Category Archives: Winery

Experiencing Villa Bellezza

Summer is here and along with it comes the season for sipping cocktails on patios while relaxing after a long and crazy work week. While many of my friends hold a strong appreciation for breweries, I find myself in a slightly different boat. No matter how hard I try I am just not a beer lover. The closest I come to loving beer is drinking a couple of PBR’s (Wisconsin girl here).

If I am going to test out a beverage nine times out of ten it is going to be wine. Luckily where I live there are a ton of great options nearby. One such location that still has me dreaming about its newest wine is the Villa Bellezza in Pepin, Wisconsin.

This past weekend for my friend’s bachelorette party I met her and the rest of the crew at Villa Bellezza. Upon arriving early I decided to start a wine tasting while I waited. Each tasting is three wines of your choice and one that the winery chooses to give for free. You can taste as many as you want, but each tasting will cost you $5. If you buy four bottles however, one tasting will be free and you will get a 5% discount.

I decided to try two different tastings. I tasted 7 different wines (the free one twice) and I bought two bottles. I should state for the record that I like a vast variety of reds and whites from sweet to dry, so what I like and what someone else likes, may vary, but the majority of our group agreed that the, Terra, which is a fruity, dry red wine, was the option for us all to purchase. We drank quite a bit of this back at our campsite later that evening.

My favorite wine over all of the rest was the Frontenac Reserve which is a dry red wine with a lot of deep oaky black cherry flavor. This particular wine is new this year and it’s selling like hot cakes. I had to have a bottle to take home, and who knows, I will be back in Pepin this weekend and I may just buy another.

Now if you prefer a nice crisp white wine, the Petit Blanc was very tasty. I would definitely recommend checking this wine out. It is dry but has a nice pear flavor that will make for a wonderfully refreshing beverage on the upcoming hot July nights.

Aside from the wine, the service was excellent. Our Sommelier’s name was Christy, and she was very attentive as well as informative. If you struggle with wine choices for your tasting she makes great recommendations.

Villa Bellezza would make a great destination for anyone’s bachelor or bachelorette party, wedding, or special event. This winery is within walking distance of the Pepin Campground, which is nice if you want something more to do than just sit at your campsite. They have a restaurant on location as well, but unfortunately I have not had a chance to try it out as of yet. All I know is that the wine was great and I will definitely be going back for a visit.

For more information on Villa Bellezza, please visit: http://www.villabellezza.com/

Winery Weekend In Withee, Wisconsin

This past weekend I took a trip with family over to, Munson Bridge Winery in Withee, Wisconsin. Each summer Munson Bridge Winery holds Saturday night events with live music. The cover to get into these events is five dollars and that includes a tasting of five wines of your choice. Not a bad deal, in my opinion. They also offer cheese and crackers for free. If you want more than cheese and crackers, you may purchase pizza from, Fire Truck Pizza.

I started out the evening with a tasting. I chose to try ten of their wines for a couple more dollars. When all was said and done, my favorite wines were Virtue and Summer. While they have many great choices, these two were flavorful, semi-sweet, and I could drink more than one glass from the bottle, if I chose to. If I cannot drink more than one glass of a specific wine in a sitting, I do not buy the bottle, because it generally means the wine has too much of something or other.

After the tasting I did try out the pizza. It was good, but I was disappointed by the lack of toppings. I rejected one slice, because both were almost all crust. If I am going to eat pizza, I want it to be smothered in toppings and flavor. I enjoyed the two slices I chose, but wasn’t out of my mind about either. The pizza was mediocre and staved my hunger as I had hoped it would.

At six o-clock the band began to play. Lots of people got up to dance. There was a full crowd all night long. The band was 40 Fingers and they put on a great show, as they always do. Bands play from six until ten in the evening on event Saturdays. The bar closes at nine o-clock sharp, so you must be prepared to purchase your final beverages an hour before close.

If you are looking for a fun evening with wine, music, and some tasty treats, Munson Bridge may be the place for you. The facilities are clean and in order. They have several different fire pits that they light at dusk. There is a small pond for paddle boating, and they have yard games that you can partake in. The staff is very nice and helpful. I will definitely return to this winery again.

For more information on Munson Bridge Winery, please visit: http://www.munsonbridgewinery.com/

Get Your Groupon On!

Whenever I am getting ready for a trip, or I need a night out for dinner, or a massage to relax, there is one place I look to without fail. That place is Groupon. I am sure that many of my readers will recall hearing me speak of Groupon in the past. Groupon is a site where you can get goods and services, as well as vacation packages, for a fraction of their original cost.

Groupon is located all over the US; some cities have caught on more quickly than others. My home town for instance, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, has some Groupons available, but not enough to make me happy at this point. Places like Las Vegas, however, have all sorts of Groupon services and items to choose from.

To use Groupon, all you have to do is add the app to your phone, or go to their website: www.groupon.com. You then type in the location you are interested in, and voila, all sorts of things will pop up. One thing to note is that most goods can be ordered no matter your location, but the voucher will say if it has any stipulations.

