If you’ve been into Lone Star Wine Cellars on the square, you might have noticed wine from the local winery Wales Manor. Lone Star, as I understand it, is a cooperative venture between two local wineries – Wales Manor and Triple R Ranch, to make their wines available for purchase on the square. Its location in the Ritz building on the square is an intimate setting that often offers live music (indoors) on the weekends.
In a recent e-mail to announce the commencement of their 201o concert series beginning April 10th, they hinted at the possibility of a reality show that will be about its vineyard and winery, the popular “Under The Stars” concerts, their favorite charities and the personalities that grace its grounds. According to their e-mail, they are signed with a production company and are being shopped to the major networks and cable stations. They plan to announce the results through the Wales Manor site and McKinney’s Convention & Visitor’s Bureau when and if they are picked up.
If you haven’t been out to one of the “Under The Stars” concerts, you are truly missing out on one of the most unique events available in McKinney. The vineyard and winery are now open for public tours from 11AM to 7PM. The smart thing to do on concert nights is to take a late tour and grab a table. As the evening sets in, people begin gathering in the outdoor area behind the vineyard where you can purchase your favorite bottles and settle in to listen to live music. Honestly, I could have sworn that we were somehow magically transported to somewhere in Northern California, except for the unmistakably southern accent of the singer. Think Austin City Limits in the Big Sur.
The winery is not the easiest to find and I have only talked to two kinds of people: those who commiserate on how hard it is to find that last turn and those who never found it. If you have access to GPS, use it. The winery is small. I think I read that there are only about 3 acres out there. The vineyard lines the road and you turn in and park on the grass between the vineyard and house. Then you walk down a stone pathway where you give a smiling person (who hopefully works for the winery) ten dollars. Stake out a table. There aren’t any bad ones. Take chairs of your own in case all of the tables are already spoken for. Then send someone to get in line to get your wine. Inside a small cottage is a counter where you can buy the bottle(s) of your choice. They have a menu of what is available. Their least expensive is a picnic meritage at somewhere around $20, $25. It is a sweet red wine and is very popular. If you aren’t familiar with any of the wines on the menu, they will let you taste. This makes the line take quite some time to get through (it took me twenty minutes to get through and I knew what I wanted), so I would suggest you buy at least a couple of bottles to cut down on the required return trips if you have more than two in your party. They can take debit and credit cards. They will uncork your bottle and provide plastic cups. Then just sit back, sip your wine and enjoy the show. They recommend that you bring a picnic basket with some munchies that go well with wine and this really is an excellent suggestion.
The first concert for 2010 will be this April 10th and will star Jon Christopher Davis, a local singer/songwriter who has penned some songs for some very big names and will be having a CD release party that night. For more information about Jon Christopher Davis, check out his web site at http://www.jonchristopherdavis.com/
For more information on Music Under the Stars, see the Wales Manor site at http://www.walesmanor.com/