This past Saturday, I dragged my boyfriend to Red Hook Winery for a private tour and barrel tasting. It was a hot and humid day, and the walk was around twenty minutes each way. I immediately regretted showering and putting on makeup before we left. I showered not too long after we got home, but, to my chagrin, I spotted a pimple the next morning.
Upon our arrival, I was sad to see that it did not look exactly as I had expected – the word rustic in my head carved up a darker, cozier feel than the winery that I was presented with. I had imagined exposed beams and brick (the urban rustic), and low, vaulted ceilings. Instead, there were a few barrels in the center where a small group was doing a tasting, counters with a kitchen-like feel along the side, and ceilings that were neither low nor vaulted.
It took a few minutes for someone to attend to us, and my vision of the experience started to falter, but thankfully, it ended with that. The guy who did our tasting and tour was very knowledgeable about the wines and the different processes of how they were made. The wines that we tasted were chosen mostly to my preference, with a few others mixed in for comparisons (each time he gave us a comparison, it ended up being a wine that I didn’t care for).
After tasting seven different wines, he took us on the tour, showing us the machinery they used, explaining how the grapes went from being on the stems to being separated and crushed (sometimes with feet), to being in vats and barrels (French oak and steel). He explained how they had faired last year after the hurricane had hit, since they are directly on the pier. They had just finished their harvest and the wines were already in barrels, but they are not sure how those will fair and it is too early to tell. Then, we went to the barrel room, where we tried three different wines directly from the barrels (my favorite part!).
I ended up purchasing a slightly buttery chardonnay (of which I was first introduced to the likes by Billy’s parents and now love) and a cabernet franc, although sadly, my favorite wine had to be left behind as it was sitting in a barrel. It was a fun thing to do and I definitely plan on doing it again, but perhaps when it is a little cooler out.