Bellagio to Zermatt to Annecy to Travessia (or How to Win Free Wine by Reading Wikipedia)

Monday, March 9, 2009

I have a peculiar fascination for places in Europe that have inspired imitation in the United States. That fascination recently helped me win free wine from Travessia Urban Winery in New Bedford, MA as part of their "Where in the World is Travessia?" competition. Travessia recently started a very cool contest where they'll be posting pictures of their wine around the world and we get to guess where the picture was taken. The first picture was taken in Zermatt, Switzerland- a place I've never been but was able to identify because I've read about it in the past online.

Here's how I came to discover Zermatt...

A few years ago, we were planning a trip that started at the Zurich, Switzerland airport and ended up in Tuscany. We were looking for a good half-way point, and Bellagio, Italy looked to be a good spot. Bellagio, Italy is the inspiration for the Las Vegas Hotel Casino of the same name, and is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen:

A lot of the traveler reviews I came across referred to Bellagio as being a good destination to pair with Zermatt, Switzerland. Zermatt is located at the base of The Matternhorn- the same Matternhorn that serves as inspiration for The Matterhorn Bobsleds ride at Disneyland. We decided that Zermatt was too far out of the way for our trip, especially given that you can't drive a car into Zermatt and have to arrive via rail or taxi.

A couple of years ago, I got called over to France on a work trip. When surveying possible road trips to take on the weekend, I was again considering whether I could make it to Zermatt from Grenoble. Once again, it seemed just a little too far out of range but while I was doing my research I came across a fascinating series of articles by Michael Barrier that described his time visiting places in Europe that inspired Walt Disney's design of theme parks.

In addition to Zermatt, Barrier mentioned Annecy, France which was closer to Grenoble and where I ended up visiting (he also visited Tivoli Gardens in Denmark). Annecy was quite stunning as well:

So when Travessia posted the picture of their wine in front of what looked like a Swiss village very similar to what Barrier and Wikipedia described I threw in my guess. And what do you know- it was correct!

I love it when one thing leads to another as you're exploring the world, and the same thing happens frequently as I explore the world of wine. A real example:

A friend mentions that his neighbor is Paul Clary and that leads me to a Wine Spectator article that mentions other upcoming CA Pinot Noir producers and I spot Zepaltas and the next time I'm planning a trip out there I drop them an E-mail and they're cool and then I find out that he's the assistant winemaker at Siduri and the next time I'm at the wine shop I pick up a bottle of Siduri Pinot and love it.

So now we see the exploration of the world intersecting with the wine world, and the journey has led me to Travessia. I'm looking forward to seeing where it will lead me next...

Do you like rambling stories like this one? If so, you might like to subscribe to The Wellesley Wine Press to have future entries sent to you automatically.

Question of the Day: Have you discovered a wine, a winery, or even a place by a somewhat coincidental string of events like this? I'd love to hear about it.

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