Monday, August 5, 2013

For $1.00, a wine tasting and a free dog!

Blue Sky Winery, a taste of Tuscany
Martin Luther said, "Beer is made by men, wine by God."

Most who know me would be surprised, maybe even shocked to learn that I harbor a secret desire to be a winemaker (vintner).
Enjoying the shaded deck at Owl Creek Winery
If I owned a winery, I think I would find it satisfying watching and listening to visitors' reaction as they tasted my assorted wines, nodding their heads in approval and raving about the delicate, complex taste of each wine.

But since that is not going to happen anytime soon, let me introduce you to one of the best kept secrets here in Western Kentucky and Southern Illinois, The Shawnee Wine Trail, a winding, scenic 25-mi route between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers where you can visit about 12 or more wineries. There are certain spots where the terrain reminds me of the Napa Valley in Northern California.

A week ago, a group of us (3 carloads) visited 3 wineries on the Trail. Our first stop was Owl Creek Vineyard, a family-run business that has a 4-level back deck with musicians playing nearby on an old flatbed truck. After the wine tasting (which was $1.00 to taste five wines) we sat on the top deck surrounded by trees. It was as if we were out in the woods. The atmosphere at Owl Creek makes you want to linger over a glass of wine enjoying the company of friends.

Wine tasting at the Van Jakob Winery
Our next stop was Pomona Winery where the wines are made from apples and other fruits. After the personal wine tasting hosted by their chief vintner, we gathered for a picnic lunch and were joined by a friendly dog who showed up at the winery the night before (Apparently, this dog is one of many that has been abandoned by his owners). This reddish-brown dog quickly made friends with everyone in our group. It was obvious that he'd missed several meals over the course of the past 2 days.

Next thing I know, my daughter, Sarah, wants to rescue him. We ended up bringing him home, and for the time being, we are his surrogate "masters". We named him Cinder. He's about one-year old--a mix of bloodhound and beagle, weighing about 40 lbs. Thus far, with a visit to the vet, and two visits to Pet-Smart, Cinder has cost us over $400.

Sarah & her rescued dog, Cinder
From the way he cowers at the sight of a broom, or a raised voice, we're pretty certain that Cinder was abused. He craves love and attention. Surprisingly, he can easily get through the doggie door which is designed for our 11 and 18-lb terriers and 9-lb cat.

Cinder Yancy
Our final stop of the day was the Van Jakob winery (they have two locations on the trail and this was the smaller, older and more rustic of the two). We sat in their enclosed patio, enjoying some wine and some interesting conversation. We'll be back this coming fall for some more wine, good food and the enjoyment of friends.

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