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.”