When people asked where he was, I said I sold his seat which isn't far from the truth. Actually, I sold it three times and we were over-booked by at least three.
No photos means you get my word pictures.
When people came into the bar at 9:15 to begin signing up, in true former teacher fashion, I had all my documents laid out in an orderly way...sign up sheet, payment check-off, email list, bus buddy sign-up, and agenda. All went swimmingly.
I thought we would have a few no-shows but everyone showed up, in fact, we had someone come down just hoping to get a seat on the bus. How could I say no to that?
I took the partial seat which I thought was only fair since I was responsible for the packed conditions. It worked out just fine.
Bottles of wine were corked or uncorked before we left the city limits. I'm not sure which word is correct since they charge a corking fee when you ask a restaurant to take the cork out. Go figure. Anyway, the wine flowed pretty freely, mostly in the back of the bus. Seemed like sort of a continuum of consumption from the back of the bus to the front of the bus although I didn't see anybody declining a taste.
The first place we went was in Hutchinson, called Zella's. Their food was delicious and the wine was one of my all-time favorites. Here's what their website says about what they do: At Zellas, the integrity of our cuisine stems from the origin of our ingredients. We consider the quality of our food seriously and strive to offer the very best to our guests through our commitment to local and organic ingredients whenever possible. I think I'll call tomorrow to thank them, and to find out the name of that wine.
Our next stop was Crow River Winery, right outside of Hutchinson. It's a lovely place and the service was great. They seemed very happy to have our tipsy group tumble into their tasting room! We tried a lot of wines, some of which I liked and some of which I didn't, which is why you taste them, right? Check out their website here: http://www.crowriverwinery.com/
Back on the bus for the trip to Sovereign Estates in Waconia. We poured into this place, too, and were served by a sweet young vintner from France, Thijs Verschuuren. The ladies, of course, were fascinated. Nothing like a French accent. Ha! I loved the first wine that tasted drier to me than most.
This is the one most people loved:
Later, I had a glass at the bar while most of the patrons of the tour waited on the bus. I told them we weren't leaving until 5 and I meant it. Besides the bus driver was in the bar...not drinking but waiting. Smart guy.
We were on the bus at 5:00 and back at Patrick's at 6:00 which is exactly what my schedule said. Ta da.
The thing I love most about these trips is the people. We have a group of about 15-20 that started out on the first wine trip a few years back. Now, they all invite an extra person or two along because we have such a good time. It's a wonderful mix of younger (25ish) and older (60ish) and sometimes friendly connections occur between what seems to be unlikely combinations. I think that the wine, the good food, the camaraderie on the bus and at the tables is powerful magic. It's good for the soul.
Back to Sunday. My POD (plan-of-the-day) is to pay some bills, tidy up the house, make Snickerdoodles for Elliot, make chicken wings for Regis, take a nap, read a book, and maybe, at the end of the day, a glass of Traminette. Just to remember the experience of yesterday.