Covid-19 has got us all cooped up these days. Stuck in quarantine with very little to do, my life has become a steady diet of wash, rinse and repeat. Actually, it's more like a diet that begins the day with coffee and transitions directly to wine (or some other spirit) with very little of any other drink in between. For years, my wife has been saying that the best days were the ones that went right from coffee to wine or beer. Until now, those days were usually reserved for ski weekends but under quarantine, with little to do including our jobs, going right from coffee to wine has become a regular occurence.
A fortuitous situation like this should not be taken lightly. Life is too short to drink shitty coffee or wine. Fortunately for you, I've drank the lion's share of both. Having sampled many of the best coffee and wines that ski towns have to offer, here are a few options from my recent travels that you are available online.
Start the Day With A Good Cup of Coffee
Dark Horse Coffee Roasters - Truckee, California
Photo Credit: Dark Horse Coffee Roasters Instagram @darkhorsetruckee
Waking up in Reno at 4:30 am as a result of not having adjusted to the time change yet, left me with roughly 4 hours to play with prior to skiing at Northstar at 8:30 am. I decided to head out to Truckee for a cup of coffee and a quick Google search pointed me toward Dark Horse Coffee Roasters. Boy am I glad it did.
Tucked away just about a block off the Historic Downtown area the shop itself is set in a rustic stone built basement that is both welcoming and nostalgic. It's an ideal setting for a coffee shop and worth checking out when you finally can. Their coffee is worth it too, especially the highly palatable Brazilian that I ordered. Until then, all of their coffees are available for purchase online so you don't have to wait out quarantine to try them.
Pacific Crest Coffee Co. - Truckee, California
Photo Credit: Pacific Crest Coffee Co. Instagram page @pacificcrestcoffee
While sitting at Dark Horse, I texted my friend that I was skiing with at Northstar that day and let her know that I was there. She suggested that if I was up for a second cup, that I give Pacific Crest Coffee a try. I'm never one shy away from more coffee so after a quick walk to check out downtown Truckee, I hopped in my car and headed over. SCORE! Pacific Crest lived up to the hype.
Founded by former professional snowboarder, Ralph Backstrom, Pacific Crest has a heartwarming backstory to compliment their delicious coffee. Lingering at their tasting room to chat, I savored every drop of the delicious cappuccino that I ordered. Obviously you'll have to make the cappuccino on your own but the good news is that you can get their coffee online to do it.
Ellicottville Coffee Company - Ellicottville, NY
I initially noticed Ellicottville Coffee Company's storefront, when driving into downtown Ellicottville for a fun Saturday night out. The facade was reminiscent of a ski lodge highlighted by a ski lift chair sitting right beside the entrance. Looks may not always be the best way to choose where to shop but in this case, I'm glad that I was suckered in. Not only did my friend and I stop there for coffee prior to heading out to ski the next morning, it was so damn good that we even stopped back in for another cup on our ride to the airport that afternoon.
Their Chirinos, that I had that day, was absolutely outstanding and I ordered an bag within days of returning home. They also happen to be the sponsor of Rock Autism, a music festival later this summer that supports autism. Proceeds from each specific Rock Autism bag of coffee goes directly to help their efforts.
Apres Ski With Wine From These Ski Town Wineries
Johnson Estate Winery - Westfield, NY
Photo Credit: Johnson Estate Winery Instagram Page @johnsonestatewinery
Westfield, NY is hardly a ski town. It is, however, not far from Peek 'n Peak ski resort and I did spend some time apres ski at Johnson Estate Winery so this counts in my book. Having been around since 1961, they are New York's oldest estate winery. With many awards under their belt, it is no surprise that they have been around this long. There was not a wine that I tasted that I would not drink regularly and their ice wine is to die for. It would be an excellent compliment to your Easter desserts. You can order that or any of their other wines online or, if you are local, call ahead for curbside pickup. Being a farm winery, they are even permitted to sell craft spirits distilled in the state of New York. Talk about a score!
The Winery of Ellicottville - Ellicottville, NY
Ellicottville is a true ski town and the winery that bares its name fits the vibe perfectly. Whether popping in for a quick glass while wandering the streets of Ellicottville shopping or planning to stay for a flight/pairing The Winery of Ellicottville is a must. Much like the town itself, the winery and their wines are in no way pretentious and highly approachable. Enjoying many of their different varietals, including a rather tasty pinot noir directly from the tank and their playful ski themed Yard Sale, I was highly impressed. They even make a damn good Blood Orange Cider too. I encourage you to stop by and see for yourself when things normalize a bit, but for now you can purchase their wines online or even call ahead for curbside pickup.
Old Town Cellars - Park City, Utah
Photo Credit - Old Town Cellars Instagram Page @otcwines
Honestly, I did not visit Old Town Cellars this ski season however every time I'm in Park City I make it a point to stop by. This will especially be the case on my next visit as they have a brand new bar and lounge that, judging by the pictures, looks beautiful. The tasting room is not the only thing that they have going for them the wines are incredible too. How could they not be? Old Town Cellars is The Official Wine of Apres for a reason. Their affordable wines are highly approachable and drink very well on their own. Perfect for celebrating a day of mountain adventures whether it be skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking or hiking you must give them a try. I'm a huge fan of the Mountain Town Red and the Old Town Outlaws both of which, along with all of their others, are available for online orders.