When we go to Las Vegas or anywhere on vacation, I always check to see if there are deals on hotel rooms, restaurants, or things to do. Most often we will find several restaurant options. Something important to understand is that most likely the business providing the offer is only making a quarter of what they normally would on the service or item they are offering. Groupon gets the other quarter of the price, because the price is half of what it would normally be. With this in mind, please tip well if you are going to dinner, or to get a massage, etc.

If you purchase a Groupon, always make sure you keep the expiration date in mind. You want to make sure your voucher is good during the dates you are traveling before you purchase it. If your voucher expires, however, you can still use the amount you originally paid, toward the service.

For the business owner who is looking to use Groupon, there are things you should keep in mind. The purpose of Groupon is to help businesses bring in new clientele, however, depending on whom you are and what you offer, most often the people who buy Groupons do not return. They are simply looking for a deal and providing you with fast cash, though it is a fraction of what you would normally make on your provided service. If you are a massage therapist, this could be great for you. If you are a Reiki Practitioner, like me, and people don’t necessarily know what Reiki is, this will bring in some clients, but not necessarily the amount you would hope for.

As a business on the selling end of Groupon, I have had a lot of frustrations with the company. They wouldn’t give me what I wanted in my advertisement; they didn’t like to return my calls or emails. I requested a different account manager and never had my request met, and then suddenly my account manager was gone from the company and I was never told about a replacement. I am not saying this will be your experience, I am sure others have had great experiences; mine just didn’t go how I had pictured.

If you are dealing with Groupon as a client who has an issue, they are pretty great. They tend to rectify issues quite quickly. Usually if there is a problem with the Groupon, they will refund your money. Sometimes they will give you a credit. I have never been let down by the final outcome of my request for remedying an issue with a business.

If you love online shopping and deals, check out Groupon. They can save the average person quite a bit of money on a daily basis, especially if you are open to trying new things. Just be careful, Groupon can become a little addicting when you start receiving discount codes on a regular basis.

For more information on Groupon, please visit: https://www.groupon.com/

 

A Look At Stillwater, Minnesota

Minnesota is a beautiful state, full of wonderful things to do during any season. One of my favorite towns to visit, especially during the summer, is Stillwater. This city is located right on the St. Croix River and really is a great place to visit any time of year. I prefer summer months because of the river and being able to sit out on patios while enjoying a glass of wine or a meal.

Stillwater has a ton of options for staying. There are many Bed & Breakfasts to choose from as well as hotels. One particular place I love to stay at is the Water Street Inn. I have stayed at this Inn on three different occasions and every single experience I have had was memorable and fun. The Water Street Inn features fireplaces and whirlpools in each room. You also have a community patio that faces out toward the river. You won’t be staying on the water at any of the other Inn’s in town. They also have their own restaurant and bar and they are located right in the middle of downtown. Location, location, location; it doesn’t get much better than that.

If you prefer something more secluded for your stay in Stillwater and you don’t mind driving, you could definitely choose any of the other B&B locations around town. I have previously stayed at the Outing Lodge at Pine Point. Not all rooms have a whirlpool, but this Inn has great food and a bar in the basement that showcases live music at times. It is set back in the woods and has a very nice romantic feel to it. This makes a great place for staying in the winter; you can easily go snowshoeing or skiing on the trails nearby. The owners make your stay very homey, at one point they brought around fresh made chocolate chip cookies, talk about winning some points there.

For those who are into good food and wine, downtown has a lot to offer. Northern Vineyards is a great place to go and take part in some wine tasting, they also have a balcony in the back where you can sit and drink wine while looking out at the river. If you are looking for great food and a view of the river, The Freight House is a wonderful experience, though on the pricier side. To enjoy some tasty Italian, Buona Sera features some great food, which I very much enjoyed; reservations are recommended. For a more low-key outing away from the high end food, there is also any number of pubs on Main Street to choose from, some of which have music on weekends.

During daylight hours you can easily wander Main Street and find plenty to do. There are quite a few antique shops, bookstores, and art stores to keep you busy. Stillwater frequently is the place to be for outdoor craft fairs as well. If you would like to spend some time on the water you can take a trip over to the St. Croix Boat & Packet Co., and sign up for one of their scenic river boat cruises. Whatever you do, be sure to end your day watching the sunset. You won’t regret this beautiful view over the St. Croix River.

For more information on Stillwater, please visit the following sites: http://www.discoverstillwater.com/

http://waterstreetinn.us/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=GMB

http://outinglodge.com/

http://www.stillwaterriverboats.com/

http://northernvineyards.com/

 

 

 

 

A Fun Evening At Infinity

This year for my mom’s birthday we took a trip over to Infinity Beverages Winery and Distillery. This is one of the gems of Eau Claire if you are looking for something fun to do on a weekend. Infinity offers a very relaxing atmosphere where you can sit back and try out some wonderful wines as well as spirits.

