The Dallas Farmers Market is becoming a hub for Texas wine tasting. Each weekend, Berkshire Farms Winery, Red Road Vineyard & Winery, and Eden Hill Winery expose visitors to Texas wine and send them home with bottles from their booths inside The Shed. Eden Hill has also opened a second Farmers Market location just steps away at The Lofts Wine and Tasting Room. This location offers extended evening hours, frequent live music, and a place to enjoy wines by the glass or flight. Since Texas Wine Lover’s last visit, the patio furniture has been replaced with large red umbrellas, making the tasting room easier to find.
For the second year in a row, Dallas Farmers Market (DFM) has held a Texas Wine Tasting in the month of February. This year, Cross Timbers Wine Trail partnered with DFM and had six member wineries participate: 4R Ranch Vineyards and Winery, Lost Oak Winery, Bull Lion Ranch & Vineyard, Bluff Dale Vineyards, Lucky Vines Vineyard & Winery, and Silver Spur Winery.
These wineries are part of a geographic network of wineries that stretch from Muenster, through Fort Worth, and then to the area around Hico. The three regular DFM wineries also had booths at the Texas Wine Tasting. Reddy Vineyards from the Texas High Plains joined as well, bringing the total number of participating wineries to ten.
Saturdays are generally buzzing at Dallas Farmers Market, and this one was no exception. The weather was sunny and crisp, and the sellout crowd streamed downtown with dogs, strollers, and empty bags. Event organizers were not as lucky last year when frigid conditions made crowds slightly less enthusiastic.
The Shed is an open sided building where farmers and other vendors display homegrown and produced goods year-round. Since February isn’t the most fruitful time of the year for abundant produce, there was ample space for the Texas wine tasting to occupy the back half of the large space. Texas flags hung from the rafters. The back part of The Shed held a large stage, and soon DFM-regular vocalist/guitarist Luqman Rashada and a saxophone player arrived. The music was a fantastic addition, adding a nice energy.
After checking in and receiving a wristband, a souvenir stemless wine glass, and a tasting ticket, I set off to find some wine. At each of the ten booths, one or two winery representatives poured from a small selection of wines. Most wineries brought two white wines and two reds. The tasting ticket allowed two tastes at each booth, and the card was marked after each taste. Although lines were long, the mood was merry as people chatted and waited for their measured pours. Winery representatives were also able to sell bottles to take home.
Each winery had provided a nice gift basket to be included in a silent auction. Baskets included everything from wine and glassware to gift certificates to hotels near the winery. Lucky winners needed to be present to win. There was also information to pick up about wine clubs.
It was a great day for Texas wine except for one smelly neighbor. A raclette sandwich pop-up operation by the esteemed Dallas Farmers Market cheese shop Scardello Artisan Cheese was scheduled for the same space as the wine tasting. In an article for the Dallas Morning News, Nick Rallo describes the trendy melted cheese this way, “It’s a cheese that demands attention. The aroma that rides the wind has notes of baseball player armpit and that-sock-that-didn’t-get-washed-right.” That sums it up perfectly. The funky cheese tang wafted into even the furthest reaches of The Shed, and it overwhelmed the aromas in the wine. Next time let’s hold the stinky cheese event on a different day. Fine Texas wine deserves to be enjoyed with all five senses!