Almost since the beginning of time, wine has been closely linked with mankind’s history. Whether bound in myth to Bacchus in Rome, used by the church in communion, or simply poured during celebrations of life like weddings or anniversaries, many of us enjoy a smooth glass of wine time and again.

But now you don’t have to go to Italy or even California to sample delicious wines. These days, bottles are conveniently available at small, locally owned operations like O’Farrell Country Vineyards, nestled in the hills of East Texas just minutes from downtown Atlanta.

“We’ve planted about three acres of muscadines,” Benny and Judy Moore say. They imported their plants from Georgia in 2006 and the vines have thrived in this region because the winters are mild and the plants are hearty.

“Muscadines come in different sizes and colors and have a thicker skin,” Benny says. As we walk through the vineyard, he hands me samples from many of the different varieties growing there, including Darlene, Ison, Carlos, Black Fry, Cowart, Bronze Fry, Noble, Hunt, Sweet Jenny, Rosa, Black Beauty and Sugargate.

While some varieties are very sweet, others have a subtle flavor that is mild and delicious, making it easy to see why these grapes are a favorite for making jellies, jams, pies and of course, wines.

It took two years for the vines to mature enough to produce fruit, but by 2008 the couple had opened their gates as a U-Pick-Em operation, Benny says.

It wasn’t until last year that the couple produced and bottled enough wine to sell to the public. After obtaining the proper licenses from the government, they opened a charming wine tasting room which visitors frequent every Friday and Saturday from noon to 9 p.m.

Everything from the tasting counter to the wall boards and even the flooring have all been lovingly restored and repurposed from former structures, Judy says, including a two-room community schoolhouse.

But it is the wine that steals the show here, from the custom bottle packaging using family photographs which were turned into watercolors to the flavors themselves, including Moonglow Bronze, Sassy Sisters Blush, Smokehouse Red and others like Blue Diva which is made from blueberries.

“The wines have to be purchased here right now, although we are looking into licenses to ship them in the future,” Judy says. For now though, they’ve been doing just fine selling direct to the consumer at their picturesque facility. In fact, the demand for their wines has been so great they’ve sold out of several of the wines bottled last year.

Still, they have enough on hand to pour you a glass to enjoy on site and send you home with your own bottles at the end of your visit. Or, if you prefer, they can serve you up a frozen Wine-A-Rita to enjoy on a warm summer night.

So whether you choose to pick your own fresh berries or enjoy the bacchanalian pleasures of O’Farrell wines, the Moore family will create a delicious memory for you here in East Texas.

For more information, visit O’Farrell Country Vineyards online, on Facebook or call 903-846-2054.