Donald "Donnie" E. Smith sits on his couch in Woodsfield, Ohio, during the middle of a winter's day as he holds a deck of cards. His cat, Joey, looks down at his dog beside them. Smith is an only child and has lived in Woodsfield his whole life. He has never attended a day of public school, but has always worked by doing different jobs around town. His hobbies include fixing things in his garage and going to square dances. Everyone in town knows his name, but only a few know his story; I was able to uncover just a slice of that story. #planetathens
The world is filled with wonderful tastes and smells. It was in my own personal interest to discover them.
It’s hard to have that one special place that you always want to go to when you end up falling in love with so many. That exact thing happened when I started my project on local wineries. As a craft beer lover, I wanted to expand my palate and learn to enjoy wine just as much (which will probably never happen).
There is an obvious difference in the atmosphere at a winery compared to a bar; that’s what makes you fall in love. At a winery, you feel relaxed, safe, sophisticated or maybe you just feel old. The bar scene is slowly starting to lose its touch on me because of the shoulder to shoulder crowds and underage students who can’t handle themselves. With so many bars in Athens, I really wanted to shed light on the softer drinking scene at wineries.
I’m not saying that wineries can’t be super exciting because believe me, when my friends and I go out, we know how to have a good time. I just wanted to understand the behind the scenes production of how hard it is to make your own wine or to operate a business for that matter.
During my project, I visited Wolftree Winery, West End Ciderhouse, Shade Winery, Pleasant Hill Vineyards, Do It Yourself Shop, and Athens Uncorked (which is the first wine bar in Athens). Everyone was very inviting and they were happy to show me how the process worked. I was able to see the barrels the wines age in, all the materials and equipment they need, how they pour the wine into bottles, different corking methods, personal labels, their vineyards or where they buy their grapes from, the science behind it, production, marketing, and of course FREE samples!
I didn’t just enjoy these locations, I enjoyed the people and the community behind it. That is why it is hard for me to pick my favorite spot when it comes to drinking wine. There is no better way to spend an evening than to have a delicious glass of wine, a nice spot to relax, and close friends enjoying it with you (besides maybe having some craft beer).