and the joy of art take center stage.

Beaujolais Nouveau Day, with its celebration of new beginnings and fresh wine, was a perfect occasion for this collaboration. It was a moment to revel in the arts, savor the flavors, and create memories that resonate with the heart. Our shared dedication to offering unique, exceptional experiences makes this partnership a natural fit.

Together with the Long Center, we had the privilege of bringing together the worlds of music and wine, bridging the gap between art and indulgence. We were excited to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau Day with an event that not only pays homage to a remarkable wine tradition but also adds an artistic layer to the festivities.

In essence, our partnership with the Long Center is a celebration of the arts, a toast to creativity, and a harmonious blend of culture and flavor. It’s a reminder that art, whether in the form of music or wine, has the power to unite, inspire, and create moments of pure joy. This collaboration was our way of raising a glass to the magic of art and the beauty of shared experiences.

Oliver Steck, accordion player, roams the crowd during set breaks at Beaujolais Nouveau Day, with French-themed music from 8 1/2 Souvenirs and Julie Slim & RendezVous.
LC: Why is it important for you and the Wanderlust team to make a space for local music?

SAMMY LAM: At Wanderlust Wine Co., the fusion of music and wine is not just a concept; it’s a deeply ingrained part of our identity. We have consistently made space for local music because we believe that these two art forms, when paired together, create something truly extraordinary.

Music has an innate ability to touch the soul, to evoke emotions, and to bring people together. It’s a universal language that transcends boundaries and connects individuals on a profound level. In many ways, it’s similar to wine, which carries its own stories and emotions within every glass.

Our commitment to local music reflects our dedication to creating an all-encompassing experience for our patrons. When they step into Wanderlust, we want them to not only savor our wines but also immerse themselves in the magic of live music. Whether it’s Winechella, our signature event, or the days when we had live music seven days a week, it’s about curating moments that linger in the heart and memory.

Local music, in particular, holds a special place in our hearts. It’s a celebration of the talent that surrounds us, a tribute to the Austin community that has embraced us with open arms. By providing a stage for local musicians, we aim to amplify their voices and contribute to the cultural tapestry of this remarkable city.

Music and wine share a unique synergy, enhancing each other’s flavors and melodies. Just as different wines evoke different moods and sensations, music sets the tone for an evening of togetherness, celebration, and joy. We believe in the power of this combination to create unforgettable experiences and lasting connections.

In essence, making space for local music at Wanderlust Wine Co. is not just about filling a physical space; it’s about enriching the space in people’s hearts. It’s about fostering a sense of community, of shared moments, and of appreciation for the arts. It’s our way of saying that, like the perfect wine pairing, the blend of music and wine is a harmonious symphony that elevates life’s moments to something truly extraordinary.

Wanderlust Wine Co. founder Sammy Lam addresses the crowd at Beaujolais Nouveau Day, photo by Dusana Risovic.
LC: Any other future events or projects in the works at Wanderlust that you can tease?

SAMMY LAM: At Wanderlust Wine Co., the journey never stops, and we’re excited to offer you a tantalizing preview of what’s in store for the coming months.

First up, we have something special in the works for early 2024. We’ll be introducing retail packaging, allowing you to take a piece of Wanderlust with you wherever you go. This means you can enjoy the flavors and memories of our unique wine experiences from the comfort of your own home. We can’t wait to share this new way to savor the essence of Wanderlust with you.

But that’s not all. We’re also expanding our beloved speakeasy wine cave tasting experiences. Prepare to be delighted by new menus, including the exquisite pairing of champagne and caviar. These experiences are designed to elevate your wine journey, offering a touch of sophistication and luxury.

Behind the scenes, we’re growing and solidifying our Wanderlust family, including our team of talented sommeliers. With their expertise and passion, we aim to provide you with the highest level of service and knowledge in the world of wine.

And last but not least, we’re enhancing each of our venues to offer so much more for your day-to-day events and activations. Whether it’s an intimate gathering, a celebration, or a moment of relaxation, our spaces are evolving to make every visit a truly memorable one.

And there’s one more exciting announcement. We’re hard at work planning a food and wine festival scheduled for May 2024 at the prestigious Long Center. This event is a celebration of National Wine Day on May 25, and we can’t wait to share this extraordinary experience with you. It’s an opportunity to savor the finest wines, indulge in gourmet delights, and create unforgettable memories.

