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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.

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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