They come from away

Some of my family visited the winery on the weekend. They didn’t come from far–Calgary–but for Sean and Corinna, on the left, a visit to Baillie-Grohman holds special significance. Three years ago this month Sean proposed to Corinna, on bended knee between the 2nd and 3rd rows of Pinot Gris, shown directly behind in his photo. That’s my other niece Trina (Corinna’s older sister) and her husband Justin on the right.

Does it seem a little strange that I got excited the other day when I was conducting a tasting with four guests and learned some were from Minnesota? Only hours before I had been reading through a list of places that our visitors to the winery have come from. It had struck me as odd that Minnesota was not on our list (which, admittedly, goes back only to 2017). Now, it is quite likely that we have other Minnesotans here in the last couple of years but of course only a small portion of our guests actually sign the book, which is located outside near the tasting room doors.

When I was reading the list I just instinctively created a mental image of a US map and started to look for the closest state that didn’t appear on that list of 35 states. Of course I encouraged a very nice Minnesotan to sign the book, and he did, I’m happy to say. Later, I realized that we have not had anyone from Alaska sign our book, which seemed a little weird.

It turns out that we have had guests from each of Canada’s ten provinces, as well as the Yukon and Northwest Territories but, alas, no one from Nunavit has signed in!

Even more intriguing is our international list, which now runs to 40 countries, assuming that you can separate Holland and the Netherlands, which I don’t think is possible. So let’s call it 39.

Which place (I’m referring to where they live, not where they are born) our guests come from gets even more interesting when we look at the list of international travelers. Antartica? Really? Cool! Very cool! Frigid, even! We have Australia and New Zealand, of course, because Aussies and Kiwis are great travellers and they do love their wine.

From South of the US, we have had visitors from Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Costa Rico, Guatemala, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. I’m waiting to see Uruguay pop up on in the guest book because I’ve had a soft spot for the place since I did a social studies project about it in high school. I even used to collect Uruguay stamps. Its main export is now wood pulp, in case you wondered!

From Europe? Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Holland (and the Netherlands!), Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are listed. I was glad to see Ireland represented—I spent a couple of weeks there traveling on my own and wine never touched my lips. (Memory update: It did, actually. I had a glass of wine with a Thai dinner on my last night in Dublin.) There might have been the occasional Guinness and whiskey (DO NOT spell it without an E when in Ireland!) though.

Even Africa is represented, with South Africa making the list, and from North Africa, we have Saudi Arabia.

From Asia, we have had folks from Burma, Japan, Pakistan, Philippines and South Korea.

My geography classes didn’t address Reunion, Indian Ocean, so I had to look it up to learn that it is a French colony near Madasgar, which might help if you are a fan of Disney movies. Along with Reunion, Iceland is one of the more surprising locations named in our guest book.

I have a request of Creston Valley residents who bring guests from away to the winery: please ask them to sign our guest book. We are easily entertained!

August 28, 2019