Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tim A. Jobe a Rising Star of Pennsylvania Wine

Tim A. Jobe is normally not to be found in a jacket and tie, he readily admits. And the joke when we came to visit, and when we photographed him, was that we'd need to send a copy of it to his mother, will attest to his love of vineyard work and winemaking. Like some accomplished athletes are referred to as gym-rats, hard workers, who constantly tinker and practice, honing their skills, Jobe is a cellar-rat in the same way.

Dominique and I were on our recent tour of Brandywine wineries, when we stumbled upon Tim, and his very friendly, gracious wife Melissa, and their children. We were almost immediately entranced. In that way that some southerners do, he was sometimes gruff, but charming and self-deprecating to a fault. He was witty, grumbling, and shuffling, but in a charming way that let you know you were welcomed to grumble and shuffle along with him. And all done with a soft southern lilt in his voice that is not cloying, but easy on the ear. One may look at him as the Shelby Foote of eastcoast wine, for he is a reconteur as well.

A Southerner by birth, Tim knocked around a number of east coast and southern wineries. He initially did a short stint at Twin Brooks many years ago, before moving back to his Southern roots. Tim served as winemaker at Feliciana Cellars Winery, in East Feliciana Parrish, in Jackson, Louisiana from 1994-2003 before moving to Twin Brook Winery in Gap, Pa. where he is the winery manager and winemaker. And he is doing some magical things out in the fields and down in the cellar.

His naked Chardonnay was wonderful, clean, and crisp. His Chancellor (an old eastcoast standby) was deep and wonderful - one of the better Chancellor's we've had, as well as a very nice, smooth, and well balanced Cabernet Franc.

But is was what was downstairs that convinced Dominique and myself, that we had discovered an heretofore unknown force to be reckoned with. Tim A . Jobe, of Twin Brooks Winery has got game - serious game - or should we say wine? He knows all the jargon, but does not use it to separate himself from you. Rather he lets you in on it. He will tell you what is wrong with his wine, but like a child he loves, he will brag on it as well. And he's got plenty to brag on.

A barrel tasting of his 2005 Cabernet Franc Reserve was delicious. Very cherry and vanilla up front. Clear, medium red color. He will tell you it's not dark enough. But the taste is big and there. It is smooth with a nice, dry pucker at the end.

And his 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon is a medium bodied red, delicious, dry and wonderful. It's got toasty aromas, with bright cherry flavors. A peppery touch. A tremendous medium bodied wine. Fantastic.

Tim said he would have liked to see his wines a little darker, but the seasons in Pennsylvania won't allow it. But the taste, balance, and flavors all more than made up for his medium ruby colored wines.

When I asked Tim what does he aim for with his wines, a benchmark that might aim for, he answers Bordeaux. Tim's feeling is that the growing seasons on the eastcoast are much more akin to France than to California, where the seasons are longer, dryer, hotter. Bordeaux has a much more similar season, and therefore provides the best possible benchmark.

He is a rising star to be reckoned with in Pennsylvania, and on the eastcoast. Everyone better watch out for the unassuming Southern gentleman, with the slight shuffle and a sarcastic aside. He may not be big on flash, but he's got game, and he will be bringing it to your court sometime soon.

p.s. Sorry, Tim, we tried a couple dozen times to load your photo...problem with the blog. When we can load photos again we'll put your picture up.

The Best Tasting Room Experience We Have Ever Had

Now, again, I am not trying to brag. I am simply pointing out, aside from a lunch at Domain Chandon in Napa Valley, which is not really a tastingroom experince, Dominique and I have been to California (all over), Chile, France, eastcoast, Spain, and many other places, and what we experienced together in Avondale, PA mid- December 2006, was, without question, one of the best wine tastingroom experiences ever.

Va La is a small farm in Avondale, Chester County, consisting of a hillside cellar, seven acres of vines, and one family devoted to the creation of wine. Their passion is for creating wines made from rare varieties and unusual blends, from grapes grown entirely in Chester County. Their focus is on small-batch productions, of fruity and rustico style wines specifically designed to pair with foods.

The winemaker at Va La is Anthony Vietri (who owns it with his wife, Karen). Anthony told the September 2006 Sommelier magazine, “Terroir is sim-ple, and yet overwhelmingly limit-less as a concept,” he says. “For me, terroir is all the things that make up the environment in which a vine is grown,” and he lists many of the things that can go right or wrong in the vineyard. “I see all of these as separate,” he says, “and yet, all are intrinsically tied to each other. Tug on one, and they all tend to react.”

Va La Faimily Farmed Wines paired each taste of wine with spiced olive oils paired with fresh, rustica breads, and locally farmed artisan cheeses. We tried their white wine, La Prima Donna, with some extra virgin olive oil infused with rosemary and other spices. Another we tried with a fresh goat cheese dripping with honey. A red we tried was paired with a Spanish/Italian styled sharp cheese, which had a touch of crystalized sugar like a Red Cow Parmigiano. Each wine flourished, when paired with a food and made the tasting experince something absolutely incredible. I wanted to spend lots of money - on wine and cheese - and we did. Even Dominique wa moved to spend money - so you know it was worth while.

