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Hidden Treasures Along the Wine Trail

March 29, 2012

By Catie McIntyre Walker:

It is a large part of my bloodline to take on the “hunt” – the occasional gathering of treasures such as the collectibles I enjoy in my home. I have a couple of aunts who used to be in the antique business and even my father sometimes brought home “treasures” that he traded. My list of treasure hunting is broad such as furniture, depression glassware, copper kitchenware, old suitcases, and the occasional doily or retro night stand linen. Wine was added to that list over 15 years ago.

There are motives for many wine touring lists. A habit of many a wine tourist is to stop at the larger wineries – good plan, especially if you make one of them your first stop of the day. Their beautiful surroundings will definitely get you in the “wine country” mood. Sometimes the tourist is making a list of stops driven by only the scores from wine magazines. I have actually heard some wine aficionados comment they will only stop if the winery has magazine scores of 95 and above.

Boo-hoo! They have just missed out on some treasures.

robison_ranch 300x200The Walla Walla Valley is filled with several wineries that may be small on production, but are large on fans. Sometimes these wineries are a few miles from downtown or tucked away and “hidden” from the clustered wine areas.

Sometimes you have to make an appointment, but they are always worthy of the time. Check out: Bunchgrass Winery, Couvillion Winery, Dumas Station, Glencorrie, and Robison Ranch Cellars, to name a few. Not only will you leave with a great bottle of wine and a memory, but also a new friend. There is nothing like the hospitality that you receive from a one-on-one experience, and it’s often with the winemaker — a real hidden treasure.

Here’s something to consider to those who “limit” their purchases to only wines that receive wine magazine points of 95 or above. (Hey, don’t you trust your own palate?) One never knows when a remote and rather smaller winery will score large! Then just think, someday you can bring that prized wine up from the cellar with bragging rights, “I remember when we first discovered them …”