“Tell us a story about a bottle of wine.” Those were my instructions when we invited a group of friends for a wine tasting evening. Five couples attended and each was asked to bring along a bottle of wine that had some significance for them. It could be a wine they’d tasted on a trip or a wine they’d served at a celebration marking a special event. In my invitation I suggested the actual name of the wine or the picture on the label might prompt a personal story.
During our evening together we spaced our wine tasting out over four and half hours and my husband and I provided a course of the dinner meal along with each wine. Three of the couples had brought wines connected to their travels. Trips to visit Italy, explore family roots in France and to cruise in the South Pacific were inspiration for an interesting trio of wines from different countries. One couple had even brought a book of photos of their travel experience.
An almost unbelievable story, about a displaced Mennonite from Giroux and a British Columbia winery won in a card game accompanied one bottle of wine. We weren’t sure if the lengthy tale was fact or fiction.
My husband Dave and I shared a bottle of Pelee Island wine. Pelee Island is the southern most point in Canada. You take a ferry out to the island from Leamington, Ontario. Dave’s grandparents moved to Pelee Island in 1930 several years after arriving in Canada from Ukraine. A group of about 40 Mennonite families lived on Pelee Island. They had their own church, and a German school. Dave’s grandmother was a midwife for the Mennonite women on the island. Dave’s grandparents left the island in 1938 and settled in Leamington.
In 1979 a family from Austria came to Pelee Island to begin planting vineyards and establish a winery. My brother-in-law bought a farm on the island at about the same time. During the 15 years my brother-in-law and his family had their home on Pelee we visited every year and always enjoyed our time on the island with its interesting history and unique natural habitat.
Considering our family connections to Pelee Island a wine from a vineyard there was a natural choice for us for the wine tasting party. We selected a bottle of Pelee Island wine decorated with monarch butterflies. Every fall thousands of the butterflies rest on the island each night during their annual migration.
Sharing our stories and the wines that accompanied them with our friends was fun and helped us learn some new things about one another.
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