Keel & Curley Winery tour and tasting blogger meet-up

April 8, 2013 at 6:05 am

{Disclosure: I was invited to a complimentary tour and tasting at Keel & Curley Winery in exchange for helping to promote the Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival, which I would have been happy to do anyway. But yay for free wine! All opinions are my own.}

On Saturday evening I was psyched to have the opportunity to attend a Tampa Bay Lady Blogger meet-up at the Keel & Curley Winery in Plant City.


Keel & Curley was nice enough to invite our blogger group to a complimentary tour and tasting in anticipation of the upcoming Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-3

I love an opportunity to go to Plant City. In just a short drive from the urban center of Tampa and the heavily populated Pinellas County including St. Pete you are legitimately in the country and it just feels like old Florida to me.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-5

It was a ridiculously gorgeous day. We savor these days in Florida because we know that the long, scorching summer is just around the corner.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-6

I got there a few minutes before our private tour was scheduled and took a look around the winery store.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-9

The winery store was very busy!

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-8

Both the wine tasting bar and the regular bar which serves wine and beer were packed.

The store was fully stocked with all of the Keel & Curley lines of wine as well as lots of fun wino paraphernalia.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-10

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-11

I hung out with a few of my blogger friends until they told us it was time to for our tour to get on the wagon.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-7

If you look closely behind the wagon above you will see girls in prom dresses. It was the evening of the Plant City High School prom and the winery was hopping with prom-goers having photos made on the property.

Our tour guide Sam began by telling us a brief history of the winery…

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-12

while we gave our straggler friends a chance to arrive.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-13

Glad you made it Denise and Chrissy!

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-14

That is the cutest purse ever Denise!

And the cutest couples ever…

Genna and Kat and their guys:

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-15

Lisa and Jina and their guys:

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-17

and finally me and Caitlyn and no guys, haha.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-18

Finally we were off on the tour, first passing some new blackberry vines that had recently been planted and more kids in prom clothes.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-16

It was a short ride through acres of blueberry bushes.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-19

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-20

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-21

When we arrived at our destination Sam told us some more about the progression of the winery over the years…

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-22

then led us into the large warehouse housing all of the winery’s tanks…where the magic happens. Jina’s dog Chloe led the way. They are dog friendly at Keel & Curley!

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-23

The inside of the building was very impressive.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-24

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-25

Sam explained all about the wine-making process.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-26

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-27

He also explained about how proud of the spotlessness of their winery they were…and it was true. The place was so clean!

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-28

Sam explained how all of the different tanks and equipment worked, especially the multi-step progressive filtering process that all the wine goes through utilizing these three filters…that last small one on the right is a super duper fine micro particle filter (technical term):

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-37

In the next room Sam explained about the bottling process.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-29

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-35

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-34

He also told us that Keel & Curley helps to house some hard apple cider for Cigar City Brewing, a local craft brewery.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-30

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-31

He told us that all of the bottles and synthetic corks (environmentally friendly!) for their bottling process are made locally in Florida.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-32

Keel & Curley wine is available in most of the large chain grocery stores in Florida, at most large chain liquor stores, and also at many mom and pop local liquor stores and specialty food and wine stores.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-33

Their total distribution has been growing year after year.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-36

After the tour we had a short ride back to the winery store and tasting room. Chloe was totally impressed with the beautiful farm.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-38

Back at the winery store we were led to an area they had reserved for us on the patio which was busy with happy-looking patrons. There were parties going on there as well as many people just hanging out and enjoying the beautiful Florida day with a glass of wine.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-39

They were also enjoying a popular local country band called Soul Circus…

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-49

and food from Just the Goods food truck.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-40

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-41

I ordered a Reuben (Reubin?) and grabbed a seat just in time for the wine glasses to appear.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-46

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-42

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-43

First up was the dry blueberry wine.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-48

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-44

I’m not a huge wine drinker and really rarely actually find a wine that I think is awesome. I’m just more of a cocktail kind of girl…martinis and margaritas are my thing. But I have to honestly say that I liked the dry blueberry wine.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-47

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-45

We tried eight more varieties of wine after that, including two blackberry wines (one sweet and one dry), and many varieties of grape/fruit blends (90% grape/10% fruit). I didn’t love either of the blackberry wines but they also have a “Wine Makers Reserve” blackberry wine that we didn’t try which is $20 a bottle and I bet would have been good. I thought all of the grape-fruit blends were pretty good and would have been great with fresh fruit as a sangria or mixed with some sparkling water…they were very sweet. I didn’t care too much for the Key Lime blend, but really loved the Wild Berry Pinot Noir blend.

The wine kept coming, but I had to call it a night as the peach chardonnay was being served. Our server said it was her favorite and told me I was missing out. Before I left we did manage to get a great Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers group photo.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-2(Jina, me, Caitlyn, Genna, Kat, Chrissy, Denise, and Lisa)

I’m sad that my friend Xiomara, who was so awesome to arrange this whole meet-up for us, left just before we thought to get a photo! Xiomara does all of the marketing for Parkesdale Farm Market (and writes the Parkesdale Farm blog) which is right up the country road from Keel & Curley, and of course Parkesdale and Keel & Curley are farm buddies. Thank you so much Xiomara! And thank you to Keel & Curley Winery for hosting us and letting us sample your delicious wines!

Be sure to take a look at the Keel & Curley website to find out about tours, tastings, and all the fun events they have at the winery. You can also “Like” them on Facebook.

Don’t forget to check out the Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival coming up April 27th & 28th!

blueberry festival


What’s up Wednesday?

