Grapevine, Texas is well on its way to achieving critical mass with its Urban Wine Trail, and my husband and I recently got to experience yet another appealing example in the warm, inviting atmosphere of the Umbra Winery tasting room.
We were doing a little holiday shopping and visiting a couple of our other favorite wineries along Main Street when we looked into the window of Umbra and liked what we saw. So, while I wasn’t expecting to do a write-up on Umbra, we were drawn through its doors and immediately greeted by the owner, John Wilson. That’s the best kind of review to get to write—the one where you find it irresistible!
We were fortunate that both John and his wife Debbie Wilson were there, and they had just a little time to talk with us, since it was about 3:30 pm and things weren’t too hectic. What drew us in was the sleek yet comfortable décor with its stunning uplit bar, glowing with hits of amber and brown. Debbie explained that the bar was constructed by Luminexa, with the idea of adding a warm ray of “sun” to the room.
Umbra is actually the recent reincarnation of CrossRoads Winery, which John and Debbie acquired back in January of this year. They moved the tasting room from Frisco to Grapevine (to take advantage of the aforementioned “critical mass”), and their production facility is located in Little Elm. They had just officially opened their doors 15 days ago when we visited them.
The Euro-urban “Enoteca” theme is carried throughout the bar, with comfortable open seating as well as bar space. Debbie spent many years traveling in Europe and even lived in Puglia, Italy for a time, and she studied cooking in Tuscany. The food is simple and fresh in keeping with the owners’ vision of attractive plating and wine pairing, and it consists of mainly small plates with a Mediterranean theme: Burrata cheese, meatballs marinara, hummus, antipasto, and so on.
John Otis is the wine maker for Umbra, and they have some wines that are made from all-Texas grapes grown in Bingham Family and Oswald vineyards, and others that are made from a blend of California, Washington, and Texas grapes; the menu clearly lays out the grape origins. Wines range from dry reds to seasonal dessert wines, and you can enjoy wines by the glass or by the bottle as well as wine flights of three 2-ounce pours. If you have a non-drinking companion in tow, they also have sodas available, and while they don’t have a full-fledged retail shop per se, they do have wine accessories, chocolates, and a few other gift-type items for sale.
The name Umbra actually refers to the dark shadow cast by the earth, moon, or other body during an eclipse, and the Umbra logo represents the meeting of two heavenly bodies as well as the blend of art and science that is wine making. We really enjoyed the relaxing environment of Umbra, which was like a relaxing oasis in the midst of all the holiday hustle-bustle.
The Umbra Winery tasting room is located at 415 S. Main in Grapevine and is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 am to 9 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 11 pm.
Some images courtesy of Umbra Winery