Saturday, September 7, 2013

Thelma & Louise's "NO Labor Today!" Road Trip (Part One)

Louise had had one helluva week!  The old daily grind at her place of employment left her pooped out and needing some time to rejuvenate before the next work week started.  That usually means two things: (1) she needs a road trip...and (2) she needs WINE!

So we packed up the Laguna Blue SUV with a picnic lunch and headed toward the lake. There's nothing like the beauty of Lake Michigan to revive the senses and clear the mind!  The temperature gauge was checked once in a while on the trip...was the lake going to be warm enough? What about the sun - would it be out? Then we pulled up to our destination - Warren Dunes State Park.

Well, I'd be dadburned if the vehicles weren't three deep all the way to the highway!  It would be quite a long time before Louise could even think about dipping her pink-painted toes into that water!  And what's with the weather?!  It suddenly went from 80 to 74 in the blink of the sun which had dipped behind one of those awful gray clouds! "Hell's what??", Louise asked me.

Not one to waste a Thelma & Louise Road Trip opportunity, with the young'uns back home, we decided to take advantage of our freedom and mosey on down the road to the winery that we noticed was very close by there!  We turned that SUV around and high-tailed it to the nearest tasting room.  St. Julian's Wine was calling our names, and from the look of the parking lot, they called a lot of other folks too!

Being sensible women, Louise and I decided it would be smart to have some of that picnic lunch we had packed before we went inside for some sampling.  The folks at St. Julian made sure that there was a nice area for us, too.  Square picnic tables complete with shade umbrellas were there for us to use. We finished our lunch and went inside to enjoy what we came for - the wines!

There were two different bars to saddle up to...Louise, of course, picked the one with the fella named Chris.  We signed up for tasting six wines and a souvenir glass for just $5.  Chris was a smart one, explaining the grapes in each wine.  The Braganini family, he said, has had the winery since 1921, so that's a LOT of wine over that many years!

Chris told us that the winery uses grapes they buy from vineyards within a 45 miles from their winery in southwestern Michigan.  The Braganini family has some wines to purchase that are special reserve. Some of the wines we sampled were special Braganini wines, which also have the special treat of a corked bottle (the other wines are twist-cap...but good stuff inside!).

Louise was especially partial to the Braginini Late Harvest Vidal Blanc, which Chris said is made from a Franco-American hybrid grape that was made popular in Virginia a few years back.  (I think that's why Louise loves it... drinking wine from hybrid grapes makes her put her pinky up cuz she's drinking high-falooting wine, plus it makes her feel like a French girl...oo-lalah!)

St. Julian Winery ( also had non-alcoholic sparkling wines and drinks, hard cider, salsas, salad dressing, and many fun wine what-nots to buy.  Their infusions in blueberry, raspberry, or cherry are in bottles shaped like musical instruments like a saxophone, trumpet, and violin.  Since the infusions are so good, St. Julian can toot their own horn about those!

Something we haven't seen at other wineries we've visited is the vodka made 100% from grapes - Grey Heron Vodka.  We could have sampled it.  But since we did have to drive, we thought better of drinking 80 proof vodka!  A run-in with the police wasn't on our agenda for this Thelma & Louise Day!

We settled up our bill after buying Blackberry Wine, Louise's favorite Late Harvest Vidal Blanc, and Pinot Grigio for the fridge at home, and decided maybe the day would be a good one after all (amazing how a few sips of wine can change your outlook like that, ain't it??).  Heck, if one wine tasting room made us clear our minds, imagine what TWO would do for us!

So we headed out to find another place to get our drink on.  That, friends, is another story for another day...stay tuned!