With the growing number of restaurants, brewing beer scene, countless prix-fixe meals, and weekly festivals, I find myself stuck in the Dallas bubble. Once the weekend hits, I stick to the familiar streets I know and the comfort of my bed. But once I discovered the land of Grapevine and its vast wine trails, my weekend routine might be left for afternoons of adventure and discovery.
Grapevine offers a “trail” (as some of us would call a “crawl”) of wineries and one vineyard (Delaney) that allow for daily tastings and special events throughout the year. An array of strong and bold reds to crisp and clean whites, you can sip on local grapes over a plate of charcuterie and learn the history of the city. (And did you know that Texas is actually the fifth-largest wine-producing state in the U.S. with Grapevine serving as a leader in the Texas wine industry for more than 25 years?) At the end of summer season, thousands flock to the streets of Grapevine in celebration of music, tapas, family-friendly activities, and, most of all, grape crushing at the annual GrapeFest in September.
Last month, the city added Sloan & Williams Winery to its lengthy list of wine makers. Owners, Alan Kunst and Ralph Mattison, are both military veterans that found they could put their “Code of Conduct” to the test when it came to the wine industry. One bottle to note at this stop is the 2013 Serenity white wine (65% Chenin Blanc, 14% Gewürztraminer, 11% French Colombard, 5% Roussanne, and 5% Viognier) is crisp, fruity, medium-dry blend that isn’t too dry or bitter. On another note, the 2012 Serendipity red blend (30% Carignan, 30% Cinsault, 20% Tempranillo, 15% Mourvedre, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon) gives a rich spice of red fruit aromas that balance well with the boldness of the Carignan.
In addition to their wine menu, the winery offers an array of tapas from dips to breads. My one rule: You must have a flight of wine ice cream before you go. My favorite is the merlot.
However, the best way to discover the city is with a full glass and designated driver to steer you in the right direction. Grapevine Wine Tours shuttle guests from one tasting room to the next, while guides enlighten guzzlers on the history of wine-making through the North Texas region. Lunch and dinner tours are offered on most days, but itineraries rotate daily. More about Grapevine Wine Tours.
In Grapevine news: by the end of 2014, two more wineries are set to open.
Taking the holidays to the next level, the Christmas Wine Trains run each year from December 1 to 18 at 7 pm. Each guest receives a complimentary beverage in a special Christmas wine glass. Envision live holiday music, a festive train ride, wine, hors d’oeuvres, and even a special appearance by Saint Nick. Then come spring, enjoy the marriage of cool jazz and smooth wine aboard the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. March 21 and 22 ride along the Jazz Wine Trains in 1920s classic railroad cars. The trip includes a box dinner and wines from Grapevine’s wineries and tasting rooms. Tickets are $55 per person.
Besides the wine (said no one ever), Grapevine boasts more than 80 locally owned shops, boutiques, and art galleries with 200+ restaurants to choose from. Word on the street is that an Uber from Dallas to the downtown square runs for about $30. Split that between your group of friends and you’ll rejoice in one hell of a deal. I suggest making a day of it and getting to know the faces of some local artisans such as Dr. Sue’s Chocolates and Tolbert’s Restaurant, along your journey through the grapes of Grapevine.
GRAPEVINE WINE TRAILS