Almost as soon as we started, an argument ensued. Not between Ginnie and me (we rarely argue) but between the GPS woman and us. We had plotted our route on Yahoo Maps and were planning to head west through Fond du Lac and Madison. GPS Woman had other ideas and was hellbent on taking us to Chicago. I ignored her and headed to Fond du Lac anyway, knowing that she would recalculate in time and toe the line. But this time she was stubborn, insisting that I should make "a legal U-turn" at the next opportunity. I ignored her as long as I could then finally stopped for gas and reprogrammed her. Eleven hours later, after driving through fog, rain and mist, we arrived in Lincoln, Nebraska.
While following one of GPS Woman's suggested detours, we came across a sign to a vineyard. Botham Vineyards, 30 miles west of Madison. I braked hard and headed down a country road until we saw the vineyard entrance. The winery is a converted barn and home to a winery that grows red wine grapes adjacent to it on 10 acres, and also makes some surprisingly good whites from grapes bought in from other states including the Finger Lakes in New York. Today was Good Friday so it was very quiet, but the tasting room manager, Gina, gave me a quick synopsis of the wines and the winemaker, Peter Botham, who started the winery in the early 90s.
I bought a bottle of their semi-dry Riesling and we just enjoyed it in our modest Lincoln hotel room with a take-out meal from a local restaurant. Both were surprisingly good! The Riesling is definitely on the the sweeter side of semi-dry, but there is enough acidity to keep it from cloying and has distinct green apple overtones. It is non-vintage of course and made from Finger Lakes juice that is trucked in to Wisconsin. It would make a great accompaniment to spicy food and was good, even when drunk out of plastic cups. That's the thing about wine - it should just be enjoyed and shouldn't be taken too seriously. At $9.50 a bottle, this wine is not meant to be revered. It is not a great wine, but it is fun, well made, balanced and MADE IN WISCONSIN!
This was a great start to our trip. The weather was not good and the road surfaces in Wisconsin and Iowa leave much to be desired (budget cuts I guess are to blame), but now we are in Lincoln and have 600 miles between us and our naked house. Our stomachs are full and I am still sipping the last drops of Botham Riesling.
Day One = Success!