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Gonzo Report: Fallbrook winery hosting hundreds of moves

“Country line dancing ain’t what it used to be”

Country Wine Dancing: a complicated business.
Country Wine Dancing: a complicated business.

The heavy rains and windy roads on SR-76 leading into Fallbrook added to the adventure of my January 15 visit to the Country Wine Dancing shindig at Monserate Winery. As I pulled up around 6 pm, I wondered if I was in the right spot. It was dark, and my shoddy GPS had directed me to turn a block or so early, so I wound up in a dirt lot. Luckily, the blare from the nearby James Kelly Band assured me that I was not far away from my destination. I followed the country music through the northwest San Diego County air, and a minute later, pulled into a vast parking lot that was packed with cars and lifted trucks surrounding an enormous industrial tent.

Place

Monserate Winery

2757 Gird Road, Fallbrook

Between 200 and 300 people were already at the party, and at any given moment, around 25 to 50 of them were line dancing to the live music. Others were sitting at tables, conversing, laughing, and eating tacos or slice of Margherita or meatball pizza slices. The venue’s house wines flowed freely, and many toasts were being made. Band singer James Kelly rocked a thick brown ZZ Top-style beard. Jerry Deex accompanied Kelly on drums, with Chris Harris on bass, and Kyle Krogh on lead guitar. The band played original country music, and also covered twangy hits that ranged from classic to contemporary. Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” and Luke Bryan’s “Country Girl” proved popular.

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Line dancing instructor Sabrina Schneider requested that I jump into her group tutorial with around 25 other eager learners. Schneider yelled into the mic, “To the right, to the left, move back, forward touch, back touch, step and turn, scuff right foot forward, turn three quarters turn to left. And repeat!”

“That was easy,” I told the girls dancing next to me. “Cheers,” I added, holding up my glass of red wine. They smiled cordially and continued the dance lesson, which resembled the Electric Slide, a four-wall line dance. As we beginners took a break, Schneider continued dancing, inviting more dancers to join her. This cued James Kelly’s group to play “Texas Time,” a 2018 Keith Urban hit.

Cowboy hats and boots were sartorial staples. I rocked a plaid shirt, a puffy hunter-style vest, blue jeans, and a trucker hat. A few dancers, including dance instructor Schneider, wore purposely distressed and/or ripped jeans. The girls next to me had lots of rhinestones on their belt buckles, jackets, and boots. One peculiar thing I noticed about the line dances was that each song played by the live band had a full-on unique dance routine to accompany it — a routine which the dancers knew and danced to in a synchronized fashion. My background is hip-hop and breaking, in which each dancer’s performance is unique. I had to admit that line dancing seemed like it was more fun to learn, at least when you’re in a large group.

“Country line dancing ain’t what it used to be,” said Wayne Peters, who attended the party to learn the 2023 routines. “It’s changed. They are now fusing different genres into the dances. Look, that’s strutting and Smurfing.” Peters pointed to Schneider, the instructor, as she moved her arms like a freestyle swimmer. “And that’s like the salsa and merengue” Peters added, noting the back-and-forth foot movements. “My sister and I used to do line dancing at a country night club in Imperial Beach on Saturn and Palm,” said Peters. Back then, “we only had 25 sets of dance moves. Nowadays, there are hundreds.” I ditched Peters and headed to the bar.

Josh Work, events manager for the 116-acre vineyard, poured me a couple of glasses of red wine. “This is one of our newer wines,” he said. “We named it Ruscello, which means ‘creek’ or ‘stream’ in Italian. We have an old historic creek that runs through the entire property.” As a relatively new winery, the venue owners wanted to expand their ability to hold and host social events, events such as this Sunday night gathering. After I drank my wine, I walked back to the dance floor and realized I had caught a buzz.

Bandleader Kelly dedicated the next song, a slow one, to the women present. “My wife has been nothing but supportive for everything and everywhere we go — by far my biggest fan, although she is not shy in telling me when I’m off. Gotta love her for that.” I couldn’t find a person to slow dance with, so I sat that one out.

