The Wine Walk in Downtown Garland
Garland’s 2nd wine walk was scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 18 from 3:30 until 7 pm. The Garland Downtown Business Association (GDBA) planned painstakingly to make sure the event would run smoothly and be enjoyed by all. Mother Nature didn’t get the memo. At 3:30 it was raining cats and dogs, with spine chilling thunder claps that kept most of us at home, waiting for the storm to pass. Not so for many, though, we were told when our party of four arrived at 5pm, as the storm continued on its eastward trajectory, leaving downtown Garland soggy, but walkable.
We were told when we checked in at Picker’s Paradise at 915 Main Street, that many folks had checked in during the midst of the thunderstorm and torrential rains. Those folks were definitely dedicated wine drinkers who had probably purchased their tickets online, and were determined to get their money’s worth. For a mere $20 fee you could enjoy a 2 ounce sample of a different wine at 12 different locations. For three and a half hours of fun and wine drinking you couldn’t beat the price!
We checked in and were given a glass with an inscription, a passport which was to be stamped at the various wine serving locations, and a book of coupons. We were also given tickets for a drawing which was to take place at the end of the wine walk. We were not told what the drawing was for but i assumed it would be donated items from Downtown businesses. We later learned that a $500 tattoo from RockInk and wine walk t-shirts were among the items in the drawing. Due to the rainy weather, the location of the end of the walk festivities and drawings were to be held inside, at Rosalind’s Coffee House. We were instructed to have at least eight pages in our passports stamped by 6:30, if we wanted to participate in the drawings. That gave us only an hour and a half to get our wine samples and stamps at eight stores. We had to hurry, I was told, but I had to stop and chat when I ran into Louis Moore. He was telling me about an event he and his lovely wife, Kay, are planning for Christmastime. We were in the midst of that conversation when Robert Smith sauntered into the store. He joined Louis and I and the conversation continued. The three of us had just begun to chat when one of my wine walk team members grabbed me by the arm and hustled me out and onto the next location, which was the Karen Wiseman Collection next door.
The wine at Picker’s Paradise, provided by He Wines, She Dines Wine Club, was a very nondescript Rosé. The two ounces went down easily, but it was not a memorable wine. The wine at Karen Wiseman’s shop was a red Cabernet. Next stop was Current Artist’s Workshop. Lots of colorful canvases hung on the well lighted white walls, giving a very pristine effect. Another red wine was served here, and I had to dump out the last sample to try this Syrah. Being a red wine drinker, I was not impressed with the wines at that point. We went down Main Street, avoiding a stop at the yoga studio on State Street because the driver wanted to park only once. We could get the five stamps that we needed on our passports in businesses close to the downtown square. Our next stop was Wild Grace, a boutique we wished we had time to shop in, but we had to be at Rosalind’s by 6:30, so we had little time to shop. Melissa Benge, owner of Wild Grave, offered refreshments, which was very thoughtful, as we needed something to absorb the alcohol. This was the only place any form of food was offered among the 8 locations we visited. None of those locations offered water to cleanse the palate.
Katherine Burrow, who was pouring the wine at Wild Grace for Melissa was herself a winemaker. She had two of my favorite grapes, Tempranillo and Malbec, planted on a one acre plot out in the country. She and her husband had planned to cultivate and grow their little vineyard by adding an acre a year. After attending a wine camp in Fredericksburg, they decided there was too much they didn’t know about harvesting grapes and would be unable to expand at that pace.
I was taking too long and talking too much, and my team members, Susan Johnson, Linda Dunlop and Helen Partain, interrupted my discussion on wine making and grape growing to drag me off to The Millhouse Pizzeria and Stage, then on to Baker’s Furniture, Frocksy and Boogie Nights before winding up at Rosalind’s Coffee House, which was jammed with shouting people, all of whom had been inspired by the samples of the fermented grape juice they had been sampling. The crowd of wine walkers was 90 percent female and very, very loud. After about ten minutes we decided unanimously to leave, even though we had hurried through the event to get our passports stamped in time for the drawing, there was really nothing we wanted badly enough to withstand the crowd and the din.
We went back to Baker’s, as Linda had spotted a cabinet she thought she may want to buy on our earlier visit. Then we met up with more of our crowd who were also shopping for furniture. One of our crowd bought a reclining couch and Linda got her cabinet. Our crowd now numbered eight and eventually became twelve when husbands joined us as we gathered in the Mom’s room at the Millhouse Pizzeria and Stage. In spite of the inclement weather and our rush to finish on time, we all agreed we had had a fun afternoon. As far as the wines went, I don’t think any of our group tasted any they wanted to buy. We noticed that Rosé was most popular, as it was being poured at 3 different locations. Among the first wines sold in American stores was a Portuguese Rosé made by Mateus back in the 70’s. The Rosé seems to have lost its popularity over the decades but is apparently making a comeback. There were three red wines among those we sampled, they were 2016 Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and a red blend that was my favorite. They were drinkable, but not enticing, by any means. Many of the ladies in the tasting line at Baker’s seemed very pleased with the sweet white wine labeled HWDS Symphony that was being poured there.
If there hadn’t been thunderstorms that day, we would have begun our wine walk at 3:30. We would’ve visited each of the 12 locations including Roach Feed & Seed, Koehler Graphics, Wholy Formed Yoga, and Rosalind’s Coffee, and sampled 12 different wines.
Our group of 12 gathered and all agreed that they had enjoyed the afternoon and would definitely come back to Downtown Garland for another wine walk. Some of the businesses may have been disappointed by the turnout due to the weather, but they all seemed to be having a good time, too. Our wine walk passport listed event sponsors as: Veritex Community Bank, Gator’s Auto Sales, Jon W. Six, Business World, and Staten’s Appliances. The GDBA is planning to do it again, perhaps in early fall. We’ll all be there; wouldn’t miss it for the world.