Last week I bought a Groupon for Gregory Vineyards in Angier, NC. I had never heard of it, but the Groupon was for a tour, wine tasting, souvenir wine glasses, a bottle of wine, a cheese and cracker picnic pack, and a paddle boat rental for two hours. It was only $29 for the two of us, so we decided to go for it yesterday. I was having visions of my ring falling off into the lake, so we stopped by a jewelry store near the vineyard to see if they had any of those little rubber ring sizers. Instead, the guy told me he could resize it for $25. It seems I have obnoxiously large knuckles, so he sized to down to a 4.75 instead of 4 so that I can actually get it off. We left it with him and went on to the vineyard.
The vineyard is very new; they’ve only been operating for about a year now. Before that they were a seafood restaurant – they have two man-made ponds on the grounds that were built to raise catfish, thus the paddle boats. They grow muscadine grapes, which I’m generally not a fan of, but we were going for the experience more than anything. It turns out it was a really good thing we weren’t hoping for great wine. There was none to be found. Even their dry wines were honestly quite sweet. None of them would have been out of place at a Jewish holiday (other than the whole non-kosher thing). Apparently their vintner doesn’t drink wine. Really. I’m not even sure how that’s possible, but that’s what the woman who led us on the tour told us. However, all but one of their wines won medals at the State Fair, so I guess someone likes them. Also, if you can overlook the less-than-spectacular wine, you can get married at the vineyard quite cheaply. They were setting up for a wedding when we were there. Apparently they charge $500 for anything outdoors and $250 to rent the main building.
After we finished the tasting, John and I picked out a bottle that seemed like it would at least be refreshing for our paddle boat outing. I was afraid they wouldn’t let us drink the wine while on the paddle boats, but apparently they don’t have a problem with drinking and boating. They opened our wine for us and sent us off with our glasses, pack of cheese and crackers, life jackets, and a towel. We were the only ones there for the Groupon that day, so we had the pond to ourselves.
The cheese was just some individual packets of Land of Lakes cheddar and light string cheese. The crackers were captain’s wafers and oyster crackers. Still, there was a lot of it and it kind of went with the wine. We chose a boat and pushed it in, which was interesting considering the launch area we had to work with.
Steering was difficult and we got blown around by the wind a lot, but we had a great time on the pond, which actually seemed far larger once we were on it.
Drinking and paddling don’t go together too well, but we had a lot of fun, even though we did spill a bit of wine.
Paddle boats seem really easy, but two hours of paddling against the wind will give you a hell of a workout. We were both sweaty and exhausted when we finished. John declared that next time, we’re going canoeing instead. We both got a little sun-burnt, but not too badly. It was pretty miraculous considering how pale and burn-prone we both are. Overall, it was a pretty awesome day.
On the way home, we stopped by the jeweler to pick up my ring. He did a great job and it was far less than people were quoting me in Chapel Hill. It’s a little hard to get it off over my knuckle, but the jeweler told me that wasn’t a problem. He demonstrated what I should do to make it easier to take off by squirting Windex on my finger. Yes, it was like a scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which really made my day.