Terri Kaiser

No, it's not winner. It's winer. I like wine. I have a half glass most nights as I cook dinner, and if music of any kind, except rap, is playing, life is good.

Now there are others that may say I'm a whiner. Big difference. We will explore that in another article.

I tried making wine a few times, but for the most part, continually goofed it up. Now really, how hard can it be? People have been making wine for centuries. But me? I don't know.

I will say I made a spectacular batch of blackberry once. Oh, and another with blueberries. I'd like to say it was skill, but alas, both were a fluke. I will get it right on a continual basis one of these days, but for now, have stopped trying. We honestly don't drink enough.

But when we do, we are not wine snobs by any means. Several years ago we visited a fancy winery by Traverse City, Michigan. A beautiful place. Looked like a castle on a hill, surrounded by luscious fruit growing hungrily on the vine.

Pulling up that hill with the anticipation of tasting some wonderful vintages, maybe purchasing a few bottles, I felt mighty lucky to be there. Once inside, it was truly spectacular. The shop was full of wine doo-dads for sale and nearly every kind of wine you could ask for.

The gentleman standing behind the bar was dressed like a butler; starched white shirt, red vest, black pants and a towel draped over one forearm. He recommended a few wines to try and poured a small amount into each of our fine-stemmed glasses. We made a toast, clinked and threw it back, smacking our lips in appreciation. My goodness, it was tasty! He offered a few more and we downed it all, even the ones that weren't to our taste.

The butler guy was accommodating, polite, but not much for conversation. Actually, he looked kind of crabby. We chalked it up to a bad day for him.

Then a group of four entered the tasting room. It only took milliseconds to see they'd done this before and Mr. Butler dropped us like hot rocks. The interlopers bellied up to the bar and asked to taste a merlot. Once the red liquid was poured, they held the glasses up, studied the color, swirled it, tipped the rim to their noses and inhaled, remarking on the oakiness and whatever else they smelled, then, finally, took a sip and rolled the wine around in their mouths.

It was then they did something unthinkable. They spit it back into their glasses! Mr. Butler smiled and nodded in approval as he dumped their glasses and they raved about what they'd just tasted. We watched as they did this another few times and it was clear then that our redneckishness had come through loud and clear, as though we had big red R's branded on our foreheads. But really, that was a waste of good wine, don't you think?

We quietly excused ourselves and left, giggling all the way back down the hill. It may have been a humbling experience, but it's always been good for a laugh. Would I change anything to do it over again? Heck no. That was good wine!

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