Oh, my dear Kissers...
September brought us a new KTC format. It wasn't a weekend getaway, and it wasn't preparing dinner together. Rather, our oh-so-gallant duo Frank and Damian had planned an entire day filled with fun--and wine tastings--for us to enjoy together! Score!
Not only that, but we would be safely chauffeured around town from winery to winery by Frank himself, our self-appointed designated driver (DD). Double score!!
Our day began at Chateau Ste. Michelle. We met in the parking lot at 10am and headed in to the tasting room. Please allow me to point out that this bright-eyed hour for wine-tasting should clearly indicate to you that Today We Would Not Be Fooling Around.
We moseyed up to the tasting counter and let Lon take care of us, walking us through the mechanics of selecting our tasting options.
William had joined us for the day as well, to our collective delight.
Sebastian didn't let a little thing like age-restrictions for wine-drinking dampen his fun:
Fernando and Shawn enjoyed having their family portrait made...
We sipped, slurped and swished to our heart's delight. Rick had remembered his notebook. and Anne regaled us with tales of how tasting wine at this early hour was actually best. She explained that, as the day wore on, one's taste buds become fatigued along with the rest of one's body, and do their job less efficiently. Who knew?
After leaving the Chateau, we piled back into our chauffeured van to head to nearby Novelty Hill/Januik.
We arrived safe and sound (Thanks, DD!), and headed inside. This space was super cool, and I had never been there before.
We were greeted at Januik enthusiastically, and shown a cluster of merlot grapes, which were being crushed that very day - we couldn't believe our luck! Our hosts invited us outside to watch the grapes being pressed. We went outside and saw crate after crate of grapes awaiting a turn:
Sebastian was fascinated - he wanted to stay and watch more. Or maybe he hoped one of the employees would come around again with samples of the grapes for him to try!
Here are a few more action shots of the huge hopper and press:
See that big beige box at the upper right? That's one of those crates of grapes being lifted on a forklift to be dumped into the hopper.
We made our selections and enjoyed.
We chatted about a bit of everything. It was truly enjoyable to have longer-than-usual strings of unbroken conversation with our fellow Kissers, with no kitchen timer interruptions or imposed breaks due to panicked dashes to the smoking skillet on the stove. And converse, we did!
We discussed the ins and outs of fine marketing as exemplified by the waxing shop in Fremont, Wax On Spa. Have a look for yourself:
Greeting you at the front door (and providing a helpful open/closed status message) is this guy:
As we noshed and sipped, we talked about other things, too, of course...
We discussed options for our next KTC weekend escape, and kicked around options for interesting things to make/create.
One favorite was a gluten-free granola idea - our marketing ploy would be "Gluties" - like cooties, but for those observing a gluten-free diet!
We continued to bask in the late summer sun, sipping, swishing, and smiling.
Then, it was time to move on. Next up on our list was Efeste, We piled again into the van and departed for our next adventure.
We were ushered right in and sat at a large table, a smidgen behind our planned arrival time. We were not as warmly greeted here as we had been at Januik, but we weren't worried. It tickled us to see them using their open kitchen area for canning. Look at those late summer colors!
Again, we sipped our way through these guys' standard tasting, going from the light and fruity to the rich and robust Big Papa Cabernet.
Here, Fernando schools Rick on the proper pronunciation of "Sauvignon Blanc:"
We hung out a while longer, and enjoyed each other's company.
Sadly, in the midst of our last pour, we were unceremoniously (and rather apologetically) rushed out to accommodate a bachelorette party. Boo, Efeste.
So whatevs. That made me feel a little cranky. BUT, our day wasn't over - we had a heckuva lot more wine to taste in Woodinville, and we needed a little sustenance of the non-fermented grape variety. So all-in-all, we decided that Efeste had actually done us a favor. We were off to the next stop: The Snoqualmie Ice Cream Factory. Yay!
Before we could arrive, Sebastian reached his activity limit, and decided it was time for a snooze. He looks pretty cute all snuggled in like that.
Fernando stayed in the car with Sebastian and the rest of us piled into the cafe for a cold and creamy treat. (Don't worry, we ordered something for Fernando, too!).
We enjoyed the sun and enjoyed our ice cream...
Afterwards, we strolled the grounds of the mini-farm...And then it was time for more wine tasting! We headed off to our final destination, Fidelitas. Again, we piled in and headed off.
When we arrived, Fernando decided to stay in the car watching Sebas and resting a bit more, as he wasn't feeling his best. The rest of us headed in to Fidelitas and were attended by a cutie pie ex-Coast Guard guy from Texas.
We tried several really delicious wines there, including the Champoux Vineyard Merlot, and took several bottles home with us.
Pocketbooks a tad lighter, we were headed back out, but noticed the Mark Ryan tasting room just a few doors down. We decided to pop in for one last tasting. The Dissident Red quickly was proclaimed our all-day favorite. So nice!
We emerged into the September sun and returned to the van, voicing our collective desire to return soon to Woodinville for more wine tastings.
Our dear Designated Driver (Guess that makes him our DDD) Frank drove us back to the Chateau where we had all parked. We did a little unloading and re-seating (read: car-seating!) and Anne and Rick graciously invited the whole gang over to their house to help them eat down their current cheese supply. So....off we went!
Look at what a lovely time we had - cheese, wine, and Actual Real Conversation. It was fantastic! Many thanks to Anne and Rick for pulling out a last-minute invitation like that - it was so nice.
I, for one, would happily get behind a periodic KTC event during which we didn't actually cook anything. The point would be to bring a bottle of something and sit around noshing on some easy snacks or takeout - and while away the hours just catching up and visiting. All in favor?
Stay tuned for October's update - coming (probably not very) soon!