written by Allie Merrick
Wine is an adventure – one that I live on a daily basis. Here is a look at a day in the life of a wine girl. Have a look at a time stamped trek in my shoes.
5:42am – BOARD United Express Flight 1618 – Grand Rapids (GRR) to Chicago (ORD)
Running late has its benefits. With all the other passengers boarded when I arrive at my gate only 10 minutes before departure, all I had to do was flash my ticket and walk on the plane – no waiting in line for me. Those waiting in line ago had already boarded some time ago. Patience is a virtue I’ve not yet attained. That said, I despise lines and am glad that I didn’t have to endure the this one.
6:05am – LAND at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. After deplaning, I took a shuttle to Concourse C. Upon climbing the stairs that led from the shuttle bus to the concourse, the strange combination of smells defined only as exhaust and blueberry muffins was undeniable. I know because I shared my take on the aromatics of the moment with an unassuming fellow passenger. She agreed with my assessment.
6:35am – GRAB a stool in Concourse C at the Beaudevin Wine Bar. I ordered a mimosa, as it’s my tradition when traveling to have a mimosa at every airport I stop at. On the barstool to my left, a college student was working on her second draft – draft beer that is. The three gents to my right were exchanging insults and preparing for a sales conference with their third round of Stellas. I, on the other hand, was enjoying my first sip of wine accompanied by a splash of orange juice. With a full glass of Champagne and orange juice in front of me and a collection of empty glasses above me that provided both form and function for the light fixture above me, I felt quite comfortable.
7:55am – BOARD United Flight 962 – Chicago (ORD) to Portland (PDX)
After patiently waiting in a very long line and then finding my seat in the very back of the plane, I felt as though I had earned a glass. So, I ordered a glass from the flight attendant who informed me that there were two wines available – white and red. When I asked her what kind of white wine was available, she responded that it was a clear kind. While this vague response was a bit disconcerting, I said, “That sounds good. I’ll have that.” She presented me with the Redtree Chardonnay. The woman in the seat to my left asked how it was. I answered, “It smells like bubbles – the kind that you buy for kids that comes in a colorful plastic container with a plastic wand. It tastes like pear juice and tropical fruit cocktail syrup straight out of a tin can.” She smiled and said, “Thank you for describing wine in a way I can understand.” I assured her that it was my pleasure, and it was. To talk about wine in terms that others can relate to makes me quite happy.
10:40am – LAND at Portland International Airport
I got off the plane and on the road with my winemaker friend and “sister from another mister”, Rebecca Marie Pittock Shouldis. We wove through forty minutes of traffic from Portland to Carlton and found ourselves in Oregon’s wine country where we spend the day working for Northwest Wines To You (a direct-to-consumer wine sales and shipping company representing over 40 small wineries in the Pacific Northwest). Yes, I do work.
5:30pm – DRIVE to the Eola-Amity Hills AVA
After a day inside, we thought it was time to go outside and take in the view from a vineyard or two. That said, we took a drive to the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. What is an AVA you ask? It is an American Viticultural Area – an area recognized for having particular qualities that make it distinguishable and unique to other wine regions. It was a lovely view that made us long for the fruits of the vineyard’s labor. It was time to dine. So, dine we did.
7:30pm – DINE at Thistle
For me, it was love at first sight (and first sip) when I went to Thistle for the first time years ago. My love affair with Thistle continued as every detail of the evening brought elation. With the vintage wall coverings, the chalkboard menu giving thanks to each local farm providing provisions for the evening’s fare, the mix-matched china, the clipboard drink menus with lists inked by a typewriter, the lineup of bitters that seemed to have no end and the same bartender, server and chef who I met years ago still at the helm, I found myself as infatuated as I was with my inaugural visit. Oysters, tartare and duck eggs, oh my! We explored the menu du jour and enjoyed the wine of Rebecca’s creation, the Ghost Hill Cellars 2010 Pinot Noir, preceded by a rhubarb simple syrup cocktail at the bar and a Spanish Grenache Gris.
11:00pm – SIP on Scotch
After a VERY full day of work and play, the balance of what you live to do and what love to do was embodied in a smooth few sips of a lovely Scotch which served as our nightcap and bid us adieu to the day.
So, there you have it. This has been a day in the life of a wine girl. Cheers to each day in your life and the sip-worthy adventure it is!