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Summer, Wine Tours, and Music: The Little Zippers
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A Little Music with My Wine Tour
I like wine. I'm not a connoisseur. I would like to be and I would love to take wine tours across the country, even the world. But that takes time and it takes money. Unfortunately, I just don't have the time to travel about visiting vineyards in the southeast let alone the rest of the country, but my brother does. He's a musician, the Levi of Lucia and Levi and The Little Zippers. He can take a wine tour and add a little music with the wine tour.
A couple of years ago, The Little Zippers embarked on a wine tour and music, providing entertainment for a variety of vineyards and wine festivals. This was a way for them to tour different wineries and provide some great music at the same time.
So, I took a virtual vineyards tour, courtesy of Levi and Lucia and The Little Zippers. They have come across some fabulous wines, from the wines at Biltmore Estates in Asheville, North Carolina, the wine slushies at September Oaks Vineyards in Ridgeland, South Carolina, to the splendid selections in the Finger Lakes Vineyards region of New York.
Their first summer wine tour with music was an adventure in great sound and fantastic tastings.
The Little Zippers Wine Tour began in brisk April at Biltmore Estates. Biltmore is beautiful in April. The mountain flora are just beginning to bloom, all purple and yellow. The trees are budding new leaves with that special color of green. I have visited Biltmore and it's an awesome beginning to any vineyards tour, at any time, but especially in the springtime.
As a musicians, The Little Zippers experience the vineyard and wineries in a way that I never will. Musicians tend to see things in a different light, anyway and they have the opportunity to get behind the scenes. I'm relegated to the tasting room or to listening to their experiences, but that's quite alright. It is its own unique experience at each vineyard and winery.
Visit to Biltmore Estates can include wine tasting and education for those who want it, as the culmination of a fascinating tour of America's largest home. The 250 room French Chateau was completed in 1895 for George Vanderbilt. The vineyards weren't established until 1971. Biltmore Estate's wines are growing in popularity, ranging from award winning sparkling wines to chardonnays and pinot grigios. Not too shabby an experience.
The Little Zippers moved on to Grayhaven Winery, a Virginia winery located in Gum Spring, Virginia, near Richmond. Like most of the "older" wineries in Virginia, Grayhaven Winery was established in the '70's, 1978 to be exact. The Winery was was opened in 1995. Their wine varieities include Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon - reds, blush and white.
Wine tasting and education at Grayhaven Winery are a package ranging in price from $5 up. Within this serene setting, a tasting is bound to be as pleasurable. Add a little music and you have a mellow experience.
A Little Wine with My Music
Another serene setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Iron Gate in Mebane, North Carolina provides almost weekly entertainment during the summer and fall for its visitors. The Little Zippers brought their unique form of entertainment which always "brings the audience into the music" and gives them a taste of many genres.
The wine tour and wine tasting while at Iron Gates provides an education in winemaking from the grapevine to the bottle.
North Carolina vineyards are making a huge splash. The appeal of the fresh air, the low buzz of bees, and the warm air are an inviting backdrops in Booneville, North Carolina at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Here, Levi and The Little Zippers played at RagApple Lassie Vineyard.
The winery offers a perfect setting for vineyard notes, musical notes and wine tasting. So much more than a vineyard, RagApple Lassie also offers a unique stay on the property at the Holson House, the guest house which had been the home of the original owners of what was once a dairy farm.
RagApple Lassie Vineyard is located in the heart of Yadkin Valley. As you enter the vineyard, you pass a tin sculpture of RagApple Lassie. The Little Zippers had the unique experience of playing in the warehouse alongside the huge vats of wine that dwarfed them and their audience. The atmosphere was a musical mix of R&B, country and jazz and a mellow, sweet smell of ripe grapes.
Moving from their exclusive stint in North Carolina, the Little Zippers then played the summer in the Finger Lakes area of New York, famous for some of the oldest wineries in the country.
With that first summer's wine tour with music coming to an end, the Little Zippers made their next appearance under the gazebo during wine stomping days at Septmember Oaks Vineyards in Ridgeland, South Carolina. During the wine stomping event, complete with ripe grapes and purple feet, The Little Zippers offered an array of original works, Reggae, country, jazz and R&B with a little touch of rock.
Alice Ann Toole, the Marketing and Event Direct of September Oaks Vineyards offered a unique educational look at the wines and their origins. The tasting offered a delicious array of wines, mostly unique blends of the muscadine grape.
Vineyards in the Beginning in America
Vineyards were introduced to the original colonies when they first arrived in America.In fact, according to Virginia agriculturalists, the Jamestown settlers were mandated to grow at least ten vines on their arrival in the new world. Thomas Jefferson was making wine at Montecello.
However, most of the thriving vineyards, especially Virginia wineries and North Carolina wineries, were let go when Prohibition was introduced and it did not revive until the seventies. In fact, there has been a steady growth of the wine business along the Eastern Coast and many fine wines are making their appearances outside the vineyard. The wines rival that of other parts of the country and the world, capturing many fine accolades and gaining notoriety in prestigious world competitions.
So, there are ways to discover the wines of Eastern Coast, US - you can follow the band or you can set your own route for your vineyards tour. Either way, you will enjoy the scenery, the atmosphere, the taste and, if you're lucky, the music.
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Lucia and Levi and The Little Zippers
To learn more about The Little Zippers or to contact them, visit http://www.thelittlezippers.com/index.htm
Authors note: The Little Zippers are at the end of their 2012 wine tour and music along a similar route. They played longer in the Finger Lakes Vineyards this year and with the great reception they received the previous year, they were invited to revisit some of last summer's wine tour and music stops.
*The 2013 Tour kicked of with spring performances in Biltmore Estates. New York FingerLakes, North Carolina and Virginia Wineries are on the calendar for this years Wine Tour and Music.