Wine and birding destinations that shouldn’t fly under your radar
WWMD : What would Margaret drink?
Margaret Pearman is a certified sommelier under the Court of Master Sommeliers and is responsible for curating the award-winning wine list at Charlie’s Coastal Bistro. Here is her sipping suggestion for April:
Avid birdwatcher? Passionate wine lover? Some of the best bird-watching worldwide lines up with the leading wine regions from Argentina to Australia. Starting with the West Coast of the U.S., the Pacific Flyway is a major migratory path that makes its way right through Sonoma County.
Upward of 4,500 different species have been identified in the Bodega Harbor area, an Audubon-designated Important Bird Area. Further up the coast in Oregon the Willamette Valley Birding Trail and Oregon Cascades Birding Trail provide perfectly planned birding adventures. Notable wineries such as Ponzi, Copper Mountain and Raptor Ridge offer exceptional pinot noir, pinot gris and chardonnay to try. Partnering with vineyards, Wings Over Wine releases rehabilitated birds of prey onto vineyard property. Red-tail hawks, peregrine falcons, osprey, bald eagles and great horned owls are all very efficient natural bug and pest controllers.
Colorado and Arizona may not be on your radar as far as wine production, but the areas are making headway. In the West Elks AVA of Colorado, the Fruitgrowers Birding Trail takes you to 14 top spots to find the likes of sandhill cranes, snowy plovers and white-faced ibis. Stone Cottage Cellars and The Storm Cellar excel at Alsatian varietals like gewürztraminer and riesling.
If hummingbirds are your kryptonite, look no further than Patagonia State Park in Arizona. The Paton Center for Hummingbirds is dedicated to preserving hummingbirds. Over 247 bird species have been recorded, including violet-crowned hummingbirds, gray hawks, varied buntings and thick-billed kingbirds.
Try the Rhone Valley varietals from the Willcox area, and catch the Wings over Willcox festival in January. If it’s international travel you are looking for, there is really no shortage of options. Wings Birding Tours Worldwide offers Birds, Wine and Cheese in Southern France. For now, grab a bottle of Ponzi pinot gris and set your plans in motion!