Yeehaw! Wine aficionados will love this tasty Texan town

Texas is known for its cowboys, but for wine aficionados, a town called Grapevine is a real drawcard.

Holding on to an icy cold bottle of champagne at a 45-degree angle in my left hand, while wielding a sabre in the other is a bit daunting. After a couple of practice strokes, I gain confidence and follow through with enough force to open the bottle, feeling a bit like Napoléon Bonaparte who started this tradition – some of his soldiers even managed to do this on horseback.

We are not in France … we’re in Grapevine, Texas at a place called Off The Vine learning this challenging art of sabrage. I’m flaunting my own sabre from the shop in my wine room back home now.

Grapevine City Hall © City of Grapevine
Grapevine City Hall © Grapevine Texas USA

Heard it on the Grapevine

Grapevine is a historic town snuggled between the urban metropolis of Dallas and the wild west of Fort Worth. It is just 10 minutes from the DFW International Airport. We’re here for the 36th Annual GrapeFest, the largest wine festival in the southwest held each September. We were surprised to learn that Grapevine has 400 wineries and that Texas is the fifth largest producer of wine in the USA.

Main Street is alive with GrapeFest festivities. With so many fun activities (besides drinking wine!), it’s hard to decide what to do first. Luckily the festival runs for four days. We have a go at the Champagne Cork Shoot-Off and GrapeStomp, stomping eight kilos of grapes for two minutes to see who can get the most juice, and then judge our favourite wines at The People’s Choice Wine Tasting Classic.

Grape things to do at Grapefest

Kids love the carnival games and rides, and the Grapevine Glockenspiel Clock Would-Be Train Robbers show.

We wander Main Street, which has almost two kilometres of boutiques, wineries (some with juice tasting for the kids), eateries and historical landmarks.

We have our first alcoholic liquid nitrogen ice cream experience at the family-friendly Buzzed Bull Creamery. Plus took in a lone-star murder mystery at the Texas Star Dinner Theater complete with gunfire.

Grapevine Texas, GrapeFest
© Grapevine Texas USA

Things to do in Grapevine, Texas

Grapevine is the ideal location to base yourself to explore the area, too. Board the Grapevine Vintage Railroad departing from the original 1888 Cotton Belt Railroad Depot on Main Street for the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District.

Grab yourself some cowboy boots and hats. See real cowboys and drive the majestic Texas longhorns down original brick streets. Catch the Stockyards Championship Rodeo every Friday and Saturday night at the Cowtown Coliseum. Get the best steak you’ve ever had at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse and wet your whistle at Billy Bob’s Texas. It’s the world’s largest honky-tonk (an entertainment centre that plays country music).

Fort Worth Stock Yards
Fort Worth Stock Yards © Kevin Brown

Football, food trucks and a friendly welcome

If you’re here for GrapeFest you’ll be able to take in an American gridiron game (footy season runs from September to early January) at AT&T Stadium. Home of the Dallas Cowboys, arguably the most famous team in America. Its renowned cheerleaders even perform for you outside the stadium at the biggest tailgate party imaginable – Experience Dallas Cowboys Miller Lite Tailgate – complete with food trucks, six bars, a 64-metre football field for playing impromptu games and an electric atmosphere.

“We’re glad you’re here,” was how we were greeted in Grapevine, said in that Texan drawl, which is a southern accent with a twist. I must say we were glad we were there too.

Keep reading: 20 great things to do in Dallas and Fort Worth

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