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Refugio serves wine with swig of history

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
March 11, 2012 at 11:01 p.m.
Updated March 11, 2012 at 10:12 p.m.

Darcy Warren pours a glass of wine for Jude Moon as Hank T. Moon reflects on his own wine during the Texas Independence Wine Classic on Sunday in Refugio. Darcy's Vineyard provides a selection of wines from Hallettsville.

SOUTH TEXAS HISTORIANS AT TEXAS INDEPENDENCE WINE CLASSIC

Sally Skull - Born Sarah Jane Newman in 1817, one of the first settlers in Stephen F. Austin's colony. Former Gonzales resident, famous for her biting temper, quick draw and rumors that she may have murdered at least two of her five husbands. Re-enacted by Teri Harris.

John S. "Rip" Ford - Born 1815, made captain in the Texas Rangers, stationed between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. There he had numerous Indian fights during 1850 and 1851. Re-enacted by William McClendon.

Col. James Walker Fannin, Jr., Texas revolutionary, fought in battle of Gonzales in 1835. Commander of Texian forces during the Battle of Coleto. Re-enacted by Robert Yeager.

Judge W. L. Rea - Refugio County Judge in mid-1800s Re-enacted by Charles Perron.

Gen. Sam Houston - Born 1793, Served as U.S. Senator and Governor for Texas when it joined the United States. Re-enacted by Kenneth Patterson.

Dr. James Grant - Born 1793 in Ross-shire, Scotland. Texas physician, politician, served in the Texas Revolution. From 1832-33, he tried to colonize a settlement near Goliad. Re-enacted by Ralph Nelson Sr.

Lt. Col. William Ward - Died 1836, originally from Macon, Ga. Answered call from Texas and recruited men from Georgia to fight in Texas Revolution. Re-enacted by Erich Bauch.

Empresario James Power - Born 1788, Irish-born Texan empresario, politician and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Re-enacted by Joel Smith.

Edward Perry - Irish colonist near Goliad. Helped send a message to Col. James Fannin ordering Lt. Col. William Ward to abandon a church, blow up the fort and retreat to Victoria instead of Goliad, where Fannin would join him. Re-enacted by Doug Crumly.

REFUGIO - As Sheila Craven approached an oversized white tent at the Texas Independence Wine Classic, she was approached by a Western-adorned, sharp-tongued Sally Skull.

"Who do you think you are?" Skull sneered, as she placed her hands on both hip pistols and slowly lifted her chin in the air.

Craven, a retired Corpus Christi resident who is vacationing in Rockport, attended the second annual Wine Classic with two girlfriends on Sunday for an afternoon of regional wine tasting and live music. What she didn't know was that her wine swirls would be served with a side of Texas history.

"They're doing a great job. They come up and introduce who they are and tell you their story," Craven said, discussing the event's featured period actors. "My favorite is Gen. Sam Houston."

Re-enacted by Corpus Christi resident Teri Harris, Skull was one of Texas' mid-1800s most frightful vixens: a cotton-sellin,' gunslingin,' horse trader, who married, divorced, and cursed - often.

"Part of my job is that I get to harass people. I have an excuse to be rude," Harris giggled. "I'm such a wuss otherwise."

Harris joined a group of fully-costumed period actors from South Texas Historians near Corpus Christi, who re-enacted nine of South Texas' most notable historical figures.

Gen. Sam Houston, John S. "Rip" Ford, Col. James W. Fannin, and Refugio's Judge W.L. Rea were among the characters at the Wine Classic.

"One reason we asked the South Texas Historians to be here is because we want to promote Texas history and what Texas has to offer. We want to bring people to the area and draw attention to the local wineries," said Bart Wales, event organizer and director of the Refugio County Museum.

The second annual Wine Classic, which was held over two days, featured gourmet fare, three merchant vendors, six hours of live music, and wine tastings from four area wineries. It also was in the rear of the Refugio County Museum, so attendees could stroll through the historical building, then return to the tent for food and drinks.

For $10, attendees sampled a selection of wines from Lolita's Lavaca Bluffs, Texas South Wind Vineyard and Winery, of Refugio, Darcy's Vineyard, of Hallettsville, and Refugio's Braman Winery.

Wales said the money earned at the event will pay down the cost of the festival. But he hopes in coming years the Wine Classic will continue to attract area history buffs and wine enthusiasts.

"We're very pleased with how it turned out today," Wales said. "We're hoping to build this event and we plan on doing this for a long time."

Craven said the lively environment, local wines and period actors provided an entertaining afternoon for her group of friends.

"It's a good combination here," Craven said, sipping a glass of Casa Blanca from Lavaca Bluffs Vineyard and Winery. "I never really thought of Texas as having a lot of wineries, at least not in this area, but I'm really impressed."

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