Monday, May 3, 2010

Blessing of the Vines: Cape May Winery

We arrived at the Cape May Winery in early evening for the annual "Blessing of the Vines" event. We were greeted at the door and soon gravitated to the buffet table in the main Tasting Room which featured a selection of beautifully arranged tapas. Toasted bruchetta rounds filled rustic baskets and were accompanied with an assortment of dips - tangy green olive, creamy white cheese with herbs and garlic, and a chunky orange vegetable concoction - all delicious. The centerpiece was a 3-foot diameter round iron pan heaped with paella. The rice was bathed in tomato sauce and studded with chunks of chicken, shrimp, mussels, and sausage.

Soon we were summoned to join the throng clustered near the large barn doors that open out to the rear portico and a view the vineyards. The "Blessing of the Vines" ceremony included Bible readings and prayers for a fruitful harvest and for the well-being of the workers. Looking out at that peaceful, pastoral scene with the vines just beginning to sprout green leaves and birdsong filling the air, was a benediction for all the participants.

Our friend, Bev, had located a table on the expansive outdoor deck so we joined her there. We all enjoyed sampling the various wines offered, more delicious appetizers, and convivial conversation. Cape May Winery produces about 20 different wines and is adding a new Apple Dessert Wine this spring. My current favorite is their Barrel Fermented Chardonney because of its complex flavors and light, golden color. It won a Silver in World Wine competition and 86 points "highly recommended."

Scarborough Inn guests sometimes enjoy day trips throughout Cape May County and might appreciate a winery tour at the Cape May Winery (711 Town Bank Road/ 609-884-1169) held daily at 3PM, $20. per person. There are other wineries in the county, too, so guests could pack a picnic lunch and visit several in one day. Don't forget to take a Designated Driver!

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