Some wine aficonados might blanch. Pairing any wine with food might enhance or detract from a person's ability to taste the wine itself. But I ould say, as an ameteur, that wine goes with food. And this expereince, taking the time to explain each wine, and parceling out morsels of cheese and bread, enhanced the overall experience ten fold.

I say to all the eastcoast wineries especially, as well as any other around the world, this is the new westcoast offense, the new black, the new it, when it comes to tastingroom expereince. Make sure you try it. You will not be sorry you did.

p.s. It also doesn't hurt that their wines, with or without food, are some of the best on the eastcoast. Long Island, Finger Lakes, Virginia, are you listening?

8820 Gap Newport Pike (RT 41)
Avondale, PA 19311

(photos of interiors and Karen's father courtesy us - sorry for poor quality)

Making Sense of Italian Wine and A Hedonist in the Cellar: Adventures in Wine Are My Two Favorite New Wine Books

This year there were two books I could not wait to get my hands on. Making Sense of Italian Wine by Matt Kramer and A Hedonist in the Cellar: Adventures in Wine by Jay McInerney were my two favorite new wine books of the year 2006. I gotta be honest, I never thought I'd ever include Jay McInerney's and Matt Kramer's names in the same sentence, but I think, introspect, it works like this: Both are wonderful essayists. Matt is skilled and knowledgeable and Jay is an admitted expert amateur (like myself - although I don't place myself in his category) and both are fun reading. Including them in the same article, I think, makes Matt a little sexier....and Jay a little smarter...if you know what I mean. And I mean it as a compliment of the highest rank to both.

The first was Matt Kramer's Making Sense of Italian Wine. Again, I must admit, I had something to do early on with this book. I bought it for Running Press before I left at the end of 2004. That said, it's everything I have ever wanted to know about Italian wine. I like Italian wine, and I know few things, but I am never really comfortable on the subject. And while there are numerous giant volumes out on Italian wine, the field still mystifies me. Matt's book shows you how to make good buys, breaks down the complicated regions and grape names, and all with Matt''s incredible wit and flair. He is the Fred Astaire of wine writers, experienced, dazzling, dapper, and accessible. If you want to know about Italian wine, this book is both for the beginner and moderate.

Now, I have to tell you, one of the biggest surprises to me was reading Jay's first book, Bacchus and Me: Adventures in the Wine Cellar, which was originally published by my good friends over at The Lyons Press. I was instantly mezmorized by Jay's writings. Although I had read some of the columns as they had originally appeared, reading them in succession opened my eyes to truly how wonderfully Jay translated the wine drinking experience in a way that I could appreciate, drawing comparisons by popular culture rather than floral associations. Now back with Knopf (With Gary Fisketjon one presumes?)A Hedonist in the Cellar: Adventures in Wine is another, more erudite collection of wine pieces. One can see Mr. McInerney's growth as a wine guru. And his stories, filled with wine celebs and gliterati, are always charming and informative, and give wine a sex appeal it hasn't had since Hemingway and Fitzgerald drove through the countryside swilling Macon Village like it was coke-a-cola. I must admit I am a fan of Mr. McInerney's work for many years...since I was an aspiring editor, when the world seemed young, and his first books were published at Vintage, and have been a fan ever since.

These are two wonderful books. A maestro and an impresario. One might be Toscanini, the other more Fellini...both masters, both incredibly memorable.

(p.s. sorry, I could not get either image to load...will attempt again later)

2005 and 2006 Will Be Top Red Vintages for Eastcoast

I have now tatsed some reds from barrels from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Long Island, and upstate New York, and from what I've been reading and hearing, 2005 and 2006 reds will be two of the best vintage years in east coast history.

Firstly, most wine growers agree, 2005 and 2006 were solid growing years. Long seasons. Plenty of sun, and sometimes too much humidity and rain in given areas. But the overall concensus is that these were very soliding growing years.

Also, eastcoast reds have come a long, long way. The winemakers have started to hone their skills in ways most eastcoast dinkers have not had a chance to taste before. Sure places like Hargraves, then Bedell and Raphael, Dr. Konstantin Frank's, and some of the Virginia and Maryland wineries had led the way to better reds. But those places have gotten better, and a lot more people are catching up. The red wine dinking experince is going to grow exponentially for in the next few years, an the benficieries are us!!!!

To be sure, the eastcost will not be making any Parker-like fruit bombs, like Plumpjack, Turley, or those caliber wines. The season and the region are not long enough nor hot and dry enough, to bring berries in like that. But to be sure, the reds will be deeper, have more balance and less acidity than in previous years.

So run, walk, crawl, and do whatever you have to, but there will be plenty of good red wine to lie down and plenty more to drink.

And enjoy!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Pennsylvania Is the "New It" Wine State!!!!

New York, with everything going on, nor Virginia, nor Maryland, nor New Jersey can rest on any laurels (which have been hard earned and well won) because the Keystone state has woken up.

This is great news for wine drinkers.

