News Blog

Town Meeting Day + Sugaring + Mud Season = Spring is en route to Vermont

| Thoughts
Postal Service Truck Mud Season
From where I lingered in a lull in march
outside the sugar-house one night for choice,
I called the fireman with a careful voice
and bade him leave the pan and stoke the arch,
‘O fireman, give the fire another stoke,
and send more sparks up chimney with the smoke.’
— from Evening in a Sugar Orchard, Robert Frost

The snow has mostly melted, the sap is flowing and our roads are erupting or imploding. Spring is imminent. Just to underscore that eventuality, a quintet of red-winged black birds came by the feeders earlier this week. Welcome back harbingers of spring! But all of you humans who migrated somewhere south, you know better than to return during mud season.

The promise that comes with nature’s annual rebirth is accompanied this year by the availability of COVID-19 vaccines and the hope for a summer shared with family and friends. Vermonters have much for which to be grateful, including a governor who assembled a team of advisors who have navigated this past year of uncertainty with caution, relying on data and deferring to each other’s relative expertise. Their transparency and sincerity for our public health reinforced our own sense of responsibility to each other. Once again, I am proud of our “brave little state.”

We’ve had some silver linings from this year of physical distancing. Zoom has enabled us to visit with friends locally and far away. Our virtual tastings have taken us to Italy, France, Austria, Australia, Oregon and Washington. We have more opportunities to travel in the next 3 months– to Austria, South Africa, Paso Robles, Applegate Valley (OR), France and then a tasting season finale of a trio of Austrian tastings. They are travel adventures for our wine curious customer-friends.

We’ll mention one new tasting in particular, a response to some young parents who requested a tasting that starts after their children go to bed. That doesn’t work for our European winemakers (8:00 p.m. here would be 2:00 a.m. there). We went the other direction and reached out to the Troon team, who are also Millennials. We have scheduled a tasting with them for 8:00 on Saturday, April 24th. Another benefit of the virtual tastings– no babysitter necessary.

As always, we have been tasting and have more recommendations. If you’ve not yet checked out our “25 Under $25: Winter 2021,” that list provides a range of winter favorites. A few are now out of stock with our distributors. We’ve identified some substitutes and additions below.

Finally, if you are interested, I can tell you that vintage 2021 maple syrup from Lilac Ridge Sugarworks is delicious– especially warm before being bottled. Most of you already know that it is owned and operated by the Thurber family; did you know that they have been making wood-fired maple syrup since 1955? If you need to restock your supply, or want to send gifts anywhere in the US, you can email them at

We look forward to seeing you soon. Be well, customer-friends.