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When a friend suggested we take a ride to downtown Grapevine on the still-new-enough-to-be-novel TexRail train that connects downtown Fort Worth to the airport, I bit back my unwanted opinions about the hit-or-miss quality of the Texas wine offered there and jumped at the chance. Who doesn’t love a nice, relaxing train ride – or better yet, not having to drive through the Mid-Cities?
After we purchased our round-trip tickets (a steal at $5) on a blindingly bright Saturday afternoon, we boarded the train at downtown Fort Worth’s T&P Station and found we had the entire car to ourselves. It took us half the trip to realize we were in the designated Quiet Car, but luckily no one who boarded at any of the later stops shushed us as we strategized the best way for five thirtysomethings to day-drink the most wine without falling asleep by 5pm. The train dropped us off at the outskirts of Main Street, about a five-minute walk from all the action.
And there was action. Peeking into the tasting rooms as we walked past, it was hard to spot an empty seat, and many of the bars were packed with busloads of bachelorette parties and gaggles of middle-aged ladies. While three men were in our party, the clientele was decidedly female, and the rosé was a-flowing. We’d apparently chosen to take our wine pilgrimage on International Rosé Day of all days — lucky us.
Our first stop was Umbra (415 S Main St, 817-421-2999), a lively but cramped tasting room offering house-label as well as imported wines by the flight. A six-top seemed to be magically waiting for us. Alas, this was not the good omen we had hoped for. While several in our group thought flights of house sparkling wine would be a good start, I opted for a white wine flight of Umbra’s own varieties, including pinot gris, riesling, and something called Casa Blanca. I already didn’t have very high expectations (I’m a Champagne tastes kind of gal), but even the most novice wine drinker among us thought the wine selections were just a little too far on the sweet end of the spectrum.
And, frustratingly, it took one person in our group an extra 20 minutes to receive his order, which felt like punishment for not knowing what he wanted when the overwhelmed waitress came by the first time around. This delay slowed our wine-crawl to a glacial pace.
Luckily, we got back on track at the next stop (train puns!). Sloan & Williams (401 S Main St, 817-527-7867), just a block’s walk away, felt unique in that its spacious interior and plethora of flat-screen TVs gave it a neighborhood sports bar vibe, if your local pub served only wine. We again went for the flights, and here the service was speedy and we found the pours to be much more generous than at Umbra.
Sloan & Williams makes its own wine, but the bar had an impressive selection of varietals from all over the world, and I made sure to stay away from anything described as even remotely sweet as I sampled blissfully dry sparkling wines from France, Italy, and Spain. The bar was not snobby, the way wine bars are often purported to be, and the group deemed the wine itself to be “approachable” (a wine term we learned from the bartender).
We then moseyed off the main drag to check out Homestead Winery (211 E Worth St, 817-251-9463). The establishment, situated inside a quaint, slightly dilapidated early-1900s house, was the only one on our itinerary not located on Main Street. The friendly staff was handling the rush of yet another bachelorette bus but still took the time to take us through a tasting of their house-label wines, which are produced in Red River Valley. The $7 tasting fee netted us five decent-sized pours of our choice. The taste pretty much matched the price point, but I reminded myself we were there to enjoy the day, not great wine, and at this point our palates had become pretty undiscerning anyway.
After some much-needed Farina’s pizza to soak up all that rosé, we hopped on the TexRail back to T&P around 9:05pm, well past our stated goal of staying awake past 5pm. On the hazy ride back to town, we once again marveled at how economical and convenient traveling by train had been and lamented how rare good public transport is around these parts. Having confirmed we could day-drink with the best of them, we made plans to hop on the train to Grapevine again in September for the bacchanalia known as Grapefest. The wine snob in me may be cringing, but my inner train enthusiast is counting the days.

1 COMMENT

  1. As a resident of Grapevine, we would like to take the train to Ft Worth. Any suggestions for our visit within walking distance of the station?

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