I may have missed out on the big city's annual Winefest, but I wasn't going to miss out on this year's Winestock! Dale Valley Vineyard and Winery near Stuart sure knows how to throw a party. So this year, City Girl got to experience a wine festival, country style. Four bands, a beautiful Iowa summer day, lots of great food, vendors with interesting items. And of course, the wine.
My sister Lisa and I don't get to spend a whole lot of time together, with busy work schedules, kids and grandkids, so Winestock became Sister Day, and we thoroughly enjoyed it! Arriving at the winery, we were able to park among the vines and stroll through them on our way to the festival grounds. Of course, our first stop was the outdoor patio/bar and grabbing a pitcher of Red Sangria Winearita. Icy cold and slushy, it was delicious and a great prelude to the wines ahead.
We grabbed the best table in the house, on the covered patio overlooking beautiful lawn and festival grounds, and right next to the stage! The first band up was Larry Berenguel and Friends, and they were awesome! A great mix of hits and a reggae vibe, they played a long set filled with so many great songs. His band is a very talented group of guys and we thoroughly enjoyed their show.
It didn't take too long for the Winearita pitcher to be empty, so we switched to wines and Time Out was our first choice. Time Out is the winery's award winning Concord wine, and it is a sweet red wine. It smells like grape juice as soon as you pour it in the glass (and by that I mean Welch's, since wine is really just that- grape juice) and has a smooth, sweet drinkability that makes it so enjoyable.
Flipside was the next band to hit the stage and they also provided some of the best singalong party music. We also started to mix and mingle with some great folks in the crowd- another pair of sisters from the Quad Cities, folks vacationing from Indiana and lots of great people from the various bands. Singing and dancing, laughing and sharing stories, the breeze is softly blowing, it's a fantastic day in the Iowa countryside.
|Lisa and Larry enjoying the party atmosphere|
Well that bottle of Time Out didn't last very long, so up next we shared a bottle of Serendipity. Dale Valley describes this wine as a complex semi sweet blend of estate and local grapes offering flavors of apple and lime, hinting at subtle apricot and kiwi. I didn't really pick up any apple or lime but this lush, and less sweet, wine was very floral to me. Perfumey and delicious. This is another red that's a great sipping wine and delicious well chilled.
The music continues with Boomerang- they opened with Badfinger and it just got better from there. Lots of songs from my childhood-what a great trip down memory lane! They interacted well with the crowd and even a little rain didn't spoil the show. Funny story there- sitting under the canopy we had no idea it was even raining!!
Our next bottle was a drier red- Katydid. Katydid is made from Marechal Foch grapes (my favorite Iowa red grape) and is aged with oak for a little bit drier but not overly tannic wine that's amazing. It's also a multiple award winner for the winery. Our ice in the bucket had pretty much melted by now and that's fine, because this wine is best not overly chilled. It went fabulously with the pork chop on a stick and house-made kettle fried chips and reminded me a lot of Pinot Noir.
Abby Normal was the last band of the event. A little bit of everything, from the Beatles to White Stripes to the Scorpions kept the crowd dancing and singing along. The evening was winding down and the band was packing up, time to say goodbye to new friends and think about how much fun NEXT year will be, and time to grab a bottle to take home. The night was still young and it would be a great night to sit on the deck at The Little Lake House and enjoy a last glass or two and listen to the sounds of the country night. So White Schoolhouse it is, and a quick rest in the wine chiller gave it the perfect chill to bring out the hints of peach and stone fruits and ever so slight hint of citrus from this perfect award-winning wine.
It was a great Sister Day, a great Winestock and a great way to spend a Saturday. I can't wait for next year!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."