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Thread: Winery tours

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Winery tours

    Why does it seem everyone loves going on winery tours? Here in Michigan we have a modest wine industry (climatically possible only because of the Great Lakes) and there's a couple places nearby www.stjulian.com where you can take a look at the big oak casks, you can look at the vineyards, maybe you're lucky and there's a tourguide to explain a little about winemaking techniques, Last you do the tasting and consume disappointingly small quantities of wine that the girl behind the counter so grudgingly doles out (is this coming out of her paycheck I wonder). What's so special about that?
    Maybe its different in California (never done a tour there) but it seems the whole wine experience in states like Michigan, Ohio, New York, etc. is pretty weak - and I don't think it has anything to do with quantity of production. Now BREWERY tours on the other hand.....
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Maybe its different in California (never done a tour there) but it seems the whole wine experience in states like Michigan, Ohio, New York, etc. is pretty weak - and I don't think it has anything to do with quantity of production.

    My experience was very different in Cali. The wife and I went to Napa, Sonoma and the Russian River Valleys and had a wonderful experience the on the winery tour 'tour'. Both educational and fun! With lots of wine tasting, good deals on bottles and friendly folks (on both sides of the counter)!

    Oh, and we like breweries tours too!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Winery tours in the Grand Traverse region are fun! There's the scenery. You can visit a variety of vinters, both on the Leelanau Peninsula and Mission Point. You can meet some interesting people. And you can learn about new wines and their flavors. Plus, when entertaining guests, you always have great stories about where you got the wine, why you bought it, etc, etc. But you better be around people who can appreciate wine. I've been to a St. Julian stillery - not that enjoyable.

  4. #4
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    Winery tours in the Grand Traverse region are fun! There's the scenery. You can visit a variety of vinters, both on the Leelanau Peninsula and Mission Point. You can meet some interesting people. And you can learn about new wines and their flavors. Plus, when entertaining guests, you always have great stories about where you got the wine, why you bought it, etc, etc. But you better be around people who can appreciate wine. I've been to a St. Julian stillery - not that enjoyable.
    A friend of mine told me I should go there about 8 years ago and I did. Maybe I caught 'em on a bad day, but Mission Point was about as disappointing as St. Julian.....at the end of the tour I simply asked the tour lady if they had sulfites in the wine and she copped this attitude and said yes. I didn't intend it to be an insult - I was just curious.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Maybe I caught 'em on a bad day, but Mission Point was about as disappointing as St. Julian...
    Yeah, there is still quite a bit of variability in customer service among all the wineries. But most are pretty good these days, I think. Over Thanksgiving break, I went with my girlfriend and her family on a tour of the wineries on both peninsulas and was quite happy with all them except for one on the Leelanau peninsula. We felt like there was pressure to be agreeable on everything they poured - I felt particularly anxious when I wanted to admit one of their bubbly whites wasn't to my liking. All I did was smile and ask for the next one on the list.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    I've never been on a winery tour... and I even used to work for a city in the Napa Valley (St. Helena)!

    Edit: To be fair though, it was my first planning job and I was only 19. So I couldn't have imbibed legally anyway. I remember that a local winery used to have a TGIM (thank god it's monday) night when the locals could come out and listen to music without the throngs of tourists and I was really bummed I couldn't go.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I have never been on a wine tour, but I would love to a some point. I have how ever been on a tour of the historic Yuengling brewery in Pottsville, PA. Now that was a great tour.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Yes, Napa is much different than the wineries of the midwest. Any of you Chicago area planners been to the one in Roselle? I mean, Roselle? Come on!

    Wollershiem is a bit different. It is an early 19th century stone building on the bluffs of the Wisconsin River. It was built by the baron who later introduced grape vines to Napa. It is not unusual to do the tour with bald eagles soaring overhead.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    I've always wondered about that. I'd have thought that Illinois' thick, black soil would be completely the wrong stuff to be using to grow wine grapes. Yet there are wineries around here.

    Why aren't there more wineries around Pitsburgh? I'd think that they'd have perfect growing conditions.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    There are a lot of wineries in the Hunter Valley, adjacent to where I live. They range from small family businesses to multi-national organisations. Some are picuturesque, some look like chemical plants. The experience differs from winery to winery but it is an extremely popular activity with over 1.5 million visitors a year to the lower end of the valley (I couldn't find a figure for the Upper Hunter which is a disctinct wine district).

    There are complementary activities like cheese tasting, olive products, honey, etc. which gives the drivers and under 18's something to do. I usually enjoy visiting a few wineries but like to make a day of it with a picnic or cafe lunch and some sight seeing as well. I like the tastings in their own right too - you can get access to a lot of wine, trying to find the ones you like, without having to purchase. Cellar door sales tend to not be cheap in Australia BTW - you are usually better off buying through a specialist wine merchant.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Never been to a winery tour, but I was once in some cabins that were in a vinyard... I can say the grapes were great
    We have lots of tours of winerys and vineyards in central Chile. But those are generally booked by foreign tourists

  12. #12
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    I've always wondered about that. I'd have thought that Illinois' thick, black soil would be completely the wrong stuff to be using to grow wine grapes. Yet there are wineries around here.

    Why aren't there more wineries around Pitsburgh? I'd think that they'd have perfect growing conditions.
    I don't have a Koeppen climate classification map in front of me but I think its too cold around Pittsburgh. They do have the protected valley part going on but I think the elevation is high enough where its too cold for most of the good wine grapes. Any climate experts out there? Biscuit, what do you think - is there no wine industry around Pittsburgh because of the climate or does it have more to do with all the yokels being too busy getting likkered up on cheap bourbon and Iron City to care about viticulture?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    I can say nothing but GOOD things about my winery tour and tasting experiences in NY's Finger Lakes region. I've also been to wineries in Nova Scotia and Washington State -- the one at Chateau Ste. Michele was really awesome, as we were able to sample a wide variety. We ended up carrying home a case of their wine on the plane!

  14. #14
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by H
    ...[snip]... The wife and I went to Napa, Sonoma and the Russian River Valleys and had a wonderful experience the on the winery tour 'tour'. Both educational and fun! With lots of wine tasting, good deals on bottles and friendly folks (on both sides of the counter)! ...[snip]...
    you said it all. Fun and entertaining, esp the small, off the main road wineries.
    Quote Originally posted by Mud Princess
    ...[snip]...We ended up carrying home a case of their wine on the plane!
    Next time, fly in a larger plane and bring home more.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Believe it or not, there is actually a winery, with associated tour, not far west of Orlando. Somehow, it just doesn't seem the place you'd associate with grapes and wineries. And no, I've not been there, just seen their ads.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    The good thing...my parents live at the start of a winery tour...
    the bad thing... it is Finger Lakes wine.... not my favorite... although I did have a bottle of FLW last weekend that was't bad.

    Sorry Finger Lakes....
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

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