I just returned from a week in the Midwest, working mid week with the wineries of Iowa and then on to Illinois for some time with the wineries in the Northern region.
After flying into and staying in Des Moines overnight, I drove down to Two Saints Winery in St. Charles to present a full day seminar, then took off for Oskaloosa to visit Tassel Ridge Winery. From there it was a three-hour trip up to Galena, Illinois.
I was listening to the radio as I drove up to Galena and was told of a tornado watch around Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, which I was passing at the time. I am happy to say that the tornado did not materialize in that area though Illinois got hit. I have no idea of what to do in a tornado, having only lived in England and California, neither of which is known for tornados.
Galena, Illinois is a picturesque little town, obviously a tourist town, with lots of wonderful shops, restaurants and a few wine tasting rooms and my stay at Galena Cellars, where I presented another full day seminar, was fun and interesting. Thanks Chris (Lawlor-White) for your wonderful hospitality! I would definitely like to go back to Galena and take in more of the wineries in and around that area.
It’s so gratifying to see the wineries in these areas doing so well and making a variety of wines that suit their climate, some dry wines, some sweet and some in between. Their enthusiasm for their products and dedication to their profession is inspiring.
Wine clubs are catching on in these areas, with a few in Iowa and more in Illinois and even more in the planning for a number of wineries. In both states, I tasted some lovely Seyvals (one of my favorite grapes) as well as Marquette and Chambourcin. The French hybrids are doing very well in the Midwest and the wineries understand the grapes as well as the demands of their customers.
The only thing I have to remember when I travel to the Midwest is to make sure that I have plenty to teabags with me, as it’s hard to get a cup of tea in many restaurants. Which is the reason for the title of this blog. But as long as I have terrific people to work with (and the Midwest has plenty of those), can get a good glass of wine, and remember to bring plenty of teabags with me, I am set.
So thanks to the wineries for their wholehearted welcome and to the people who worked hard to put the days of training together. It’s always a pleasure to come to the Midwest and I hope to be back to see you soon!
A tip of the glass (and the cup) from me to you!