Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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July 16, 2014

Angelita Vineyard and Winery a first for county

Corsicana — The idea was born from a business meeting under a tree.

The result was Navarro County’s very first vineyard and winery — and a labor of love for Beverly and Rodney Spahn.

The grand opening of Angelita Vineyard and Winery is taking place Saturday at the site at 254 Shady Creek Lane off FM 739.

The professional couple — she a flight attendant, he a commercial pilot — discussed several options for their land just south of Corsicana, settling on the idea of a vineyard.

They did the research and in 2010 began the vineyard with an initial planting of 200 Blanc Du Bois vines.

“We chose Blanc Du Bois because it is a disease-resistant plant, it is also a heat-hardy plant, and I like white wine,” Beverly Spahn said with a smile.

You might say the idea, and the project, grew from there.

Another 1,000 Blanc Du Bois vines were added to the operation, and along with about 200 Ruby Cabernet vines now make up the vineyard that bears the name of Rodney Spahn’s late mother, Angelita.

“Angelita passed away the month we planted the vineyard,” Beverly Spahn explained. “It means ‘little angel’ ... she was really inspirational to me, an incredible woman.”

The couple is still assisted in the vineyard by Rodney Spahn’s father, “Grandpa Rod,” who at 77 years of age still can be found daily inspecting the vineyards and tending to them. Rodney serves as the vineyard manager and resident winemaker. Grandpa Rod is the vineyard keeper.

Despite the challenges of the 2011 drought, an irrigation system and perseverance kept the vineyard and the idea moving forward, and Beverly Spahn began thinking about the next step — a winery. Gathering ideas from other vineyards and wineries she visited with friends, she created an intimate setting within the building that also houses the tanks for the juice harvested from the vineyard. She said she wanted to bring the “first class experience” from her job as a flight attendant to the business.

Located adjacent to the vineyard that surrounds their home on Shady Creek Lane off FM 739, the winery features a bar that was handmade by Rodney Spahn, and furnished and decorated by Beverly Spahn to provide a rich experience to enjoy wine samplings and small gatherings.

Now open Thursday through Sunday from noon to 8 p.m., the winery features wine tastings, including the winery’s own Blanc Du Bois, and likes to include other Texas wines as well. A limited food menu is also available.

“As we continue to grow, we’ll have more selection as well,” Beverly Spahn said. “I’d like to bring out something new every quarter, so every time you come out, hopefully it will be a different experience.”

The winery will have a grand opening and open house for the public Saturday, and Beverly Spahn is equally excited about a “Harvest Party” tentatively slated for the first weekend in August, although that could change based on the sugar content of the grapes on the vine, she said.

Saturday’s grand opening will last from noon to 8 p.m. and feature wine tastings, food and live music from the vocal group Bella Voce, along with Joe Doyen and the Azure Blue Trio. The Corsicana and Navarro County Chamber of Commerce will also hold a ribbon cutting.

The Harvest Party will be an early event, starting at 6 a.m. with a breakfast and a day of fun and work in the vineyards. Updates on plans for the harvest event will be posted on the vineyard’s Facebook page and website.

—————

Bob Belcher may be reached by email at bbelcher@corsicanadailysun.com

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