Mark and I have lived in Virginia for a while now, but it was just recently that we really got into one of the biggest draws to this area: wineries! There are dozens of wineries in the area and almost all of them offer tastings, so we've started to check some of them out.
We made it to Marterella Winery in late July. We somehow timed things right for the local fancy wine weekend and they had pizzas and live music. We did a tasting, then relaxed on their terrace, each had a glass of wine (Mark had a wine slushie), and split a pizza while we listened to the music.
We capped the night off with a glass of wine at home. Wembles slurped Mark's glass when he wasn't looking. He wasn't very happy.
She kind of looked like she wanted to slurp some more.
One of our favorite wineries, Molon Lave, is only a few minutes from our house. The people are really friendly and they have some great wines. One weekend we lucked out and wound up hanging out in their big event room all alone. :)
I took one of my friends from work there one day, too. We both did a tasting, then shared some snacks and wine while we caught up on things.
Mark and I also started making another batch of our own wine! We're making Chardonnay this time, and when we bottle it we're going to set some aside and age it in Mark's small oak barrel to see how it turns out. This kit seems faster than the other ones we've made, so we should be bottling it sometime in September.
In mid-August we made it to Narmada for a tasting. A lot of people at work raved about this one, and for good reason! There were a lot of really neat wines, plus on weekends they serve Indian food. I forget the name of the guy who did our tasting, but he was impressively knowledgeable about types of wine and wine making, so we had a lot of fun picking his brain. After the tasting we split some snacks. I had a glass of wine to see if all of their 'pairs well with Indian food' tasting notes were accurate. (They were, and the samosas were delicious!)
A few days after our trip to Narmada it was time to rack our wine to a carboy (basically, siphon the wine from a bucket to a big plastic bottle that looks like it belongs on a water cooler. Which just gave me the brilliant idea of having a water cooler thing with a big bottle of wine on it instead of water). That also meant that primary fermentation was finished. The house smells like warm, yeasty grapes for a few days during that stage, and it doesn't matter how many windows you open...there's no escaping it. The rest of the process is significantly less smelly, thank goodness.
We also took Bacon to Molon Lave to hang out. We figured we'd start small with the best behaved dog before trying to bring two or more. She was very good, except for the part when Mark went inside to get a glass of wine and she made silent screamy nightmare noises until he came back out.
We've been to more wineries than what I've written about here; these were just the ones that I had good pictures from. We've slowed down a little, though, because our wine collection has grown to over 70 bottles and we're getting ready to bottle at least 20 more of our own wine next week. It's been a lot of fun to explore some of the stuff we have in our own backyard!