Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Celebrating the Wine-ter Holidays

If, like me, you weren't crazy brave enough to go shopping on Black Friday, you may still have a few people to cross off your holiday shopping list. Throughout my wine tour, nearly every stop has had a gift shop full of great presents for wine lovers. There are always shirts, glasses, wine charms, gift baskets, and wine bottle holders, but a few locations had unique items that would make any wine lovers' Christmas a little brighter. Here are a few of my favorite gift ideas:

Glacial Till's Ginormous Bottle of Wine

Ginormous is not an over exaggeration. The "Magnum", as the Murman's refer to it, is a six liter bottle of wine. Six. Liter. It's a great gift for hosts of holiday parties, or anyone who loves wine - a lot. The Ginormous (because I like the word and only get to use it so often) can be purchased in select varietals at the Ashland Glacial Till tasting room.

You had me at "Hello."

The Wino's Favorite Accessory

Wine-inspired jewelry can be cute, but the wine glass holder necklace is functional and practical. Katherine and I have often found ourselves awkwardly shuffling glasses, pens, tickets, and paper around because we couldn't hold everything and taste wine at the same time. This necklace holds most sizes of wine glasses, and would be perfect to have at the next Wine and Jazz Festival. We found these at Cedar Hills in Ravenna.

If only it came with rhinestones...

Why Should Beer Drinkers Get All the Fun?

I actually discovered Woozies at Barb's Hallmark in Lincoln. Woozies are coozies designed to fit wine glasses and keep chilled wine cool. They are adjustable and come in fun colors and designs. Plus, "woozie" is fun to say.

The also have a great slogan.

Finally, if anyone is wondering what to get this particular wine lover, I think my new apartment could use one of these.

*hint hint*

Happy Shopping!

Glacial Till's Website
Wine Glass Holder Necklaces
Woozie Website
Wine Rack

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Passing Zephyr

August 10
Stop #11: Glacial Till Tasting Room

On our way back to Lincoln, Katherine and I decided to stop in Ashland to visit Glacial Till's tasting room. We had already gotten our passports stamped at their vineyard in Palmyra, but because of our great previous experience, we wanted to drop by their second location. So maybe this should actually be "Stop #10 1/2" or "Stop #2.2"...

Since we had already tried most of Glacial Till's wines, we didn't do another tasting. Instead, I was excited to try their newest wine, named "Zephyr" after Tim's smiling dog. I was so confident that I would enjoy the Zephyr, based on my fondness for all their other wines, that I didn't even ask for a sample before ordering a glass.

I wasn't disappointed.

Zephyr, as its name implies, is a crisp white wine. It reminded me of autumn, and I think it will be a perfect fall wine. I had imagined that it would be a touch sweeter, but I still enjoyed it very much. As we were sipping our wine, Katherine and I went upstairs to look around the art gallery. The pieces were unique, and as I always am, I was drawn to the photography.

After we had wandered around upstairs, we went back downstairs and watched a slide show of photos from Glacial Till. A friend of the Murman's, who was running the tasting room, answered our questions about the pictures.

I was amazed to learn that Glacial Till went from making about 7,000 bottles when they first started to making around 30,000 bottles - a huge leap in such a short amount of time.

Now that their wines are some of my favorites, they'll have to bottle a couple more.

Another favorite: Zephyr

Glacial Till's Website

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Time Flies

August 10th
Stop #10: Soaring Wings Vineyard

The previous night's thunderstorm may not have ruined our evening, but the booming of thunder and the intense lightening woke me up several times throughout the night. I also had a stand-off with Wendy's evil cat, which I eventually won. I came away unscathed (barely), but still, it was a small victory, and I woke up unrefreshed after a restless night.

Coffee and a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and sausage revived me, and I plotted our day's plan of action while we waited for the vineyards to open. At noon, we thanked Wendy for the great day, waved goodbye, and headed north to Soaring Wings Vineyard in Springfield.

The building we approached was huge - so huge, we were discussing what it could be, not yet knowing that it was our destination. It was a beautiful day outside; the heat from the previous weeks was finally beginning to subside. Several people were enjoying glasses of wine outside as we went in for our tasting.

Soaring Wings in Springfield, NE

Soaring Wings is named for owner Jim Shaw's background in aviation. Jim was a pilot in the Air Force and for Delta Airlines before he began to seriously explore wine making. He and his wife Sharon have recently began brewing, and have just released a number of craft beers. Unfortunately, the beer wasn't quite ready when we stopped by. Many of their creations, both wine and beer, follow the theme of aviation with their names.

The two wines I was most excited to try, Red Phoenix and Blushing Hawk, were sadly sold out. They flew from the cases and into fellow wine lovers' glasses. I'll have to remember to try some sooner next year.

On a side note, a bit of advice: Don't eat a grape off the vine before it's ripe. Blech.

Good for photos, bad for tasting.

Favorites: Sunset Red and Ice Falcon

Soaring Wings' Website