Ah, wine country. Whether those words inspire visions of
idyllic rolling hills or cool, silent barrel cellars, people tend to loosen
their shoulders a bit, breathe out. Relax. Sigh blissfully while holding a
phantom wine glass...After all, it’s wine, right? What about those responsible
folks who decide to truck you around to winery after winery, though? They are,
after all, choosing to not imbibe--and rightfully so! What is there for them to
do? Luckily, wineries have caught on to the designated driver dilemma, now
offering all sorts of options that don’t include drinking the latest juice in
the tasting room. Here’s your guide to visiting wineries for more than just the
Pairing wine and music is one of those things that just make
sense. Many wineries, like Maryhill Winery in Goldendale, Washington, not only
produce great, expressive wines, but also host incredible summer concerts.
Often taking advantage of their pastoral surroundings, these wineries erect
large amphitheaters and invite wine- and music-lovers alike to listen under the
stars. In the case of Maryhill, its concert series offers gorgeous views of the
wending Columbia River, while big name acts like John Legend, Bob Dylan and
Earth, Wind & Fire have taken the stage in the past.
Great wine demands great food, and the least you can do for
your beloved designated driver is treat them to a gourmet meal. Many wineries--from
Napa to the Finger Lakes – run their own onsite restaurants, and many now offer
culinary classes. For instance, Rutherford, CA’s Cakebread Cellars offers a
grilling and woodburning oven cooking class at its winery house kitchen.
Oenophiles and spa-goers alike will really relish wine spa
treatments, or vinotherapy. While some wineries are slowly catching on to the
trend, spas and hotels located around wine country take advantage of their
region’s bounty by offering wine-based treatments. One such hotel is the
Kenwood Inn and Spa in Sonoma, which rethinks the rejuvenative properties of
grapes and wine. Think treatments utilizing crushed grape seeds and skins,
which become antioxidant-rich exfoliants and wraps that purportedly soothe and
refresh the skin. How about a soak in water enriched with vine extract? Sounds
loads better than a Merlot-induced hangover.
What are some non-wine related activities you’ve found in