Evening at the Vineyard

Last October, for our ten year anniversary, my husband Ryan and I decided that we would celebrate our wedding anniversary in a commemorative manner. We booked a trip to Napa Valley and left the kids with the grandparents for four days as we headed out on an adults-only mini vacation. Glorious!

We visited a number of vineyards over our few days away, learning about the ancient art of winemaking and the chemical processes involved with the grapes, their sugars, and the journey from trellis to wine glass. Lovely weather, breathtaking views and divine tastes made for a rejuvenating get-away.

Vineyards can be an enchanting place. Rows and rows of clustered fruit growing on trellises create a refined rural setting that slows one’s pace and entices us to unwind, sip, talk, mingle, and enjoy. Vineyards are technically farms, yet there’s something a bit more celebratory about walking the grounds and soaking in the rolling hills of grapevines. I never had the inclination to walk my grandpa’s rows of cornfields in a knee length skirt, cardigan and heels, or stroll through the soybeans sipping an earthy Merlot. But deposit me at a vineyard and I’m overcome with a certain je ne sais quoi that makes me feel a tad more grown up with a touch more vitality.

Luckily for us, a plane ride to California isn’t necessary to enjoy the ambience of the vineyard. Minnesota continues to grow in its number of vineyards and wineries. Most welcome guests to come taste and visit for a spell. Tasting rooms are open to both those with the most refined wine palate to the beginning wine connoisseurs alike, and help is readily available for those just learning to discern the varying notes and complexities in wine. Some offer light menu options, such as fruit and cheese platters, appetizers, or even flatbread pizza baked in wood fire brick ovens. Scrumptious!

Although I adore my kids, the wondrous thing about spending some time at a winery is that it tends to be an afternoon or evening of adult time. And yes, this is important every once in a while! Some local vineyards sponsor evenings of wine and music with local artists. Throw in some mingling with good food and great vino and it’s a lovely time!

A vineyard can make for the perfect setting for a bridal shower, retirement party, ladies’ night out, engagement party, couples’ reunion, or a simple date night. I’ve been in attendance at vineyard shindigs where people have strolled casually in jeans and sweaters, and I’ve also seen some fancy attire at a rehearsal dinner on the sprawling lawns of a local vineyard. Depending on the party, a vineyard soiree can be light and casual or a fancy affair.

Tonight, it’s ladies’ night. A few college friends and I make our way to the tasting room and settle on our flavors. Glasses in hand, we make our way to the green hills behind the building and cozy into wooden Adirondack chairs surrounding an inviting fire pit. As fireflies dance and spark in the woods down toward the creek, we spend the evening laughing, sipping, and soaking in the slow and easy pace of the vineyard. Salut!

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