It's pretty awesome when you can cross an item off your Life List on your birthday (while getting drunk!). And last month, I did just that when I took a Virginia winery tour on the day I turned 33.
Now, yes I love wine, and yes, I have lived in Virginia most of my life and yes, while Virginia is no California or Washington, it is a fairly decent wine state, so you may be wondering why I've never in my 33 years been to a Virginia winery. The answer is logistics. I'm not a fan of drinking and driving and I'm not a fan of being a designated driver. So getting to a winery without mixing alcohol and automobiles is darn near impossible. We tend to stick to metro-accessible watering holes.
Getting to a winery is a whole lot easier, however, if your boyfriend rents you one of these:
Doesn't Larry have the best ideas? Being two days before Christmas, my birthday is extremely difficult to schedule around. Since childhood, I was always disappointed when no one could come to my birthday party or I had to celebrate it in January. But this year a few of my closest buddies took the day off from work to spend the day celebrating with me...and cruising around the Virginia countryside in a limo drinking wine. I'm a lucky girl to have such awesome friends!
The winery tour was amazing! We hit three wineries and a brewery, and it was one of the most fun days of my life (and definitely the best birthday)! To be honest, I really didn't think you could get that drunk from a wine tasting. We frequently go to wine tastings at local wine shops and I've never been the slightest bit tingly afterwards. But if you do three full wine tastings (usually about 8 wines each), a beer tasting, AND have a glass of wine at each winery, you will be drunk. Very very drunk. Which I suppose is an appropriate way to spend one's birthday! Thank goodness for the limo and our awesome driver, whose name I can't remember. (Probably because I was drunk.)
We started the tour at Sunset Hills Vineyard, which was just what you'd expect a winery to look like. It was located in a beautiful old red barn that was built in the 1800s, but had recently been restored by the Amish:
I typically strongly prefer red wines, but we all loved the whites at Sunset Hills. Virginia is home to some varietals I'd never tasted, and their Sunset White is a blend of Vidal Blanc, Chardonnay, and Viognier. We came home with several bottles of this wine.
After the tasting, we ordered a cheese and charcuterie basket and ate lunch (and drank more wine) on the mezzanine overlooking the winery.
The leftovers from the charcuterie basket are in my bag. "Is that a salami in your pocket...?"
Then it was back in the limo...
...and on to stop #2: Corcoran Vineyards. We arrived at an unassuming little house, and when we went inside the tasting room discovered that we were actually in a log cabin built in 1750 - low ceilings, sloped floors, fireplace - could not have been more cozy! Pouring the wines was Lori Corcoran, the winemaker herself - and she was super outgoing, friendly, hilarious, extremely knowledgeable, AND she makes great wine! Every wine at Corcoran was fantastic and I just cannot say enough good things about this place!
But Corcoran is not just a winery. They also have a brewery. This is where things start getting a little fuzzy...
They had cute little beers...
...and a cute little puppy!
"Hey lady, is that salami in your pocket...?"
Did I say things got a little fuzzy? I meant a lot fuzzy.
Step 1: Drink lots of little beers! Step 2: Get hiccups.So we filled up our growlers and then got back in the limo...
Our final stop was Breaux Vineyards. I don't remember much of this place except I really had to pee. And the wines were good, too.
After our full day of alcohol consumption, the limo driver got us safely home (and even snapped our picture)...
...so we could consume more alcohol. Some friends who couldn't make it on the wine tour stopped by, and the celebrations continued into the evening. I'm fairly certain I drank more wine and beer, drunk dialed my mother, and then watched the boys set off various explosives.
Despite the fact that I was hungover all of Christmas Eve, the winery tour was a great time and I can't wait to do it again. I was highly impressed with the quality of Virginia wines and am now a little obsessed with visiting more local vineyards - there are over 200 in the state alone.
That should keep me busy...