Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blown Away

August 6th
Stop #9: Slattery Vintage Estates

Katherine's sister, Wendy, had told us about Slattery Vintage Estates, so we drove the short distance from Nebraska City to Nehawka. This time, our group had expanded to five - with wine, it's always the more, the merrier. We had heard that the tasting room was in the owner's house, so we weren't quite sure what to expect when we arrived.

We were blown away.

The house was huge, and the surroundings were beautiful. There was a pond full of goldfish, ducks waddling among the guests, fountains, and multi-level seating areas worked into the charming landscaping. Despite the heat, a little black dog sporting a mohawk was tirelessly playing fetch with the guests.

Slattery Vintage Estates in Nehawka, NE

As we were entering the seating area, Barb, the owner, was greeting everyone. We had noticed several large white tents, so we listened as she was chatting with the couple in front of us about them. The tents are rentable bungalows. Each bungalow has a bed, dresser, table, and chairs - and they're fully electric! I would love to go back and stay overnight. Throw in a bottle of wine (which, of course, you can) and that's my kind of camping.

Our group found a seat, and Katherine and I made our way inside to do a tasting. Unfortunately, they were not doing tastings that evening because they were hosting a special event. We were still able to get our tickets stamped with the purchase of wine, though. Currently, Slattery Vintage Estates does not offer their own wine. Their grapes froze a few years ago, and grapes take several years to mature enough to yield a large enough quantity to use in wine making. Hopefully, within the next couple years, they will begin to produce their own wine again.

The five of us shared a couple bottles of wine, and also split a pizza, meat and cheese tray, and brushetta. Chris Saub, our entertainment for the night, was great, and the whole atmosphere was relaxed.

Even when the storm rolled in.

"It was a dark and scary night..."

Barb came around to every table, assuring everyone that there was plenty of room under cover, so we all made our way under a large tent and continued to enjoy our evening. Lightening lit up the sky above, but for the most part, the storm went around us.

A little bit of rain isn't enough to dampen our spirits, especially when wine is involved.

Slattery Vintage Estates' Website

Friday, October 7, 2011

Bruises by the Bottle

Whenever wine is flowing, small accidents are bound to happen. If you then pack everyone into a cattle tank to stomp grapes, the likelihood of injury increases by about 37%, roughly.

Not only did I witness this phenomenon, I myself became an example of that made-up statistic during the grape stomp at Kimmel Orchard on August 6th.

The grape stomp was scheduled to begin at five, and anticipation built as everyone began to crowd around the cattle tank, which was wrapped in vertical wooden planks to make it look like a barrel. In the initial excitement and rush to get into the grape tank, everyone crammed in, due to an apparent irrational fear that the grapes would suddenly disappear. Children were supposed to get into the tank first, but the adults were more excited and clamored over them.

Katherine and I were finally able to squeeze our way into the tank, but could hardly move enough to actually stomp any grapes. We snapped a couple of pictures, then decided to get out and return after the initial wave of stompers retired. As I was getting out, someone jostled me in an attempt to regain her balance.

I, in turn, lost mine.

As I toppled forward out of the tank, I cracked the top of my foot on one of the wooden panels. When I rinsed the grape skins off my feet, I realized that I had a large gash from my stumble. I limped around for the rest of the night, wining and whining about my foot - but it didn't stop me from getting back in the tank later.

Things could have been worse. I hadn't put a lot of thought into my outfit selection that day, and had settled on a tank top and a white skirt. Thankfully, I didn't get any grape juice on my skirt when I fell, but another lady and her white capris didn't come out as lucky. She ended up falling inside the tank, and everything from her lower back to her ankles was stained with grape juice. A few of her friends helped her get out and rinse off, while her other friends took several pictures.

A bit of water and wine cured us both, and managed to heal our battered and bruised foot, bottom, and egos.