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Green, green wine: St. Patrick’s celebration on tap at Alvord winery

By Brandon Evans | Published Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Irish eyes will sparkle with green wine in Alvord this Sunday.

While many bars, restaurants and parades celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the proverbial pint of green beer, a Wise County winery has put a different spin on the saintly holiday.

GREEN DAY - Winemaker Rachel Cook transforms a white wine into a green wine for St. Patrick's Day. Brushy Creek Vineyards in Alvord will celebrate the holiday 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 17. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

GREEN DAY – Winemaker Rachel Cook transforms a white wine into a green wine for St. Patrick’s Day. Brushy Creek Vineyards in Alvord will celebrate the holiday 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 17. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“We use the same technique that’s used for beer,” said Les Constable, winemaker and owner of Brushy Creek Vineyards. “But this is different because we’ll be sparkling it and serving it directly from a keg.”

Morning sun spills into the winery. The light bends and reflects off rows of empty clear and green bottles arrayed in a window. A subtle, sweet smell of fermentation fills the air. And winemaker Rachel Cook drips droplets of shamrock green food coloring into a clear, glass flask filled with white wine.

The green dye erupts downward in slow motion, and bulbs of dark green flower heavy in the liquid.

GLASS PRISM - Winemakers Les Constable and Rachel Cook show off a sample of the green wine made with Blanc du Bois grapes. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

GLASS PRISM – Winemakers Les Constable and Rachel Cook show off a sample of the green wine made with Blanc du Bois grapes. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The flasks sits on a magnetic stirring device. She drops a stir rod that looks like a pill into the bottom of the flask. The stirrer causes the rod to spin on the bottom of the flask. The wine, once the color of muted honey, is mixed into a brilliant green.

Cook looks like a chemist – but then, winemaking involves a knowledge of chemistry, botany, physics and atomic energy. She explains that the white wine being used is made from Blanc Du Bois grapes grown in Texas.

“It’s like a cross between a Riesling and a moscato,” she said. “It’s got a peach and orangy smell. It makes a good dry wine or sweet wine.”

The Blanc Du Bois (pronounced “blahnc duw bwah”) was created by researchers at the University of Florida in 1968 to grow well in the South.

“It’s much less susceptible to disease,” Cook said. “It grows really well in East and South Texas, which is where we purchase the grapes.”

Texas now grows more of the variety than anywhere in the world. And Brushy Creek’s Blanc Du Bois and Texas Sparkling Wine have won multiple gold medals in the Lone Star International Wine Competition.

From 2 to 5 p.m. this Sunday, March 17, at the Owl’s Nest nestled between the vineyards and overlooking the little valley of Brushy Creek, the public will get a chance to swirl and taste the award-winning wine turned green.

“We’ll make two-and-a-half gallons,” Cook said. “We hope to sell it all that day.”

An Elvis “tribute artist” will also be performing during the St. Paddy’s Day celebration. Wine Club Manager Candy Roos said everyone is welcome.

The vineyard is located at 572 CR 2798 in Alvord. For more information, call 940-627-4747 or go to www.brushycreekvineyards.com.

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