A drink for the non-drinker

Wine slushie

Though I’ve never been a drinker, I’ve found a new passion.

Out at the Grape Discovery Center in Westfield, N.Y. (photos coming next week), I was recently introduced to the incredible elixir known as the wine slushie. The place is teeming with wine tastings, exhibits and gorgeous vineyards right outside the door — and all in celebration of the Lake Erie Concord Grape region. Lots of good stuff comes from here, including the grapes used to make Welch’s products.

We smelled grapes. We sipped wine. We talked about grape stuff. A bunch of us ordered grape slushies, and then I tried the boozy version . . . which was just pretty fantastic.

A drink for the non-drinker, if you will.

Until I met Spencer, I can’t say I’d ever really thought about — or even tried — wine. Though we’re far from connoisseurs, we decided to learn something about vino. Through trial and error, we’ve deduced that we both like sweet wines, mostly whites, and can tolerate the occasional red. With his scientific mind, my fiance started making his own wine last year . . . and won “best in show” for one variety at the county fair! (Yes, we totally rock out at the county fair. It’s next weekend and I will so be there.)

We went to Napa Valley last year, swilled wine like pretend fancy people and wandered vineyards dreaming about a different life. I think I like the ambiance of wine — and wineries — even more than drinking the beverages themselves, as evidenced by how much I loved vineyard hopping for a good friend’s bachelorette years ago.

Wine is fun. It’s tasty. It’s a little bit fancy. And though I know hardly anything about anything, I like knowing I can confidently order a white without looking like a total geek.

Other alcohol? Not so much.


In planning my sister’s bachelorette (for this weekend! EEK), I realized just how little I know about, um, partying, bars, shots, etc. I didn’t have the “typical college experience” extolled by coeds everywhere; I commuted to college all four years and wasn’t all that interested in debauchery. (You’re not surprised, right? I mean, I’m a total book nerd. I’m in bed with a novel by 11 p.m. most nights.)

I don’t exactly aspire to being a proficient drinker, but I am 28 years old . . . it looks a little silly when I stand awkwardly at a bar, wishing I could just order a diet soda and be done with it. I’m probably in the minority, but I live by the one-drink-and-out rule: I have a glass of something or other, then quit. Nursing a lone Blue Moon or Sam Adams is usually my M.O., but I go for the wine when I want to look sophisticated.

I usually fail, but I try.

So we’ll see how this goes.

And in the meantime, I’ll keep daydreaming about that wine slushie. That I could chug all day.


Side note: As I was snapping this picture, another guest at the bar joked, “You know, uh, you’re actually supposed to drink that.” Which is a pet peeve. Maybe because I’ve heard it a million times, and some folks don’t take kindly to people photographing food and drink? It offends them? I don’t know. “Don’t worry,” I said, “I’ll get there.”

13 thoughts on “A drink for the non-drinker

  1. I’m also bad at bars, I hate them and they make me more awkward than usual. However, as a WNY lifelong resident, I love me a wine slushie and it felt like Christmas when they bottled it up and sold it!


  2. My bar hopping days are looooong over but I still enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. I never heard of a wine slushie. I’m going to ‘Festival of the Vine’ this weekend – lots of wine tastings and all things wine and food too so I’ll be on the lookout for a slushie.


  3. I’m not much of a bar-hopper anymore but I do love a cocktail (my husband makes incredible concoctions) and we also are wine freaks. We have eased into that role over the years, after several trips to Napa and a very good friend in the business. We would be a lot better off financially if we would have never discovered it, but boy does it add some joy to our weekends. And I would SO try that slushie!


  4. I tried one of these at a local orchard last year and it was delicious!!!! I’m not a huge drinker. I went through a phase in grad school, but these days I prefer a hard cider on the weekends, the occasional wheat beer, and I am a fan of sweet white wines as well.


  5. I’m also bad at bars. I get the same things every single time (either a Blue Moon or a cosmo) because I don’t know anything else and I’m so picky about liquor. I’ve taken to asking friends what they get every time we go out so I can get new ideas.


  6. Sounds yummy! I’m not much of a drinker, but I do like a glass of merlot occasionally and a rum and coke. I’ve never worried about looking stupid at a bar though. The drunk guys are way more stupid than I could ever be.


  7. I don’t drink a whole lot either, but I leave in a regions known for it’s great wines. In trying them, I’ve discovered that, like you, I prefer sweet wines and while I still don’t drink often, I do really enjoy a glass of wine šŸ™‚ I’m not great at bars either, so i manage by having a few go-to mixed drinks or else asking for the sweetest wine they have.


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