Friday, August 23, 2013
McKinney vineyard to open special events venue in 2014
The 15,000-square-foot building will include a tasting room, cellars, and overnight accommodations.
MCKINNEY The Mitas family knows a good grape when they see one, and thanks to a season of plentiful harvests, they are busy bottling a new batch of trademark wines they hope to share with patrons under a new roof.
Tucked inconspicuously between the borders of McKinney and Melissa are 122 acres lined with thriving grapevines waiting to be harvested by hand. Since 2005, Harold Mitas and his family have been growing the grapes to create six varietals, becoming part of the quickly growing culture in North Texas.
Recently, the family broke ground on a new facility. In June 2014, the vineyard will open a 15,000-square-foot special events venue, constructed on a hill overlooking the grapevines. The building -- which will include a wine tasting room, cellars and overnight accommodations -- will be able to facilitate everything from weddings to corporate retreats.
The desire to produce wine was not really in the cards for Harold and his family at first. But when they moved to McKinney from Michigan in 1992, they started to miss the sounds of home. Harold had been in a polka band for 30 years, so his children had grown up in the entertainment industry. The vineyard, daughter Michelle Beythan said, is sort of a means to an end.
Ultimately, she said, the goal was to get back into the entertainment business.
"Once you have grapevines you have to make wine. That wasn't the mission; it was part of the steps to get to this point," Beythan said. "Growing a good vineyard, making a good wine -- it was all in preparation for building a really nice event center and ultimately having just a ton of different events here."
Harold, whose farming experience stems from his childhood, said expanding the business has been an ongoing learning process. Just 10 years ago there were only around 25 or 30 vineyards and/or wineries in the state of Texas. There are now a couple hundred, but not all have been successful, Harold said.
As the family prepares for the next chapter, each member seems eager to connect with people in the community and beyond. Having already attracted people from places like Addison, Dallas, and Plano, things are already starting to feel like home, Harold said.
"We're just going back to what we used to be, this will create very familiar feelings," he said. "If somebody drives up, you take them for a tour, do some tasting with them and hope they leave before supper. The old band people never left before supper."
Mitas Hill Vineyard is located at 2005 Mitas Hill in McKinney and is open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Private appointments during the week are also available. For information, visit them on Facebook or at mitashillvineyard.com.
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