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Vineyard Travel

Travel To Vineyards and Wineries

Muscadine Grapes Henscratch Farms in Florida

Muscadine Grapes Henscratch Farms in Florida

If you love wine, or even like wine, make it a point to travel to more vineyards and wineries. Regardless of where your travel takes you, there is probably a vineyard nearby. There are even wineries and vineyards in sunny Florida to visit, after you spend the day at Disney World with Mickey Mouse! I’ve  had the pleasure of visiting a number of vineyards throughout the US and France, and plan on visiting more. Traveling to wineries or vineyards and meeting the people who work there builds a connection that can only enhance your enjoyment of wine. I’ve often been asked which vineyard was my favorite to visit. I really struggle with that answer. Each one is a new and exciting adventure, offering something educational, something beautiful, and something fun.

Visiting Vineyards In Bordeaux

the vineyards of pomerol chateau la conseillante neighbor to Chateau Cheval Blanc

Vineyards of Chateau La Conseillante and neighbor Chateau Cheval Blanc

Of course, visiting the vineyards and Cheateaux of Bordeaux was a fantastic experience. I learned so much about the history of the families of each Chateau, the wine making legacy, and got a true feel for the terroir. I was thrilled to walk through the vineyards of Chateau La Conseillante in Pomerol. The vineyards were acquired in 1872 by Louis Nicolas, and remain in the Nicolas family to this day. From the tasting room at Chateau La Conseillante, you can see the recently renovated winery of Premier Grand Cru Classe neighbor Chateau Cheval Blanc to the east of the vineyard. The wines of La Conseillante are fantastic, most certainly worth seeking out. However, it was the experience of connecting the wine with the land and the people that made the an indelible mark on my soul.

Vineyards of Troplong Mondot overlook the village of Saint-Emilion

Vineyards of Troplong Mondot overlooking the village of Saint-Emilion

Visiting Vineyards In Oregon

I have had the pleasure of plodding through Oregon’s vineyards a few times, most recently in October 2012. After a fantastic visit with the folks of Harry & David, I spent two days visiting several Southern Oregon Wineries.  While the wines from the first winery didn’t blow my hair back, it’s undeniable that sipping them while enjoying the view of the vineyards and mountains was an awe inspiring afternoon.

Beautiful view from Wooldridge Creek Vineyards tasting room southern oregon winery

Beautiful view from Wooldridge Creek Vineyards tasting room

There were some great wines to be sipped in Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley, including the wines from Troon Vineyard. I have a few bottles of their wines left in my cellar from that trip, and will review them in the coming months. It’ll be nice to sip and reminisce about the fun I had with friends that day.

Troon Vineyard in Applegate Valley, Oregon

Troon Vineyard in Applegate Valley, Oregon

Visiting Vineyards In California

With Jason Haas in the Tablas Creek Winery

With Jason Haas in the Tablas Creek Winery

I’ve probably spent the most time traveling to the wineries and vineyards of California. I’ve visited Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles and the Central Cost to explore wineries and vineyards. There is no shortage of kind people, friendly winemakers and delicious wines to taste. Each of them are willing to explore the world of wine with you, trying to help you find new  grapes to try, and ignite the passion within you. From talking about barrel fermentation to Tablas Creek’s Jason Haas, to blending different grapes with the winemaker at Stillwaters Vineyards, the winery staff want to make your visits memorable and enjoyable.

The vines of Stillwater Vineyards in Paso Robles, CA

The vines of Stillwater Vineyards in Paso Robles, CA

I look forward to traveling to more vineyards in the near future. I have a goal to visit Burgundy, the Rhone Valley, and the different wine regions of Italy, from Piedmont to Puglia. Do you have any plans to travel to vineyards this year? Or, have you fond memories of vineyards you’ve visited in the past? Share your experiences below, I’d love to hear from you!

Visiting Harry and David calls for a Facelift

Visiting the Vineyards and Orchards of Oregon

Visiting the Vineyards and Orchards of Oregon

It has been over 18 months since I last made the pilgrimage from Florida to Oregon. It’s a trip that is comprised of several airports and many hours to leave the land of sweltering sun to arrive at the land of lush hills and fantastic fruit. That fantastic fruit goes into many things, from gift baskets to wine, and I’m always excited to enjoy them all. When the team at Harry & David asked I join 12 food writers to tour their Oregon facilities, I was flattered and overjoyed. After a six month writing hiatus due to family illness, I knew that if I were to accept this trip, not only would I have to get to writing again, my site would need a facelift.

There is no doubt that food writers are skilled at taking photos and showcasing their craft. This blog was launched with the help of several people, one of them being Jaden Hair, the amazing recipe developer and food columnist at Steamy Kitchen. I was so impressed by her site and work, we connected on Twitter. She was gracious enough to chat with me about my site, and gave me a gentle nudge in the right direction to do my best to showcase food and wine. Unfortunately, over time, I got a little sloppy and a little lazy, a function of being pressed for time, and the quality slipped.

