Door 44 and Parallel 44 wineries pair wine with weekly vinyasa yoga classes, suitable for all levels of yoga experience
You’d think the rows of grapevines at Door 44 winery were designed exactly for practicing yoga. On a recent Friday morning, just as the winery opened, yoga class began in the vineyard at the bottom of the hill from the parking lot. My purple mat on the green grass fit perfectly between two vineyard rows, with just enough room on both sides for even the lengthiest of yoga poses.
“Positive mind, positive vibes, positive life,” was one of instructor Allie Pedretti’s mantras throughout the class. She shared a contagious energy through that positivity – a sunniness that seemed to keep the rain away as gray clouds lingered over the class.
Pedretti set the pace for a rejuvenating routine to start everyone’s day off right. We flowed with just enough speed for a morning class intended to wake up the body, but the pace was also manageable for beginner yogis to learn. Although the Olympics had just ended, Pedretti assured participants that “this isn’t the yoga Olympics – it’s a yoga practice.”
Grapevines separated our yoga mats, but I could still see my neighbor through the tangle of greenery: a simultaneous sense of seclusion from, yet inclusion with, the group. Whenever I extended an arm or leg off the mat, it was refreshing to feel a cushion of grass beneath me rather than a hard floor. I stepped off my mat entirely when we posed in tree and dancer – soft grass is ideal for stability in balance poses.
Pedretti emphasized that yoga can accommodate everyone. She offered variations of poses, especially the more strenuous asanas. For example, a reclining backbend pose while lying on your stomach could be performed as baby cobra (a slight lift of the chest), cobra (a more generous lift) or the full expression of upward-facing dog (lifting the entire torso).
Just as everyone’s body is different, so are their yoga practices. No two yogis looked the same in any given pose, including friends and family members such as the vacationing family of five that attended the class together. Pedretti encouraged this individuality, offering herself as an example.
“I’m probably the least flexible yoga teacher in the state of Wisconsin, and I’m proud of it,” she said.
Pedretti expressed her joy when participants took on poses in ways that made the class work best for them. And joy was another of her mantras: to feel it when holding a twisted chair pose longer than expected, for example, or to carry into the rest of the day that sense of joy that yoga can generate.
I found joy in the unusual outdoor surroundings, especially when my gaze went to the side during a seated twist, or behind me when my head was upside down in downward-facing dog. Rather than a wall or another yogi, I saw nothing but the two rows of twisting vines receding into the distance behind me.
After savasana, we rolled up our mats and walked up the hill to the winery for the glass of wine or wine flight that was included in our class purchase. After selecting my flight choices from the tasting menu, I headed to the outdoor seating underneath an overhang for another viewing perspective of the vineyards. (No worries if you’re not interested in drinking wine while it’s still morning. The wine vouchers are good for the rest of the day when you attend a class.) After closing the yoga practice with “Namaste,” it was time for “Cheers!”
Door County residents and vacationers alike can attend the weekly yoga classes through the end of September at Door 44 on Fridays, 10 am, at 5464 Cty P in Sturgeon Bay; or at Parallel 44 on Saturdays, 10 am, at N2185 Sleepy Hollow Road in Kewaunee.