My Heart is Calm

Happy Monday!

Hubby and I spent our sixth anniversary at two wineries on Saturday. Our goal is to visit 11 total before the end of the year. We started our tour at Danzinger Winery and Seven Hawks Winery with a couple of our friends.

Both wineries were in Wisconsin along the Mississippi River. Danzinger was by far our favorite. There was a lot of seating inside and out. We tasted four or five wines and then we purchased a bottle of wine to split. We also nibbled on some cheese, crackers and olives while we chatted about the nice weather and our up and coming move at the end of the month.

Seven Hawks Winery was very small. I actually enjoyed sipping the port style wines more than the wine at Seven Hawks. Below are a few images from our visit to Danzinger Winery.

Danzinger Winery July 4, 2015

DSCN6741 (800x547)

Danzinger Winery July 4, 2015


As always, I have included a haiku with a Haiku Horizons prompt.

Thanks Haiku Horizons for the haiku prompt, “calm.”

calm haiku

Today’s Haiku:

my heart is calm
my head is clear and awake
dreams are focused


What are your travel goals for the summer?


Save Room for Dessert

Hello Everyone,

Today is the last day of September, and though I planned to end the Haiku Challenge today, I decided to continue this process. However, instead of posting one haiku per day, I am going to post one per week.

What’s Up October?

My upcoming schedule looks about as hectic as September.

October 4th – Blacklight Bubble Party 5K. I cajoled some of my fitness friends to join me. It’s at 7 pm in Rochester and starts at Silver Lake Park. It ends at Legends Bar.

October 9th – I need to complete a piece of artwork to donate to the MMPA silent auction. Not sure what I am going to paint.

October 12th – Reiki article due. I am almost finished. I am hoping to turn it in early.

October 17th – Wine & Canvas. We are featuring “Make a Wish.”

Upcoming paintings

I’ll also be working on three more paintings. I have the “Make a Wish” painting to finish and the other two are for children’s painting events that are both on November 1st. I am keeping these on the October to-do list so Denise can post them on the Illuminate Yoga website. I am also planning another November Wine & Canvas. We already have one scheduled for December 12th. Yikes! Lots of painting coming up!

And, the Haiku Challenge lives strong this month. I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I have.

Wine Tasting-due to privacy reasons, images have been omitted. I will repost when the article is released.

Last night, some friends and I indulged in dessert wine, decadent chocolates and spectacular cheeses for an article I am writing. A few ladies from Rochester Women magazine gathered at Jorrie’s house for an evening of food and fun.

Jorrie is the editor and publisher of the magazine and she asked me to take over the wine column after the current writer moved out of the area. Since many of the wines we feature are made from local wineries, it would have been impossible for the writer to continue writing the column.

I’ll give you a taste of our evening, but only a sliver. I want it to entice you to read the article when it’s published November 1st.


Last night, we tasted four different dessert wines from four different local wineries. We had Chocolate Truffle Pig from Elmaro Winery (does the name sound familiar? Adlai and I were there a couple of weeks ago), Bootlegger’s Red from Cannon River Winery, Dark Skies from Salem Glen Winery and Riverport White from Garvin Heights Winery.


Jorrie put together a delicious spread of blue cheese, gorgonzola cheese and brie cheese (not shown) from People’s Co-op in Rochester, Minnesota. She also shared a plate of dried fruit and mixed nuts with us, along with the white and dark chocolate from the Chocolaterie located at University Square in Rochester, Minnesota.


Day 30: Haiku Challenge

Grapes, berries, and spice.
Cordial glasses filled for an
evening delight.

Do you prefer dessert wine or wine that is appropriate for dinner?


Wine Tasting at Elmaro Winery

Saturday was simply amazing! The sun was shining, the temperatures hovered around 70 degrees, and there was a light breeze. Adlai and I decided to spend the day wine tasting and enjoying the beautiful day, so I know you’ll forgive me for not posting my Haiku yesterday. Don’t worry, I have two haiku poems that I’ll post today. But first, a few notes from our day at the winery.

Last summer, we stumbled upon this quaint little winery in Trempeleau, Wisconsin. We loved the wine, so we wanted to indulge in a little of their cold hardy grape wines again.

Elmaro winery in Trempeleau, Wisconsin

Elmaro winery in Trempeleau, Wisconsin

Wine Tasting at Elmaro Winery

Once we arrived at Elmaro, we found a spot at the tasting bar. We selected seven different wines. We began with the drier wines first and moved down the list to the sweeter wines. I like sweet wines more than dry wines, so all of my choices were between semi-sweet and sweet. Adlai had a few more of the drier wines selected.

The first one I tasted was called Three Cheers. I loved this semi-sweet red. It was light and simple and perfect for sipping at any time. The West Prairie White was light and tangy with slight citrus undertones. The Edleweiss was a semi-sweet with hints of pineapple. This was also an easy drinking wine.

The next wine I tried was the Frontenac Gris. This was a full sweet white, like a Moscato. I typically like Moscato, but this was almost too heavy, too sweet. The Elmaro Rosa tasted like grape juice, but apparently won a lot of awards. What do I know?

The fifth wine was called Currant Affair. This one was lovely. Hints of strawberry and currants. Light, easy and fun to drink!

The last two were the Reserve Wines. The LaCrescent Faux Ice Wine was a sweet dessert wine with notes of apricot, peach and pineapple. Outstanding. And, The Fire of 1888 Reserve, which we ended up purchasing, is a port style wine made with Frontenac grapes. It was buttery and warm.

Award winning wines at Elmaro winery in Trempeleau, Wisconsin.

Award winning wines at Elmaro winery.

After we were finished tasting, we ordered hors d’oeuvres that included a rich, creamy, French Brie, Prairie Breeze cheese, Sartori Gold Cheddar/Parmesan, Cranberry Sausage, Jalapeno Sausage, Dalmatia Fig Spread and crackers. It was a wonderful treat!

Tasty snacks from Elmaro kitchen.

Tasty snacks from Elmaro kitchen.

Once we finished the tasting, we went out to the patio to enjoy our hors d’oeuvres.

Enjoying the day Elmaro Winery.

Full tummy, excellent wine and a beautiful day with my husband.

Wine tasting at Elmaro Winery

My handsome and somewhat goofy husband enjoying the 1888 Reserve.

It was one of those days that you don’t want to end. If there happened to be any stress from the week, it disappeared. There were no deadlines, there were no chores and there wasn’t a dirty house that needed to be cleaned. It was my husband and I spoiling our taste buds and talking about everything and nothing.

On our way out, I noticed this little quote painted on the wall at the winery.

Wine is bottle poetry

When it was time to leave we walked through the vineyards to admire the grapes that would soon be next year’s wine.

Hanging out in the Elmaro vineyards.

Hanging out in the vineyards.

Elmaro Vineyard

Adlai hanging out with the grapes in the Elmaro Vineyard.

And now for the haiku challenge…

I thought it was only appropriate to base haiku six and seven on the beautiful day Adlai and I had at the winery.

Luscious grapes at Elmaro winery.

Luscious grapes at Elmaro winery.

Day 6: Haiku Challenge

Plump, juicy, luscious.
Grapes sparkle in the sunlight,
harvest approaching.

A yellow hibiscus plant greeted us at Elmaro Vineyard.

A yellow hibiscus plant greeted us at Elmaro Vineyard.

Day 7: Haiku Challenge

Golden Hibiscus.
Delicate petals warming
in the radiant sun.

What are your favorite vineyards?





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?