5.11.2010

Winery Tour and tips

Do you drink wine?  I have to say it's a taste I only acquired a few years ago but the serenity of  a winery tour is so peaceful and beautiful that I suggest it to even non wine drinkers.  It's something new and fun to do (and cheap!).  So on mother's day when most women spent the day with their kids my husband decided to give me a much needed day away alone with him touring this gorgeous winery we had been talking about going to for years! It's the Wollersheim Winery located in Sauk City Wisconsin.  Really I just wanted to share the beautiful shots I got with you.

My husband thinks I'm absolutely bonkers, but while photographing the above tunnel from the second floor of the adjacent building I swore there was someone walking around inside.  I asked my husband if he saw it (he wasn't looking) but said that there probably was a tour going on inside.  Little did we know when we got up to the tunnel that it's caved in! There is only about 5 feet of tunnel behind the gate (and your not allowed past the gate) before it's all gravel to the ceiling.  







Above is one of the original barrels, it's huge.  Big enough to fit a man inside to clean it.











All the old stone buildings had this great greenery climbing the walls.  I always wanted a house with greenery like this.  Well until I learned that the vines grow into the cracks of your house and pretty much destroy it over time!

The very first wine tour we went on, probably 5 years ago now, was a trip to Toronto Canada.  We did an amazing bus tour from our hotel that stopped at a beautiful winery and introduced us to Ice wine.  If you have never tried it, don't! You'll be craving it the rest of your life and its EXPENSIVE.  Okay, so do try it if you get the chance but prepare yourself that it's a VERY rare treat.  We learned at the time that ice wine is made in only 9 places in the world (the Toronto winery being one of them).  Then a few years later the Wollersheim winery announced that they were going to start making it too (hello! We are in Wisconsin!!!!).  It's so new that you can see they haven't even had the official release yet (although they do have it available).   See how skinny the bottle that Jason is holding is?  They call it a half bottle and its $47.  It's meant to be drank as a dessert (yes it's a dessert in itself) and in very small glasses. So if your ever looking for a really nice treat for someone (or you want to send me a bottle!) now you know.

Tips for taking a wine tour-
Don't be afraid to take pictures.  It's a beautiful place and everyone is there for a tourist experience so snap away! (most wineries won't allow video but cameras are widely accepted)

Call ahead (or look online) and see if they allow picnic carry ins.  I wish I had had this foresight on mother's day.  They had this beautiful set up picnic area with signs saying bring a picnic, they even had coolers with chilled wine ready to purchase.  It's the kind of view you dream about with a picnic.

Wear comfortable shoes.  Most likely you will be walking outdoors, maybe on gravel, and up and down stairs.

Taste everything, even if you don't think you will like it.  Don't be afraid to ask to taste something that they don't have on the tasting schedule.  Jason and I do not like red wine, but we try it every time.  That's just how I am, my taste changes over time so I'm always trying things I know I don't like.  We requested to try two of the blush wines that were not on the list, thinking we may not like them since we don't like red, but we actually really enjoyed them and now know for the future!

Bring the taste card home and put it with your recipes.  Most taste cards have you rate each wine then give you a list of foods that go well with that wine.  Next time you know you want a bottle of wine for that dinner party you can save yourself the headache at the store staring at all the bottles trying to find one with no clue what it's supposed to be served with!  It also makes it much easier to call your hubby on his way home from work and tell him to pick up the exact bottle by name, because you know you have to spell it out for him LOL.

Don't be in a hurry to rush out when the tour is over. Was someone blocking that great shot you spotted during the tour? Or maybe the tour wizzed by a beautiful flower you really wanted to snap a shot of.  Don't feel like you can't go back and get those great shots after the tour is over.  Go back, take your time, and enjoy the view!

So there are a few tips from me for a relaxing enjoyable tour.  Do you have any to ad? Or maybe a great bottle of wine to suggest trying?

7 comments:

  1. what gorgeous photos! looks like a great time!

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  2. Those pictures take me right back to my childhood! I grew up in Sonoma California, so we spent many-a-days visiting wineries.

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  3. What beautiful photos! I would love to go here!

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  4. I don't drink wine but what a pretty place!

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  5. A winery tour sounds like a great "date"!
    Might have to find us one close by!

    Love the pictures.

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  6. Great post! I was always afraid of wine until my husband started to show interest in it (and time) and then I joined too. Wineries are so nice to walk in that we try to go to one at least once in a few months.
    I love white wines and hubby likes red wines, but I got used to red wines too and now there are some red wines that I really enjoy.

    About Ice wine, my husband tasted it somewhere and he says it's divine.

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  7. Nice report & great photos. You're right about Ice Wine - it is one of the most delicious wines you'll ever taste - and worth every penny IMHO.
    By the way - that cave dates back to the 1840s when the winery was started by a Hungarian Count Agoston Haraszthy. He saw several crops frozen out, got frustrated and chased to California looking for gold. He later planted grapes out there and his winery (known as Buena Vista ) became the first commercial wine success in CA - and he's known as "the father of the CA wine industry"! It's ironic that Wollersheim's wines (esp. Prairie Fume') now regularly win medals in CA & major international competition!

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