Wine is not just an alcoholic beverage, It’s the center of a generations old culture. With this traditional culture comes the snobs. You know, those connoisseurs who incite feelings of inadequacy and humility in folks, like myself, because we chose a vintage from a horrible year.
So, I can’t help feeling uncomfortable when I think about perusing the interior of a winery. Really, I don’t know if I could tell you the difference between a merlot and a cabernet sauvignon, much less what stemware the snobs dictate for such a drink. I still enjoy wine. I mean, I’m more of a beer drinker, but that doesn’t mean I don’t savor fermented grape juice and wouldn’t want to sample vintages from an outstanding winery.
So when I hear about owners, like the schmiling brothers, who avoid the snobbery inherent in such an industry, I feel a comfortable appeal. Captain’s walk, their boutique winery in Green Bay, is a fun, classy, yet laid back setting, simply inviting us to enjoy their wines however we choose.
I arrive at an Italianate Victorian house, and step into what appears to be a parlor of the same era. Antique furniture brings forth a classy comfortable setting. I don’t feel as I’ve entered a place of business, but a ripple in time where the wine is accompanied by the talk of a growing city that has yet to learn of football. Along with the aesthetics, a man and young woman both greet us warmly with amicable smiles. Casual conversation and wine are fitting in such a setting. We hang our coats on a rack and head for the tasting room.
I glance around the room, filled with bottles of final products corked by Captain’s Walk. Yet, with the customary long tasting bar and modest décor, I don’t feel as if I’m in a shop. Sure, there’s refrigerator units and shelves in the tasting room, but somehow I feel like I’m on the wing of an older house. Maybe its intended, maybe its not, it’s just how I feel-like a visitor in a cozy home.
We have two seven sample choices for tasting. There is a regular tasting that includes a partial wine list for $3. The select tasting, including any vintage from the Captain’s Walk wine list, is available for $5-I choose that. I also have the choice of a cider.
The sommelier, I guess that’s what you call her, is knowledgeable, a wine geek not a snob. She provides her knowledge of each wine as she pours it. When I sample the merlot, she points out the distinct flavor of the wood barrel in which it has aged. I raise my brows, knowing I sensed a familiar taste, “That’s what it is!.” I relish the last few swallows.
The tasting samples are more than adequate. Really, we spent 10 dollars on sampling and probably have drank about a full glass and half of wine. Plus, these are better than your corner liquor store wines. There was definitely care and thought that went into concocting each choice for today. Four of the seven I have tasted are my new favorites.
I’m also sold on their cherry cider, made with Door County cherries. They offer their ciders in growlers and howlers, which are types of glass jugs. I choose the howler, being smaller and cheaper. There is a one time charge for the bottle, after that I can fill my howler for $10 whenever I want.
I haven’t mentioned the Captain’s walk bistro which is as classy of a dining room as any. A bare wood floor, interrupted by a modest rug, is complemented with a counter and furniture of the same material. Sunlight pours through the windows and allows for lively conversation with some eats, including some interesting sounding pizzas, and a glass of wine.
If your interested in how your favorite new wine is made, Captain’s Walk offers tours of the winery on Saturdays from 11:30 to 1:30. I have to say, I wish I could have included that in this blog.
I leave today, but not empty handed. The wine tasting is an effective tool if the winery is worth it’s salt. Like I said, there were four favorites and I know I’ll return for more samples. My only dilemma is what bottle to buy. Don’t worry, the bottles are not outrageously priced. As a matter of fact, some sell for a little as twelve dollars. I can waste more at a liquor store and come away with something inferior.
Not only does Captain’s walk sell great wine, it offers a superb atmosphere. I would best describe it as comfortably casual with a staff that are friendly and upbeat. I leave impressed, never having stepped in a winery before. The choice of building, wines, service and prices leave me asking, “Could there actually be better?