So, it turns out that when the Firepants and Globetrotter contingents get together, we are lushes. That certainly was not the intention for the Grand Birthday Celebration of Cap’n Firepants, but when you get 4 adults together (sans dogs and kids) in Fredericksburg, Texas, and you start out the weekend at a place called Fredericksburg Brewing Company, moving on that evening to the Lincoln Street Wine & Cigar Bar, well, what can you expect?
The following day, we had scheduled a tour of one of the local vineyards. Oenophiles and sommeliers will quite likely be shocked by, and perhaps a bit skeptical of, my next statement. Unbeknownst to us, the area around Fredericksburg is the second most visited wine region in the United States, second only to Napa Valley, according to Orbitz Travel!
That piece of trivia was one of many that we accumulated during our tour of the Grape Creek Vineyard. Our seemingly knowledgable guide taught us all kinds of things we did not know. I am reticent to call him an expert because A.) There was no one else there to contradict him and 2.) We were so snockered by the end of the tour that I probably won’t remember any of his “facts” correctly anyway. Throughout our tour, all I could think of was that none of the steps in the wine-making process that he was describing occurred in the famous I Love Lucy grape-stomping episode. And that, to me, is the ultimate reference guide to wine-making.
For example, he informed us that the only difference between red and white wines is that the skin of the grapes is completely removed from the wine-making process for whites. I am pretty sure he is wrong on this. Purple grapes make red wine. Green grapes make white wine. And pink grapes make blush. (And brown cows make chocolate milk, by the way.)
Also, according to the guide, this is the handy gadget used to remove the leaves and stems from the grapes. I am confident he was really showing us a giant cheese grater.
The fun started once we entered the building. We began the “barrel tour”, and got to taste the wine being made in three different barrels. Our guide was quite generous with the “tastes.”
As I debated whether I should surreptitiously pour my third “taste” into a nearby sink (since it was only 12:30 in the afternoon, and I really kind of wanted to be somewhat cognizant during the remainder of the day), our guide said that it was about time to move on to the tasting portion of our tour – where we would get to taste six different wines from the bottle.
I’m sure it is no coincidence that the 8th wine I tasted that day was the best one I have ever had.
I’m not going to tell you how many bottles of wine we eventually bought. But I will say this: if I owned a company, I would definitely adopt this business model. Get ’em drunk and lead them to the gift shop. I’m surprised someone doesn’t shove a shot glass of tequila into my hands every time I walk into the mall.