Monday, January 30, 2012

life list #55: visit a winery/vineyard

virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
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:
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
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:
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
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.virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
The leftovers from the charcuterie basket are in my bag. "Is that a salami in your pocket...?"
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
Then it was back in the limo...
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
Thirty-three!

...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!
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
But Corcoran is not just a winery. They also have a brewery. This is where things start getting a little fuzzy...
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
They had cute little beers...
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
...and a cute little puppy!
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
"Hey lady, is that salami in your pocket...?"

Did I say things got a little fuzzy? I meant a lot fuzzy. 
Exhibit A:
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
Step 1: Drink lots of little beers! Step 2: Get hiccups.

So we filled up our growlers and then got back in the limo...
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
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.
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
After our full day of alcohol consumption, the limo driver got us safely home (and even snapped our picture)...
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
...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.
christmas eve 2011
virginia winery/birthday tour 2011
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...

6 comments:

Lauren Margaret said...

Yay! I love this! I think the bloggers who brunch should do this sometime :) Glad you had such a great time ringing in your 33rd :)

tessica said...

first of all I am super impressed at the quality of pictures you managed to take!
secondly I love your tweets that day!
thirdly Love this post!
fourthly and lastly I agree with Lauren- if we all chipped in a bit I bet we could even afford a limo!!

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Hahaha, Tessica - I completely forgot about my drunken tweets that day! Also, there were quite a few blurry photos - most of those were taken by the boys though. Evidently, I'm better at operating a camera under the influence!

And I agree -this would be such a fun bloggers' trip! I'm dying to do it again and I would be fun to go with a group of girls (you can see I was outnumbered on my birthday)! Maybe in the spring when we can sit outside?

Karin said...

I can't believe you hadn't been to a winery before! Wow...especially since I know you enjoy wine/beer. But what a great way to spend your b-day...I want to do this! I've been to Sunset Hills and Breaux, I enjoyed both. I need to try Corcoran especially since they have both wine and beer...score! :)

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Karin - I know, it's pretty bizarre that I hadn't done the winery thing before - we've been to lots of breweries and we go to a lot of wine tastings and events, just never at an actual winery for some reason!

Corcoran was actually my favorite. It may not have the typical winery atmosphere of places like Sunset Hills, and it's not set up for a big group, but it was so cozy and intimate and the wines were phenomenal!

Jillian said...

I visited Corcoran in the summer- it was so great! I've also been to their neighboring vineyard (literally right next door) several times- Loudoun Valley Vineyard, which is also great! I'm hoping to post about it soon.