Hit Grapevine for its annual blessing of the vines Saturday

By scott@360westmagazine.comApril 10, 2024April 30th, 2024No Comments
Grapevine's annual blessing of the vines is 10 a.m. Saturday at Peace Plaza. Photo by Mike Lewis

Hit Grapevine for its annual blessing of the vines Saturday

By Joy Donovan

The North Texas tradition is set for 10 a.m. Saturday at Peace Plaza

Serious wine drinkers can appreciate all that goes into a glass of fine vino.

There’s all the planting and watering and weather and harvesting and crushing and so much more. With so much at stake in turning grapes into wine, asking for a blessing from above couldn’t hurt, right?

For centuries, some have thought it the right thing to do, and for the 32nd year in the city of Grapevine, a springtime blessing of the vines will sanctify Texas wine vines to ensure a good harvest. The North Texas tradition is set for 10 a.m. April 13 at Peace Plaza at Grapevine Main Station.“The blessing is for the grapes, the workers in the field and new life,” Sonya Terpening, president of the Grapevine Wine Pouring Society, said. “They’re blessing the new vintage of the wine and the workers. It’s a very touching ceremony.”

The ceremony, a European tradition, dates back 400 years, according to Terpening. In Grapevine, a local priest will preside over a procession around the Grapevine plaza that concludes with The Blessing of the Vines to ensure a bountiful 2024 harvest. The first 100 visitors will receive a plantable souvenir of a blessed vine, and a complimentary glass of Messina Hof viognier will be offered to participants.

“You’re encouraged to sprinkle some of the wine on the vines as your blessing, but most people just drink it,” Terpening said with a laugh.

The procession is open to public participants. Besides the priest who leads it, the procession includes a 100-pound cluster of grapes and a statue of St. Urbanas, a patron saint of wine barrel coopers. Providing the music will be local mariachis who represent Parras de la Fuenta, Mexico, one of Grapevine’s sister cities and site of what’s said to be the oldest winery in North America. And always, there are robed volunteers taking the part of the Greek god Bacchus and the goddess Ariadne, who Terpening portrayed for years.

“It’s been such fun being a part of the tradition,” Terpening said. “The blessing of the vines has always been important to me because it’s emotional, bringing in a tradition to modern day. When I was asked to be Ariadne, I wasn’t really sure what that would entail, but it has literally been being in photo ops up and down all day.”

That’s because the party in Grapevine doesn’t end with the blessing; that’s just the beginning. The day of celebration continues. The New Vintage Wineries and Galleries Trail is where the Ariadne and Baccus can be seen mixing with wine and art lovers from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Tasting of new-release wines and light bites will be available at seven of Grapevine’s wine tasting rooms. The Grapevine Wine Pouring Society, always a fixture at Grapevine’s wine events wearing burgundy-colored vests and khaki pants, exist to make sure the wine experience is good for all. These trained wine pourers will be available throughout the day to pour wine and answer questions from wine-sippers.

Drinking and driving is something not blessed at all during this event. In fact, designated drivers are treated to their own kind of fun with the Yum Trail, a trail of treats with a prize at the end. Also a complimentary shuttle will be available all day on Main Street.

Still more activities are scheduled throughout the day. Artisans will display their work at the Grapevine Market near the Main Street gazebo. Live music and painting demonstrations are scheduled for Liberty Park Plaza, and the Botanica Gardens will be the site of the Grapevine Garden Club plant sale.

Tickets for the New Vintage Wineries & Galleries Trail cost $50 in advance and $55 the day of the event. To purchase, visit GrapevineTexasUSA.com.

Terpening’s husband Mark will be among the throngs there. The two have participated for more than a decade.

“It’s a chance to see an old tradition you can’t witness very many places,” she said. “It’s bringing the old into the new and more than that you’re putting life back into that bottle of wine.”