Exploring new wineries is always exciting. It may be that you stumble across one while on a drive, the blue attractions sign showing the winery’s logo and name with what exit to take off the highway. It may be that you’re on a smaller highway and see the purple grapes sign and an arrow, pointing you down a country road with the promise of tasty beverages and beautiful sights at the end. It also may be that you are visiting a friend and instead of trying to shout at one another in a bar, your friend takes you to a winery with a lovely tasting room or place to picnic.
Regardless of how you end up at a winery, it is always a bit of an adventure, exciting, as well as relaxing. And if it is a new-to-you winery, there is a bit more curiosity about what awaits you when you arrive.
Lately, when I’m out and about in a new location in Virginia, I am particularly motivated to try out a new-to-me winery. For the past three years, I have been building a bit of a collection of sorts: Virginia winery wine glasses. I now have 21 glasses (not even including those from festivals!) from all over the state, and I don’t feel like I’m even quite done.
Some glasses come with a tasting. Lately, more often than not, the glasses have to be bought separately, usually for $5 or less. Some are large red wine glasses, others the smaller white glasses, while others are the much smaller, more tasting glass variety. Some of have smooth stems, some have ridged stems. They are all a bit different, and they are all amazing to me.
These wine glasses serve as a record of the different places I’ve been. I’m working on doing better at keeping track of tasting notes, but sometimes the only thing left of a visit to a place is the glass sitting beside my wine collection. I can pull out a glass and be reminded of the winery, perhaps prompting me to visit again, or look them up to see which wines are currently available.
Wine glasses don’t go bad. I have started getting to this silly habit of saving bottles of wine because I view them as a souvenir, sometimes threatening the drinkability of the wine by saving it past the point it would be the best. Wine glasses on the other hand, while they can be broken, do not go bad. They can be the more practical, lasting souvenir of being a participant in agritourism.
They are conversation starters. I could be hosting a game night with friends where some of us enjoy a bottle of wine between us. When I use my Virginia winery glasses, it’s fun to see people look at the logo on it and sometimes ask questions about them. I clearly love supporting Virginia businesses, so when I can get others thinking about Virginia wine, why not? Also—no need for glass charms when everyone has a different wineries’ glass!
There may come a time when I stop collecting these glasses, when I run out of room to store them (which I am already in danger of) or when I decide to collect something else. But for now, it’s a lot of fun going to new wineries, enjoying a tasting, and at the very least, walking away with a glass to serve as a memento of the day well spent.