The best thing to do with fingertips that have betrayed you is to ignore them completely. This is best done while traveling to visit in-laws, and on the way enjoying non-fingertip activities such as wine tasting. This is easy to do in eastern Washington, where there are 12 viticultural regions.
We began our little trip by visiting brother-in-law Number One (aka Little Brother) in Richland. He and his lovely wife took us to lunch at Wine O’Clock in Prosser, a lovely little wine bar run by the Bunnell Family, which just happens to produce wine. Our lunch was delicious, and we bought our first bottle of wine. Here is my dear Brian and I before our lunch.
From there we proceeded to the Red Mountain viticultural region; specifically to the Hedges winery, where Pete Hedges (a friend of the BIL) had generously offered to give us a private tour. Outside the winery stood rows and rows of raw material; wine on the vine. This year’s grapes are awesome due to the unseasonably wet spring and the nice sunshine following. Wine grapes, of course, are tiny little things. So very cute, don’t you think?
We learned many things; all about how wine barrels are toasted; how they are made of any number of varieties of oak; how a by-product of wine is cream of tartar, and why Pete Hedges will never again jump into a wine press to fix it. After the tour, we tasted.
We also got a good look at the wine “library”, a collection of all vintages that the Hedges winery has produced since its inception. Here we are with Pete in the wine library, a dark, cool place where I wouldn’t mind being imprisoned as long as I had a good corkscrew handy.
We bought three bottles of wine (knowing we can find more in our local wine stores) and bid a fond farewell to Red Mountain.
I think my favorite winemaking region is Walla Walla, and as luck would have it, our journey took us to see our dear friends Dicksie, Gale and Deb in that very city. We had a fabulous time there, and may have gone wine tasting at four or five other wineries. Here is one of my all-time favorites, L’Ecole No. 41, whose owners converted an old schoolhouse. A sign near the bell invited me to ring it, and so I did.
Here are our young friends Dicksie and Gale standing on the schoolhouse steps:
It would be impolite for me to say exactly how young Gale is, but I would encourage you to thank him for being a B-17 pilot in World War II. He is an amazing guy, and his wife is no less wonderful. If it were autumn, you would see them in glorious handknits. But for now, you can see her knitting here and his other amazing photos here. You’ll want to grab a nice merlot and spend some quality time browsing those pictures. While doing so, you will see beautiful photos of the Grand Tetons. We received sound advice from Gale on where to go to get great photos, which as you will see later on was exactly right.
From Walla Walla we drove to Bozeman, Montana, taking Highway 12 along the Snake River. There we stopped to stay with Sister-in-Law No. 1, where I got to hold little babies (her grandchildren) and play with their older siblings.
Brian, as you may know, is a twin, so next we caught up with Brother-in-Law No. 2, aka The Twin, in Cody, Wyoming. No wine in Cody, but we were well supplied from Walla Walla. From Cody we drove through Yellowstone and thence along the Grand Tetons to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Breathtaking scenery accompanied us for miles and miles. After a day spent touring around Jackson, we went out to Schwabacher’s Landing (recommended by Gale) to take photos. I can’t decide which I like best– I’d love to hear your opinions! I’ve numbered them from 1 to 5 for ease of reference.
The rest of the trip was just as good as the first part, but I will save that for another post. My fingertips are better, but they still don’t like so much typing!