The future of Wanderlust Wine Co. is brimming with exciting developments, all centered around our commitment to providing you with exceptional wine experiences. We can’t wait to embark on these new adventures with you and continue creating unforgettable moments together. Stay tuned for more details as we journey forward. Cheers to the exciting times ahead!

Wine lovers end Beaujolais Nouveau Day with some celebratory dancing, photo by Dusana Risovic.


If this looks like a lot of fun… it was! Long Center Members and our Business Arts Council enjoyed early Member Hours and more at this event. Consider joining the Long Center as an individual or as a corporate partner for ticket presales, Member Nights, and so many more perks all year-round at the Long Center.  Here’s one last shout out and thank you to our venue sponsors, like Sammy and Wanderlust Wine Co. — cheers! 🥂


At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice, and we’ll see you real soon.

It’s the season for gathering with friends, family, and everyone in between, so we looked to our friend Edgar Yepez-García for some tips! Artistic Director for Ballet Folklórico de Austin, read on to find out how he builds community through good food, shared heritage, tradition, and of course — the arts.

Edgar poses in a cowboy hat, pointing at his shirt that says "Guelaguetza Austin 2017"
My name is Edgar Yepez-García, and I am the Artistic Director of the Ballet Folklórico de Austin.
I am a native of San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, and studied computer engineering at the Technical Institute of Oaxaca before moving to Austin, Texas, in 2007.

I started my dance career at the age of six when I had the opportunity to perform in elementary school. I fell in love with the lights, stage, and music of the theater, and most of all, the energy and enthusiasm of the audience. As a young adult, I auditioned for the Ballet Folklorico Tochtepetl — the premiere dance company in my hometown and surrounding areas. As a member of Tochtepetl, I was fortunate enough to travel throughout Mexico, North and Central America, sharing traditional Oaxacan dances with the world.

After moveing to Austin, I took on various roles such as hosting a radio show with Encino Broadcasting and Marketing, Social Media Director for local eatery Mour Cafe, and opened the food truck Los Danzantes ATX, which has beeen recognized by both Texas Monthly and Austin Eater as one of the best new food trucks in Texas. As I continued to get situated in this city, my love for Mexican Folklore and the performing arts was unwavering, and it was then I decided to establish the Ballet Folklórico de Austin in 2014.

Ballet Folklórico de Austin

Ballet Folklórico de Austin (BF Austin) is always looking for ways to use Mexican folk dance to bring together spanish-speaking families in a space where all people can feel at home, and feel a little closer to their roots. Guelaguetza Austin is the stellar project that I created with the aim of showing the cultural richness of my native Oaxaca. Over time, the Oaxaca Guelaguetza in Austin has become a meeting point for Mexicans from all over the country, with a large presence by our fellow Texan neighbors from Houston, Dallas, and other nearby regions.

The Guelaguetza Austin aims to reflect and honor the tradition and authenticity that is expected of the Oaxacan Guelaguetza. All costumes and props are sourced directly from artisans in Oaxaca to ensure that no detail is overlooked, and the richness of the culture is preserved.

Perhaps the most important factor to maintain is the language in which these stories are told on stage. Mexican folklore has been and will forever be passed down in Spanish. As we share our gift of the Guelaguetza on stages outside of Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries, it is of vital importance that native languages of Oaxaca be honored. For this, I have received several accolades for my artistic work in the city, including the “Award of Excellence” from the Mexican American Cultural Center and “Guelaguetza Day Proclamation” by former Mayor of Austin, Steve Adler.

Photo courtesy of Ballet Folklórico de Austin

My unending commitment to the preservation of traditional Oaxacan dance and customs is matched only by my desire for a unified and supportive dance company. I emphasize to all of my dancers the importance of acceptance, respect, and humility. I foster a sense of community through collaboration, not competition, and find a way to challenge and grow my company through constructive means. I work to gracefully balance an unconditional acceptance for all company members, regardless of experience, age, or appearance, while also holding them to the high standards one expects of a professional performing arts company.

While the crown jewel of BF Austin remains the annual Guelaguetza, I find ways to celebrate all of Mexico, preserving the traditional dances of various regions. I build strong rapport with directors from different states of Mexico and bring in master dance educators to teach workshops where the traditional dances of their home states can be passed down and preserved.

BF Austin is comprised of dancers from all over Mexico, as well as some born and raised in the US. When in my studio, my dancers come together to share everything from cultural dances to regional dishes, and we proudly provide a way for many local Mexican Americans and other members of the Hispanic community to connect with their heritage. As Austin continues to grow and change rapidly, it is important to preserve a part of the community that gives Austin its charm — the artists.

