MIDLOTHIAN—North Texas hasn’t always been known for their wine scene. However, that’s changing with every uncorked bottle. As the trend grows, local businesses are taking full advantage of it at the upcoming Midlothian Wine and Arts Festival, on November 5th.
The semi-annual festival has taken place each spring and fall since 2014. Cammy Jackson, president of the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce, points out, “People from all over the [Dallas-Fort Worth] Metroplex have attended our Wine & Arts Festivals. This is a great way to let them experience Midlothian. We are a hidden jewel, 30 miles south of both Dallas and Fort Worth. A lot of people aren’t aware of the amenities and beautiful downtown we have.”
Humble Beginnings …
The festival began simply enough.
“We wanted to do something to promote the businesses located in Historic Downtown Midlothian,” Jackson explained. “We were approached by some people who thought a Wine Walk would be fun. We first held it on a Thursday evening as a test back in 2014.”
What the Chamber thought would draw about 35 to 50 people turned into upwards of 100 folks who wanted to enjoy a good glass of wine. The following June, the Chamber held another Wine Walk. It was deemed a success, attracting more than double the attendance of the initial test.
In the Fall of 2015, the Wine Walk was expanded to include vendors and food trucks. The name was officially changed to the Wine & Arts Festival. Attendance continued to grow as around 400 people came out to sip wine and get to know local artisans.
“In the spring of 2016, we had 660 people purchase Wine Walk tickets, and an estimated 1,500 people attended,” Jackson said.
Economic Impact On Midlothian
Chamber members count this as an important event in the city.
Jane Nelson at The Flower Shoppe by Jane said, “The Wine and Arts Festival give our community members an opportunity to get out and socialize and see what’s going on in our downtown area.
At the same time it gives downtown businesses exposure that we might not get otherwise. Everyone has such a good time and always leaves with a smile. The Flower Shoppe by Jane has participated in every one of them. We always look forward to the next one.”
Jackson said they are still in the process of securing vendors for the fall 2016 event. Ten wineries and chocolatiers have already committed to be hosted by local businesses. A local restaurant will be serving craft brew. There will be at least four food trucks and as many as 50 vendors offering jewelry, clothing and art.
The Local Vine
The main draw is the wine. Sugar Ridge Winery in Ennis said it is excited to be taking part this year. They are on tap to pour many of its eight red and six white vintages at the event. While Sugar Ridge does not have a local vineyard, the winery makes all their wines in Ennis using grapes grown in Canada, Pennsylvania and West Texas.
Michelle Andrews, who owns the winery with her husband Don, said the winery began as a hobby and it has turned into a job.
“We are not your typical winery,” she said. “We have fun with the wine. If you want to have a good time, then try our wine.”
Lost Oak Winery in Burleson, Dry Comal Creek Winery & Vineyards in New Braunfels, Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards in Pittsburg, TX, Maydelle Country Wines in Rusk, Red Caboose Winery in Meridian and Red 55 Winery in Lindale [the signature wine line of Miranda Lambert] will also be pouring at the festival.
“We have participated in Midlothian’s Wine & Arts Festival for several years,” said Leisha Crowe of Re/Max Suburban South. “Even though Midlothian has grown, it still makes it feel like a small town hanging out with friends & family.”
About 2,000 folks are expected to enjoy the fall weather this November 5.
Jackson concluded “November is a great time to hold this event because the weather is cooling off, but isn’t cold yet. Attendees will enjoy walking around downtown in the cool fall air. Downtown businesses will be festive with fall décor. We hold this event before the Holiday season kicks off, so it’s a final time for people to get together. It needs to take place before everyone gets busy with planning for the holidays.”
Midlothian Wine And Arts Festival
When: Saturday, November 5, 2016, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Historic Downtown Midlothian.
Cost: $25 per person, purchased online at www.midlothianchamber.org or at the event. Over 21 only for the Wine Walk. Entry into the festival is free and open to all ages.