Pennsylvania has long been thought of as one of the sleepy backwaters of east coast wine, long dominated by its more publicized brethren. But there is magic happening in them there hills.

It was my birthday recently, and as my present, Dominique reserved a room at the beautiful Faunbrook Bed and Breakfast in West Chester, Pennsylvnia, in the heart of the Brandywine Valley. What a magical weekend. Oh, and the wine was nice too.

Faunhall was absolutely gorgeous. With fourteen foot ceilings, this old Victorian mansion turned luxurious B&B was festooned with three richly decorated Christmas trees, and the house was chockablock with holiday greens.

But the real news for this blog was the richness of the wines. The Brandywine Valley Wine Trail is rich with wonderful wine, dotted with some of the best wines I've tasted in a while, and wines that challenge their more touted states for red and whites, as well as dessert wines.

My next several posts will celebrate the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail.

Prettiest Tasting Room - Tie! Va La Family Farmed Wines and Crossings Vineyards. Twin Brook was also nice.

Best Tasting Experience - Va La Family Farmed Wines

Family Feel - Twin Brook Winery and Va La Family Farmed Wines

Best Tasting Bar/Counter - Crossings Vineyards and Twin Brook

Brandywine Reds

Twin Brooks Cabernet Franc - Vanilla, cherry and toasty oak all come through. Smooth and easy drinking. A very nice wine.

Twin Oaks Chancellor - Black cherry, coffee all come through. A dry, medium-bodied red, with a nice black sour cherry finish. Excellent!

Kreutz Creek Le Nouveau - A blend of Chancellor and Chambourcin, Nouveau-style light red. Excellent.

Va La Cristallo - Featuring Sangiovese grape, this deep, excellent red is also incredible. Excellent!!!

Va La Chiaretto - A deep purple red wine that’s nose is a mixture of green peppers and black pepper. This mixture of Cabernet Sauvingnon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Verdot is not a good wine - it is an awesome one!

Va La Rustico - A dry Carmine red blend. A spicy-peppery Syrah-like red wine. A wonderful, nice bite to finish it off. Excellent!!!

Va La Barbera - A dark, chocolatey, spicy, Barbera. Plums and dark berries come through. Another Excellent wine from Va La Family Farmed wines.

PDX Fruit 52 Merge 2004 - An estate grown blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Aged in American oak, the nose of this wine gives off a big whiff of peppers, cherry and vanilla. And a wonderful mouthfeel. Fabulous!

PDX Leverage 2004 - An estate grown blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot aged in American and French oak. Black cherry and raspberry come through. Very nice.

Chaddsford Merican 2002 - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdor blend. Cedar and dark fruits come through. A big, deep wine from the Miller brothers.

Chaddsford Chambourcin, Miller Estate 2004
One of the best Chambourcins on the east coast. A big, exceptional wine, like a California Zinfandel. Chewy, plumy, and jammy, with a dry finish. Excellent.

Crossings Vineyards Nouveau - A Chambourcin success. Smoky, with overtones of cherry. A light bodied red. Very fruity. A very nice light red. Wonderful.

Crossings Vineyards Cabernet Franc - Deep, purple-y red wine. Jammy, with oak and vanilla. And a tart finish.

Brandywine Whites and Lights

Twin Brooks Chardonnay 2005 Their naked chardonnay is unoaked, clean, crisp, dry and light. And it finishes with a touch of lemon. Very nice!

Twin Brooks Mount Vernon Chardonnay - There’s oak on the nose here. Nice toasty oak and butterscotch flavors. Smooth finish. A lovely chardonnay.

Kreutz Creek Chardonnay - Vanilla, oak, and citrus all come through. Finishes slightly buttery. Wonderful!

Kreutz Creek Stuben - A spicy, strawberry scented confection. Fruity but only off dry. A wonderful accomplishment. Nice acidity. Drinks like a aromatic rose‘ and with a hint of pink.

Va La La Prima Donna - an excellent, refreshing dry white. Incredible!!!!

PDX Pinot Grigio 2005 - Wonderfully fragrant wine. Made in stainless steel, it’s full of tropical fruits. Light, clean, dry, with an excellent finish.

PDX Chardonnay 2004 - A slight touch of oak and vanilla come across the nose of this chardonnay that’s 1/3 stainless steel and 2/3 aged in French oak. Apricots and roses come through. Nice dry finish. Excellent.

PDX Viognier 2005 - A wonderful, aromatic light white. Wonderful!

Chaddsford Chardonnay, Miller Estate 2004 - Creamy big Chardonnay. Touch of lemon and apple come through. Nice.

Folly Hill Chardonnay 2005 - Un-oaked, stainless steel chardonnay. Pineapple and melon come through big. Very nice!

Crossings Vineyards Viogner - Stainless steel light white with incredibly aromatic nose. Light, and delicious!

