SUV’s with tinted windows pulled up and parked behind the bushes. 12 ladies, lead by Marcia, got out and snuck up on Susie’s front door. No battering rams or flash grenades were required. We didn’t even have to use the cuffs. Susie came quietly with a big smile on her face and a tear or two of happiness. After all it was her birthday, but what a surprise. For two months Marcia, Susie’s sister planned. That’s a long time to keep a secret, especially with so many “in the know.”
This latest tour was a blast! It was really nice for so many to become a part of the Idaho Winery Tours community. We started at Martin Fujishin’s new tasting room and fruit stand, just up the Sunny Slope Road from the Orchard House. Martin is a great wine maker and answered a bunch of questions from our newfound friends. I always love it when the winemaker is on site. That’s what makes a great tour. Being able to actually talk to the folks who make it all happen. He took them through his offering and a few bottles came along for the ride. Their canned peaches are phenomenal too!
Next, was lunch at the Orchard House, a mainstay of the tour. Their crispy onion rings are the best on the planet. They shared a couple of bottles of Gina Davis’ wine with lunch. Then Susie got to wear the funny b-day hat. I’ve never heard a better version of Happy Birthday in my life. All the other patrons had big smiles as the 12 ladies sang. Everyone’s spirits were lifted.
Then it was off to Bitner where they sampled Ron’s offering and more bottles of various flavors came along for the ride. Ron wasn’t around unfortunately, but they enjoyed the view, the wine, and the wine dog book.
Next was Koenig’s Winery and Distillery. We got lucky, because we mostly had the place to ourselves. Wendy and Curtis were on hand to serve up the goodness. They’re a lot of fun. It was Curtis’ last day at the tasting room. He said he might be back sometime this fall. Wendy is a real pistol and both are just fun to hang out with, always ready to strike up a conversation and crack jokes.
I think the ladies got a big kick out of Roger Williamson. He’s a real charmer. Again it’s great to meet the folks who make it happen. What’s great about a visit to Williamson’s Orchards and Vineyard is that you can’t get some of his wines any other place – another perk of going on the tour. He had them in the palm of his hand as he went down the line from theri amazing dry reisling to the homestead, a blend of cab and syrah, to their fantastic ice wine. It was good to his daughter Emily working hard in the warehouse. Stacey was there, but we didn’t get to talk much. They were pretty busy.
Then it was off to Indian Creek. We had to wait less then a minute to get to the tasting room as a wedding ceremony was finishing up. We heard the roar of the crowd as the unknown groom kissed the unknown bride. We went in the secret way, known only to special friends of the Stowe family to meet Tammy at the Tasting Bar. They got a coule of cheese plates and some chocolates to go with the a line of wines eight or nine wines long. It was great to hear that an article in Zone 4 Magazine had inspired some travelers to deviate from their rout to make a special stop at Indian Creek due to an artilce written by a local writer Janna Good, who happens to be one of my partners in crime.
You know you’ve put on a good show as a winery tour guide when the tour heads for home and the SUV is filled with raucus laughter and people’s sides begin to ache. We parted friends for life and are so happy to share such a wonderful community with such a great bunch of ladies. Happy Birthday Susie! You’ve got a great sister and wonderful friends. I count myself lucky to have been a part of your celebration. I’m glad you filled up your wine rack!
Cheers and Good Cheer!