One of the funniest things that happened at a winery visit was one of the shortest. We were at a winery in West Virginia and tasted a red wine. It was labeled simply Red Wine. My husband asked what kind of grape was used in the wine. The woman who was pouring for our tasting looked confused a second, then she said “Red”. What else is there to say!by admin
When we first started visiting wineries and doing tasting, we believed that if a 1 or 2 ounce sample tasted great, it would be a good idea to buy lots of wine to take home. Talk about naive! We were tasting at a winery in Indiana and the wine we were given in tasting glasses seemed really, really good. So when it came time to leave, we bought a mixed case of the two wines we liked. When we opened one of the bottles a couple of weeks later, it wasn’t at all what we expected. In truth, it wasn’t even good. We didn’t learn our lesson quickly and this happened again with wine from a winery in Kentucky.
The moral of this story is that when you are tasting several wines sometimes the flavors blend together. A good rule at a new winery is stay a while and drink a glass of wine. If it still tastes good, it’s safe to buy more. We finally learned our lesson!by admin
This one is one of the most unusual experiences we’ve had when going wine tasting.
Sometimes a winery doesn’t really have a tasting room but are open for tastings. I’m not talking about the ones who have a room with a separate entrance, like a converted garage, or even one that has a tasting room in their basement with its own door. What I mean is walking into their living room with a bar in the corner. The family bathroom is the used for visitors. It doesn’t even seem like it would be legal.
We’ve done wine tastings in each of these venues. The oddest experience was in Pennsylvania, don’t even know where we were, just on our way home from a trip. We had just finished a late lunch and thought a tasting would be a fun way to end our trip and start home. We found where the winery was supposed to be, drove up the drive and found two couples drinking outside of a house. We were sure the map was wrong and started to turn around and leave. One of the men comes to the car and asked if we wanted to taste some wine. Being adventurous we said sure and got out. What followed was one of the oddest tastings ever. Wine brought out in ice water glasses (often) without explanation of the grapes at all; a trip to the restroom gave us a view of “the tasting bar”, it seemed more like drinking at a friends home (but we were strangers).
Interesting experience, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Getting rained in at your favorite winery can be an interesting experience –good and bad. We were finishing up a tasting and getting ready to leave for the day when a major deluge decided to hit Virginia. The Virginians in the winery were rather excited since it had been a long hot summer without rain. Since we were on vacation, we decided to just make the best of a bad situation, order a glass of wine, and wait out the downpour.
Now comes the bad part; it wasn’t just rain. Hail started coming down quite hard. The noise sounded like a major storm was setting in. Thankfully it was short. However, when we left the winery to get in the car, we found quite a bit of hail damage to my Toyota Celica. When we got home, and had it appraised we needed a new hood and a complete paint job. A fun day turned out to have bad results. Thank goodness for the insurance. In the long run, the wine visit was worth it.by admin
You might have heard that you should eat before going wine tasting. But if you’re an inexperienced taster you might not think it matters, after all most tastings offer crackers. Believe me, it’s sound advice.
A lot of my favorite wine adventures happened at Barboursville Vineyards and Winery, my favorite winery. This one was our first trip there. We were novices to tasting good wines. (Yes, it was a long time ago.) We had planned a day of visiting several wineries and planned to eat breakfast on our way to the first winery, but we were staying in the country and the winery is in the country and there were no restaurants to be found. We decided to stop at Barboursville and eat before the next one which was closer to town. Big mistake! The pourer that day at the winery had graduated from UVA the night before and wanted to celebrate. Her pours for us (and herself) were quite generous. We tasted several wines and were quite toasted by the time we left.
Moral of the story, wine tasting is lots of fun, but you need a nice meal before you start your wine tour.by admin
Kentucky’s wineries are open! After 70 days of Wine Sayings, let’s move on and try something new.
While browsing the blog, I realized I’d forgotten to continue with my Wining Adventures. So here’s some new tipsy tales.
We were traveling to Nashville for a weekend and found a winery that was a convenient stop along the way. The winery was run by an older couple and the tasting room was full of antiques and decorative items to purchase. To tell the truth, I don’t even remember the wine; but the tasting experience was a story we’ve told over and over. While we and two other couples waited to taste the wine, the woman brought us a dish of crackers and small cubes of cheese, which of course is not unusual. It became odd when we were given instructions on the proper time to eat the cracker, taste the wine, and eat the cheese. We thought that was a bit much but when she gently smacked the hand of the man next to us when he didn’t follow directions was what made it such a good story. We were laughing when we left the winery.by admin
You know you’re a wine lover when…
You know you’re a wine lover when you rent a motel room for your wine. While it wasn’t a large room and I wouldn’t give it four stars, it had the two important qualities we were looking for at the time – it was air conditioned and it was in the United States.
