Where the Inspiration Began
So now I am on the road to get into the wine world professionally. You have read about the path that lead me to this point, but a lot of it is also a result of the inspiration that came from a few places I have visited in the industry. I fell in love with the ambiance of watching people fully relaxed, sitting back on a cozy couch or rocking chair, taking in the scenery, socializing, and sipping on delicious wines.
In May 2019, I won a wine tasting package for Cityscape Winery at an auction for my best friend's family's non profit organization, Jacoby's Shield. My catering company was actually catering the event that night. It was a pretty intense, down to the last second, battle between me and some stranger to win this cute little woven basket with two pink tinted wine glasses, a bottle of wine, and the certificates for a tasting for two at the winery. I may have cheated slightly, by holding onto the auction ticket, writing my name as slow as possible until the time ran out. The details of how I won are irrelevant, because I got it $35 later! Originally I called my boyfriend at the time (now husband) with a great deal of enthusiasm, because I planned on dragging him along with me. I could sense that he was not as excited about it, and was adamant about making this winery trip a whole thing, so I quickly redirected it into a girls trip plan.
I decided to set up the trip for around me and my best friend's birthdays. Mine is on August 16th and Jasmine, who've Ive been best friends with since we were 8, is on August 18th. Conveniently a couple days apart, we always enjoyed making birthday plans to celebrate together, so it was a perfect plan to make the winery trip around our birthdays! Cityscape Winery is located in Pelzer, SC, near Greenville, so we decided to make it a weekend trip and asked a couple of our girlfriends to tag along. So my friends and I traveled from Charleston, where we lived, to Columbia to pick up Jasmine, and headed out for a fun wine filled weekend.
I had images of wineries in my head, just from what I had seen on TV or the internet, but I was happily surprised when we pulled up to Cityscape. I immediately thought it was such a quaint and homey feeling for a winery, and I loved it. It had a small home style trailer, decked out with wine bottles all over the walls, scattered family style tasting tables scattered inside, a long line to buy their products at the register, and a buzzing of chatter from friends talking and enjoying their wines. It was nice weather that day, well I mean still hot because it was summer in South Carolina, but I have always been a fan of Southern summers. We decided to sit out on their patio which had some tables and couches for lounging under a nice sized tent to block out some of the heat.
We were all decked out in our cute summer outfits, I even went a bit overboard and had on a sun hat, because I felt like I was bougie out at a winery. We sat down, not knowing how a tasting really worked, but intrigued by our tasting note sheets with the lists of wines we would be trying. I cant remember her name, but we had a nice and enthusiastic wine server quickly at our table to start our tasting off, explaining each wine as we tried it, what flavors made up the wine, what items it paired well with, etc. She also offered us a cheese and charcuterie board, which was delicious! I love a good charcuterie board, and Cityscape sourced most of their products on the board locally from Happy Cow Creamery which made it even better! It had a couple jams, different cheeses, a Jalapeno Sausage that I would go back in town just to buy, and crackers for us to snack on. We were happy to have something to nibble on as we sipped multiple wines to keep us at a steady drinking pace, even though we quickly started feeling the wine buzz, so we ended up ordering two more boards to share. We started out with white wine, transitioning from sweet into dryer options, and then onto reds and a choice of port at the end. Our tastes and reviews of the wines were varying from person to person, but it was fun giggling and making our wine commentary like we knew what we were talking about.
At the time, I was still more of a sweet wine drinker, so I fell in love with their Pineapple Riesling, and enjoyed a couple glasses after the tasting as we walked the vineyards, having our cute photo sessions and enjoying the scenery. Of course we had to buy a few bottles to take home with us, to pour into our souvenir glasses. I still have that first bottle I bought from them on top of my refrigerator, along with their glasses in my cabinet, as a reminder of that inspiration I felt that day.
Overall I was just enthralled by the vibe of the whole place. I quickly hopped on their Instagram page and did a little digging on how long they had been there and the story of Cityscape. I was amazed to find out that the husband and wife owners, who we saw walking around talking to guests throughout the afternoon with huge smiles on their faces, started out making wine in their basement and their journey continued to buying the winery from the owners at the time, who were ready to retire. I thought it was amazing that they were able to run this place for a living, making wine, winning wine awards, and ultimately having a place where people could just sit back, relax, and have fun trying different wines. I immediately started having visions of having my own place like it one day. Since that day, their has been that little murmur of wine dreams in the back of my mind, and now I am finally venturing off to make it a reality.
This past weekend, I finally did drag my husband out to their winery, so that he could get the full scope of the business ideas I have been playing with in my mind. We have been discussing different wine ventures, and are working on honing in on where we will start and ultimately what we want it to look like years from now. We were suppose to join a group for a behind the scenes wine makers tour, but ended up getting too wrapped up in business plan conversations and enjoying glasses of wine, so we didn't make it off the patio sofas for it in time. This visit, of course I had more of that delicious sausage from Happy Cow, but I loved the Pomegranate Pinot Noir the most and my husband took a liking to the Strawberry Sauvignon Blanc. We sat sipping our wine, taking note of things we liked and would change about their operation, making big business plans, that we are determined to see come to light full scale one day.
I definitely recommend making a visit to Cityscape Winery if you have the chance, or purchasing some of their wine online at www.cityscapewinery.com/buy-wine-online.