The Boreal Brewers hosted their first wine tasting at The Backyard Barbeque in Bemidji, on Saturday, Feb.21. Home vintners of all stripes showed up with about forty different fermented products to sample and about 90 enthusiastic tasters attended.
The club decided to do an all-wine tasting because there had been numerous wines, meads, and ciders showing up at our other “mostly beer” tastings and we felt that we might do well with both an “all beer” and an all “other” format.
Music was provided by an excellent duo, “Other Mountain Remnant,” who played flute, mandolin, and guitar, and sang.
A carefully covered pool table served well as our staging area.
We separated the products into grape versus other fruits, and then grouped the wines from dryer and sweeter, serving them in that order.
Bill Wilson was the ultimate arbiter. A fourth group were ciders and meads, of which there were about half a dozen.
A fifth group was made up of assorted products of which there was only one bottle. These we arrayed across the table and, at the end of the tasting, we invited everyone to serve themselves a taste of any that interested them. Suzie, a Cass Lake vintner, figured prominently with her eclectic collection of wines in delightfully odd bottles. Pineapple-carrot and banana-mango would have to be “Suzie wines” and they were all wonderful surprises.
The new venue worked well due to its good acoustics, spacious seating, and tasty and varied menu. In place of our traditional singing of The Barley Mow, we wrapped up with a spirited rendition of the familiar Tom Paxton classic, “Bottle of Wine.” Lyrics below.
BOTTLE OF WINE
by Tom Paxton Chorus: Bottle of wine, fruit of the vine, when you gonna let me get sober. Let me alone. Let me go home. Let me go back and start over.
Well, I've rambled around this dirty old town singing for nickels and dimes. Times getting' rough. I can't get enough to buy me a little bottle of wine. Chorus Well, little hotel, older than hell, cold as the dark in the mine. Light so dim, I had to grin, I got me a little bottle of wine. Chorus Well, the preacher will preach and the teacher will teach. The miner will dig in the mine. I ride the rods, trusting in God, huggin' my little bottle of wine. Chorus Well, pain in my head, bugs in my bed, pants so old that they shine. Out on the street, I tell the people I meet to buy me a little bottle of wine. Chorus Bottle of wine, fruit of the vine, when you gonna let me get sober.