Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.
Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Bear Creek Winery Tour & Tasting - Friday, August 12, 2022

It's another cold day in Homer on the Kenai Peninsula. Bob and I wanted crepes for breakfast at the Wild Honey Bistro Creperie. We drove 15 minutes only to arrive at the door to find a sign that they were closed today due to staffing shortages. They will be open tomorrow, but tomorrow we'll be hiking to Grewingk Glacier Lake. 

Plan B was to check Google for another place to have breakfast. We settled on Duncan House Diner which was rated 4.5 stars. It's a cute place. To avoid waiting for a table, we sat at the counter. 

Watching the employees was very interesting. The employees were mostly teenagers and they rarely looked at us. They also were bumping into each other (on purpose) and it looked like one kid was getting surreptitiously bullied or teased. Customer service skills require more training for these young adults. 

Our food came out very quickly. I enjoyed my 1-1-2 breakfast: one egg, one pancake, and 2 pieces of bacon. I was surprised when I was asked what kind of pancake I wanted: blueberry, chocolate chip, or buttermilk. I chose blueberry.  Bob was so-so on his breakfast burrito. The first few bites he took were filled with jalapenos. The other half didn't have jalapenos but had green peppers instead. He ate half and took half home.

We were both scheduled to go on the Bear Creek Winery Tour, but Bob had some work he had to do, so he missed out. At the winery, we learned they make a lot of sweet, fruity wines. All the fruit is grown in Alaska. We were shown their large freezer where they store the fruit. They have enough fruit in storage to make wine all winter.

From the freezer building, we went into the wine production building. [NOTE: I took several photos of the interior where they had the fermentation vats, the wine bottling machine, the fruit press, the corking machine, and a machine that applies the wine labels, but my SD card developed an error and I could not access my photos. Bummer.] Everything was so clean and shiny!

Our guide taught us about how different fruits thaw at different rates, and how they add sugar and yeast to the fruit to start the fermentation process. If they use a different type of yeast, they get a different fermentation rate along with a different flavor. Fruits they work with include strawberries, black currants, raspberries of various colors, peaches, apricots, blueberries, apples, black cherries, and gooseberries.

After our tour, we drove about one-quarter mile down the road to their retail store and tasting room. What a cute spot. They have an awesome display at the entrance to their driveway. (Again, the photo was lost on my SD card.)

To taste eight wines cost $5. I love sweet and fruity wines, so I was in heaven. My very favorite was a wine called Inlet Sunrise. It was smooth with just the right amount of sweetness. I also enjoyed the Peach-Apricot, Black Raspberry, and Pomegranate wines. They gave us a small dish of little crackers to cleanse our palate between wines.

Kelley, Mary Jane, me, Joe, Joan, 
Rocky, and Cathy. 

I bought four bottles of wine and they are really, really good (if you like sweet, fruity wines). It will be fun to drink them and cook with them. The black raspberry wine would be good over ice cream. The peach-apricot wine would do well in a chicken dish. 

After the wine tasting, I headed back to the 5th wheel. Bob and I drove down to the end of the Homer Spit and explored a bit. We went into the Salty Dawg, a historic building that is now a saloon with dollar bills stapled to all the walls and the ceiling.

Outside the Salty Dawg.

Inside the Salty Dawg.

As we were walking away from the Salty Dawg Saloon, we happened to notice a day's catch had just been brought in at Buttwhackers, between the Salty Dawg and Salty Girls gift shop. It was all halibut except for one rockfish (?), I think.


Look at all that halibut!!

After walking past several restaurants and gift shops, we settled on lunch at Captain Pattie's. The view of Kachemak Bay was great! Bob and I shared a bowl of clam chowder and a Caesar salad with salmon and halibut. We were very pleased with our lunch.

Caesar salad with salmon and
halibut at Captain Pattie's on
the Spit in Homer, Alaska.

The cold temperature and wind had us scrambling back to the truck and returning to the warmth and comfort of our 5th wheel. Bob wasn't finished with the day yet. He took off on his bike from Heritage RV Park on the Homer Spit and rode 15 miles in two hours. He followed the bike path along East End Road for a few miles.

Tomorrow, as I said earlier in the blog, we will be hiking to Grewingk Lake at the toe of the Grewingk Glacier. A water taxi will take us to the trailhead, we'll have lunch at the lake and then be picked up at a different location in the afternoon. The length of the hike is 4.5 miles.

Sunset in Homer, Alaska.

Have a wonderful weekend!

2 comments:

  1. I was looking at all those Halibut and thinking they were way over their limit, but then I noticed that Buttwhackers is a filet company and they set you up with local charter captains on 6 packs. I worked one a few years back when a deckhand quit on their Halibut boat at our RV park up in Ninilchik. The captain said he'd let me try one day. We hit it off fabulously and I was with him about 8 days, but then his motor blew up. What a bummer. I could hook or help hook Halibut and loved it. We had some big ones landed on our boat, like LOTS bigger than those hanging there, but those looked fine just the same.
    Didn't you love Salty Dawg? We had to buy the sweatshirt too. Got one for a friend, and one for me that I wear often. Mine is pink camo!
    That wine tour sounded great. I normally don't like sweet wines but on occasion, I can tip a few. I do like the occasional "desert" wine also. Now those are sweet! That would be so fun. I don't remember that being there when we went, but since we mostly wander without guidance, we could easily have missed it.
    We did see the bears on a bear cam and I think that was at a visitor's center as you enter town on the right. You are really making me want to go back!

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    Replies
    1. You've had quite the experiences in Alaska. Thanks for all the info. What are your tips for catching halibut, rockfish, and silver salmon? We'll be doing fishing from a fishing charter next week. I'm afraid I won't be strong enough to haul in a halibut!!

      Salty Dawg is certainly different. Bob said it feels like a man cave. I agree.

      The wine tasting was yummy, but then when you like sweet wine that's to be expected. They did have some drier and medium-bodied wines as well.

      ~Susan

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