A visit to French Lick Winery, in Indiana, isn’t just for tasting wine. The winery is home to a café, a distillery, and a gift shop. While their wines are always great no matter what your tastes are, a visit to the café is a “must do”.
A couple of weeks ago, we decided that it had been too long since our last visit and made the trip one Friday. For us, it is about a three hour drive but it is really worth it. There were some changes since our last visit, such as the décor, the gift shop, and the variety of tastes offered by the Spirits of French Lick Distillery, but the wine and the food were still the same – excellent!
My apologies to Bill Oliver and the folks at Oliver Winery. Their excellent vineyard is named Creekbend. Some of their best wines come from the grapes from that vineyard, such as Vidal Blanc, Cabernet Doré, Chambourcin, Traminette, Vignoles, Crimson Cabernet, and Noir.
Sorry for my lack of editing.by admin
As we have many times in the past, we spent the last weekend in May celebrating our Anniversary (51, this year) at Nashville, Indiana. At the exact time of our anniversary, we were sharing a bottle of wine at a table under the trees by the lake at Oliver Winery.
Having visited Oliver the first time about twenty-five years ago, we’ve seen many changes. From the new winery building, to the new expanded tasting room, to the new wines from their Creekside Vineyard, Oliver winery has grown to be the largest winery in Indiana and one of the largest in the eastern United States. The winery was started in the 1960s by Bill Oliver’s father, but took off when Bill Oliver became the owner in the 1980s. When we visited first in early 1990s, the winery was still small and the tasting room a cozy building that still hosts special tastings on the grounds. What was the same was the beautiful lake next to the winery with the surrounding trees making it the perfect spot to picnic with a bottle of wine and the cheese and fresh baguette sold in the tasting room.
This visit we were treated to perfect weather that made sitting outside a great way to celebrate our special day. We did share a memory when we noticed the graveled walks that allow visitors to enjoy a walk down the hill to the lake. On one of our early visits, we were sitting by the lake and wanted to get a second glass of wine. I walked up to the tasting room, got our wine and started back down to our table. As you might be guessing there were no walkways then, it had rained a shower earlier, and I immediately slipped and slid down the hill on my bottom. Wearing white jeans that day, I was a mess but I’m proud to say not a drop of wine was spilled.
Oliver Winery should be on the to-do list of all wine lovers in the area. There’s wines to suit all tastes, from the driest to the sweetest. Their wines, the beauty of the grounds, the lovely tasting room, and the knowledgeable staff have made Oliver one of the east’s most popular wineries.
Yes, I realize that doesn’t sound like it’s wine related; and it’s not, except we had some really good wine on the way there and the way home. We visited Forest Edge Winery, in southern Bullitt County. An excellent start and end to a great weekend visiting Nashville, Tennessee.
While in Nashville, we did a little bar hopping on Broadway and visited the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum. Our stops at Tootsie’s and Old Red were both enjoyable; and along with the regular exhibits that make the museum a must see, there were special exhibits on the Outlaws, Emmylou Harris, and Little Big Town.
But the highlight of our visit was the concert honoring Willie Nelson. Over twenty well-known entertainers were there to pay tribute to Willie, with performances by greats, such as: Kris Kristofferson, Chris Stapleton, Emmylou Harris, George Strait, Vince Gill, Norah Jones, Lyle Lovett, Dave Matthews, Jimmy Buffett, Willie’s sons Lukas and Micah, Jamey Johnson and many more. Several were joined on the stage by Willie himself. The finale was the entire ensemble on stage to perform On the Road Again, but that wasn’t all. The all-star line up followed that up by Will the Circle be Unbroken, I’ll Fly Away, and Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die. It was an amazing concert!
For those wine lovers who are country music fans, like we are, keep an eye out. The show was taped and will be shown on A & E sometime this year. I can’t wait to see it again!
One of the best wineries in Central Virginia is very small and visitors are welcomed to an intimate tasting room with service from members of the family. Aromas of freshly baked bread fill the room as you walk in and you get to taste some of the bread along with your wines.
Gabriele Rausse Winery is set in the middle of a wooded area. One could miss finding it, if they are not careful. But take care because you certainly don’t want to miss it. Each wine you are poured in of great quality. It’s just a matter of finding the one you like to best. We love the red blend, Rosso. The flavors and aromas are perfectly suited to any Italian wine lovers tastes.
This visit as we were leaving I noticed a white called Malvasia Bianca. They were basically out of it but I was able to taste it. The wine has the aromas of tropical fruits and flowers. The flavors are tropical as well. Most wines made with Malvasia Bianca are done somewhat sweet, at the very least off dry. This one however was dry and delicious. I was able to purchase their last bottle, and opened it this week. My memories of how good the wine was were not exaggerated. Hopefully, there will be more in the future at the winery.
