Saturday, July 7, 2012

Wine Tasting – Neighborhood Style!

Laurie and I belong to a little neighborhood group that meets for a wine tasting experience once each month.  I use the term “wine tasting” a bit loosely as this is really a social event tied to large quantities of snacks, prepared special foods/appetizers plus desserts…all accompanied by a large quantity of wine!

Note: We do use designated drivers!

This is Holly!  She was our hostess for the June Wine Tasting event.  We’re not sure that she ever really sat down and relaxed all evening… She was on the run all night…ensuring that the rest of us really had a great time!  Which we did!

We usually have a theme for our wine tasting parties.  In this case, it was favorite wines from around the world.  It was suggested that we might want to dress in the traditional garb of whichever country that our chosen wines came from…
Note: When we arrive at one of these ‘tastings’, we immediately begin drinking the wines offered by the hosts… Then it’s on to the food…and finally the actually ‘presentation’ and wine tasting.  So much for a fresh palate!

Here's part of our group… There were 3 out of town guests at this gathering.  From left to right…it’s Bonnie, Larry, Mark, Bill, Joel, Jenny and Fred.  Bonnie is Laurie’s sister and Bill is her husband.  They’re from the St. Louis Missouri area and they were in town visiting us for a week.  Joel is Holly’s husband but he was nursing his post-surgery shoulder…so Mark was the official assistant host!  Mark is from North Carolina and he was in town visiting Holly and Joel.

You might be able to tell that, costume wise, this was not a very participatory event!  Can you pick out the person that brought German wine to the party?  Actually, Holly, Mark and Joel all dressed in traditional German style clothing…

Here are a few other members of our lively, non-traditional wine tasting group.  From left to right are Charlie, followed by yours truly, then Susan, Martha and Beverly.  Unfortunately Martha’s husband Irv missed this little party as he was out of town working on a project for the Coast Guard. (Honest, despite how it looks, I’m not drinking directly from that bottle of wine that I’m holding!)

This wine tasting ‘assembly’ is quite a mixed group professionally.  In addition to the military, attendees included representatives from manufacturing, medical services, retailing, the Federal government,  law enforcement, the beauty industry and the plumbing business.
I could have included photos of everyone smiling or laughing at the same time…but then this would have been the longest blog ever!

Since Laurie usually takes all of our photos, my thanks to Joel for sending me a photo that his friend Mark took of the sisters…Bonnie and Laurie.  Sometimes Laurie just gets verbal credit for photos.  This time at least, she’s actually included!

When it came to the costume part of the event, Laurie and I decided that the best way to address the challenge was to pick a wine or wines from our favorite vacation spot ever…and that would be New Zealand!  Since they dress much like we do in the USA, we technically complied with the invitation…

This is Laurie’s brother in law Bill.  They stayed with us for about a week and we had a fun time every day! (Except the ladies made me nervous when they spent the better part of a day just shopping…) They’re very easy to get along with and they mixed right in with our little group of wine tasters!  Everybody loved them!

Dick was left out of the group photos…as he was sitting right between the 2 groups that I posted above.  It appears that he was having a good time…with a great smile, an empty snack plate and just a little wine left in his glass!

In addition to New Zealand and Germany, other wines brought to the tasting originated from Spain, Italy and France.  Over the years, Laurie and I have enjoyed wines from these and other nations, to include Chile, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal, Argentina, Hungary, South Africa and Australia.  For a list of the Top 40 Wine Producing Nations, go to

This is Bev’s husband, Larry.  Larry is the source of much of the neighborhood’s BBQ/smoked meats.  He specializes in ribs, chicken, brisket and sausage.  He looks like he’s enjoying himself!  Larry  is also a big time blogger, known as Big Dude…as in  Note: Check Larry's entry on his blog site for July 4th to find out more about the ABT's and Moink Balls he brought to the party. 

Factoid:  Did you know that there is at least one winery located in every state in the United States?!

As you might be able to tell, I had a really good time!  Charlie’s wife Karen and our hostess, Holly, must have, A) Felt Sorry for Me, B) Have been Coerced or, (C) Have been Paid, to pose for this photo!

It would have been great if we’d taken photos of the food we consumed at the start of the party...  Offerings included dip chips with corn and chili salsa: veggies and dip; ABT’s (bacon wrapped jalopenos with cream cheese and pulled pork); some terrific Moink Balls (meatballs wrapped in bacon, dusted in Billy Bones original rub and glazed with Tennessee River Cranberry Delight BBQ Sauce when they were about done); pulled pork and rolls with a variety of BBQ sauces; a 4-bean baked bean dish; cucumbers and shrimp with cream cheese and dill…and; to top all of this off…how about Puerto Rican Flan and a Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake!
That's about it for now... Many thanks to Holly, Joel and Mark for hosting this great party!
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by at our neighborhood wine tasting!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave   


  1. What a wonderful way to bring a group of folks together. I do however, think you whimpped out with the costume. I'd love to have seen you dressed as a Maori warrior :-). Have a great weekend, Larry. Blessings...Mary

  2. And a good time was had by all

  3. What nice group, all of you look so nice and have a fun time LOL
    I love white wine!;)