Last weekend Jen from WhyCLE and I were invited by the owners of South River Winery in lovely Geneva to participate in the 3rd annual Ice Wine Festival Queen crowning – and then ride around in a limo to the other participating Geneva wineries with the court.
Take one guess as to how long it took me to say yes.
It was a snowy, gorgeous day – the perfect setting to be driven around in a limo all day
We started the day at Red Eagle Distillery – South River’s newest venture.
Red Eagle is beginning distribution of its scratch-made bourbon in the next few months. You can bet I’ll be on the look out for that. Here’s the batch I’m looking for
After a quick tour of the distillery it was time to crown the court. The girls are chosen strictly based on their written essay answers to a creative list of wine-centered questions.
After the crowning – it was off on our adventure:
First stop – Debonne, which was just about 4 minutes down the road from Red Eagle.
Queens Miranda, Mary & Anna enjoying treats at Debonne
2 ice wine offerings and a blueberry pistachio goat cheese that was TDF!
Then I was totally distracted because they had sled dogs just outside the Ice Wine Festival pavilion. After a minute or two of ooh-ing and aah-ing at the sweet pups – I kept moving along.
Since my last visit to Debonne (~6 years ago) – they have added a brewery called Cellar Rats to their offering. Jen and I went to check it out – and decided to get the 10 beer sampler to try their offerings.
Yep – “just” 10
My favorite was probably the Field Rat Wheat but I can say – if you are smart – please avoid the McRatty’s Smoked Scottish Ale. Imagine a campfire in a beer. No thanks!
From there we were off to Grand River Cellars – where they take their name pretty seriously. We headed down to the basement for our tastings – which had a nice winter wonderland feel to it.
Champagne Ice Wine (my favorite of the day!!!) with delicious bacon blue cheese for a snack; and me & Jen – the Ice Wine Royalty “media” for the day
We actually all loved the champagne ice wine from Grand Cellars so much that Jen was nice enough to buy a bottle for the limo.
It’s funny – I started the day out only knowing Jen – but it’s funny how quickly a group of nice girls bond when there is wine and a limo involved.
My favorite non-ice wine of the day was here – the Raspberry bubbly. Fun and delicious and not too sweet. After trying my sample on the patio I promptly went in to the store and bought a bottle to take home with me.
From Ferrante – we headed to St. Joseph Vineyard which was fun since I’d never been there before. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures from it because the place was PACKED! What I can tell you is this – apparently they are KNOWN for their Pinot Noir – so if you go there – TRY IT!
Our second to last stop was Laurello – which had a really nice, welcoming atmosphere. Like – the kind where I wanted to just hang out there with a full bottle of red wine in front of the fire place they had going.
At this point – I was hitting sweetness overload from all the ice wines so I only tried one of their ice wine offerings but certainly enjoyed the hour ‘devours they were offering.
And last but certainly not least – we completed our circle by arriving at South River.
Can I just tell you – this winery is GORGEOUS! I had not had the chance to visit South River before the Ice Wine Festival but I fell immediately in love.
One last royal round of ice wine:
It was really a wonderfully fun day where I started off knowing 1 person and left feeling like I had 10 new friends. And got to visit 6 wineries, 1 distillery, and 1 brewery – 6 of which were new to me!
Truth be told – I was a little apprehensive at the start of the day because I really prefer dry wines. Riesling is even too much for me most days. But each of the wineries did a wonderful job trying to balance the sweet ice wine offerings with something (typically salty) to balance it all out.
If you have the opportunity to check out the Ice Wine Festival next year – I would encourage you to do so! Heck – who knows – I might even try out for queen next year. Who can say?
Disclaimer: I was asked by South River Vineyard to attend the Ice Wine Festival in a limo with the Ice Wine Queen and her court. Most of our tastings at the various wineries were courtesy of South River Vineyard. As always – the thoughts and opinions in this post are very much my own – because no one is the boss of me but myself.