You are at a vineyard and notice the rather messy ground. Tall grasses and weeds fill the rows between the vines and many weeds are under the vines. You then visit another vineyard that is very clean. No weeds grow under the vines or between the rows. Impressions without knowing why may lead one to conclude that the clean looking vineyards are the better vineyards. In our travels we have learned that creating biodiversity in a vineyard is best for the vineyard. This biodiversity is not just plant life, but also includes insects. Some vineyards follow biodynamic or organic practices rather than using the herbicide Roundup to keep the vegetation at bay under the vines and between the rows. Other vineyards may frequently plow between the rows and weed whack under the vines. Some may even pull the weeds out by hand.
Wine enthusiasts that travel to wineries and vineyards usually learn a thing or two. Travel to enough wineries and vineyards and you can learn a lot. Kathy and I have visited and written about over 1,000 wineries and vineyards, not a small feat. We have learned a lot in the seven years it took for all those visits. I recall that back in 2007, we did not possess the wine knowledge base that we have today. At that time, I had no idea where our wine journey would lead us. Our journey took off on its own with many twists and turns along the way. For example, in 2008 we thought that if we were writing about wine, we should make wine.
So eventually Kathy and I made a kit wine at home. It taught us what the British wine term “plonk” meant. However, our first winemaking experience led us to make more wines. Eventually we were making wines from high priced kits that were turning out quite nice. Then we made wines from juice followed by making wine from grapes. Our winemaking journey then took a turn; we made wine at Vint Hill Craft Winery in Warrenton, Virginia. At the same time we had an opportunity to join a group and make a wine at Tin Lizzie Wineworks in Clarksville, Maryland. Last year we made a barrel of Cabernet Sauvignon from grapes at Tin Lizzie. This year our travels took us to the country Georgia. We are making a qvevri (earthen vessel buried underground) wine at Twins Wine Cellar of Napareuli. Back in 2007, we never knew that our wine journey would include making wine at home, or at wineries or in Eastern Europe. Travel affords many opportunities to learn. Wine travel will enrich your understanding of wine and may open doors to other experiences.