Dessert Wines

Kreutz Creek Ruby “K” Port - A deep purple dark grape experience. Again, not cloyingly sweet. Very nice acidity.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Boston Magazine Picks Best New England Wineries

Of Local Vintages
New England isn’t a wine destination yet, but superior sips do exist.
By Christie Matheson

In terms of charm and pastoral beauty, the handful of wineries that dot southeastern New England stand up to the country’s best. A few even make decent, sometimes excellent, wines. We found three on the Coastal Wine Trail, which recently launched a passport program: Visit all the vineyards, get the passport stamped, and win fabulous prizes (

Tasting sparkling wines at Massachusetts’ Westport Rivers (417 Hixbridge Rd., Westport, 800-993-9695, in the midst of rolling vineyards gives us a greater appreciation for the care that goes into growing chardonnay and pinot noir grapes close to home.

The last few miles of the drive to Sakonnet Vineyards (162 W. Main Rd., Little Compton, RI, 800-919-4637, through the farmland of Tiverton and Little Compton, Rhode Island, are pleasant enough to make us forget we’re only about an hour outside Boston. An airy tasting room and 50 acres of vineyard await. Try the vidal blanc, gewürztraminer, and rightly acclaimed dessert wines.

The smallest of our favorite New England wineries, Portsmouth’s Greenvale Vineyards (582 Wapping Rd., Portsmouth, RI, 401-847-3777,, is still working to improve the quality of its wines. The location, though, is irresistible. During a rainy weekend, we make our way up Greenvale’s long driveway, and the afternoon sun breaks through with a huge rainbow arching over the 150-year-old farm: a sight and setting we won’t soon forget.

Originally published in Boston Magazine, September 2006.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Crossing Captures Top Gold

On November 29, 2006 Crossing Vineyards’ ’05 Chardonnay recently won top honors in the Starwine International Wine Competition, 2006, earning the coveted distinction “Top Gold & Best of Class.”

Crossing Vineyards and Winery is located on a two hundred year old estate in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, less than a mile from the place where George Washington crossed the Delaware River in 1776. Crossing Vineyards and Winery is a family owned business and is deeply committed to producing wines of quality from the finest Pennsylvania fruit. The ownership is dedicated to promoting sustainable agriculture methods which preserve the balance of nature and protect the environment

This prestigious international competition included wine submissions from 15 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and the United States. Out of the over 1200 wines entered, only 16 (or 1.4%) received the distinction “Best of Class.”

A wine capturing “Top Gold & Best of Class” in this competition is defined as “…deserving of exceptional recognition. A ‘Best of Class’ wine has earned a gold award, but displays attributes which surpass any other gold medal winner in its category. A ‘Best of Class’ is granted only if a wine represents the highest level of achievement within its type when evaluated by international standards, and not by criteria specific to any one region.”

The competing wines were evaluated by 45 Sommelier/Judges from 10 different countries: Austria, Canada, China, France, Greece, Italy, Norway, Sweden, The Netherlands and the U.S.

11 judges are members of the distinguished Court of Master Sommeliers (MS), and 7 have attained their Master of Wine (MW) from the renowned Institute of Masters of Wine. The other judges were selected based on their outstanding reputations and strong experience within the wine industry as sommeliers at some of the world’s top restaurants.

A 2002 1st Cru Puligny-Montrachet from Domaine Jacques Prieur, Les Combettes parcel in Burgundy, captured the Top Gold, Best of Class award for Chardonnay in Starwine’s 2005 competition.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Maryland wineries report more than $10M in sales

December 5, 2006
Washington Business Journal
by Julekha Dash, Contributing Writer

The wine business in Maryland is booming, with nearly 1 million bottles sold in the most recent fiscal year.

Sales of Maryland wine grew nearly 19 percent in fiscal 2006, compared with the previous year, according to figures from the state.

Maryland wineries generated more than $10.5 million in sales.

Winery owners attribute the uptick to more festivals and stronger retail sales.

"This shows the amazing strength of the Maryland wine industry and its benefits to the rural economy," says Carol Wilson, president of the Maryland Wineries Association and proprietor of Elk Run Vineyards in Mount Airy, in a statement. "We're seeing more customers at our wineries and festivals, and that is helping to drive sales in retail stores."

Approximately 968,333 bottles were sold in fiscal 2006, at an average price of $11.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Eastcoast Wines Make Big Splash at Bobby Flay's Bar Americain

Last month I had a fabulous dinner at Bobby Flay's Bar Americain. We had a series of wonderful plates. Each platter was more exceptional than the one before it. And with it we tasted some great wines. One of the most exceptional was the Strawberry Hill Chardonnay from Connecticut. But more than anything else I was shocked by the number of New York state wines on the wine list. I spoke with Laurence Kretchmer, Mr. Flay's partner, and Bar Americain Sommelier, Adam Rieger. Kretchmer and Rieger we adamant that they could not put together a comprehensive American wine list for an American Bistro without including some east coast wines. Both Reiger and Kretchmer extolled the virtues of the Connecticut wine, the first true cult wine of the eastcoast.

"I simply have the task of picking wines for the list that make sense with the theme of the restaurant (American Brasserie - i.e. US and French wine focused) a long with wines that work with Bobby's food. Aside from the flavor profiles of the menu, it also offers a medley of dishes from all the geographic/cultural areas of the US. With this in mind it is important for us to represent good wines from as many geographic areas in the US as possible," said Reiger.

