Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wine Lesson

After we got our impromptu roadside grape lesson we continued on to do some wine tasting. It was remarkably empty – we were the only people at any of tasting rooms. I suspect that was because it was 10 AM on a Friday, but I can’t be sure. Anyway, we had a nice time, tasted some wine, bought some wine, and rolled up to our third stop at Mesa Park Vineyards.

We walked in, and once again were the only customers there. There was one older gentleman cleaning up a bit, but he dropped that and came over to greet us immediately. He only introduced himself to me, which was kind of weird. I thought maybe he was a raging sexist – turns out he had reasons which will become clear later. Anyway, we chit chatted a bit about cleaning up the tasting room from a party, the ubiquitous fruit flies, and the festival the prior weekend.

Usually this is when the tasting room hosts start pouring some wine. Instead he started giving us even more in-depth information about his wine – which kinds of grapes were planted where, when they planned to harvest and why. Then he opened up the door to the back and started pulling down binders and showing us the analysis of the grapes Brix sweetness, the acidity, how they’d been changing over the season and compared to the prior year.

It was quite an education, and I was quite interested, but I couldn’t believe he was taking all this time. I kept expecting him to go pour some wine so he could go about his day. But no! He took us around back of the building and up the outside stairs so he could point out the different plots on the vineyard! Then he started explaining how the cold air from uphill was expected in the next couple of days, which would probably take a lot of water out of the grapes. Then he talked about watering strategies to avoid splitting the grapes, and the tradeoffs in chilling the grapes during harvest.

Finally, Wendy suggested we go taste some wine. So we head downstairs, he pours us a bit and we’re back on script. We sip and make appreciative noises, he pours another wine. Then he looks at Wendy and says “So you do think you still want those two tons of grapes?”
Cue confused looks. “Uhhhh…. I think you may have us confused with somebody else?”
“You’re Hillary, from [some other winery], right?”
”No… not really…”

Anyway, it turns out that at the prior weekend’s festival he had struck a deal to sell two tons of grapes to another winery. But that was a week ago, so he didn’t entirely remember what the buyer looked like. We happened to walk in at just the time they were supposed to meet, so he assumed that Wendy was their buyer Hillary, and I was just some guy she brought along. Hence why he didn’t introduce himself to her – they had “already met” the prior weekend. And also why we got a super-detailed rundown on his grapes – you’d want to know about them before buying 4000 lbs, right?

And that’s how we got our second grape education for the morning and only wasted some of his time. Of course we bought a bottle of wine, too. If you’re ever in the area, I suggest you swing by Mesa Park and tell them Hillary sent you.

And with that, here’s a completely unrelated photo of some pretty leaves!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Grape Shot

This year we started our leafing trip by going to Colorado’s wine country, Palisade. You know, to get properly loosened up. It turns out most of the wineries don’t open until 10 AM, which left us with awkward post-breakfast, pre-wine time on our hands. So we stopped to take some photos of some of the vineyards.

The vineyard’s manager spotted us and stopped by to make sure we weren’t causing trouble. Since we we’re such fine, upstanding citizens he gave us an impromptu lesson in grapes, netting, and how to recognize FBI agents who went to West Point (hint,  looks for the giant West Point ring). He also gave us a small bunch of wine grapes. For some reason I was expecting them to taste “wine-y”, but they’re actually just a more awesome version of regular grapes. They’re a bit smaller, much sweeter, and have crunchy little seeds in the middle. Honestly, I don’t know why they sell the other kinds in grocery stores.

Anyway, this is one of the shots I took before the guy showed up. Wendy saw it and said “Grape shot, hon!”, so that’s where the title came from.

Once Upon a Time

With a bit of planning and a bit of getting up early, we caught some nice light. And then a lucky cloud bank, too! Anyway, I think it looks kind of like a story book valley, hence the title.