Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct details of Saturday's Stroll on the Square.
Fairhaven Vineyards and Winery in Hawkins has been making wine since 2003. While the vineyards' Lomanto wine are grown in the Sabine River Valley, the grapes have a local connection.
Lomanto grapes are a hybrid of the Thomas Volney Munson grapes. Munson developed these grapes while working in his Denison vineyard in 1899.
The Lomanto wine is one of 55 wines that will be included in the Sherman Stroll on the Square Saturday today. Stroll on the Square is a showcase of Texoma wine, food, music and shopping held annually in Downtown Sherman.
“The Lomanto is a hybrid cross between the Salado and Pense grapes,” Fairhaven owner, master horticulturist and enologist R.L. Winters said. “Lomanto gained widespread public attention after being promoted at the 1904 St. Louis World Exposition. With the death of Munson in 1913, the destruction of his Denison-based vine nursery, and the arrival of prohibition, the wine, and the vine vanished from the landscape of American life like a late spring snow flurry.”
Ross Hull gives tours of the T.V. Munson vineyard in Denison.
“These grapes are different,” he said. “These were named after his family members and locations and friends that T.V. Munson knew.”
Hull said what makes Munson’s grapes special is they can survive in Texas, which is known for its freezes, floods and insects.
“That is the beauty of it,” he said. “People did not really know about T.V. Munson until recently. People are using his cuttings to make wine all around the world. They are very popular. He was ahead of his time. These are heartier grapes for this area.”
Winters said over the last 12 years, he and his team have been working to understand what Munson did with grapes between 1880-1912.
“These wonderful hybrids have had few advocates over the last 30 years or so since Roy Renfro, dean of enology at Grayson College, rediscovered the varieties and began to uncover the fantastic qualities of the grapes that they produced,” he said. “The wine industry has been slow to realize the potential, largely because the only information that existed regarding the quality of the wines from the Munson group of vines was purely historical. Another major factor is that there were pitifully few sources for plantable Munson hybrid vines.”
Winters said he thinks there are no other large scale produces of wine made from the Munson hybrids.
“I think there was a famous saying once as that was, ‘It’s easy to see a great distance into the future when you are perched on the shoulder of a giant,’” Winters said. “It’s a delicious grape.”
The stroll will be held from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, though tickets for the event are already sold out. For more information on the stroll and Texoma's Best Bite, visit http://StrollOnTheSquare.com.