Field Blogging: A Crisp Autumn Morning, The Munson Legacy, The State Fair of Texas

I drove up from Houston yesterday, spanning the time, distance and the oncoming cold front that finally broke summer’s chokehold on the pastoral landscape of east Texas bringing the year’s end now in sight.

This year, my search for Texas terroir has taken me from side to side and top to bottom of Texas. I have followed the change of seasons along with the seasonal changes of the 2010 vintage from bud break to ripening and  harvest.  It has been a truly glorious season to behold; particularly after the difficulties of the past few years. This year revealed both ear record grape quantity and quality and the emergence of a new red grape variety the flourishes well in Texas – Tempranillo.

I also witnessed the wine grape season paralleled by the progression of  the Texas wildflowers, starting with the cool blue of the bluebonnets.  Following late spring rains, the hues of early spring blues morphed to fields of flame-like reds and yellows as the weather also turned flamingly hot. Finally, as I see on this trip, the autumn colors on the roadside curbs are now purples and pinks, but with surprising patches of white. Upon closer examination, the white is not the color of wildflowers, but the spillage of cotton already harvested as it was trucked on interstates and lesser roads for processing.

With the final chapters of my manuscript nearing completion, I also feel the grip of this topic finally releasing me. While there’s still some work to do, I can see the end of my task much more clearly defined than when I started. Many things that I thought should be documented have been cast aside, while other topics of which I had little awareness earlier in the year have emerged to help me tell the grand nearly four hundred year story of the Texas wine experience.

Today, I will drive from The Parker House at Homestead Winery Ivanhoe, to Denison where I plan to meet up with Roy Renfro at the Munson Center (www.tvmunson.org) and R.L. Winters from Fairhaven Vineyards (www.fairhavenvineyards.com) to taste the Munson legacy at Vinita, the recently restored Munson Mansion.

R.L. is making wine from grapes bred by the hand of Munson himself over a hundred years ago. From there, I will drive back through Dallas to partake in the State Fair of Texas and the Texas Wine Garden. a celebration of this years grand grape harvest. I hope to arrive at around early afternoon to take in the sights, assemble a fried food and Texas wine pairing competition and do an interview in the Wine Garden at 3:00 pm.

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