Just for Fun: West Sandy Creek Winery


Looking for an enjoyable and relaxing experience…something out of the ordinary, above average, even spectacular?

Look no further than West Sandy Creek Winery, located in Richards, Texas on FM 1791, approximately 15 miles from Huntsville and only an hour from Houston. Whether it is a four-course formal dinner, a corporate event, or a night of murder mystery mayhem (complete with buffet), you will find an exciting extravaganza at this secluded and beautiful setting tucked in ever-so-nicely next to the Sam Houston National Forest. The only thing that won’t be a mystery is the experience you will have, for quality and excellence are guaranteed.

The dream of owners Stanley and Peggy McGinley became a reality with the purchase of 360 acres in 2007. Planting began in 2009 and has since resulted in a vineyard of 15 acres, producing three varieties of grapes. After the first planting in 2009, clippings were rough pruned and planted, resulting in repropagated grapes that now populate the vineyard. This allows the winery to be a “farm to table” operation, ensuring complete quality control over all aspects of the products offered. As son Sandy McGinley enthusiastically states, “We make the best wine we can from grapes grown in Walker County. Everything is from here. It is local and Texan all the way!”

WSCW is a family-run business and has enjoyed a partnership with several local institutions over the years, one being Sam Houston State University. SHSU interns have been employed in various aspects of the business, and WSCW is proud to have former intern Morgan Mooney as their winemaker. The WSCW team has crafted a number of award-winning wines. The 2018 Texas Blanc du Bois Sweet won Best in Class in the Texas International Wine Competition in January 2019. The 2018 Texas Lenoir won gold, and the other 6 wines entered into competition all won silver medals. WSCW has also benefitted from a partnership with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Texas A&M Viticulture Extension Program Specialist Fritz Westover, now in private practice, has in the past and continues to advise the WSCW team on best practices and vineyard maintenance in order to achieve the high-quality products for which the winery has become known. As Sandy gratefully expresses, “We are proud of our associations with these institutions and hope to continue to enrich these partnerships as we go forward.”

Diego Varela, Tasting Room Manager, adds his culinary skill to the guests’ experience through his artful and delectable tapas platters, a combination of meats, cheeses, olives, crackers, and fruit which pair beautifully with the fine selection of wines. In addition to overseeing the quality and service associated with all culinary fare, Diego helps to ensure that a gracious atmosphere prevails for the pleasure and enjoyment of each guest.

Back row from left: Sandy McGinley, family friend Valeria Zanovello, Ingrid McGinley
Front row from left: Stan McGinley, Peggy McGinley, Diana McGinley Alyesworth

Looking for a place to relax and kick back with family and friends? Four rustic and luxuriously appointed log cabins grace the property providing lodging for families, groups, or individuals who seek to enjoy the quietness of the National forest area and time together. All rentals include full kitchens and space to unwind in well-appointed rooms. A tour of the ranch is available and outdoor space abounds, with the winery and tasting room nearby. Whether it is a family reunion, a corporate retreat, a quilting or other interest group, or individuals, WSCW is a destination favorite. A delightful experience awaits everyone! Parents can savor a platter of tapas and sip their favorite wines on the covered veranda as they watch their children feed exotic animals and roam and play in the extensive outdoor area. Has your child seen a zebronkey? This is the place where they can not only see one but feed it, too! Ahhhh! Plenty of photo opportunities await your family’s visit to WSCW! According to Sandy, “I enjoy seeing families here! It is one of my favorite experiences as manager of the business.”

Sunshine (Zebra ) & Mac (Zonkie)

The winery and tasting room can accommodate a large corporate event, with full Wi-Fi and a flat-screen monitor/TV available. Local businesses have utilized the facility for meetings and dinner events. A number of weddings are already on the books for 2020, as well as the parade of calendar events that are becoming regular fare at WSCW. One of the monthly events, scheduled on the first Friday night of each month, is a four-course plated-dinner complete with a wine pairing for each course. This formal dinner has become popular and well-attended with many repeat guests in attendance.

In September, the winery hosted its first Murder Mystery Dinner, a total success from the first appetizer through final arrest! And the verdict is in…. let’s do this again! The next Murder Mystery Dinner is scheduled for Friday, January 17, 2020. Tickets for all events, including formal dinners, murder mystery dinners, live music, and other offerings are available online at Eventbrite. A link is provided on the WSCW website to access this site for tickets. The first music event on October 26 proved to be a hit, ensuring similar events will be scheduled in the future. As Sandy remarks, “We have a good starting point on infrastructure and, as we go forward, more events will be taken into consideration. We have found several types of events to be very popular, and we hope to continue these and add to the successful foundation we have established. We want WSCW to be a destination place for many major events, including weddings, retreats, corporate meetings, and family reunions. We have much to offer at WSCW and much to be enjoyed!”

Looking to the future, Sandy shares an exciting new development that is in the planning stages. “WSCW is working with other nearby wineries to offer a wine trail to showcase the award-winning wines and spectacular scenery of the Huntsville/Walker County area. We look forward to announcing the details in the coming months.”

For the present time, a spectacular experience awaits you at West Sandy Creek Winery. For many reasons– including fun and relaxation, gathering time with friends and family, good food and excellent wines–a trip to the winery will be well worth your time…a trip that you just might repeat on a regular basis!

For general information, including hours of operation and cabin rental fees, go to www.wscwinery.com, email them at [email protected] or call 936-436- 9050. The address is 1 Winery Road, 1773 FM 1791, Richards, Texas 77873. It is midway between Montgomery and Huntsville. For best driving information, enter Blue Bonnet Hill on Google Maps, and it will take you directly to the winery.


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