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Monday, August 13, 2012

Wine Festival Adventure

On Saturday, Chuck and I went to the Shoreline Wine Festival at Bishop's Orchards in Guilford, Connecticut. I had never been to a wine festival before so I was looking forward to it. My suggestion to anyone else who wants to go to one is that it's best to head later in the afternoon or early evening. The festival started at noon on Saturday and went till 7 p.m. We got there at about 1:30 or so. We had to pay an entrance fee of $30 each, which seemed rather exorbitant to me, but it was a new adventure so I was hoping it would be worth the money. We were given a punch card and a glass wine glass with the logo of the event and the date etched into the side. A very nice memento, but certainly not worth the $30 yet! The tickets had a listing of the 7 wineries that were giving testing samples that day. There were 2 tents that housed winery booths, as well as arts and crafts and other types of vendors. The object of the tickets were to go to each winery, have tastings of each type of wine they had present that day, and get your ticket punched so that the public did not leave totally intoxicated by having unlimited tastings throughout the day. Believe me, due to the heat, and the 7 wineries offering testings, I didn't need to go to anywhere more than once to feel the effects of the wine. Other than a feel of the winery booths that had samples of wine crackers to give out, there was nothing free to eat. It was possible to go outside the winery tents and purchase other food and sit down in smaller tents with tables and chairs.Each winery had a few pourers who would collect the tickets, punch them and give them back to the participants. Then they would pour small amounts of wine into our glasses, all the while explaining details about that particular wine. By the time we were done at each booth, we probably had 1/2 to 3/4 of a glass of wine. I must say here that out of the 7 wineries, I only found 2 that were interesting. One was a winery named, Hopkins" from New Preston, Connecticut that had really unique wines, including a dessert wine called, "Night Owl." I found it very sweet and delicious, and a wine that would have been the perfect end to a good meal. Of course I am a night owl anyway, so I was already hooked just by the name itself! I also was quite intrigued by the wines from Bishop Orchards. These wines are not made from grapes, but only from the produce grown at Bishop's Orchards themselves. This included an apple/pear wine and a peach/honey sangria. The sangria would have been great served with fruit and ice. One of the issues that made the experience less enjoyable was the fact that it seemed a bit too early in the day to be drinking wine. Had we gone later in the day, say 4:30 or 5:00 in the afternoon, and had our food as a dinner, when it was also less hot, I think the experience might have been a better one. We did go outside the wine tasting tents halfway through the experience to get some lunch. I had a wonderful piece of tomato pizza from a brick oven pizza truck. We ended up not buying any wine. Although I did enjoy a few of them, Chuck was not as impressed. What we were impressed with was the Bishop's Orchard's store. After the wine festival experience, we went into the store to see the produce. Chuck bought some fresh tomatoes, some cheese and a loaf of garlic/buttered bread that was still warm. On the way home we each had a piece of the loaf. It was honestly the best piece of bread I have ever tasted. It was the salt/butter and garlic tastes mingled with the rich freshness of the bread that made it a winner in my eyes...and in my mouth as well! That night, we had a simple dinner of bread, sliced tomatoes, the fresh cheese, and a bit more wine. I can honestly say that our dinner together was the best part of the day for me. And just thinking of how fresh and delicious that bread was topped with a slice of fresh tomato and the cheese is making my mouth water even now!

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