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Pouring it Out for Charity
Last weekend I got to combine some of my favorite things: volunteering, hanging out outside, and talking about wine! A group of us from Bloomberg volunteered at Wine on the Waterfront, a fundraiser to benefit Washington Crossing Historic Park. Yup, as in the place where George Washington crossed the Delaware, and where reenactors still take part today. We learned from J., who coordinated with us, that this is their major event of the year, raising as much as $18,000!
When I first arrived, I was put to work stamping hands for folks to get in. But then they needed a couple people to pour for one of the wineries who only had one person there.
There was me, the wine blogger (yeah, I threw that in to burnish my cred) and A., a former bartender.
We both went down to meet S., from Boyd’s Cardinal Hollow up near Lansdale, PA. Winemaker Chris Boyd is her dad. We briefly acquainted ourselves with the product lines. At 3 p.m., the doors opened, and the crowds began to swarm through.
For almost three hours, I poured one ounce(ish) tastes of wines and rattled off the same kind of patter I’ve heard at wineries for ages.
“This is our signature red.” (Or at least the only dry red open for tasting that day.)
“We don’t have a dry white, but we have this Blue Agave wine made from agave nectar, which is what you have before you distill it into tequila.” (It’s 17% alcohol, but shockingly doesn’t feel that powerful.)
“This is our Blackberry/Strawberry wine, made with local fruit. I usually find fruit wines to be so syrupy, but isn’t this nice?”
“This is our Whiskey mead, made in bourbon barrels. Folks say they get a hint of caramel, of vanilla, a little oak.” (Yummy stuff! Mead can often be too thick too, but theirs is nice.)
The blackberry wine was for sure one of the most popular, but the other huge draw was the Jalapeño Wine. Yup, wine made from jalapeño peppers! I finally gave it a try, and wow. From the first sniff, it smells exactly like liquidized peppers! You get the zing for sure, but it mellowed and rounded out on the finish in a way I completely did not expect. I don’t know that I would drink a whole bottle of it, but a glass while you’re grilling could be fun. And as their site recommends, it makes a great marinade. A couple hardy souls mixed it with the strawberry wine, and said it cut the spiciness nicely.
The day definitely cured me of any idea that working part-time pouring in a tasting room would be “fun.” Good Lord, no. I stood almost the whole day. I had to pop two Advil when I got home! It’s hard work, and if there’s a tip jar for your server at a winery, for God’s sake tip them.
Even though I worked fairly hard (we also helped break down the site at the end of the day), it was fun. People were generally in a good mood. A. laid down his excellent bartender patter. We were under a tent all day out of the sun, with lovely breezes coming off the Delaware River. The live music was very good. When I got a break a few hours later, I got to eat some yummy free “artisanal!” pizza for dinner. Like all our volunteer events, it was a great way to catch up with coworkers I hadn’t seen for a while, meet some new folks, and spend some more time getting to know other folks better.
I behaved myself and bought just one bottle of wine. Boyd’s Cardinal Hollow Blackberry. It really is good. I think chilled on a hot day would be excellent, and of course let us count the ways for dessert.
Put this on your calendar for next summer, come out to support a good cause, drink some tasty wine, and enjoy a beautiful park. Hard to beat!
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