Bobby fell into cooking at the age of 17 when he took a job at New York's Joe Allen restaurant. Eventually, he so impressed the management that Joe Allen paid his tuition to the prestigious French Culinary Institute. But French cuisine was not to be Bobby's destiny. After restaurateur Jonathan Waxman introduced him to southwestern ingredients, Bobby — instantly drawn to indigenous American foods such as black and white beans, chiles and avocados — was determined to explore the possibilities of southwestern cuisine as an important and distinct culinary style for America. From 1988 to 1990, Bobby experimented with his new culinary passion at New York's Miracle Grill, where his colorful southwestern creations earned him something of a cult following. When Bobby's own Mesa Grill opened its doors in 1991, his reputation as a major New York chef was sealed. He continued to soar with Bolo, his second New York restaurant, which Bobby (Bo) and partner Laurence Kretchmer (Lo) opened in November 1993. Dedicated to exploring Spanish cuisine, Bobby's innovative menu at Bolo dazzles adventurous palates daily. In 2004, Bobby opened the Mesa Grill Las Vegas in Caesar's Palace. His newest American Brasserie, Bar Americain, opened in New York in the spring of 2005, and his new steak restaurant opened in the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City this year. Bar Americain is an American Bistro that features a taste sensation filled menu, with zest and imagination. And their wine list matches Flay's bold flavors.

This is yet another sign that New York state wines have arrived. They appeared alongside their more well known California cousins. Obviously California wines were well represented. "While California still dominates the US market, I feel that our local culture and local products are important. For this reason, I want to support and highlight some great wines from New York State as our focus for the east coast," added Reiger.

According to the restaurant's website, "Bar Americain, Bobby Flay’s ode to regional American cooking, comes to life in a bright, lively brasserie setting in mid-town Manhattan. Guests can enjoy a rack of pork with peach-ginger chutney, or visit the Northwest for wild salmon with a pinot noir reduction. The raw bar features fish and shellfish from both coasts, paired with flavors like tomatillo, coconut and habanero. Weekend brunch offerings include artisanal ham with biscuits and cream gravy or steel-cut oatmeal with stone fruits. With its soaring ceilings, marble floors and warm lights, David Rockwell’s design creates the perfect backdrop for a wedding reception, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs or lunch meetings."

Bar Americain is one of Manhattanites' favorite food destinations, and is one of the most highly regarded restaurants in the city and is the brain child of one of the most famous culinary lights of the food world. Mr. Flay and Mr. Kretchmer and Mr. Reiger have obviously made a statement wiht this wine list, and it is a great nod to both the wine makers of the eastcoast as well as creating an extreme food and wine taste sensation possible for patrons of this wonderful and excting restaurant.

Hats off the the management team at this exciting Restaurant and Adam Reiger.


PAUMANOK RIESLING 2005 North Fork of Long Island, NY

PELLEGRINI VINEYARDS 2004 North Fork of Long Island, NY
PECONIC BAY WINERY "LA BARRIQUE" 2002 North Fork of Long Island, NY (375ml)

PELLEGRINI VINEYARDS 2004 North Fork of Long Island, NY
PECONIC BAY WINERY 2001 North Fork of Long Island, NY

MILLBROOK 2005 New York State

LATE HARVEST CHARDONNAY, WOLFER 2003 (375ml) The Hamptons, Long Island

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Uncle Robin's Favorite Sticky

Each Thanksgiving my brother-in-law Robin Hoover, a FCI grad, who's worked a numerous name restuarants in Manhattan, and who now resides in Vermont, attends the annual family feast. On several occassions he has saved it from falling into utter collapse. Burnt or underdone turkies, forgotten vegatables, another hand in the kitchen, he is a savoir each and every year.

Robin's favorites are Reisling, Gerwurtz, and Late Harvest sweet wines he calls "Stickies." My father-in-law, Robin's father, is also a fan of such wines, as are many others in our family.

Due to Robin's omnipresent saves, I always make sure to have several wines to his liking as a thanks for his giving. And this year was no different. I served several bottles of Late Harvest wines.

I served a bottle of Turdo Muscato from Cape May New Jersey, which was exceptional.

Another clear favorite (every one at the table asked if I was hiding more) was Bedell Celllars Red Raspberry Dessert Wine and their Late Harvest dessert wine as well.

All the wines were both tart and rich, but not overly sweet, and had nice acid. Robin and my father-in-law were very pleased. And that makes my wife, Dominique, happy, and when Dominique is happy, I can relax a lot more in front of the football games without getting hollered at after all that turkey.

Thank you Turdo Winery and Bedell Cellars....and Happy Holidays!

Chateau Renaissance Wine Cellars Raspberry Sparkle

Maybe this doesn't sound like you. But for the holidays, we usually serve Champagne or a domestic sparkling white. On early occasions, we serve Mimosas. Some times a kir royale in the afternoons, but more often than not, we like it yeasty and brut....extra brut.