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Country Wine Dancing: a complicated business.
Country Wine Dancing: a complicated business.

The heavy rains and windy roads on SR-76 leading into Fallbrook added to the adventure of my January 15 visit to the Country Wine Dancing shindig at Monserate Winery. As I pulled up around 6 pm, I wondered if I was in the right spot. It was dark, and my shoddy GPS had directed me to turn a block or so early, so I wound up in a dirt lot. Luckily, the blare from the nearby James Kelly Band assured me that I was not far away from my destination. I followed the country music through the northwest San Diego County air, and a minute later, pulled into a vast parking lot that was packed with cars and lifted trucks surrounding an enormous industrial tent.

Place

Monserate Winery

2757 Gird Road, Fallbrook

Between 200 and 300 people were already at the party, and at any given moment, around 25 to 50 of them were line dancing to the live music. Others were sitting at tables, conversing, laughing, and eating tacos or slice of Margherita or meatball pizza slices. The venue’s house wines flowed freely, and many toasts were being made. Band singer James Kelly rocked a thick brown ZZ Top-style beard. Jerry Deex accompanied Kelly on drums, with Chris Harris on bass, and Kyle Krogh on lead guitar. The band played original country music, and also covered twangy hits that ranged from classic to contemporary. Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” and Luke Bryan’s “Country Girl” proved popular.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Line dancing instructor Sabrina Schneider requested that I jump into her group tutorial with around 25 other eager learners. Schneider yelled into the mic, “To the right, to the left, move back, forward touch, back touch, step and turn, scuff right foot forward, turn three quarters turn to left. And repeat!”

“That was easy,” I told the girls dancing next to me. “Cheers,” I added, holding up my glass of red wine. They smiled cordially and continued the dance lesson, which resembled the Electric Slide, a four-wall line dance. As we beginners took a break, Schneider continued dancing, inviting more dancers to join her. This cued James Kelly’s group to play “Texas Time,” a 2018 Keith Urban hit.

Cowboy hats and boots were sartorial staples. I rocked a plaid shirt, a puffy hunter-style vest, blue jeans, and a trucker hat. A few dancers, including dance instructor Schneider, wore purposely distressed and/or ripped jeans. The girls next to me had lots of rhinestones on their belt buckles, jackets, and boots. One peculiar thing I noticed about the line dances was that each song played by the live band had a full-on unique dance routine to accompany it — a routine which the dancers knew and danced to in a synchronized fashion. My background is hip-hop and breaking, in which each dancer’s performance is unique. I had to admit that line dancing seemed like it was more fun to learn, at least when you’re in a large group.

“Country line dancing ain’t what it used to be,” said Wayne Peters, who attended the party to learn the 2023 routines. “It’s changed. They are now fusing different genres into the dances. Look, that’s strutting and Smurfing.” Peters pointed to Schneider, the instructor, as she moved her arms like a freestyle swimmer. “And that’s like the salsa and merengue” Peters added, noting the back-and-forth foot movements. “My sister and I used to do line dancing at a country night club in Imperial Beach on Saturn and Palm,” said Peters. Back then, “we only had 25 sets of dance moves. Nowadays, there are hundreds.” I ditched Peters and headed to the bar.

Josh Work, events manager for the 116-acre vineyard, poured me a couple of glasses of red wine. “This is one of our newer wines,” he said. “We named it Ruscello, which means ‘creek’ or ‘stream’ in Italian. We have an old historic creek that runs through the entire property.” As a relatively new winery, the venue owners wanted to expand their ability to hold and host social events, events such as this Sunday night gathering. After I drank my wine, I walked back to the dance floor and realized I had caught a buzz.

Bandleader Kelly dedicated the next song, a slow one, to the women present. “My wife has been nothing but supportive for everything and everywhere we go — by far my biggest fan, although she is not shy in telling me when I’m off. Gotta love her for that.” I couldn’t find a person to slow dance with, so I sat that one out.

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The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

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The Wilma to Power

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Dr. Colin Meurk seeks to save ancient New Zealand

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