A few years ago, we were on a trip to Niagara Falls. As we left Kentucky and drove north, we visited wineries in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York on our way. Of course, we tasted wines and found many too good to pass up. We bought two cases of wine. That’s what caused our dilemma. Our reservations for the night were in Canada, and as we discovered that you were only allowed to take alcoholic beverages that you planned to consume while there. We only planned to stay one night. We’re both wine lovers and have drank a lot; but we were sure the border crossing guards would not believe we planned to drink two cases in twenty four hours. We needed a plan.
It is legal to ship wine to yourself, but it is quite costly and you have to be at home to sign for it when it arrives at your Kentucky home. That wouldn’t work, but what would? After some thought, we realized that the New York side of the falls had an awful lot of inexpensive motels. We found one close to our route, found they had a vacancy, rented the room, unloaded our wine, turned down the air conditioner, locked the room, and headed for the border. Problem solved.
We crossed the border and enjoyed a day and evening exploring the falls on the Canadian side. The views are gorgeous and the visit was an exceptional experience. The next day, we checked out of our Canadian hotel, crossed the border, checked our wine out of its room, and spent an enjoyable day visiting the American falls.
The wine, by the way, was worth the price of the room!
Since the 1970s, when the movie Deliverance was released, an experience that occurs off the beaten path makes people think of dueling banjos and feel uneasy. Well, everyone who has visited a vineyard and winery knows that they are often in remote (let’s not say godforsaken) areas. When you visit a lot of wineries, your chances of arriving at the boondocks is inevitable. We’ve had a few trips to the back of beyond and heard the banjos.
Years ago, we were driving around Virginia touring wineries. We found a winery that appealed to us that was near the city of Lynchburg. (As a side note, I’m glad we went as the winery closed a couple of years later.) Being near a city does not always assure a suburban atmosphere. As we were following directions, we drove further and further into what appeared the middle of nowhere. And, of course, all of a sudden we needed a rest stop. We found what might graciously be called a service station. Our arrival aroused a lot of attention from those standing around. Being somewhat desperate, while my husband pumped gas, I went inside to ask about the facilities. That’s when the banjos began dueling in my head. As the three people behind the counter (who all would have been at home in a Grizzly Adams episode) watched me walk in, I bravely asked if they had a restroom. The answer was a resounding “out back”. Not the answer I was hoping for but as I said – desperate times. Though it seemed unlikely at the time, we made it to the winery and had a really nice time.
Our next most notable Deliverance experience was in Kentucky and was truly the fault of Google maps. Everyone has gotten used to relying on Google or GPS to find places. Heads up, this is not always a good idea. While we were visiting wineries across Kentucky for the book I was writing, we got directions for a winery outside of Morehead. The directions were a bit odd because it sent us to the winery one way and home from the winery another, but we thought there must be a good reason. Hardly, the directions to the winery seemed to be designed to make sure we heard the banjos. Carefully following the steps led us off the paved highway to a gravel road. As we drove, the road seemed to get more isolated with no sign of human habitation. Then all of a sudden we saw what looked like a junkyard with what might be a garage. What seemed like about ten mountain men walked towards the road and monitored our car as we drove past. Making sure the doors were locked, we continued on our way. We finally reached the winery, tasted wine, asked questions, and took photographs. We left the winery using the other directions and almost immediately reached a highway that led through rows of homes.
The moral of the story is that when you’re a wine lover and the trip results in finding wine, the journey is worth it, even when the background music is dueling banjos.
Stay tuned for another wine adventure next week.
Have you ever visited a winery and had such an unusual experience that it seems surreal, like the first time you realize that you really do need to eat before tasting wines or when you got lost because the Google directions were all wrong? As a wine lover that has been visiting wineries for over twenty-five years, the stories are endless. I’m adding a new category called Adventures in Wining. The tales will be funny, odd, surprising, or maybe all three. Look for the first installment tomorrow.
Hope you enjoy our adventures.by admin