Barrel Room at Cameron Winery in Oregon

Barrel Room at Cameron Winery in Oregon

A visit to a vineyard or winery is always spectacular. It’s something that everyone should experience, at least twice. And while I can do my best to explain the smell of the the barrel room, the texture of the grape leaves, the heat of the sun on my face as it ripens the grapes, it’s much more tactile and real if you can see the images that created those words. It is similar for wine reviews. I can describe the smell of the ripe red fruit and what foods the wine would pair with, but visual cues help bring those ideas home.  The same is true for recipes. When I looked at the sites of my fellow writers, all listed below, I was blown away at the careful detail that went into their photos. It showcased their craft in all of it’s delicious glory. I realized that i needed to do the same with my reviews. So, it’s time for a facelift.

Harry and David showcasing Delicious Oregon Pears

Harry and David showcasing Delicious Oregon Pears

Our facelift won’t be finished before my visit to the above pear orchards of Harry and David. It did start already, thanks to fellow H&D guest Heather Scholten of Farmgirl Gourmet. While chatting about the visit, I told Heather how much I enjoyed her site, and asked if she had any constructive criticism for my work. She was quite gracious and said it was fine, and agreed that focusing on better photos would help. I mentioned how I needed to really work on the design to spruce it up, and minutes later my email had our first improvement in it. Heather went and whipped up a quick banner, faster than she can whip up a batch of Soft Molasses Cookies. Our conversation has inspired me to modify many things that I’ve been letting go, and they’re already underway. Your input is always appreciated, so feel free to leave a comment below if you think there’s something I can add, change or delete to make this site a better resource for all of your wine and food pairing needs!

Having a Good time with Wine in Oregon

Having a Good time with Wine in Oregon

It’s much easier to relate having a good time with wine when you see people doing it, than when you read about people doing it. I had a great time visiting Appassionata vineyards, a joint venture with Dr Loosen  in Northern Oregon with Jay Somers of J Christopher Wines, while with friends April Simpson and Terry Simpson of Eat Pack Go. I now look forward to having a good time with wine with these amazing food writers at Harry and David in southern Oregon! Be sure to visit their sites for all of your belly filling needs!.

*Aggie’s Kitchen – @aggieskitchen on Twitter
Foodie, but not a food snob. The healthier the better. Come hungry! Central Florida · http://www.aggieskitchen.com

*Brenda Score – @FarmgirlsDabble on Twitter
Midwestern girl, raised on a farm, now living in the ‘burbs. Sharing my recipe box & a little everyday life! Minnesota · http://www.afarmgirlsdabbles.com

*Heather Scholten @FarmGirlGourmet on Twitter
Food Blogger * Recipe Developer * Gardener * Old Home Renovator * Crazy Mom * Loving Wife * Pit Bull Advocate* Cheney, WA · http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com

*Maggy Keet – @ThreeManyCooks on Twitter
Food blog by cookbook author, Pam Anderson and her daughters, Maggy & Sharon. · http://www.threemanycooks.com

*Brian Samuels – @MyFoodThoughts on Twitter
Boston-based lifestyle, event + food photographer and blogger – Boston · http://www.athoughtforfood.net

*MarthaStewartLiving – @MS_Living on Twitter
Endless inspiration from the editors of Martha Stewart Living. -New York, NY · http://www.marthastewart.com

*Sommer Collier – @SpicyPerspectiv on Twitter
Professional Recipe Developer and Freelance Food Writer cooking up Easy-Gourmet Recipes and SPICY Conversation · http://aspicyperspective.com

*Dara Michalski @cookincanuck on Twitter
Food blogger, recipe developer and freelance writer. I am a Canadian living in the U.S. Cultures happily colliding. Utah · http://www.cookincanuck.com

*Gaby Dalkin – @What’sGabyCookin on Twitter
Private Chef. Author. Professional Recipe Developer. Freelance Food and Travel Writer. Avocado Lover. Los Angeles · http://www.WhatsGabyCooking.com

*Carrie Cook Minns – @CarrieMinns on Twitter
I write. I cook. I photograph. I eat. I laugh. Portland, Oregon · http://www.lapommedeportland.com

*Julie  – @PBFingers on Twitter
Blogger. Freelance writer. FitFluential ambassador. Dog lover. Believes eating peanut butter out of the jar with your finger is perfectly acceptable.
Ocala, FL · http://www.pbfingers.com

*Sandy Coughlin – @SandyCoughlinRE on Twitter
Author of The Reluctant Entertainer; love cooking & hosting dinner parties. – Medford, Oregon · http://reluctantentertainer.com

When I started to browse the sites of the 12 other writers going to Harry and David next week, I was reminded that people not only like recipes, they LOVE them chock full of  photos. The image helps them connect with the content and form a desire for the product. If you can’t see how it looks, it’s hard to imagine enjoying it by words alone sometime.

See you in Oregon! And let me know where I can use a nip and tuck by commenting below!