Triple N Ranch Winery will swing open its gates for the first time this weekend. The winery, located on the southwestern edge of the Cedar Creek Lake reservoir in Trinidad, is a new pursuit for Dallas residents Michelle (aka Nan Michelle) Anderson and her husband Dr. Richard Anderson. They want the winery to be a gathering place where their extended family and the East Texas community can celebrate great Texas wine and food.
The N’s in the Triple N Ranch Winery name refer to three generations of Texas women: Nan, Nan Michelle, and Nan Christina. The women are 7th, 8th, and 9th generation Texans respectively. Nan Creel is the family matriarch and grew up in Fredericksburg. She and her husband Ed raised award-winning longhorn cattle on the 140-acre Triple N Ranch starting in the 1980s. They still live at the ranch and enjoy the 2,000-bottle wine cellar that has been curated over the years.
Triple N Ranch Winery sits on a 12-acre section of the ranch that has been leased for the winery. A new entrance leads the way to a two-story tasting structure that was previously a hay barn. The barn has been meticulously transformed into an upscale yet comfortable space. An upstairs tasting room will serve as a wine club members’ lounge. Plenty of windows allow for great views of the sprawling property. A new fountain, a pond, and extensive landscaping complete the look. Outside tastings are conducted on a patio where horse stalls once stood. If you’re lucky, your table may offer a view of a corral that holds Sonny, the friendly bull that loves to have his head rubbed. A variety of lawn games are available too.
Michelle, husband Richard, and their son Richard II have all been taking Viticulture & Enology classes at Grayson College in anticipation of the winery opening. Richard, a Dallas surgeon, has been instrumental in the renovations and operational details. Son Richard II is involved in the business as an advisor. He fell in love with wine while studying in Italy and is responsible for introducing many of the Italian varieties to the lineup.
“About a year ago this spring, we were brainstorming plans for the ranch. We want to keep the property in the family and have it be a place the whole family can always come back to, even to stay and live on the property. It’s a great hobby to have longhorns on the property, but what could we do to make it more productive? We had just come back from Buffalo Gap’s Wine and Food Festival. We’re good friends with Dr. (Richard) Becker and the Perinis (Perini Ranch Steakhouse) and had been to Rancho Loma on that trip as well,” Michelle says of her inspirational journey.
“We have so many opportunities on this ranch. I have lots of nieces and nephews. Maybe one could be the next Tom Perini or the next Justin Fourton from Pecan Lodge or build the little casitas like they have at Rancho Loma. Let’s just make this a really fun family experience. And we have. That was the vision that hit me in April 2019. Classes at Grayson started in the fall. We started work on the barn in January, and now we’re opening this weekend.”
Michelle grew up with an appreciation for wine and has enjoyed watching the Texas wine industry grow during frequent trips to visit family and friends in the Hill Country. She credits Dr. Richard Becker as one of the mentors who has helped inspire and guide the Triple N Ranch Winery. Michelle spent time at his namesake winery just last weekend learning the ins and outs of operating a winery and wine club. Dean Dickschat of BarnHill Vineyards has also provided valuable advice. Michelle anticipates hosting frequent outdoor concerts like the ones at BarnHill (Anna, Texas).
The winery’s initial offerings showcase Texas-grown fruit, plus a sparkling wine and a sweet wine from California. They include 11 wines that were made at Sages Vintage with Michael McClendon. Michelle is also excited about a rosé crafted with John Rivenburgh. Other highlights from the wine list include a 2019 Viognier from Reddy Vineyards, a 2018 Lost Draw Vineyards – La Pradera Vineyards Tannat, and a 2018 Narra Vineyards Sangiovese. The winery has currently an inventory of over 1,000 cases and anticipates growing at least 50% yearly. Over time, Michelle expects to utilize all Texas-grown fruit.
In the spring, the Andersons will be planting an acre of grapevines. They’ve been working with UC Davis to identify which grape varieties to plant and have landed on Camminare Noir and Paseante Noir, two of UC Davis’ new Pierce disease resistant hybrids. The Triple N Ranch Winery wine club members will be given an opportunity to sponsor a block to tend in this initial wine club vineyard.
Located just over an hour from Dallas, the Cedar Creek Lake area is popular with weekend travelers. That’s why the winery will focus its tastings and events on the weekends. It will hold tastings on Saturdays and Sundays and will host evening events on many Friday and Saturday nights. The tasting room has a full catering kitchen, so Michelle anticipates holding chef’s dinners, weekend brunch, and other special culinary events in the space. She is also planning to offer elevated food choices to accompany the wine tasting flights.
Triple N Ranch Winery will bring wine, food, family, and friends together in special ways. Who knows, perhaps there’s even the next Dr. Becker among Michelle’s nieces and nephews.
At press time, a limited number of tickets were still available for opening weekend festivities that include two nights of wine, Texas BBQ, and live music. Tickets include Pecan Lodge barbeque sandwich boxed meals. Wine will be available to purchase by the bottle. A concert featuring a Beatles and Beach Boys cover band will take place a short walk from the winery. Guests should bring lawn chairs or blankets, and social distancing will be required. For more information, visit the Triple N Ranch Winery Facebook Page and search for the Event.
All photos credit Julep Photo Studio