We like to check out what great ideas other grape growers and wine makers are using - you can follow our experiences on Emerald Vineyard's Facebook page.
So, yesterday we learned what Timothy and the team at Next Chapter Vineyard and Winery are doing with thieving wine in their tasting room.
We met Jackie (Timothy's Daughter) at a local foods event in Rochester, Minnesota, earlier this year and found her enthusiasm for their venture exciting. So, when we had the opportunity to get tickets for their Valentine's Day dinner and wine tasting, we were excited.
Next Chapter is a "boutique winery crafting barrel-aged elegant wine in Minnesota" (quoted from their website). After tasting a couple of their wines which had already been bottled and sampling some local cheese and crackers, we were turned loose to help ourselves to thieve wine (unlimited!) from any of a dozen varieties of wine barrels labeled with variety, age, alcohol content and tasting notes.
We have seen a wine thief used, but have never used one ourselves and we were like kids in a candy store - what fun!
We also enjoyed a "virtual tour" (it was 4 degrees below zero) of the vineyard and a nice dinner of Chicken Marsala catered by a local restaurant.
An informative conversation with Timothy gave us some really great ideas about controlling disease in the vineyard - more on that in another blog.
We think thieving your own wine, along with a great staff, makes Next Chapter an experience we definitely we want to do again. We'll head back when the weather warms.