Sunday, August 04, 2013

Impromptu Wine Tour

Among the more notable adventures in June during my brief time at home was a very fun wine tour in the part of Michigan that is actually close to Indiana. This came about after an accidental discovery of the wineries last year when driving out to see the Grand Mere. On the drive back from the dunes, I kept noticing signs for wineries, until eventually I convinced my love to pull over so we could go see. He happily drove me around to two of the places that were open, but as it was late (and I was entirely unprepared for surprise wineries) I did not manage to do too much but sip a few things and then pack back into the car.

Sitting in the living room one quiet evening, my love piped up and asked “Do you want to go do a wine tour this weekend?”

“What do you mean?”

“We could rent a car and drive around Michigan and you could go to the wineries.”

“Are you serious?”


“You don’t mind?”


“Is this some sort of trick?”


“Okay, I’m in.”

And so it was that I spent a very happy summer solstice in the front seat of a car being driven around to the many wineries of Michiganor at least as many as my liver could process in the amount of time allowed. The route was designed so that we could start with lunch at Tabor Hill, since I wanted to feed my boy, and then we would move on to the Round Barn, Free Run, and one more to be named. Whatever came up was my thinking, or if we had time left.

It took us awhile but we managed to find Tabor Hill after a short trip to the Grand Mere. Having failed to buy a parking passport, we couldn’t park in the normal spot, and my shoes were not appropriate for scaling the dune from the back. The dog was less than amused, but we drove on to lunch anyway. At Tabor Hill I sampled a couple of wines, but being familiar with the brand I didn’t really find any surprises there, so we ended up leaving after lunch to hit the Round Barn.

At the barn, I sampled several wines and settled on two American White wines for a dinner party in Chicago. Though I’m not a fan of white, I have friends who are and I thought that might be happily received with the seafood feast we had planned in the city. I also picked up a bottle of bourbon, but failed to get a bottle of the Round Barn Divine Vodka, which really and truly is Divine!

From there we were getting a bit into the afternoon, so we headed off to the Free Run winery. This one was rather new, so I was excited to try it out and see what they had. As we drove up we ran into someone directing traffic who asked a question that neither of us heard very well so we just assumed the answer was no.

At this point we had been driving around all day, and while I was happily drinking wine, and feeling better and better about the day, my boy would walk the dog on the pretty grounds. At this particular winery, however there did not seem to be much of a place to walk. I promised to make it quick as I didn’t want to torture the Boy or the dog, and went in. Upon entering I walked up to find out how the tasting worked at this winery. It was very much like the others, where you paid around eight dollars to get a free glass and chips to taste up to eight different wines. While asking, a women entered through a back door with a pair of Pomeranians in a stroller. I wondered about this for a moment and then noticed a large friendly lab sniffing the smaller dogs as the owners talked. I turned around.

“So, uh, what’s with the dogs?”

“Oh, it’s our Wine and Wags event.”

“Wine and Wags?”

“Yep, the winery is open to owners and their dogs today. Although dogs are always welcome here; we are a dog-friendly winery.”

“Oh really? You mind if I leave this here a moment? My love is waiting for me in the car with a dog and I think they would both enjoy this.”

“Sure,” said the perky girl behind the counter.

So out I dashed to grab the Boy and the dog, both of whom were curious enough. Gracey did not approve of Pomeranians in the stroller and immediately started to bark, which is unusual, since she rarely ever barks at all. This lead to her being hustled more quickly into the winery while I discovered I hated cherry cordial but loved the Zinfandel that this winery produced. I went outside to find the Boy and have a full class of the Zinfandel and meet the other dogs. Gracey was making lots of friends and, since she is a gigantic werewolf, helping the dogs who had heretofore been the biggest does seemed more charming.

We walked about and up and down through the vines, looking at all the wine that would be, and enjoying the very pleasant weather while drinking among the branches. It was absolutely heaven. After asking about, I discovered that Wine and Wags was an annual event and we had just managed to stumble upon it. I was pleased.

After that, we discovered what was my favorite winery of the dayalthough Free Run gave it a run for the money: the Gravity. This new winery did a tasting that included wine and food pairings, and had some amazingly good wines on tap. I wanted to buy a bottle of everything, but settled for another bottle of an American Zinfandel and marked it as a return to later. I ended up getting a full glass of the wine I liked, while convincing my boy to come and join me for a bit of a small margarita pizza before I was eventually driven home. Where I relaxed in my favorite chair, happy, amused, and sipped wine until I was very gently put to bed. 

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