STAYING FRESH WHILE AGING: Our Trip to Duplin Winery

To produce great flavor, grapes must be planted just so; given consideration for current climate, desired outcomes, and how much capital is available. I feel like relationships are similar. They can be better with time, if the right attention is given to their surrounding environment and the resources one has at hand to truly nurture them. So, my wife and I make a conscious aim not only to enjoy the things we have always, but to keep expanding those commonalities where possible. The prior weekend, we took a simple walk to a local fast food chain on Saturday night, taking in the others strolling along our strip and having a meal in a relatively empty dining room while chattering. But yesterday, we made good on something proposed a while ago, a trip to Duplin Winery in Rose Hill NC for a tasting.

The drive is about an hour and a half from where we are located, and once we arrived, parking at first seemed illusory. After a couple of lot circuits, we slide into a spot that someone has just vacated and make our way inside. The winery has a store where the four bars are located, and where the various types of wine can be purchased. A tasting, which lasts approximately a half hour and involves ten of the 42 varieties they carry, costs $5 without the crackers that help cleanse pallets between wines, and $10 if the crackers are acquired. We opt for the latter, because I want to be able to taste the difference.

The total amount of wine consumed amounted to just one glass, and as our staff person prepares to pour each dollop, he explains the type of wine and how it is prepared. We try white wine varieties first: with one called Carlos that was named after an NC State professor which we found to be ok but a little strong; the Magnolia wine, named after a nearby town and the one my wife and I liked the most; and three other whites that made not particular impression on me. The stories that come along with the tasting are amusing though, and make it worth your while to go and check out if you can.

The most important thing I learned is that I can, in fact, distinguish between whites and reds. I must say that this was the only time I had actively tried to do so, and I found it educational. While white wine tended to be sweeter, the red had a flavor that I find hard to describe. Most of the five we tried did have more of a kick, which she did not like at all; but that I could drink, if someone just eve it to me. The only of those she did mostly like was the sangria rosé, which contained a certain amount of sweetness as well, and a frozen wine slushy that we had at the end where I couldn’t even taste the alcohol.M/p>

I think the entire tasting may have actually lasted a bit longer than a half hour. Being the sociable person my wife is, she met a woman whose husband was in the room but had opted not to participate. We noted, not surprisingly I suppose, that most of the other attendants were couples. There were a few families though, including a grandma and grandpa, and even a baby whom I’m guessing was not partaking of the festivities. I enjoyed it though, and appreciated the different experience. One more thing to add to our memory bank. What has been the most unusual thing you’ve done this year, with or without a partner?

THE BIG REVEAL: Or, What’s This Music Thing I’ve been Doing?

First, I should note that I have been asked by the good folks at Vibbidi to write a post introducing you to their product, but all thoughts and opinions herein are my own. Thank you.

If you have been following me on social media or even picked up on the coy bits I’ve dropped in this blog, then you know that our the last couple of months I have been writing for and involved in a music community. They call it Vibbidi, and its aim is to be part music streaming service, part social media platform. They have artists from every genre on the site, which had been an app but will soon be converted entirely into a web-based platform accessible from any internet-ready device.

Of course they have singles, albums, curated playlists, and even videos, as well as cover content generated by the users. But what makes this site different is its album narratives. These are posts, written either in blog form or as a story, they say really however you wish as long as it kind of relates to the album, that can introduce people to new performers in an informal way. You can read my narratives, the few I have generated thus far, on my personal Vibbidi page. I’m enjoying it, and finding that it gets me more into music than I have been in a long time, both by bringing up memories of those singers to whom I used to frequently listen and connecting me to those I hadn’t yet discovered.

Once they roll out the full service some time this summer, you will also be able to write these narratives if you wish. If you think you’d be interested in doing so, let me know and I can put you in touch with the right individuals. From a blindness perspective, the app is kind of a challenge to use, but I think the web page will be considerably easier. At any rate, I have notified them of my experiences, and they seem receptive. So give it a look, with the awareness that everything is currently under construction. And let me know what you think. Thanks