Photo courtesy of Ballet Folklórico de Austin

We are always looking for new adventures and goals for our artist group! Our bigger desire is to become Guelaguetza Austin, one of the most popular Mexican attractions in Austin and perform annually at the Long Center. We are working with other cities around the nation to bring our performance to other regions, and begin touring around the US in 2024. In the meantime, we invite everyone to our annual winter repertoire where we will be showcasing two new regions added to our portfolio, Tabasco and Nayarit.

This year, we had the marvelous opportunity to perform for the first time in Dell Hall at the Long Center, which meant the world to us because we brought our dancers and our community to have the experience of a lifetime. In September, our kids and youth groups from our dance school also had the opportunity to perform at Long Center’s first-ever Community Day. What a privilege!

Ballet Folklórico de Austin performing at Community Day at the Long Center. Photo by Brynn Osborn.

Agradezco con profundo respeto a los maestros pioneros de danza folclórica mexicana en Austin, Rodolfo “Rudy” Méndez & Roy Lozano por abrir una brecha para nuestra generación de nuevos soñadores, por ellos, por nuestros niños y jóvenes:

Que viva la danza folklórica mexicana en Austin!

Con respeto y agradecimiento,
Edgar Yepez-García


One of the most important things we do at the Long Center is make space as accessible as we can to the wide variety of organizations that make Austin what it is. This year, we’ve given over $315,000 in rental discounts to performing and artistic orgs like Ballet Folklórico de Austin. Take a look at all the other stuff we’ve been able to accomplish this year with the help of our ticket buyers, donors, Members, and you!


At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice, and we’ll see you real soon.

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, a camera’s gotta be the window to the arts… right? Enter: Brynn Osborn, LC fave and freelance photographer extraordinaire. In this Mid-Week Intermission, get to know Brynn, flip through some of their favorite shots, catch a glimpse of the Long Center through their lens (hehe) 📸


My name is Brynn and I’m a freelance photographer with a primary focus on live music and events.

I grew up in Corpus documenting life and people around me but I started taking it more seriously when I earned my BFA in photography from Texas State. I moved to Austin five years ago and my career has transformed into something I’m truly proud of, especially the way this community has embraced me. I feel really fortunate to work with local musicians and places like the Long Center to capture the essence of some incredibly fun events.


This lawn has always been my ideal spot to see the city, especially when it’s Drop-In season and all of the cutest pups in town come by. This event is my favorite to shoot because it brings together happy people, summertime, and free live music– all at the prettiest time of the day.


Wild Child warms up in a dressing room, photo by Brynn Osborn

In 2021, Kelsey Wilson and I met and she invited me to the studio to document what would become Wild Child’s latest record. A few days later they played The Drop-In and it was my first time attending and shooting here. This was also one of the first times I ever shot directly for a band and I remember sitting in this dressing room trying to play it cool with my new friends (but on the inside was a bundle of nerves).


A family poses for Community Day

Community Day was a blast! I’m impressed with how many events and activations they managed to coordinate throughout the day. The more time I spend here the more I understand why families value having this space to come and experience art together.


Adrian Quesada performs at the Long Center for their 15th anniversary celebration

I had a great time celebrating the Long Center’s 15th birthday with this Adrian Quesada show recently. I’m surprised it took me this long to see him perform, but Dell Hall was a perfect place for it because the crowds are such great listeners in this room.


Zac Catanzaro of the Song Confessional Team models how to use the booth

I’m a listener and friend of the Song Confessional podcast, so I was thrilled to learn that this booth was being installed in the lobby. Anyone can leave an anonymous voice message or “confession” that could be handed off to a musician to write an entire song about! The confession, song, and interview with the artist all wrap up into podcast episodes and are very entertaining, as you can imagine.


Urban Heat performs to a hyped up crowd on the 3d-printed pavilion stage.

This Urban Heat show on the world’s first 3D-printed stage was truly something else. I already knew the new stage would be beautiful to photograph, but pairing that with an electric performance and a fantastic crowd made for some exciting shots.


Brynn Osborn poses for a self portrait

I love calling Austin home and I’m thankful to the folks at the Long Center for continuing to support local photographers like me. When I’m not traveling with artists I’m running around town covering live shows, events, and whatever else excites me. As this Mid-Week Intermission goes out I will actually be on tour across the country with a local Austinite you may have heard of… Shakey Graves. If you’d like to see more of my work (or get in touch!) you can follow along on Instagram or my website.


