Saturday, January 26, 2008

Drink Local

Winter is a wonderful time to visit wineries. Tourist traffic is lighter. In the East, it's too cold to be in the vineyards. In the West, it's too rainy. The staff has more time to talk, so a lot can be learned while wandering around inside and tasting their wines!

You see a picture of fermentation tanks, at left. These tanks are at Shelton Winery, in Dobson, NC. Shelton is only a three-hour drive from Greenville. Shelton's tours make the visit well worth your time. Even closer to home is Victoria Valley Vineyards, near Table Rock, about forty-five minutes from Greenville. Ask for a tour of their barrel wine and "drink in" the wonderful aromas of wine aging in oak! Then go back on a warm Spring afternoon and sit on the terrace, drinking in the views. It's the next best thing to being in Tuscany.

In the 21st century, it's easy to buy wine from California, Europe, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. But for centuries, wine was made locally and consumed locally. The notion of a wine business was unimaginable. Wine was something your family, or your neighbor's family, made so that everyone could enjoy it with meals.

So, go visit these "neighbors" this winter. Wander around with a glass of wine in your hand. Ask lots of questions. Drink local . . . and enjoy!