I was thrilled to sit down recently and chat all things wine with my dear friend and fellow wine enthusiast, Linda Jeffreys. Linda is co-owner of Tastings and Tours, a winery and brewery tour company based in Bucks County, PA.
Kim: Hi, Linda, and welcome! So, where did you grow up?…and was there wine?
Linda: I grew up in Iowa and no, we didn’t drink much wine. I actually didn’t start drinking wine until I was in my late 30’s early 40’s. I went to France with my sister and that was the beginning of my love of wine.
Kim: Nice. Fitting that a trip to France, home to some of the best wineries in the world, would lead to a love of wine. Before launching Tastings and Tours, you spent time working in the hospitality industry; When did you realize you wanted to start a wine touring company?
Linda: I went on a short vacation with my sister in California. We went wine tasting in Temecula for a couple of days. My sister arranged for a shuttle bus to pick us up at our hotel and take us out for a day of wine tasting. On my flight home to Philadelphia the idea struck me – how nice it would be to have that service in Bucks County to offer the guests at the hotel where I was working. The idea grew from there….by the time my plane landed, I had decided to start my own company. My sister was on board and “got it” right away….but it did take some convincing with my boyfriend, now husband, who is the co-owner of Tastings and Tours.
Kim: That’s fantastic. You followed your dream and now here you are living it. You currently offer wine tours in Pennsylvania and New Jersey ~ What do you most enjoy about the PA and NJ wineries you visit?
Linda: The sense of family. At some wineries, entire families work at the vineyard together. I’m a firm believer in supporting local agriculture and businesses and Tastings and Tours has given me the opportunity to do just that. I’ve also met some of the most wonderful, hardworking people and families.
Kim: Wonderful. That said, if your next Tastings and Tours wine tour offering could be anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Linda: In the next 5 years, I would love to expand into the Finger Lakes. There are so many wineries there and it’s such a beautiful and diverse area. I think there is a need for a company like mine there…..and eventually after retiring, I’d like to bring groups (people that have toured with us here) to Italy, particularly the Brunello region of Tuscany.
Kim: Wine touring in Italy? Sign me up! In addition to traveling to celebrated wine regions, what advice can you offer people who want to learn about wine?
Linda: Go to local wineries…seek out the owners/winemakers and ask questions. I have found that the winemakers in this area love to educate people on what they do, and how they do what they do. Also, drink what you like and never worry about if it’s the “right” wine to have with dinner or what temperature it should be, etc. Enjoying wine is what it’s all about.
Kim: Drink what you like and enjoy it. The best advice. So what wines do you most enjoy? When you’re at home, what’s your typical go to wine to serve with dinner?
Linda: It depends on the time of year and what we are eating – in the warmer months I like Sauvignon Blanc and when it gets cooler out our go to wines are Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. We have lately been enjoying Pinot Noirs again.
Kim: What wine would you serve on a special occasion?
Linda: Champagne and/or a Brunello. I have grown to love them both. We drink Champagne (sparkling wine if locally produced) pretty regularly….it isn’t just for special occasions!
Kim: Love that you love the bubbles as much as I do! Do you have a favorite food and wine pairing?
Kim: Ah, yes…cheeses! Growing up in America’s Heartland that makes perfect sense. Lastly, if you could raise a glass of wine with anyone from history, who would it be and what would you drink?
Linda: My first thought is my grandmother although she didn’t drink wine! She was a huge influence in my life.
Kim: That’s lovely, Linda. I’m sure your grandmother would be so proud of you and would enjoy toasting to your success. Linda, thank you for sitting down with At the Table with Kim. It has been a pleasure chatting with you. Cheers!
Linda: Thank you!
Tastings and Tours is family owned and operated and offers winery and brewery tours in Cape May NJ, Lehigh/Berks County PA & Bucks County PA. Tastings and Tours received the Certificate of Excellence in both 2011 and 2012 from Tripadvisor and is ranked number one in both Bucks County and Lehigh County for things to do on Tripadvisor.
Learn more at Tastingsandtours.com
You can find Tastings and Tours on Facebook at Tastings and Tours