I interrupted my studies to go on an adventure to Alpine, Texas and I drug my poor husband, Sully, along too….Bless his heart….
One of my favorite Dallas wineries, Times Ten Cellars, was asking for volunteers to help pick grapes at their vineyard (Cathedral Mountain Vineyards) just south of Alpine. So, of course, I had to go. It was one of those “Bucket List” things I wanted to do before I leave this Earth and it would help me in my studies.
Sully and I have been to the Big Bend area before and it was great to be back in the wide open spaces of South-West Texas. We got there on Thursday and went to Terlingua for dinner and funky souvenirs…one can never have too many items that say “Ski Terlingua” with a Day of the Dead Skeleton on skis.
Friday was Marfa. We ate at the Food Shark; which is a converted bus that is parked by the railroad tracks and serves great Mediterranean food and Mexican Coca-cola. It is open only for lunch and all of a sudden people start appearing out of nowhere and you find yourself rubbing elbows with the locals and artists from all over the world. We ended our Marfa tour with a visit to Luz de Estrella Winery. I really enjoyed their Chisos Mountain Lodge Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend. It had dark fruit, earth, coffee and a smooth finish.
Friday night was the ‘before the harvest’ party at Cathedral Mountain Vineyards where we would meet our fellow pickers. Everyone was friendly and between the ages of late 20’s – 60’s, and we were all rabid about our love for Times Ten Cellars and the people who work there. About 40 pickers showed up and some of them were repeat pickers.
Saturday morning started at 8 and we immediately got into picking the Tempranillo grapes. It was so neat to sheer a big bunch and toss them into the bucket. I told a couple of the bunches that “I can’t wait to drink you!” Sully would just shake his head and hope that it was the altitude that was making me giddy. We then moved on to the Syrah and Grenache rows. It was here that things got ugly…we think the Grenache “team” was stealing our “Team Syrah” buckets; therefore slowing us down. What do you expect from people whose grape is common, rustic (ie. not sophisticated and usually used for blending), where the Syrah is noble, bold and spicy! Luckily we broke for lunch before things got out of hand.
That night, we were treated to dinner at the original Reata (there is one in Ft.Worth). I thanked the owners for treating us so well so none of us had to go all “Cesar Chavez” on them; I mean after all; we were migrant workers…even though we came from the Dallas/Ft.Worth area…..
In all seriousness; I had an amazing experience and Sully even enjoyed himself and might be up for next year. We picked 12 tons of grapes, met some fabulous people and enjoyed the beauty of Cathedral Mountain.
“When we are really honest with ourselves,we must admit that our lives are all that belong to us. So it is how we use our lives that determine what kind of people we are.” – Cesar Chavez