But this holiday season we served something a little different. We served the Raspberry Sparkle from Chateau Renaissance Wine Cellars with some cheese after the main course recently. Much like an Italian Bracchetto, it's tart, sweet raspberry flavors offered a a wonderful and differnt flavor to juxtapose to the savories we offered with crackers and assorted breads.

It's fun and different. If you're anywhere near the Union Square Farmer's Market, take a look. If Chateau Renaissance Wine Cellars is there, take a shot, and try something different.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Wine Spectator Gives Finger Lake Rieslings High Praise

In the November 15, 2006 edition of Wine Spectator, several Finger Lakes wineries draw serious praise in the ratings reports.

First to be singled out were Sheldrake Point's Riesling Finger Lakes Bunch Select 2004 (which recieved a score of 88) and Riesling Finger Lakes Reserve 2003 ( a score of 87).

Lakewood Riesling Finger Lakes 2005 scored an 87.

Hosmer had several that scored well. Riesling Cayuga Lake 2005 notched an 85, and their Riesling Cayuga Lake Dry 2005 scored 85.

Heron Hill also took home an 85 for their Johannisberg Riesling Finger Lakes Ingle Vineyard 2004.

Congrats to all!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Howard G. Goldberg Raves About Macari's Early Wine in New York Times

Published: November 11, 2006
New York Times

MACARI VINEYARDS’ 2006 Early Wine, a chardonnay, exudes the bright fruitiness found in Beaujolais nouveau, which is scheduled to appear in stores and restaurants on Thursday.

Fermented from Mattituck grapes picked on Sept. 17, and released on Oct. 23, Early Wine also evokes the joie de vivre of freshly minted whites known as Jungwein (Young Wine) found in heurigen, the Austrian wine taverns that open around the harvest. That’s because Early Wine, now in its fourth vintage, was created by Helmut Gangl, a vintner in the Burgenland region of Austria who serves as a part-time consulting winemaker at Macari, on the North Fork.

Since Burgenland is dessert-wine territory, it wasn’t surprising that previous vintages of Early Wine contained a slight sweetness. Such sweetness will not be found in the 2006 edition ($14.99). This beguiling wine is startlingly dry, and its tangy aftertaste goes on and on.


Md.’s Wine Industry Gets $147,000 in State Funding

from AMERICAN FARM magazine
NOVEMBER 7, 2006

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. announced Board of Public Works approval of two grants totaling $147,000 in state funding on Nov. 1 from the Maryland Wine and Grape Promotion Fund to the Maryland Grape Growers Association and the Maryland Wineries Association.

The Fund was established in 2005 to promote the production and consumption of Maryland wine and the increased production of grapes in the state.
The grants will be used for a variety of projects including marketing, research, advertising, retail/festival promotions, activities that promote the growing of wine grapes and educational seminars.

The Board is comprised of the governor, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, and Comptroller William Donald Schaefer.

“Through the Maryland Wine and Grape Promotion Fund we are helping to support Maryland’s wine and grape growing industries — an increasingly important component of Maryland’s economy,” said Ehrlich. “By supporting the development of highly profitable agricultural sectors, such as our rapidly growing wine industry, we are helping to keep farmers on the land and making Maryland a better place to live and to visit.”

In 2005, Gov. Ehrlich authorized the creation of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Maryland Wine and Grape Growing and the Maryland Wine and Grape Promotion Council.
The commission is made up of seven members appointed by the governor from the industry, the research community, and state government, and two members appointed by the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House.

The council is comprised of the secretaries of the Maryland departments of Agriculture, Budget and Management, and Business and Economic Development.
It is the responsibility of the council, upon advice from the commission, to recommend to the Board of Public Works how grants from the Maryland Wine and Grape Promotion Fund shall be allocated.

To date, $250,000 has been made available through the fund in two fiscal years.

White Hall WIns Town Point Virginia Wine Competition

White Hall Winery Wins Best of Show
November 1, 2006
A 2005 Viognier by White Hall Vineyards won "best of show" at the Town Point Virginia Wine Competition last month in downtown Norfolk.

White Hall Vineyards, located outside of Charlottesville, describes its Viognier (pronounced "vee-on-yea") as "nose of honeysuckle and mango, followed by a soft yet strong palate presence of pears and delicate smoke flavors." It retails for $16.99, according to the company Web site. This year, the competition hosted 31 Virginia wineries with 124 entrees in 12 different categories. Here are the gold medal winners in each category.

Chardonnay, Horton Cellar Winery Chardonnay 2005; Viognier, Oakencroft Vineyard & Winery Viognier 2005; Vinifera White, Cardinal Point Vineyards & Winery Quattro 2005; Hybrid White, Willowcroft Vineyard Traminetee 2005; Riesling, Rockbridge Vineyard Riesling 2005; Dessert, Oakencroft Vineyards & Winery Encore! 2004; Merlot, Breaux Vineyards Merlot 2002; Vinifera Red, Fox Meadow Vineyards Syrah 2004; Cabernet Franc, Fox Meadow Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2002; Cabernet Sauvignon, Ingleside Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2003; Meritage Category, Barboursville Vineyard Octagon 2004; and Norton, Cooper Vineyards Norton 2004.

