Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Is Really Ten Years Old?

2005 Veramar Vineyard, VA
Facebook reminded me today that I had a seven year anniversary with my wine buddy Dezel from My Vine Spot. That got me thinking, if I've known Dezel for that long, how long has been around? And the answer is 10 years. I created the website in order to learn Microsoft's .Net 1.0 technology and the site is still running on that 10 year old platform. Sadly, it requires a major upgrade that was delayed in order to launch theCompass mobile app.

2015 Trois Clochers, QC
At the time of the website's launch it only covered wineries as the craft brewery craze hadn't exploded yet.( I believe I started adding breweries in 2010, with distilleries and cideries as separated categories a little later.) In the initial launch, the site contained a Gallery section which described my visits to wineries and festivals - usually with my infant son in tow. (I learned to spit right away.)  Ironically the first post was on a Memorial Day 2005 trip to Tarara Winery which I just happened to visit yesterday. I'd say their wines have improved since that visit. And it was a lot easier taking Matthew to wineries back then being belted to a carrier. Now a days it requires a side trip to an aquarium or zoo in order for him to come along peacefully.  Here's a ten year look at Matthew enjoying trips to wineries.

Rappahannock Cellars, VA
Silver Decoy Winery, NJ
Carlson Vineyards, CO
First Colony Winery, VA
Hartwood Winery, VA
Bluemont Vineyard, VA
Lytton Springs, CA
Barrel Oak Winery, VA
Stone Villa Wine Cellars, PA
Birthday at Corcoran Vineyards, VA
2010 Schnebly's, FL
September Oaks, SC
Applewood Winery, NY
Vynecrest Winery, PA
CrossKeys Vineyards, VA
Palaia Vineyards, NY
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, VA
Briar Valley Vineyards, PA
Willowcroft Farm Vineyards, VA
2015 Duplin Winery, NC
Vignoble de L'Orpailleur, QC

I wonder how he's going to look back on these trips? And there were a lot. I've guestimated that during the past ten years I've visited 270 wineries, 160 breweries and a dozen distilleries in 29 states and provinces. Matthew's probably been to a third. Sadly some of these are long gone such as Farfelu, Piedmont Vineyards, Oasis, and Frederick Cellars\Catoctin Vineyards. Many others have changed owners and names.

DLW at Carlson Vineyards, CO
I've also had memorable excursion to lesser known wine regions such as the Hudson Valley & Adirondack Coast in New York, the Grand Valley in Colorado, and more recently the Brome-Missisquoi Wine Route in Quebec. Along the way I've sampled countless Midwest Norton, Muscadine, labrusca, hybrids, even avocado wine from the Continental U.S.'s southernmost winery Schnebly Redland's Winery.  And lately our annual Washington Nationals road trip provides opportunities to taste excellent craft beer and spirits.

RPBDB at Foggy Ridge Cider, VA opened doors to segue into other media, partnering with my talented cousin David, with MyJoogTV and VirginiaWineTV.  Yea, many of those early videos were way too long, but what fun hanging out with Holy Ghost Tent Revival at Flying Dog Brewery or Dangermuffin at Sugarloaf Vineyard. And who can forget the classic Episode #9 with Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band at Foggy Ridge Cider with proprietor Diane Flynt. One day these two media outlets may resurface from hibernation.

All that being said, the best part of the past 10 years is the relationships that I've made with other bloggers, owners, winemakers, brewers, industry reps, etc. Dezel was the first blogger I met way back in 2006 but through the Wine Bloggers Conference and other events I can communicate with friends from across the U.S. from Vermont to Washington State, down to San Diego across to Florida via Texas and of course, DC. As for owners and winemakers I can't thank Jim and Lori Corcoran (Corcoran Vineyards & Cider) enough on the many times they have assisted me along the way.  And Jordan Harris (Tarara Winery) is always helpful. Thank you all for helping me over the years, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and cheers to the next 10 years.
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