Put a Cork In It


When my kids whine, I wine.

Maybe you do the same.

Not all the time, of course. But when the challenges of everyday life bottleneck with complaining teens, I often uncork the nearest bottle (OK, who am I kidding—there’s always an uncorked bottle in my house!) and pour myself a glass of instant stress relief.

So when a friend invited me on a wine tasting and gourmet  river trip, I jumped at the chance. (“Duh. Like…TOTALLY!” was my actual response. I obviously need a getaway from teenagers.)

The grapes of wrath

I’ll be the first to admit that wine is my passion, my profession, my hobby and—sometimes—my best friend. Sharing a great bottle of Sauvignon Blanc with friends is one of my favorite pastimes. Sipping a glass of Syrah with dinner is my reward for a hectic day. And on my last whitewater rafting trip I left my bestie at home.

You see, last summer, I declared our rafting trip down the Yampa and Green rivers in Utah a “screen free” adventure—no computers, iPads, Gameboys or cell phones. For two ever-connected teens, it was a hard sell. But I was adamant that we have quality “together time.”

The whining began immediately.

Still, my kids are no dummies and mastered the art of negotiation early. If they were going to give up their vices, I had to give up mine.

And so we spent 5 days and 4 nights without the things we loved (aside from each other, of course). And let me tell you—though it ended up better than I ever could’ve imagined—after a couple hours on a river with two grumpy teens resentful for the forced family time, I’ve never wanted a glass of wine more.

Getting in the flow: Wine tasting on the river trips

This time, though, I’m doing it my way.

The kids are staying home, and I’m spending a week with girlfriends, a top-notch chef and vintners from some of the best wineries in the Sierra Foothill appellation.

OARS wine tasting on the river trips combine wet and wild days on a majestic river followed by the equally majestic combination of gourmet 5-course meals paired with delicious local wines.

Watching a master chef prepare an incredible meal from the back of a river raft will be a sight to behold. Conversing with a winemaker about the nuances in the wine, the story behind his or her winery and the terroir of his vineyards sounds like a perfect getaway.

I can’t wait to be amazed by the vistas on California’s Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River, pampered by the guides, indulged by the chef and wowed by the winemaker. And as I sit staring at the sunset and luxuriously languishing with a glass of wine in hand, I’m sure I’ll miss my kids….sort of. In the whine-less solitude of the river, I’ll think of my son in his well-worn spot in front of his PC and my daughter with her iPad glued in her hands and know they’ll barely notice that I’m gone.


Related Articles:

The Year of Culinary Travel?

Winemaker Matt Hatcher Talks Wine on the River

6 Wines That Go Well With Whitewater



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