After how many months of living like hermits, I think everyone is trying to venture out into the world, beyond hunting for toilet paper and hand sanitizers. After how many Zoom sessions, my Bride and her sisters, except for the Louisville clan decided to go on a boat excursion along with some cousins and a good friend of my Bride’s as well. We had done this boat excursion before with one of her cousins and her husband, but back in the winter, everyone had wanted to do this trip and they bought a package of tickets and the crowd was getting antsy and this seemed like the perfect way to do something. The crowd also wanted to go out to eat afterwards and in today’s climate, there was a lot of planning to do. We were off to Port Huron, Michigan which is right across from Sarnia, Ontario, Canada; and we didn’t need our passports, because the boat was not stopping on the Canadian shoreline. We are blessed in Michigan with the Great Lakes and they are such a large body of water, that you could take all the water from the Great Lakes and cover the entire map of the United States nine feet deep. It is also one of the busiest waterways in the world and conveys more shipments than the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal combined.
We were all going on the Huron Lady II, which started life as a ferry boat for passengers and whatever else for conveyance to Mackinac Island, when they changed over to hovercrafts which are faster and probably more economical, there were several boats that were up for sale and we ended up on one of them. We all wanted to be on the upper deck, with the open air, the lower deck had air conditioning, but this was an outdoor adventure. The excursion boat is rather spartan, the seating is like park benches and they were trying to have everyone do “social distancing” and no one had to go over the rails into the water to accomplish this, though the family was bending the rules. Even though we were in the fresh air on the upper deck, I did notice that some people were still wearing masks, most of us did not. I might also add that I noticed that the crew when they were not doing other assigned duties were going around sanitizing the rails and parts of the boat that get touched the most often. The last time we did this trip, the Captain was a female and she was far superior to the male Captain of this trip regarding the narration of the tour, explaining some of the nautical “right of way” etiquettes and pointing out some of the highlights and historical sights. There were plenty of pleasure crafts as well as the huge vessels that ply the Great Lakes.
On the lower deck or the main deck was a concession stand that was opened up for business once the boat had set sail, I guess that is maritime law. Halfway through the excursion my throat was getting a wee bit parched and if I didn’t splurge, I wouldn’t have had an article, so I bought a glass of Sutter Home California Chardonnay NV and they had the wines in those handy-dandy individual size bottles that one sees during flights, or did the last time we flew. The Sutter Home Estate is located in St. Helena, one of the famed cities in Napa Valley, the estate was actually a winery in the 1870’s and continued until the government in their infinite wisdom decided to make decisions for the citizens and we had the great tragic experiment known as Prohibition. After Prohibition the estate was just basically abandoned until 1948 when the Trinchero family purchased it and began a winery again. In 1972, the family was experimenting with a Zinfandel wine that ended up white and dry and they called it “White Zinfandel, “and they produced 220 cases. In 1975, the 1974 production had a problem and it had residual sugar and slight pink cast, and history was created. The wine was getting popular and was at production of 25,000 cases and eventually this one wine grew to a count of 4.5 million cases. This was nothing to sneeze at, and while the Chardonnay is probably not produced in that large of numbers, it is a bulk wine that pleases plenty of people. In fact, in 1994 Wine Spectator gave Bob Trinchero a distinguished service award for “having introduced more Americans to wine on the table than anyone in history.” I actually remember that issue, and at first, I was shocked, but then I agreed that any wine that is used as an introduction is great, and I have had worst wines over the years. It is just fun learning some new things that I did not know, but then I also realize that Sutter Home Winery has allowed the Trinchero Family to expand and produce wines at the other end of the spectrum, so all is good. The good news is that we did not run aground, collide or sink and a good time was had by all. Then we all got into our cars and we off to our next destination. We were all making the most of this day out of captivity.