Grape juice magically transforms into wine in the same way milk becomes cheese and a 1972 Dodge Dart becomes an even older 1972 Dodge Dart. Tipple the tasty transformation with today's Groupon: for $30, you get a reserve-wine tasting and tour for two ($20; includes two souvenir wine glasses), a meat and cheese tray ($10), and two bottles of wine (up to a $35.20 value) at Carlos Creek Winery in Alexandria (up to a $65.20 total value).
Carlos Creek Winery fills its beautiful acreage with fine vines and apple trees, whose fruits mature and melt into high-quality wines. Tours, which educate guests about a variety of vino, are offered seven days a week at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., with an additional tour at 5 p.m. on Saturdays. After their tour, visitors can arm their hands with one souvenir glass each, seize 10 wine-tasting chips (select wines require two chips), and thrill their throats with up to 10 wines. Samples can be selected from their list of over 20 internationally award winning wines including their 2010 gold-medal winners: Trinity, You Betcha Blush and Apple Blueberry. The libations and lovely scenery are complemented by a tray of meats and cheeses. Afterward, guests can select a pair of bottles to take home from the following list: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chianti, Russ Edward Reserve Red, White Merlot, Raspberry Road, Peach Street, Apple Blueberry, Apple Cranberry, Apple Strawberry, Apple or Minnesota Nice Celebrate (sparkling apple).
Yahoo! Travelers give the Carlos Creek Winery an average of 4.5 stars:
Carlos Creek Winery
When woodcarver Kim Bredeson crafted a mantel for an employee of the Robert Mondavi Winery, he received a bottle of Opus One as thanks. For Kim and his wife, Tami, the bottle uncorked a five-year fascination with wine that culminated in the Bredeson's purchase of Carlos Creek Winery. On grounds surrounded by five lakes—Ida, L'Homme Dieux, Miltona, Darling and Carlos—the Bredeson's plant unorthodox grape varieties such as King of the North and Petite Pearl, all of which can withstand temperatures 30 degrees and below. Those grapes eventually yield Carlos Creek Winery's award-winning wines, including the riesling-like Wobegon White and the pinot noir-inspired Marquette, a triple gold medal winner at the sixth annual Mid-American Wine Competition.
As Kim leads tours of the vineyards and complementary tours through Carlos Creek Winery's indoor production area and wine cellar, the staff distributes samples and souvenir tasting glasses in the tasting room. Guests can tap their toes to year-round live music every weekend or explore the winery's expansive grounds, which include bike trails, a 3.5-acre maze, and a giant garden chess set, ideal for convincing Bobby Fischer he's shrinking. Every third weekend of September, Kim and Tami amp up the festivities with their Grape Stomp and Fall Festival, where visitors can stomp grapes, admire blown glass and chainsaw carvings, and laugh along to live comedy shows.