I am making travel plans for 2017, and so far they are pretty prosaic. Go to the Bay Area before my youngest son and his wife and kids are shipped off to Japan; visit Oregon to hang with Zach; and drift down to So Cal to annoy my daughter and hug my other grandkids before they grow too big to hug. Some of that travel will include the Wine Bloggers Conference (thankfully not until November), and possibly still yet another long weekend in Paso Robles.  I’m going to be working on building up my personal time at The Day Job™ so that I can finally do That. One. Thing.

Dream Travel

I want to go someplace in 2018.  By someplace, I mean not Vegas. Not even (gasp!) California, my go-to wine-guzzling destination.

I was recently informed that I could take a course in Italian and Italian culture. For free. Wow. Maybe I could go to Italy! If, for no other reason, than to find a nice Italian man who’d pinch my butt so that I can tell Mom, The Tough Old Broad™, about it.  She has always wanted to go to Rome to get hit on by a cute Italian guy. I could do it vicariously for her and hope that I’m not too old to get hit on. Rome aside, I can picture myself wallowing in pools of Barolo and all other things Nebbiolo while enjoying the Piedmont experience.

Museum in Piedmont.
Museum in Piedmont.

On the other hand, the vineyards of Burgundy and Alsace are also calling me. There are the fun wines of the Southwest of France, where I could also pretend to be a wealthy jet-setter.  Except for the lack of money part.

And then there’s Spain. The very idea of spending time at the legendary López de Heredia Viña Tondonia winery makes my mouth water.

After reading Rex Pickett’s Sideways 3: Chile, I’ve been lusting after Chilean wines and spending time in that gorgeous, if overly earthquake-prone, country.

López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Winery. Bucket List.

Our neighbor to the south, Mexico, has some of the if not the oldest wineries in the western hemisphere. Started by the missionaries from Spain, many of the wineries are older than this country.

And then there’s our really, really nice neighbor to the north, Canada. Bless their hearts. They have done a great job with German and other cold-climate wines. I hate to admit that I don’t know enough about their wines – other than the occasional yummy icewine – to be able to speak intelligently about them.

The Wineaux Guy™, picking up on my desire to do The Trip, suggested – on a somewhat hopeful note – New Zealand, pointing out the beautiful country as well as the gorgeous wines. I must admit that I found the idea intriguing. Especially since he hinted that that’s where he’d love to travel with me. As an aside, since his father was a WWII veteran, TWG™ traveled everywhere with his family when he was a child. He’s pretty much been on nearly every continent, but New Zealand is an unknown to him. I’m good with that.

Wide-angle New Zealand
Breathtaking New Zealand Scenery.

I would consider Australia except that everything there – animal, vegetable, mineral, and whatever’s left over – is out to kill you.

And then there’s South Africa. I know a few folks who have gone to the wine countries there, primarily Stellenbosch and Paarl. While they enjoyed the wines (a lot), it was taking the time to do the safaris and enjoy the wildlife as well that the made the difference between a wine country jaunt and breathtaking experience.  From what I understand, this is a lot different than packing up the kids for a day at the zoo. Yes, I’m being deliberately facetious.  Essentially, put aside about three days, make sure your cameras are at the ready, and prepare to have your life changed. The scenery is gorgeous beyond recognition. I haven’t talked to TWG™ about that, although I think he’d be up for the adventure.  It is crazy pricey, though, and that has to be a consideration.

South African vineyards
Yes, this is South Africa.

Maybe I should just forget about the wine aspect and just go on a trip. Hawaii, perhaps? They have fruit (gurg) wine. Of course, someone said that there’s this great wine store on Maui…

Lord willin’ and the crick don’t rise, I have plenty of time to plan and save.  I will, however, proceed with caution. A girlfriend of mine treated herself to a trip through the Middle East after her retirement. Unfortunately, she arrived in Egypt about the same time that they were having mass protests in Cairo and the current leader was being deposed. Or something. (note to self – avoid the Middle East. They don’t have much wine anyway, at least none you’re willing to put your life on the line for). Just sayin’.

And then, there’s always the International Pinot Noir Celebration, which, all told, costs as much as a trip to Europe, South America, or the Pan Pacific. But it’s PINOT! Argh.

So many choices!  If Real Life™ doesn’t get in the way, I will spend the greater part of 2017 planning for travel, finishing a wine certification (or two), and just enjoying this stage of my life. With my new home slowly but surely getting beautifully fixer-uppered, I am looking forward to meeting parts of the world that I’ve so far gently avoided.


Note: All photos are used under the Creative Commons license. No copyright violation intended.






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