Girls on Wheels sample wines and chocolates at Grapefest

Vicki Baker

Eat! Drink! Be Merry! Girls on Wheels headed to Grapefest on September 17 for our monthly outing. Just because summer was winding down didn’t mean we should too. Grapefest was the perfect topper to our summer activity list with a day of incredible wine tastings, food samplings and shopping artisans’ wares.

But first a bite to eat before immersing in all things wine. Tucked away just off Main Street is Esparza’s serving top notch dishes. Established in 1985 it occupies a late 1800s renovated house. After dipping into homemade salsa and chips we lunched on typical Tex-Mex favorites of fajitas and enchiladas.

With bellies full, we stepped back in time in Historic Downtown Grapevine to celebrate the “great grape.” Texas wine history dates to 1650s with Spanish missionaries cultivating grapes around El Paso. In the 1800s European settlers started Texas vineyards from grapevine cuttings brought from their homelands. Grapevine is named for the wild Mustang grapes that blanketed the land when settlers arrived in 1844. Texas, the fifth largest wine producing state in the U.S., has 310 wineries, and Grapevine serves as the industry headquarters.

Grapefest, the largest wine festival in the Southwest, showcased wines from across Texas. More than 160 varieties from 46 wineries were available for sampling. We narrowed our choice to Umbra Winery, established in 2005 and based out of Little Elm. Being “wine connoisseurs” we eagerly paid our $5 and grabbed a single glass between us (no expense spared here!) to see what the Lone Star State had to offer. Owner John Wilson and staff shared their knowledge as we sampled six wines: three whites and three reds. We purchased a great tasting white port.

We then stumbled upon chocolate at Dr. Sue’s Chocolates owned by practicing doctor Sue Williams. We thought wine and chocolate were a scrumptious match and enjoyed that sweet satisfaction as these chocolates are guilt free; besides just plain good, her dark chocolates use phytonutrient-rich, organic ingredients. You can sample any of the incredible creations in the store. We went a bit wild, trying everything and thinking we had found our favorite, just to walk a few feet to find a new one.

All too soon, the day came to an end. Friendships seemed to be front and center throughout childhood. Remember that feeling of being on the brink of adult responsibility and just hanging out with your girlfriends? It was pretty fabulous. But once careers got into full swing and families started to grow, female friendships took a back seat to other priorities. Our girls’ day out whisked us back to those carefree days of yore. We raised a glass of wine and toasted, “Girls love hanging out together and having fun.” Oh and by the way, chocolate is to women what duct tape is to men – it fixes everything!