At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice, and we’ll see you real soon.

Every artist has a story, and this year at the Long Center we’ve worked hard to put those voices front and center. We recognize the artist in everyone, so we’ve compiled some of our favorite stories from 2023 — from secret confessions to coming-of-age, and even stories that seem out of this world. All of them are 100% Austin. 

As an arts non-profit in the heart of downtown, we know that creativity is vital! If you feel the same (and we think you probably do), consider making your year-end gift to the Long Center today, so we can all support Austin’s creatives & creativity together.

Dive into these stories from around our community that describe why creativity is at the center of our mission.
photo by Brynn Osborn

This is the premise of the Song Confessional Podcast, a collaboration between KUTX Studios and musicians Walker Lukens & Zac Catanzaro. Long story short, they collect stories (confessions, if you will), and then pair those stories with a local artist who creates a song out of it. Then everything gets revealed in an episode.

Big hits like Croy & The Boys’  “Don’t Let Me Die in Waco” have emerged from this creative process. You can check out the booth and give your own confession in our Rollins Lobby when you’re at the Long Center next.

Lanston Lee, DLC Photography / The Jimmy Awards

In this coming-of-age story we followed Langston Lee, a Rouse High School alumnus. In his senior year, he captivated the Heller Awards for Young Artists — Long Center’s program and Tony Awards-style ceremony celebrating musical theatre in area high schools — and took home an award for Best Lead Performer. Next, he catapulted to Nationals and took home Best Performance by an Actor at The Jimmys in New York City. Incredible!

While not every student who particpates in the Heller Awards aspires to be on Broadway, the creativity on show every year never ceases to amaze us. Keep an ear to the ground for more about this free program soon.

The Drop-In, photo by Sophia Lawson

Created by Austin-based company ICON Build as a gift to the city, this stage is layer upon layer of 3d-printed concrete, framed by our iconic skyline view. This story comes to you from Brooke Baugess, an ICON VP, and includes ins and outs about its construction, ICON’s vision for the future, and the creativity it took to bring this project to fruition.

Now we can firmly say that we feel as though we’re in the future, and anyone performing on our lawn is experiencing an out-of-this-world performance space as creative as they are. Have you experienced it yet?

photo courtesy of Flora & Fawna

We love this story from local band Flora & Fawna because it proves how young local musicians continue to innovate in Austin. 

A highlight of The Drop-In’s lineup this year was duo Lili Hickman and Mason Ables, two native Austinites who chose to rejuvenate an a-typical genre for the Austin scene — pop. In a town where indie music with a bluegrass edge tends to rule the roost, Flora & Fawna are looking at how new crowds and a more diverse music scene can keep Austin’s creatives moving at the speed of sound.

photo by Brynn Osborn

If you attended The Drop-In this year, chances are a blond, long-haired beauty caught your eye — we’re talking about Tater, the mini dachshund of Austinite Jo!

Jo & Tater are proud Long Center Members who see their support of our non-profit as a direct line to everything they love about this city — its creativity, thriving arts scene, and the community it brings with it. Plus, you never know who or what you might discover at The Drop-In

photo courtesy of Adrian Landon Brooks

As the Long Center is expanding what it means to be a performing arts center in Austin, we’re actively working to showcase and support more types of creativity over and above what happens on our stages.

For a walk on the visual arts side, this story comes from local muralist & painter Adrian Landon Brooks. We collaborated with him on a Long Center tote to celebrate our 15th Anniversary, our commitment to local artists of every kind and, of course, the power of creativity. ⚡

There you have it — this is what we mean when we say that creatvitiy is vital.

For all the other ways we’ve supported Austin creatives this year, check out our 2023 Wrap-Up Report. With a donation today, you’re helping the Long Center expand and strengthen creative connections across all of Austin, next year and beyond! 


At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice, and we’ll see you real soon.

Year-End Gift 2023 | Long Center
Your Support Today, Transforms Tomorrow

We’ve made it our mission to support creativity in all its forms, and we hope this season you’ll join us and do the same. Your donation doesn’t just support our work, it’s a declaration that creativity belongs to everyone


Become a LC member today and and get first dibs on RSVP before the public, early entrance into the venue for you and your guests, members-only bars, and other surprises!

Amplify Austin is here – and we need your help to provide free arts experiences for K-12 students through our Long Reach for the Arts program.  Because the kids need art!