On a nice snowy day this week, I suggested to my husband that we visit one of the many vineyards in the area. Since my husband loves to drive in the snow, he agreed, and we took a short trip over nearby country roads to a lovely vineyard. We were greeted by a friendly tasting room attendant who informed us we arrived just in time to join a daily tour. No one else was on the tour (probably due to the snow) but we went for it. We tramped through the snow to the vineyard which stretched out 50 acres. The vines were about 30 years old and are producing better and better grapes each year, according to the guide. The picking takes place every September. I would like to return in the summer to see this!
We then marched back to the barrel room where the wine making process was explained to us. A few years ago, my sister’s friend invited us for a VIP tour at a vineyard she had business connections with. Thus, I already knew quite a bit and had seen behind the scenes. My husband was also familiar with wine making as his family makes more than 6 tonnes annually at their house-his country is the possible birthplace of wine according to many archaeological expeditions.
Anyway, it is always great to learn interesting facts. For example, each French oak barrel (made in France, of course!) costs $1,000 and is only used 3 times. No wonder coopers still have a job! I saw a neat video about coopers at the Guinness storehouse in Dublin. Very cool stuff. The bottling room was off limits this time around but I think it would be neat to see as well.
We returned to the tasting room and my husband tried a chardonnay and a white blend. I chose a Gewurztraminer and two special blends. One of the red blends is a gold medal winner that the owner of the vineyard created himself. Originally, the vineyard was started by a French-German couple but it was purchased 5-6 years ago by a Shanghai millionaire who has a passion for wines and wanted to add a vineyard to his portfolio. He was shopping in France but ended up purchasing this one. Apparently, he comes to visit every few months and creates award winning blends every year. Since he took over, the economics of this winery have improved. Not bad!
My husband chose the chardonnay and I the Gewurztraminer to purchase and take home. The attendant gave us a little discount and we were on our way. We definitely plan to return in better weather to enjoy the property as well as check out some of the other local vineyards. Until you get out and have a look around, you never realize what gems may exist so nearby.