You know you’ve got a loving wife when she sets you up with a winery tour for your birthday. Katie, who secretly conversed with me for a couple of days about a tour for her husband, Casey, kept the secret right up to the point when he saw the Idaho Winery Tours sign on the Honda Element. The Element makes for a great vehicle for a two person winery tour. Easy access with double doors, elevated rear seats and 360 degrees of glass make for excellent viewing of the beautiful Sunny Slope of the Snake River Valley. But this isn’t a review of the vehicle, it’s more about how much I like taking a couple of folks out to Idaho’s wine country.
In larger groups it’s more difficult to get to know people. That’s mostly because they are seated a few rows back, but when I have just two seated right behind I have the opportunity to chat a bit more. I love the larger groups just as much, but for different reasons. It’s a bunch of fun for me to watch 8 to 13 interact and have fun with each other, and some playful teasing comes across as just that; playful. With a couple,whatever their relationship to each other, conversation is more one on one.
Casey’s birthday and the wonderful gift his wife, Katie, gave him was just such a tour. We started out as usual with Ste, Chapelle, but didn’t stick around. Their tasting room was full so we moseid on over to Wiliamson’s for their annual first of harvest party. There was a large crowd theri as well, but they were ready for them with a few separate tasting stations. They tried some of Roger Williamson’s latest releases, and had a couple of barrel tastings. They loved the port.
Then it was off the ever popular Orchard House Restaurant. The Blast (bacon, lettuce, avocado, sprouts and tomato wrap) is always a big hit. It was a beautiful day; sunny with a cool breeze. It’s good to see Sherri and Kris so busy. They joked that they needed to teach me to roll cutlery while my guests are having lunch. I would do it if they really needed the help, but as ususal they had things well in hand.
We went off to Ron Bitner’s, where we met a large group that were having a class reunion. I’d talked to their organizer a week or two earlier and gave him some ideas on how to put a large tour together. It was good to see they made it out to the Sunny Slope. The skies were clear and one could easily see the Owyhees from Ron’s deck.
Our next stop was at Koenig Vineyards and Distillery. Wendy and Curtis were there serving up the goodies, including a fantastic huckleberry vodka that many say is better than 44 North’s offering. Unfortunately, Curtis is taking off for greener pastures, so they were breaking in the newbie Stephanie. We’re sorry to see you go Curtis, and we look forward to getting to know you Stephanie. Casey and Katie enjoyed the ice wine and were in awe of the machinery in the distillery room. It looks a bit like something out of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein.
Next we made an appearance at Davis Creek Cellars. Gina wasn’t happily at home behind the bar, but we were greeted by her Dad, George (What a great name!), and Kelly. Gina is a great winemaker. She offers 15 different varietals. Casey and Katie were highly impressed with the riesling, which is a wine typically outside my guests taste comfort zone.
It’s always nice to see Tammy Stowe behind the bar at Indian Creek. It was lucky for us that the ceremony was over at the wedding they were hosting. I hate pulling in to the drive when folks are in the middle of vows. Dahlia, the Indian Creek wine dog was resting happily next to the bar waiting for a scratch on the belly. My guests loved the feel of Indian Creek. For some reason its very homey, and has that lived in feel. The wine is tasty too. Casey and Katie loved the Syrah.
Our time together was over as I dropped them off at the Hampton Inn in Boise, but the fun wasn’t over for them. I handed them a Gift Card from Berryhill & Co., one of Boise’s premier restaurants. They were talking nap before dinner so I hope they made their 8:00 reservation; if not they had a great day just being together for Casey’s birthday.
Thanks so much for celebrating with Idaho Winery Tours. I hope you’ll come back soon as the area is growing and there’s a few places we didn’t get to try this time. Next time there will be a couple new additions to the area; Huston, and Fujishin. Happy 30th Casey and it was great getting to know you both. I thoroughly enjoyed our day together on a wine tour built for two.
Cheers and Good Cheer, George