Two Great Things That Are Even Better Together: Wine And Kittens At Townshend’s Sip And Snuggles Event

You heard that right. Cute kittens and hearty helpings of wine all in one convenient place. And you thought perfection didn’t exist.

Back in January I visited the Townshend winery to try out some of their different varieties and get an up close look at all the work that goes into filling up a bottle. It was an illuminating experience for this relative newcomer to the wine scene: I was able to see their stores up close, try wine straight out of the barrel and taste wine that’s been impacted by the Pacific Northwest wildfires. Just when I thought it couldn’t be topped? Cute animals are brought into the mix. Oh, you mad geniuses.

It’s funny looking at these photos in retrospect, taken right before the world decided to spin off its axle and leave us all dizzy.

It was, mildly put, a very relaxing way to spend a lazy Sunday. Townshend was in fine form pouring red and white for the guests, offering candid recommendations and discussing their collaboration with the local animal shelter. My roommate’s family stocked us up on treats as we lingered by the bar for samples and got to know the cast of Babe.

The cutest carpet I’ve ever seen.

There’s nothing quite as therapeutic as holding a tiny kitten in your hand and trying to figure out its face-to-forehead ratio. I had to mince my steps out of the (probably) irrational fear I’d squash them as they crawled and sniffed all over the carpet. Not content to offer only cats, the Townshend and animal shelter collaboration had several dogs running around (in snugly fitting raingear, no less), little black pigs and lambs.

If we didn’t already have two cats in the apartment, I would’ve had to bring one of these babies home.

I would’ve named him Cumulus.

A buzz from fuzzy cuteness is good enough, but I’m nothing if not entirely greedy.

I was able to try several samples of wine thanks to my roommate’s family’s membership; I’m already familiar with several of Townshend‘s red varieties, such as the 2007 Merlot, and tried out the smooth and fruity Vortex Red to round out my knowledge. Once I was done it was time to give their white wine a try. A few sips of their 2018 Riesling and I was converted: it’s a light and breezy wine with sweet, but not sugary, apple notes. Just shy of a cider (a personal favorite) and perfect for a spring or summer day.

If I ever do a TEDTalk (outside of my shower, that is), one of my presentations will be on the difference between sugary and sweet. The former is just basic sugar with no further impression. The latter has flavor. Personality.

Fill ‘er up.

My roommate chose the huckleberry, while I gave their chocolate raspberry dessert wine a spin. I usually steer clear of dessert wines because of the extremely strong kick (I’m a vodka girl, too, so that’s no small statement), but I’m glad I gave it a shot. It’s absolutely delicious and a potential future addition to my apartment’s wine rack. You get an equal amount of chocolate and raspberry, which isn’t an easy combination to achieve with how much stronger the former flavor is. Each small sip is a celebration of sensation in your nose.

…I also had a bubbly Mimosa. Thank goodness for designated drivers.

I’m now a third of the way to become a fusion of wine aunt and crazy cat lady.

These creative, casual excursions are a fantastic way to shake up the sometimes stuffy and out-of-touch persona of the wine industry. Who said winetasting was only for the six-figure’d, over-forty crowd? Less people may be getting into alcohol, according to today’s estimates, but there will always be newcomers stepping into the fold with fresh perspectives to offer. There’s no better way to break the ice than over the furry head of a kitten. …Except perhaps an Animal Crossing winetasting event. Someone get on that.

Find Townshend at their site here. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping my eye out for other winetasting events in and around my city.

If you enjoyed reading about the faraway times of being able to go outside and not fear you’re making a pandemic worse, check these out:

I visited a local wine shop in my city to try out a charcuterie and some imported red blends, with a few thoughts on wine accessibility and decor.

There’s a lot to keep up with in the wine industry, from tariffs on European imports to improved cultivation methods. Keep up with this handy list.

Forbes published a look at how the wine industry will be affected by the coronavirus, from retail sales to people’s already slagging interest.

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