In addition to ziplining, there was one other thing that we did this day on vacation, wine tasting. Initially, it was not what I expected and that is just because the website we had looked up had us thinking we were going to be somewhere else. When we looked up wineries around the area, we found Stone Hill Winery and thought that it looked like a really neat one. It had beautiful grounds, a guided cellar tour, and plenty of wines to try. When we were ready to go check it out, we set the destination on the GPS and after the location showed up to be quite a ways from Branson, we were confused. We had searched for wineries near Branson when we initially looked, how could this be? It didn’t take long to figure out that the Stone Hill Winery used to be in Branson as a satellite location, but was now called the Curling Vine Winery and it was under new ownership. We learned about the details of that in the initial part of the tour. So, not exactly what and where we originally thought we were going to be.
Disappointment aside – there were no vines or any outside grounds other than a parking lot being as this place was located right in the middle of town – it was more of a tourist attraction than any other winery we have visited. There was a tour bus out in the parking lot and a nice sized line waiting for the tour when we got in. We looked around at the selection of wines and were able to find our way in with the next group tour that was about to begin. There was a short video about the history of the Stone Hill Winery and how it had become the Curling Vine Winery. Then we were off towards the tasting rooms. There were a few little stops to look at and hear about little bits of history in the wine making field; plus, a stop in a room with some old barrels and found stills and the story behind them.
This winery location actually does serve a purpose other than being a satellite wine tasting location: it is where their spumante is produced and bottled. There was a live bottling demonstration that we didn’t get to see that day. The bottler went home early so instead we saw a projected video demonstration in the bottling room of what he does. The video wasn’t as good as the real thing would have been, but I got over it. After this, it was time to taste the wine, and there was quite a bit of it to taste.
There were many people in our group that made it to the tasting room. I didn’t count, but the whole counter was full all the way around. Our guide informed us more than a few times how much he enjoyed the wine, and I believed him. It even seemed that he got to take home the opened, unfinished bottles from the day so he wasn’t one bit bothered about having to open up more new bottles for everyone to taste. A good portion of the wine was a lot sweeter than we liked, but that is the case, I am noticing, at a lot of wineries that we have been too. We did find a few that we liked enough to bring home with us. I am sure there are plenty of bottles that go home with almost everyone. They even sell them in a handy four pack carrier. I think everyone that left had a handy four pack carrier, ourselves included.
Even though it was definitely a tourist attraction more than anything else, it still felt pretty laid back and it was as enjoyable as any other wine tasting that I had been to before. There were a lot of people, yes, and no place to go sit and enjoy a newly bought bottle of wine, but it was still a fun little outing that I am glad we did. And I fit the tourist bit completely, walking around taking pictures of every little thing.