...Not the kind of wheel you fall asleep at...

"Wine is Bottled Poetry"

This weekend I spent a remarkable 10+ hours driving around southern Ohio, all to surprise E with an Appalachian Wine-Tour weekend. Posh, you say? Very Paul Giammati-esque and Sideways you say? Well, alas, E didn't end up sleeping with any hot wine-stresses and never ended up breaking his nose, but it *did* end up being quite the adventure anyways.

I didn't know what to expect going into the experience--I know nothing about wines except that I enjoy them. All I knew is that we'd be hitting up (hopefully) six wineries scattered across southern Ohio, some as far as 2 and 1/2 hours from each other, and that at each place, you got a piece of a wine-tote kit (everything from wine glasses to an insulated wine-carrier that fits a bottle of wine and two glasses).

The first winery was tucked away in the middle of a County Rd. with a handpainted sign that was barely discernible from the road (and which caused me to pass it up several times with near hysteria when I couldn't figure out where the hell it was). Large fluffy dogs greeted us as we climbed out of the car, and I got made fun of for having taken the longest route (and most windy-roaded route) to get there from Cleveland.

From then on, wineries ranged from the large and upscale (Raven's Glen) to the completely back-road and amazingly beautiful Flint Ridge (we actually drove about 30 minutes on a gravel-road to get there) where we were served homemade munchies (wild-mushroom tarts, etc.), drank wine made from Hungarian grapes, chased noisy roosters, and which I could've happily stayed at all day.

Interspersed between wineries and driving was an overnight adventure spent in Marietta, eating on a historic showboat as the town's light glittered over the river.

The wine tour ended absolutely perfectly (and absolutely accidentally) at a winery on the top of a very large hill which overlooked vast rolling hills of farmland and where we were able to watch the sun drop over the horizon while eating cheesecake and sweet wines.

I was nervous planning the damn weekend (I had to map 10-hours worth of driving, with 6 different winery destinations and figure out the most logical route from each to the other the prior week) but it went better than I could've expected. None of the places had any of the wine snobbery I was leery of (they were all locally-owned, locally-run)--all the people we spoke to were charming and terribly nice folks who love wine enough to make their living making it in, sometimes in the middle of nowhere. Plus, I love road trips, I love southern Ohio, and I love driving the windy backroads and admiring all the worn-down farms and green-infused landscapes, so I couldn't've asked for anything more on my end. And to top off each burst of driving with wine in between, well, damn. It was the most fun I've had in quite some time.



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