We made our fifth visit to Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery earlier this month and have agreed that they just get better and better with each visit. The grounds, the vineyard, the gorgeous villa tasting room, and the amazing wines combine to make Raffaldini one of the premier wineries in North Carolina. They are definitely our favorite!
We visited Virginia again this summer and spent three days visiting Barboursville: staying and relaxing at the 1804 Inn, tasting reserve wines in the Library at the tasting room, dining at the Palladio Restaurant, exploring the Octagon room, the grapes and the grounds around the vineyard, and the ruins of the Governors mansion, and finally buying wine in the gift shop before leaving. It was fabulous! Hope you enjoy a few of our photos.
When we visit Virginia, we try to find new places to visit, especially wineries, but never expected to find “a land called Honah Lee”. We didn’t get to meet Puff the Magic Dragon, but we did get to meet Eric Hopwood, winemaker. He does create some magic with his wines. We had the opportunity to talk to the winemaker and taste some really great wines.
Just outside of Gordonsville, in Central Virginia, Honah Lee Vineyard is open every day for tastings of their wines as well as some from some other Virginia wineries. The tasting room is in a lovely, cozy, welcoming location. The building itself is small, but is surrounded by grounds that just seem to invite visitors to enjoy themselves with beautiful well-kept flowers and a delightful patio. Besides tastings, they also have events, such as catered dinners and hosted weddings.
The vineyard with 30 acres of grapes, has been in operation since 1992, and has been selling grapes to many Virginia wineries. A few years ago they began making their own wines. The decision was a good one. Of the wines we tasted, our favorite was a Malbec, poured by the winemaker. Malbec wines are robust, flavorful dry red wines, usually from South American wineries. This Virginia Malbec is excellent. The other wines we tasted were also very well made and very tasty.
They also operate Berrywood Crafters and have some delicious treats, such as jams and jellies on sale at the tasting room. While the name was intriguing, we were drawn to the Cran-Ghost Pepper Jelly, but did have to bring home the Basil Jelly and Onion-Pepper Jam. They were quite good.
The visit was great and we have already planned our visit for next summer. If you happen to be in Central Virginia, take time to visit this little “land called Honah Lee.” You’ll be glad you did!
Wine lovers visiting Central Virginia should plan a trip to Gabrielle Rausse Winery. The wines have been around for quite some time, but the tasting room has only been open a couple of years. The setting is lovely amid the trees on a Virginia side road, but you won’t find lots of signs leading to the winery, visitors might even have trouble finding the tasting room. The small sign hanging from a piece of construction equipment that leads you to the drive is easy to miss. Once you find the winery, however, you will consider yourself lucky that you kept looking. The wine is superb. The bread served while tasting and the atmosphere are excellent.
We’ve been two times and enjoyed ourselves very much. Wine lovers will find the wine to be worth the trip. I recommend a visit.
Believe it or not, these photos were taken in the mountains in eastern North Carolina. The villa, the décor, the grapes in the vineyard, and the wine, would all be right at home in the wine regions of Italy. Villa Raffaldini, a 6,000 square foot tasting room is inspired by the villas in the Lombardy region of Italy; a slogan of the winery is Chianti in the Carolinas. We discovered this gem of a winery three years ago and have visited each year since then.
Italy is reflected in the choice of the grapes grown and the wines they produce. Montepulciano and Sangiovese are the predominant grapes featured on their wine list. Many visitors to the tasting room are somewhat familiar with these varietals due to the popularity of Italian restaurants, where these full-bodied reds are paired with pastas and other Italian dishes. Whites, such as, Pinot Grigio and Vermentino are also regularly enjoyed by many Americans. What visitors may not be accustomed to is the quality and depth of wine that these varietals produce in North Carolina. Every wine at this winery is exceptional. Our favorite is possibly a red blend, called Bella Misto. Italian for beautiful mix, this wine is a blend of those wonderful Italian grapes Montepulciano and Sangiovese with Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Pinot Noir. The result is a medium-bodied red with savory aromas and flavors of dark fruits. For those who enjoy a dry Rosé, their Girasole (Italian for sunflower) is made from the free run juice, skins for only 24 hours, from Montepulciano and Sangiovese. This wine has earthy aromas and flavors of red cherries.
Off the beaten bath, on many side roads after you leave I-77, it is worth finding. Use their directions map on the website (check my link) or use a GPS. I definitely recommend a visit. Any wine lover will find a lot to enjoy and want to return over and over. I certainly do!