March 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Happy Birthday Chad! Now we’re in that sweet spot that occurs every year when he is older than me for two months. He’s an old man of 44 now and I’m the hot young trophy wife of 43. Sweet.

I mentioned in my post about our awesome busy weekend that I intended to run 10 miles Saturday morning but ended up being too hung over all day to get it done. Then on Sunday we had morning and afternoon events, so my weekend long run never happened. My “training” for the Sarasota Half Marathon on Sunday has been ludicrous to non-existent. I’ve done a couple double digit runs every other weekend recently.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-49
(10 miles in Folly Beach on February 16th)

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-6(5K at the Suncoast Classic and 7.25 miles at home afterwards on March 2nd)

I’ve also done just a few shorter runs thrown in during the week in between.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-6
(5 miles over the Misener Bridge on February 20th with some IRunMommies friends)

But some weeks I didn’t do any shorter runs, and doing double digits every other week with nothing in between is not on any recommended half marathon training plan that I’ve ever seen. So I really wanted to get in one last long run before the half marathon next Sunday. Monday morning was gorgeous so after getting the boys off to school I took off intending to do those 10 miles.

One mile in at the St. Raphael’s bridge:

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-25

I actually ran the whole way up to this point (about 1.3 miles actually), which is probably the furthest I’ve run with no walking while “training” for this half marathon. I know I should have done more runs, but I’ve also been worried about stressing out my hip and causing the inflammation to return that caused me so many problems over the past year. I haven’t been following the Whole30 way of eating AT ALL the past few weeks, so I don’t have that going for me either. But luckily with what little running I have been doing, even the weekend warrior double digit runs, my hip hasn’t been in any more pain than the rest of me.

At the Coffee Pot Bayou bridge, about 3 miles in.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-26

After the first few miles the rest of the run was totally run/walk. I really wanted to try to keep my overall average pace under 15 minutes/mile. The cut-off at Sarasota is four hours, which is an average 18 minute/mile pace.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-28

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-29

As I was running through Vinoy Park I passed the Baby Boot Camp: St. Petersburgers doing their Totally Awesome 80’s workout. Always fun to see friends on a run.

babybootcamp(photo stolen from the Baby Boot Camp: St. Petersburg Facebook page)

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-30

After the loop around Vinoy Park I headed back towards home, stretching it out a bit along Brightwaters through Snell Isle.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-31

The last few miles were complete torture and my pace got slower and slower with every mile, but I still kept my average under 15 minutes, so I’m hopeful that I won’t get picked up by the SAG wagon in Sarasota.


I was (lovingly) chastised on Twitter by a running coach friend for doing a double digit run so close to race date. I realize this is not ideal. But I’m not really “running” this half marathon. I just want to complete it as my LAST half mary hurrah. I needed to get this distance in one more time just to assuage my anxiety about being able to complete the half within the allowed time. Now I’m fairly confident that I’ll be fine.

Monday night I met up with a few of my Tampa Bay Lady Blogger friends for our quasi-monthly (sort of bi-monthly, or whenever we can get it arranged) book club meeting. This time we read the classic Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. We met up for a quick dinner at Chipotle beforehand and talked about the book a little, then went to the movies to see Oz, the Great and Powerful.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-1(Debbie of Discovering Debbie, Beth of Discom-BOB-ulated Runner,
Rachel of Runners Tales, and me)

I really enjoyed the book. It has many different characters and adventures than appear in the familiar Judy Garland Wizard of Oz movie. Just the novelty of the differences makes it an interesting read. It also has a very “period” feel to me which was cool. Apparently it contains tons of contemporaneous political allegory, but I haven’t done the research. It’s a quick read and Chad is reading it to the boys right now. It’s a free download on Kindle! I’d recommend it if you have never read it. I hadn’t until now.

Overall I thought the movie was pretty good. I can’t resist James Franco’s shit-eating grin. Visually the movie is stunning. It definitely dragged in a few spots and the storyline isn’t the most seamless or compelling ever, but I didn’t hate it. The 3D was awesome, in my opinion. The best part of the evening was hanging out with my friends, though. I never fail to have a good time when I’m with my blogger buddies.

So what else has gone on this week so far?

Here’s a breakfast photo for you…I think this was yesterday.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-2

I have been trying to limit grains, but I caved in and had whole wheat toast yesterday. Oh well.

Bodypump yesterday:

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-3

Lunch at school with Mack yesterday:

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-4

Actually it was with Mack and some meal worms.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-5


I didn’t have to volunteer yesterday because Mack had a substitute teacher. But here’s my OOTVD (outfit of the volunteering day) anyway:

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-6

Zero effort. Gray jeans, black t-shirt, no make up, hair in pony tail. Mack didn’t care.

One of the reasons that I ended up eating toast for breakfast yesterday was because I didn’t have any carby root vegetables prepared. So I roasted some beets yesterday afternoon.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-7

I also made potato/leek soup in the crockpot yesterday using this recipe.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-8

It turned out pretty tasty and we have leftovers for this week plus some to freeze. The boys really liked it.

Last night I went to Restore the Core with Christie of Karna Fitness. This session is in a new location indoors downtown.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-9

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-10

Christie is amazing.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-11

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-12

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-13

We planked and bridged and squeezed those balls between all of our limbs for fifty minutes. It’s an amazing class.

Beets for breakfast this morning!

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-14

I was going to go to a new-to-me yoga studio this morning for a 90-minute “yoga sculpt” class, but it was canceled.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-35

I bought a package of classes during a Cyber Monday deal there that I need to use!

Okay, caught up. Sort of.

Tampa Bay friends…don’t forget to enter into my giveaway for a FREE 7-day fun pass to Airheads Trampoline Arena!


Click here to enter!