Four wineries, four different experiences

With our niece from San Diego in town for Christmas it only made sense to hit a couple wineries in Woodenville last Friday. A great time, along with varied experiences.

the-library-woodinvilleFirst stop, Long Shadows, our daughter is a club member, and I think this was her first membership. Their concept is a bit different. They are a winery with a number of different wine makers. The founder, Allan Shoup, an icon in Washington wine and former CEO of the Chateau St. Michelle conglomerate, invited seven winemakers from around the world to contribute one label of wine using grapes from Washington. The results are wonderful, and tasting them is a showcase in winemaking.

But this article is about the wine room experience, and Jordan made it relaxing and personal. Alexis called in advance, as is common courtesy when you have a larger group tasting, we had six. When we arrived she started to introduce herself to Jordan, as soon as she told him that she worked at Torii Mor Winery, he immediately called her by name, turned and greeted all of us. Then he directed us to an area of overstuffed chairs and a couch. He knew we were coming from the voice mail Alexis had left and made us feel welcome. We sipped and chatted, and bought a few bottles.

Next stop, Goose Ridge, and though I have written here that Torii Mor was our first club, I now think it was Good Ridge. We ended the membership a few years ago because they did not have any club options with whites included, and they make some great whites. They too were warned in advance that our group was coming, yet what a difference. There was little or no greeting, they seemed surprised to see us. We found a place to sit, then waited. After some time one of us went to the counter and asked what we needed to do. The response was a confused, “We didn’t know what you wanted.” It really seemed like we were a bother. We did get one glass, but with little or no explanation of what we were drinking, and none of the enthusiasm for the wine that Jordan had shown. We did not complete the tasting, I offered to pay for them all, no complaining, just that it wasn’t working. Thankfully they did not charge anything, and we left; no inquiry as to why, no apology etc. I am disappointed that what was a positive memory from the past was tarnished; I trust it is not the norm and optimistically hope the next visit will be improved.

Airfield is next to Goose Ridge and always a fun place to visit. We had not planned on stopping there so they had no advance notice that we were coming. We went in and as usual it was a more lively atmosphere, a trademark of Airfield. Jim and Jim manage the room, they have for years, I asked them if we were okay coming with six, as I expected it was not a problem. We met Dave, not sure how long he has worked there, but new to us, he showed us a great time. We all bought wine and ended the tasting day on a high note.

The fourth tasting was on Sunday the 28th in Oregon. Tricia and I were there to visit some family missed at Christmas. We stopped at Ponzi, a long time favorite of ours, we sat in their beautiful tasting room, sipped Chardonnay with a plate of cheese and olives, watched people and savored the view. It was nice to wind-down after the hectic holidays, Katie was a pleasant server, the sun was out; this is what wine is all about.

Wine is more than a beverage, definitely not for getting high, it is an experience of the senses, and people. The tasting room experience is so important, thus I blog more on the whole event than just the liquid in the glass.

January is a slow time in the wine world, many tasting rooms limit hours. But this means less crowds, more personal attention for those who do venture out. So theWinesketcher’s advice is venture out in January, you will find it pushes the gloom of winter away, and the wineries will appreciate your visit and business.

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