When I was just a little girl, my parents would throw gala parties complete with gourmet food, luscious homemade desserts and drinks. My mother was an incredible cook and baker, so guests would be thrilled to attend. Toward the end of the evenings, I would sneak around the party room and finish off the grasshoppers, whisky sours, martinis and whatever else I could find. In fact, when I was once caught by one of their friends, he called me whisky face for years.
Manischewitz had been our family go to wine, so there was little exposure to the vast variety of complex wines on the market. Fast forward 20 years and I found I no longer enjoyed the sugary mixed drinks, and sweet wine and started expanding my horizons. While backpacking through Greece, Spain, and Italy, I started to develop a taste for quality wine. It was cheaper than water and complemented the paella, fresh fish, wonderful Greek salads, moussaka, pasta and other main courses. The Retsina wines of Greece were shocking to my newly developed palate, but enjoyable none the less. The Spanish Riojas became a mainstay and in Italy the Sangiovese, especially the Brunellos were favorites. Though I was not as wild about sweet wines, I still enjoyed the Sangrias of Spain on hot summer days, finding full meals which included desert and sangria for less than 50 cents. Those were the days…
Over the years I had the opportunity to travel to many countries and try all types of wine, from Amarones to Zinfandel. I continue to enjoy finding new varietals and blends. Little did I know back in my youth, that I would one day take that love of wine to start a wine and beer touring company in Sedona and the Verde Valley.
Sue Schurgin is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours. She is studying for her CSW and sommelier certifications.