This post has been very...trying. For reasons neither I nor my friendly web fairies can explain, the Internet deleted the entire text of the post I first wrote on this topic. So I rewrote it.
But then....you guys, then it happened again. So I've had to walk away from this post for a bit before something like this happened:
Despite having written this post three whole times now (plus that time in my head, so I guess we are at FOUR), I'm still probably going to forget something.
The thing is, The Captain and I love celebrating our anniversary and man, we do it up right. We spent our second anniversary touring old parts of Montgomery and taking in a Shakespeare Festival play, and for our 10th we went to New York. For our 12th we took a no-kids trip to Universal Studios (my gift to Matt was no stopping for pictures; his gift to me was not having to carry one single solitary thing around in that park, not even in my pockets...ah, the simple things in life!!). This year was our 14th, and we spent the first part of our day together slowly making our way around Shelby County to hit a few stops on the Alabama Wine Trail.
The three vineyards we visited were:
We started off in North Calera at Vizzini Farms, and arrived just as the lunch rush was trailing off. They offered a free tasting and tour of the winery room, led by the owner who was gruff yet endearing in that old-man-from-the-North sort of way. He showed us pictures of his ancestors and told us all about his family's immigration journey and struggles to establish their business. We were very intrigued by a single bottle of wine he had on display that had a whole peach inside. When I asked how he got the entire peach into the bottle whole, he said "Well, I GREW it in the bottle - how else do ya think I'd have got it in there?!" He said it with a twinkle, though, and walked us out to one of his peach trees on which, sure enough, he has four or five other bottles affixed to the branches with tiny little budding peaches growing inside. Very limited edition, he said.
This was the tasting room and cafe, which we'd like to visit another time just for lunch. The back patio is frequently rented out for events, and one such was wrapping up during our visit as well.
From Vizzini we made our way further into the country part of Calera to Ozan Vineyards and Winery. Ozan was much different than we were expecting. It is on the smaller side but newer than any other Alabama winery we have ever visited. It was set on top of a hill, overlooking the vineyards. On a beautiful, clear day like the one we were enjoying, it was easy to forget we were in Alabama at all, or even possibly the country itself! We learned that Ozan has evening concert events from time to time, and if we had not already bought tickets for another event that night we would have stayed there the rest of the day. We arrived when they were transitioning from the afternoon tasting hours to setting up for their event, but we were still able to squeeze in a brief tasting and enjoyed a few minutes on the patio. With the breeze, beautiful weather, and nothing to see but lush green vines, we loved the calm and easygoing vibe that Ozan provides its visitors. We definitely plan to go back and try a few other of their many award-winning wines.
From Ozan we drove over to Harpersville, where we visited Morgan Creek Winery. The fun fact about this place was that we toured it on our first anniversary as part of a package deal with a local Bed and Breakfast (also when we discovered that, though quite lovely for some, the B&B world is just not for us...we are just not the kind of people who want to hang out with strangers when we're on vacation). The Morgan Creek owners have made lots of great changes in the past 13 years, and we even got to see them setting up for a summer wedding out on the lawn as well as pictures from other events on the digital display playing in the tasting room. We enjoyed some time on the front porch by the fountain, just chatting and appreciating the view.
From Harpersville we headed back to Bham for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra's annual Sci-Fi Soundtrack Concert. The guest conductor was hysterical, and we learned all kinds of cool back-stories about some of the great Science Fiction films as well as all about the theremin, a bizarre instrument that is electronically-based but played without actual physical contact. The theremin is what they used in old horror movies to make that odd wavy-like sound. The ASO even brought in a special guest, an expert theremin player, who talked about the instrument's history and then demonstrated how to play it. It was so strange and yet so awesome all at the same time. We had a lovely time on our first visit to the Symphony, but this time we had an absolute blast. Maybe because this time we knew when to clap.
Our 14th anniversary was pretty simple, but it was low-key and calm...exactly what we needed. There are links below for more info if you and your honey or your BFFs want to check out any of the wineries we visited.
Vizzini Farms Winery - Calera, Alabama
Ozan Vineyard and Winery - Calera, Alabama
Morgan Creek Vineyards and Winery - Harpersville, AL