The highlight at Field Recordings Winery (besides the sweet old winery dog Boomer napping in a sunny spot in the parking lot like she owned it) was "Book Club" Sauvignon Blanc - described in the tasting notes as having notes of "raspberry otter pop and aloe vera."
Let's just say I am in awe of the people who can taste a wine and detect raspberry otter pop.
Besides being eminently quaffable, "Book Club" was packaged in a can, and not just any can, but one designed to look like a book with title, author and faux binding.
Calling all wine loving readers.
Girl power reigned supreme around the corner at Desparada Winery, where the female winemaker made an immediate fan of me when I learned that every year she creates a different wine and calls it "Suitor."
If it winds up winning her heart, she keeps it on, making it becomes part of her regular output. If it doesn't dazzle, she can't be bothered making it again. The suitor may not be scorned, but he isn't invited back again, either.
Since all her wines feature labels of naked women culled from art history (and scribbled over with line drawings of nude women), the loss is really the suitor's.
Where Treana Winery scored points (besides a sassy East coast pourer with a knowledge of Richmond restaurateurs) was with their "Love and Hope" Rose, not because I am devoted to delicious Roses (although I am) but because written on the cork is a mantra for the ages.
It would be a happier world if everyone just followed those three little steps.
The whole point of going to Niner Winery was to eat lunch (after a liquid morning, a necessity), but my perfect moment arrived after I spotted a woman sitting on a rock and, following her lead, trudged up the hill into the vineyard to take in what I knew had to be a magnificent view from above.
Once there, I asked if I was allowed up there (not really, liability issues and all), and she admitted she'd only gone up to eat her lunch and was returning to work at the winery now. I took that to mean she was willing to look the other way.
With her out of the way, I could get comfortable on one of the massive rocks under a tree and take in mountains all around, admire stone buildings below and have a front row seat for the birds' chatter above me.
For good measure, I was also that visitor who rang the massive wind chimes hanging in the tree since there wasn't enough breeze to hear them otherwise.
After all, why would a woman climb a steep vineyard hill and not make such a beautiful noise happen?
Ever hopeful, this one wouldn't.