What’s the difference between and lawn dart and an F-16? Apparently nothing. That’s what the gang from Mountain Home’s AFB say anyway. With only one engine the F-16 is nothing more than a large very expensive lawn dart. Fortunately, the gentlemen on the last Saturday’s tour fly the F-15C (two engines). It’s always good to have a spare when you’re flying at the speed of sound. The weather Saturday wasn’t that great for flying, so some fighter pilots from the 390 FS and their wives, decided to take off for Idaho’s wine country.
We were good to go (a little fighter jock lingo) as we pulled in to Williamson Orchards and Vineyards. It was a little strange to see the bare fruit trees as we pulled in. Usually they’re in full foliage. But the tasting room was warm and the wine ready to pour. As I expected, Roger Williamson was working hard on a Saturday cleaning out his wood shop. I had a nice chat with him as a light rain began to fall. Williamson’s Reserve was the bomb as we made our way to the next stop.
By the time we made it over to Bitner Vineyards, the rain had stopped. We had an escort to the front door by their lovable and affectionate Jack Russell terrier Jimmie. Wine dogs were very popular on this sortie. I had a nice conversation with Ron Bitner, as my guests sipped the fruits of his labors. Even though it was cloudy, the view from his deck was still spectacular.
Then it was on to Koenig. Everyone was impressed with the copper still as you walk in as well as the distillery one can view from the second floor tasting room. They found a few bottles they liked after tasting the flight there and we were off again.
That’s when the snacks came out. Cpt. Rich “Stuck” Stocker’s wife, Michelle set up the tour. Michelle is a forensic scientist, and we had an interesting conversation about DNA and body fluids (a rarity for a wine tour). She had been out to the Sunny Slope once before. She learned from her experience to eat as you go. It can be quite a bit of wine when you’re tasting 5 to 7 blends and varietals at each stop. They brought smoked mozzarella, and some other cheeses, as well as salamis, beef jerky, and some olives. It’s always good to cleanse the palate between tasting rooms.
Next we stopped at Davis Creek, which is a favorite of mine. Her tasting room sits right next to the tiny Marsing Town Hall. Gina Davis makes a heck of a wine, and the wives and their pilots seemed to enjoy sitting on the plush couch tasting the tempranillo and chatting. While we there they were joined by another couple from the 390, and they followed us to Hells Canyon Vineyards.
I had never been to this one, but glad Michelle requested it. It turned out to be their favorite of the whole trip. IT was really good to meet Steve and his daughter Hadley. Cpt. TJ “Lojak” Pate did some wheeling and dealing and filled a couple of boxes with a variety of Hells Canyon wine. The variety of wines our guests taste is staggering. That’s why I don’t talk too much about the wine. The gracious hosts at Hells Canyon were having an open house for the St. Valentine’s day weekend and raffled off a bottle of the winner’s favorite wine. Nobody on the tour won, but their comrade in arms, who had joined us at Davis Creek, did. He was promptly directed by his wife what his favorite was, and laughter ensued.
You almost wouldn’t believe it, but we made it to Indian Creek for the final stop of the day. Dahlia, another wine dog of fame was there to fetch the stick/ball/frisbee. They also have the biggest cat you’ve ever seen. Dahlia keeps her distance. The Star Garnet, Indian Creek’s signature wine, was a big hit and a few more bottles were purchased. We didn’t leave until 6:00, but it was nice to chat with Tammy, and get to finally meet Mike McClure. I hope we didn’t keep them from anything. The tasting room closes at 5PM. We appreciate them staying open.
I have to say that our brave men and women in the armed services are doing a fantastic job. I for one appreciate knowing that they are there keeping the American way of life safe. Thanks so much for the signed picture (top photo). It will be on my wall for a long time to come. Be safe. Raise a glass to the Wild Boars!
Cheers and Good Cheer