Women and Wine

About a month ago, the editor for Rochester Women Magazine asked if I would write an article for the column GoDo! The column is based on getting your friends together, picking an activity and doing it — hence GoDo! This activity was based on wine tasting at three local wineries. I accepted the challenge and when the article comes out in September 2014, I’ll post a link to the Rochester Women website.

Several women who have worked with the magazine in some capacity, were invited to attend. Many of them invited a friend to go along. My partner in crime was unable to make it, but it was probably for the best so I could concentrate.

We met at the Rochester Athletic Club around 3:15. We hopped on the Rochester Trolley and at 3:30, we began our journey.

Rochester, Minnesota Trolley Winery Tour

Rochester Trolley Tours is a great way to travel throughout the area.

The trolley windows were open and a warm breeze flooded the inside. I sat up front, I am always fearful of getting carsick. As a child, car rides and I didn’t mix. I was always drugged up on Dramamine with my neck bobbing as I nodded off. As an adult, I haven’t really experienced carsickness, but I am always in the front seat. I decided not to test the waters today.

Our first stop was Post Town Winery in Rochester, Minnesota. It was a charming little building in an unlikely spot. It was situated in an industrial park, but it didn’t take away from the charm of this little nook.

Post Town Winery, Rochester MN.

Rochester women visit Post Town Winery.

We were given a warm welcome by Bonita Patton, a co-owner. She was elated to have us and was eager to give us the nickel tour. I was surprised to see they age their wine in plastic containers, but I am not a wine aficionado yet, so I kept my mouth closed. She spoke about their future plans to expand into the next room to support a small kitchen so they could serve more food.

After the tour, she led us to the patio and our drinking commenced. Their wine was not my favorite, but Bonita was a lovely women and I tried to stay positive about the experience. After all, my job was to write about going and doing, not whether or not I liked the wine.

Post Town Winery, Rochester MN

Steve Patton, co-owner, pulling a bottle of wine from the shelf.

I jotted down a few notes while the gals laughed talked about the magazine and other ideas for GoDo! We nibbled on crackers, cheese and chocolate for the better part of an hour. But, we were on a pretty tight schedule since we had two other wineries to visit, so we had to shake a leg.

As I stood up to leave there was a sweat mark on my slinky dress, close to my belly button. I could only imagine what my butt looked like at this point. I told myself I would sit on the edge of the seat in the trolley and squeeze my cheeks, then there wouldn’t be a spot for sweat to sit and soak into my dress.

Our next stop was Salem Glen Winery. We were welcomed by a shy, gracious man named Dustin Ebert. He and his father owned the winery. The deck was spacious and overlooked beautiful landscaping and the vineyard. It’s just what you would imagine any winery to look like.

Spacious deck at Salem Glen

Rochester Women gathered on the spacious deck at Salem Glen Winery.

Salem Glen Winery, Rochester MN

The vineyard at Salem Glen Winery.

Salem Glen winery decor

Everything about Salem Glen was beautiful!

Heidi was our sommelier. Her rail thin frame was encased in an aqua blue lace dress with tan cowboy boots. Her voice was soft and kind, but audible. She knew a lot about the wine; how it was aged, the elements of each wine, the finish and what to pair with it.

After the first couple of wines had been delivered she brought out this beautiful plate of sourdough bread with olive oil dipping sauce. There was cheese, olives and fruit. So delicious! And their wines were all very tasty…with the exception of one oaky wine that I hated. I hate oak, a little or a lot, I hate it.

Delicious sourdough bread, infused olive oil and grated parmesean cheese

The olive oil was infused with lemon and lime. Mmmm, delish!

Salem Glen was a place I would like to visit again. They offered seating all year around, for birthday parties, corporate events, mayo clinic related events and lots of others. Dustin was very proud of the winery. The grapes they used in their wine were the cold, hardy grapes that survive the Minnesota winters. He was proud of this because it sets them apart from the other wineries in Minnesota.

Once again, we were a slave to the clock. We hurried back to the trolley and we were on our way to the last winery, Four Daughters Winery. I have been excited to visit this winery for several years. It is on highway 63 about 20 miles south of Rochester.  Adlai and I pass this winery every time we drive to my parent’s home in Missouri.

The structure is urban and contemporary and situated next to the vineyard. As we walked toward the winery, I picked up the pace; I wasn’t sure if I was excited about the wine, which I knew nothing about, or if I was excited to see what the inside looked like.

Four Daughters Winery

An urban, contemporary structure out in the country. BEAUTIFUL!

The inside was reminiscent of the exterior; concrete and steel, though the colors were warm. It was loud inside and they needed something fabric on the walls or floors. It was difficult to converse with the ladies after we sat down.

Four Daughters Winery

Wine storage inside Four Daughters Winery.

At one point, I started whining about the fact that I was almost 40 and a woman asked if I had kids. I said that I had fur kids. She thought I said four kids. I had to say it a couple of times and finally I told her that my husband and I have two cats. I think she got it after that…

I watched and listened as everyone around me drank glass after glass of wine and giggled and chatted with their friends. I enjoyed the conversation, but felt a bit like the outsider. I was the one on assignment, so I had to be keen to my surroundings. Plus, I knew I should refrain from drinking too much, one, because I had to drive home, which was about a 30 minute drive. And, two, I was already exhausted (I over extended myself this month with fitness classes, writing assignments and course work for learning about WordPress) and I had to be ready and awake and in Elba, Minnesota to cover EcoFest the next day.

I was assigned to EcoFest for the St. Charles Press. I had to go early to get pictures and talk to someone in charge before the craziness started; then, I had to go back a few hours later when the festival was in full force. Of course, I had to write about the festival and turn that in on Sunday night. Plus I had to get the women and wine article that I was researching this very moment done by Monday.

We ordered food at Four Daughters when we arrived. They gave us an abbreviated menu choice because there were so many of us. I ordered the lettuce wraps. They were awesome. The chicken filling was similar to teriyaki chicken. It came with a side of cabbage and a teriyaki sauce with sesame seeds and a mayonnaise dipping sauce. My God! It was wonderful!

Lettuce Wraps at 4 Daughters Winery.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps at Four Daughters Winery.

Some of the other selections were a Provolone cheese entrée with bread, Pot Roast Tacos, Sloppy Joe Nachos-they used Kettle Chips! When our food did arrive, many of the gals were sharing food and I again wished my partner in crime (Melissa, my writer friend) could have been along to split something. Although, I am kind of picky, so I may not have liked what she picked.

Dinner was so tasty and so unique. Adlai and I haven’t been going out to dinner very often because we’ve been trying to save money. Our dinners out are usually the time to experiment with fun, new food.

I like to cook, but don’t always have the time. I am hoping someday I will have more time to experiment in the kitchen. I am sure hubby would like that too. For now, I stick to recipes I know.

Before I left the winery, I had the pleasure of talking to the owners of Four Daughters, Vicky and Gary Vogt. I found out that they decided to open the winery as a ploy to get their daughters to move back to the area. Too funny, maybe if my parents opened up a winery, I would move back to Missouri. Just kidding.

Another little tidbit I found out was that Justin Osbourne, one of their sons-in-law was the wine maker. He started out as a contractor building houses. But, when they opened the winery, he started making wine. His wine is award winning! He won the gold medal at a competition in upstate New York. His wine competed against wine makers from all over Europe. Talk about a calling…hoping my writing career takes off like this guy…

All in all this experience was amazing and I am looking forward to writing the column Women and Wine for RW magazine. My next assignment is for the November/December issue and the focus is dessert wine. Stay tuned…

Do you like wine tasting tours?

What are your favorite wines?