A roadtrip to Raffaldini Winery

A  road trip to Raffaldini Winery
                Saturday morning came in for me the way it does so many times…slow and lazy, wanting to sleep a little more and just hanging out, not doing too much so that soon the afternoon comes, and you have nothing to show for the day. But a friend and I had made plans that sounded really good earlier in the week…plans to drive to the Raffaldini Winery in Dobson, North Carolina, about thirty miles off Highway 421 past Winston-Salem. The main purpose in going was to finally join a wine club there.
                There were so many reasons not to go. The drive would take more than two hours. I had to get gas for the car. It didn’t cost any money to join the wine club but to take any wine away certainly did.   And most importantly, the two of us had to decide whether to have lunch before we left or on the way. None of these obstacles proved insurmountable in the end, and so off we went, driving first to Winston-Salem, were we longed to find a Starbucks so we could have coffee that would give us the necessary energy to have fun on our trip.
                After finally getting two cups of “skinny lattes”, we headed west into the final reaches of Yadkin County, turning off on the access roads after only missing the exit once. This would not seem so bad, except that this was not our first trip to Raffaldini.
                After parking the car at the winery, we walked slowly down the road, only to turn back and see a rather large man, with a somewhat bald head, wearing heavy glasses, slowly driving right for us. He seemed to stare at me, but kept on coming, and swerving only at the last moment before keeping me from ever having another glass of wine in my life.
                For some time, I have been known as a regular at the 42nd  Oyster Bar in Raleigh, partly because I used to work there and partly and primarily because I have gone there a lot to have a glass of wine in the early evening.
                So when my friend and I walked inside, I realized I had expanded my horizons as the young lady in charge of the wine club, smiled at the two of us and said how nice it was to see us again. We are now regulars at a rather small winery some ways away from our hometown.
                We were both excited to be there and making a decision to join a new club, not a civic one or one that helped to better anyone, but just to learn more about and to purchase wine. Most importantly, the wine at Raffaldini, seemed a step up from Trader Joe’s wine of less than $5.00 a bottle or Harris Teeter’s most recent VIP specials. And, a trip to a local restaurant this past week had just traumatized me when I realized the wine at a local restaurant had been priced not 200% more but closer to 300 than what it cost at the grocery store.  That was enough for me. If I was going to continue to drink wine, I had to at least know a little more about it, and joining a wine club seemed to me to be a good start.
                 We paid our money, joined the club, got six bottles of wine and picked out two complimentary glasses of wine to drink. Because a wedding was planned for 6:00 p.m., a large white tent was set up in the area where normally you would sit outside, and so we headed for a blanket we had thrown in the car at the last moment. When in doubt, always put something extra in the car.
                It is hard to drink one glass of wine and stop. It really is. So, we had another one and sat there looking at the mountains in the distance and the wedding preparations a few feet away, wondering if the heat was going to kill all the guests during the outside ceremony, for which there was no tent, only white chairs for the guests to sit.
                As we slowly got ready to leave, saying our good byes to the folks at Raffaldini, who after a couple of glasses of wine had become good friends, we walked up the dirt road where we had almost been run over a short time before. The same car was still there, only this time with a few extra passengers, including the driver’s wife. She got out of the car, smiled sweetly at her husband, the driver, and then me and said how considerate and nice it was of him to drive all the way down the road to take her and pick her up. Her husband didn’ t miss a beat, saying it had taken him 66 years of marriage to get that compliment. “Yes”, I replied, but “wasn’t the wait worth it”? He looked at her and nodded yes.
                Leaving everyone behind, we drove slowly to Winston-Salem, to Reynolda Gardens near Wake Forest, having dinner outside at a place called the Village Tavern. Chased by a light rain, we sat under an umbrella, as did other guests and finished daylight on a warm Saturday evening.
                Long ago, I was told that walking in a light rain is one of the most youthful and exhilarating things a person can do. That may be true, but having dinner that way is not far behind.
                I don’t know what you did this past Saturday, but joining a wine club by taking a road trip to the western piedmont of North Carolina was pretty good.   We haven’t yet tried the wine!

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