During our visit to the winery we spent about three hours there and in that time we taste tested 8 different wines, and 8 spirits. This is one of the most in-depth tastings I have ever been a part of at any winery. I very much enjoyed getting to try out their experimental wines and spirits, because they are a little bit different than what you are offered at most other wineries. I have done this tasting on a couple of occasions and some of the items do change depending on the time of year, which makes it nice for repeat tastings.

I tend to have more of a love for the dryer wine. The sweeter the wine, the less I want to drink it, but if you love sweet wines, Infinity has some wonderful wines for you. Delight, Desire, and Panache are their sweeter wines. I have drunk a glass of them every now and then and they are great to me in moderation. My parents, however, love those three wines and buy them on a regular basis. Also on the sweeter side are the Adalina’s Pride (made with Zinfandel and Brandy) and Adalina’s Joy (made with Moscato and Brandy). These particular wines I could definitely handle a glass of, they warm you up and the Brandy cuts the sweetness a bit. I think they both have a very nice flavor.

If you like dryer wines like I do, Solace (Syrah and Pinot Noir) and Vivid (Chardonnay and Frontenac Gris) are wonderful wines. Solace is my favorite wine at Infinity, followed by Adalina’s Pride and then Adalina’s Joy. The Marionberry, which is one of their experimental wines, was also a wonderful treat to try. This particular wine reminded me of blackberry jam with a bite of Brandy mixed in. It was tasty and light and I feel that it would be nice to enjoy a glass of this particular wine on a warm summer evening.

In regard to the spirit tastings, I am definitely a much better judge of wine. I will, however, say that I enjoyed the Chili Vodka, the Doppelbock Beerskey, and the Doppelbock Whiskey. The other spirits I struggled to separate out in my mind as far as what I tasted. I would still recommend, if you like spirits, to try them out.

This winery offers more than just great beverages; they have friendly and attentive staff as well as an atmosphere that is very conducive to chatting it up with your friends after the crazy work week. You can sit at the bar, pull up a chair at a table, relax on the patio, or you can hang out on the couch in front of the fireplace. On most Friday nights you can see live music; while we were visiting the winery there was an album release party going on upstairs.

Infinity gets a 10 in my book. I will continue to come back frequently with my family and friends. I look forward to trying each of their new experimental wines and spirits. I always have a great time when I visit this winery.

For more information on Infinity Beverages Winery and Distillery, please visit: http://www.infinitybeverages.com/

 

 

 

Diamond Estates – Niagara Falls

Yesterday I wrote an article regarding Neal’s and my trip to Niagara Falls. In that article I mentioned several of the activities we took part in; one activity in particular that I greatly enjoyed was our trip to Diamond Estates Winery. This trip was part of a hotel package deal, but you can definitely go there on your own as well.

If you love wine tasting and you like exploring different wineries, this is definitely a great side stop for you while visiting Niagara Falls. If you are like me, you will want a nice bottle of wine to go with your evening whirlpool experience. This winery has 10 different labels to choose from at all different price points.

While visiting Diamond Estates we took a tour of the winery, checked out the vineyard, and we got to taste four different wines. Overall, the complete time spent there was about an hour. There were plenty of opportunities to take photos and to check out the many wine labels that they offered.

The tour was great as far as providing insight into some of the different wine making processes. It was neat to learn about what makes ice-wine so unique. Even if you are not a wine drinker, this tour would be great for anyone who is interested in learning about wine making.

One of my favorite things about Diamond Estates is that Dan Aykroyd has his own wine there. His wine label is called Dan Aykroyd, and the label has a picture of a microphone on it. We did purchase one of his reds, I believe it was the Cabernet/Merlot; it had a very nice flavor to it.

If you leave the winery feeling frustrated because you can only bring so many bottles back to your country of origin, not to worry. Diamond Estates has a website where you can purchase all of your favorite wines. Just in case you get home and cannot remember which wines you liked, I would highly recommend making a few notes for future reference.

To obtain more information about Diamond Estates, please visit: https://www.diamondestates.ca/site/home

The Pahrump Valley Winery

Every now and then, while visiting Las Vegas, my family likes to get out of town and take a small trip over to the Pahrump Valley Winery. It will take you sixty minutes to get to the winery. Once you are there you will be happy you made the trip.

The winery offers tastings, as well as tours. They have won eighty-three national awards for their wine. Nevada Magazine voted their restaurant as “Best Restaurant,” the past two years in a row.

One of the coolest events you can go to at this winery is the Grape Stomp. This festival is in October and provides fun for your whole group. You can stomp grapes (if you sign up in advance), taste wine, listen to music, and eat some wonderful food. The best part is, in 2016, the entry price was $7 in advance or $10 at the door. That’s a great price for such a fun event.

My favorite wine at the Pahrump Valley Winery is the Burgundy. It has a great flavor and I could enjoy it anytime. If you are looking for something a little sweeter, the 2013 Symphony is also great. I definitely recommend going in and doing a wine tasting. Don’t forget to tip the staff; they are always so happy and helpful.

For more information on the Pahrump Valley Winery, please visit: http://www.pahrumpwinery.com/