Dec. 20, Saturday. “Great is the fortune of he who possesses a good bottle, a good book, and a good friend”. Moltiere. I was invited by a hiking friend, Donna, to go on the wine tasting tour with the group from the RV park. Donna’s husband was unable to go so I just reimbursed her for Bill’s spot. Let’s preface this by saying that I don’t drink, but thought this was something I had never done before and I am always up for a bit of a new adventure. I didn’t think small sips would make me tipsy. The RV park has its own small bus that seats 12. Ray, our driver, had it all warmed up and ready to go as our “motley crew” gathered to head out.
Well, here comes my new friends, Kent and Sidney! They are parked just a few sites down from us in the RV section of the park. They are just the nicest couple. We are really enjoying getting to know them and look forward to spending more time together over the winter months. I had no idea they had signed up for the trip. Then along comes Tony and Becky, who I have been getting to know in the hiking group. A few of the other women I recognized from last season. So we I knew it was going to be a fun day and with friends. The drive to the vineyards was about an hour and a half further south from Tucson. It was a glorious blue sky day and we passed by the ever changing landscape of AZ. From mountains and Saguaro cactus, to rolling hills and open plains, even distant mountain tops with snow, we saw it all. Even the Antelope were out soaking up the sun on such a pretty day.
Our first vineyard was Arizona Hops and Vines. This is where I learned how the tour works: At the 1st winery, you buy your wine glass and cost of tasting about 6 wines. Then you carry your new glass with you to all the other wineries and get a cost of about $5 for 6 tastings. What a neat idea! Even if you come on another day, as long as you have a glass from one of the local wineries, you still pay just the cost of the tastings. The wineries tasting rooms are open to the public and anyone can sample all kinds of wines. It seems to be a nice way of getting out and about on a weekend. Love the view!
We started tasting the first wines. This is where it got pretty funny! Since I only took tiny sips, I had the rest of my small portions left over. I started to pour it into the vase for unwanted wines and Donna said “No, don’t pour it out, I’ll take it!” So that is the way it went at the rest of the wineries. She loves wine and we had some good laughs about me being careful not to drink too many sips as she drank all that I didn’t want. We joked about it being all my fault if her husband had to come get her! She really is a sweet person. The wines were good and my favorite was a hot sweet mulled red wine with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Back on the bus, one of the ladies was thoughtful enough to prepare a tray of cheeses and crackers so we were not drinking on an empty stomach. Good idea! I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to get so tipsy that we wound up across the border in Mexico! We were not that far from the border!
The next stop was the Sonoita Vineyards. More tasting, laughing, and good conversation. I must say, some of those ladies must be real connoisseurs of wines because they were spouting off the names and blends of wines as if they had their own vineyard! I think by this time, after more tasting, some of these ladies had been on many of these tours before! The 3rd stop was at The Village of Elgin Winery. Each of the tasting rooms so far were very rustic. I guess if you drink enough wine, you won’t care what the place looks like! The picture below of the outside of the tasting room almost looks like an old western saloon. I half way expected John Wayne to come through the door!
The final stop was at the Elgin Vineyards. Now this was more like a very successful up scale winery! The outside of the building looked like a small castle and was surrounded by a larger number of vineyards and more mountain scenery. Of course, the vines area all dried up for the winter. And yep, I was still giving Donna my leftovers! What laughs! Some of them she didn’t know I poured in her glass! This must be a more popular winery because the place was busy. The inside was even decorated in a pretty décor. It made you feel like you really were in wine country. I stepped outside and you could see the vast vineyards. Plus there was a pretty view of the distant mountains. The dog in the picture is the resident greeter! What a life! Just eat, sleep, and maybe a sip of wine in his water!
I think by now everyone was more that ready for some lunch! It was already 3:00 in the afternoon. We headed back up the way we came and stopped at The Ranch House Restaurant. Let me tell you, there are some unique places out in the desert! This one gave a whole new meaning to rustic. But hey, the bikers like it! The food was good and the waitress who looked like she forgot to put her teeth in was a real entertainer! You hardly find any small restaurants with paved parking lots out away from town. D-I-R-T seems to be the ground cover of choice! Things like that are what give these interesting places their character. Some of the group ordered MORE wine with their meal. Oh, boy! This is going to be a fun trip home!
I really enjoyed the day and the company was terrific! What a fun group! After all that tasting, I bet everyone slept good that night!
(It wasn’t until after I walked back to the RV that afternoon I noticed our bikes were gone. So that didn’t ruin my fun day before the trip.)