The wine competition was established in 1991 by the Old Dominion University Enological Research Facility. This year's judges include local chefs or sommeliers, wine writers, wine educators and members of the wine trade.

Virginia Wine Appreciation Celebration Winners


Richmond Times-Dispatch Nov 1, 2006
Local wine winners

Juanita Swedenburg has been named the Virginia Wine Person of the Year by the Virginia Wine Industry.

Swedenburg is owner of Swedenburg Estate Vineyard, located 1 mile from Middleburg. She was honored for her contributions to the state's wine industry, including her efforts toward the direct shipment of wine.

Other winners announced at Monday's Virginia Wine Appreciation Celebration before 350 people at the Richmond Marriott Hotel were:

Gabriele Rausse: Gordon Murchie Lifetime Achievement Award. Rausse, owner and winemaker at Gabriele Rausse Winery, started Barboursville Vineyards and has been a winemaker in the state for more than 30 years and served as a consultant to numerous wineries.

Christopher Hill: Grower of the Year. Hill is owner of Glendower Vineyard in Covesville and is actively involved in the state's viticulture industry.
The Lafayette Inn: Restaurant of the Year. Lafayette is located in Stanardsville. Its menu includes more than 42 Virginia wines.
Ye Olde Dominion Wine Shoppe: Retailer of the Year. Located in Occoquan, this shop carries more than 200 state wines. Repeat winner.

The Country Vintner: Wine Distributor of the Year. Based in Oilville, it was the first distributor to have a manager dedicated to Virginia wines.
Del. Chris Saxman: Legislator of the Year. Delegate from 20th District pushed legislation that would allow continued self-distribution. -- Jack Berninger

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Virginia Wines Featured in NewYork Magazine

This is an excellent article about wines from Virginia....check it out.

Virginia Is for (Wine) Lovers
The state has excellent growing conditions, bucolic scenery, and a damn good Petit Verdot.
By Sara Cardace
November 13, 2006 issue of New York Magazine

E ven wine snobs now admit that the Finger Lakes does a mean ice wine and that Long Island produces a number of decent Cab Francs. Next on the East Coast radar? Virginia. It’s been quietly cultivating its grapes since Jefferson’s time, and now, thanks to recent experiments with varietals like Tannat, Petit Verdot, and Chambourcin, and the promising 1998, 2001, and 2005 vintages, the state’s 100 or so wineries deserve closer scrutiny.

Hours From New York: 2

Temperatures are about the same in the Blue Ridge Mountains, so a trip won’t get you a reprieve from November’s chill, but there’s still some fall foliage and lots of pure southern-country-valley landscape: sleepy hills, apple orchards, and tidy little chapels. It can be a long highway drive from region to region, so pick one trail and stay there—at least for the day.

Start in Linden, about a 45-minute drive from D.C. The wines at Linden Vineyards ( are some of the most complex and well rounded in the state. Arrive by 11 a.m. on weekends to reserve a special cellar tasting; if there’s a wait, mellow out on the glassed-in porch with a glass of its 2003 Claret ($20) and an artisanal-sausage-and-cheese plate. Next, head east on hilly, relaxing Route 66, hitting newcomer Three Fox Vineyards (—try the luscious Il Signor Sangiovese Reserve 2005 ($24) and the Piemontese Nebbiolo 2005 ($28)—and Piedmont Vineyards and Winery (, known for its light, food-friendly whites. Pick up a bottle of the sweet, lush Little River White ($13). Spend the night at the quaint Ashby Inn and Restaurant (from $250; 540-592-3900) in nearby Paris. Request a room in the School House building with views of the mountains. For dinner, try the inn’s unfussy, perfectly prepared venison. Nightlife pickings are slim, so best to curl up in front of the fireplace in your room with some dark chocolate and a bottle of Three Fox’s Rosso Dolce Chambourcin 2005 ($28).

Read the rest at:

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Lenndevours at It Again - Reviews Raphael Malbec for Appellation America

Lenn Thompson at Lenndevours is, as you already know, one of my favorite bloggers. Read his most recent review of Raphael 2004 Malbec (North Fork of Long Island). Dom and I are big Raphael fans. Enjoy!And thanks Lenn!

Appellation America, Reviewed October 27, 2006 by Lenn Thompson.

Don't cry for me Argentina… Long Island?

Yes, there is Malbec growing on Long Island -- and probably more than you realize.

Once a major component in the wines of Bordeaux, this large, fairly easy-to-ripen black grape is now best known in Argentina, where it is most often bottled alone. It’s also a big player (along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot) in Meritage and other blended red wines in the US, Australia and South Africa.

So it only makes sense that many of Long Island's Meritage-style reds feature small amounts of Malbec -- typically from 1 - 7%. However, it's rare to see a varietal bottling that is all -- or mostly -- Malbec. But, in a game of vino role reversal, this bottling from Raphael is 95% Malbec with just a little (5%) Merlot blended in.

Winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich describes the 2004 vintage as a "return to normal growing conditions" on the North Fork. The summer was rather dry, but somewhat cool, which makes it somewhat "similar to the wines made in 2000." This is the second time that Raphael has bottled a Malbec and it's only available through the Raphael Reserve Club, their wine club. Only 75 cases were made.

Read the rest at:

Atwater Estate Vineyards Reserve Riesling 2005 Takes Top Prize

Atwater Estate Vineyards Reserve Riesling 2005 Takes Top Prize for Best North American Riesling

October 13, 2006

7th Annual Hyatt National Riesling Challenge Trophy for Best North American Riesling was awarded to Atwater Estate Vineyards 2005 Reserve Riesling . Held in Canberra, Australia, the "Riesling Challenge" has become one of the most important wine competitions is Australia. Sheldrake Point Vineyards of Cayuga Lake, won last year for their 2004 Riesling Ice Wine. This truly establishes the Finger Lakes as the premiere region for Reisling in North America.

“The Challenge is now a truly international competition with over 100 wines from Europe and a growing number from North America,” said Chairman of Judges, Louisa Rose from Yalumba. “The gold and trophy winning wines are truly world class. Their makers should be very proud of their achievement.”

Congrats to the folks at Atwater and the Finger Lakes.

4JG’s Orchards & Vineyards in Colt's Neck New Jersey, Opened for the Holidays

Four JG's Orchards & Vineyards will be open for the Holiday Season every Saturday & Sunday from 12pm-5pm beginning October 28th thru Saturday, December 23, 2006. You can also fins their wines at:

Wine Sellers of Holmdel, Holmdel Town Ceter (Highway 35&Laurel Avenue) Holmdel, New Jersey
Buy-Rite Liquors, Colts Neck Shopping Center, Highway 34, Colts Neck, New Jersey

Four JG’s Orchards and Vineyards of Colts Neck, New Jersey, has earned two medals at the prestigious Los Angeles County Fair, 2006 Wines of the World Competition. A Silver medal was awarded to their already-titled Chambourcin Riserva, and a bronze medal was awarded to their newly released 2004 Cayuga White. The 67th annual wine competition held in Pomona, California on May 17-19, 2006. Thousands of wines from all over the world compete for these coveted awards. The award winning wines grown from grapes harvested at Four JG’s Orchards & Vineyards will be on display at the Los Angeles County Fair, September 8 through October 1, 2006, along with other international winners. The Wines of the World, LA County Fair Wine Competition, is one of the nation’s most elite consumer-focused wine educational forums and competitions.

Chambourcin Riserva (Released on September 16th, 2006)
- Silver, 2006 Los Angeles County Fair World of Wines Competition (2002 vintage)
- Bronze, 2003 American Wine Society National Competition (2002 Vintage)
- Bronze, 2004 VinoChallenge International Wine Competition (2002 Vintage)
- Gold, 2004 New Jersey Wine Competition (2002 Vintage)
- Silver, 2004 American Wine Society National Competition (2003 Vintage)
- Bronze, 2005 New Jersey Wine Competition (2003 Vintage)

Cayuga White
- Bronze, 2006 Los Angeles County Fair World of Wines Competition (2005 Vintage)
- Silver, 2004 Vino challenge International Wine Competition (2002 Vintage)

- Bronze, New Jersey Wine Competition 2005 (2003 Vintage)
- "unofficial" favorite of the patrons at the Waterloo Festival - Memorial Day, 2005

Vidal Blanc
- Bronze Medal Winner - New Jersey Wine Competition 2006

Monmouth Blush
- Bronze, 2004 American Wine Society National Competition (2003 Vintage)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Turis Chrdonnay and a Beautiful Fall Day

It was a beautiful day today. The sun was shining brightly, and the sky was blue. We have a large veranda on our circa 1880 white Victorian house. I recently had it painted. It looked marvelous. The white glossy finish sparkled. White trim and railings, and the floor gleamed. I had taken all the white wicker furniture, a dozen years, and fourteen separate pieces, and acrubbed and sprayed it all.

On Sunday, we reassembled the entire front porch. We unblocked the stairs, and put the shining white furniture around, and I put up a brand new white Victorian mailbox. There was an intense sense of accomplishment and success, even for something so simple.

With the boys in tow, we went off to visit Target and then Wegman’s to celebrate in the most suburban way possible - we shopped. Dominique bought a chicken, some butternut squash and some green beans and a great big loaf of fresh sourdough bread. We came home and the smell of the chicken invaded the house even as the boys and I practiced button-hook and post routes, myself throwing the football like Eli Manning. As the sun touched the tops of the trees with gold, we decided to call it quits. We went in and decided to watch It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. It was almost impossible as the chicken’s golden brown scent wafted through the house as Vince Garaldi’s melodies provided the score for my salivations.

When Dominique finally called us, me and my two sons would have gladly chewed on a piece of pine. White or red, Dominique and I questioned each other. Finally, after searching, I found a bottle of Turis 2003 Chardonnay. Aged in oak for six months, this chardonnay is clean and smooth, with just the right touch of vanilla and oak. An exquisite fresh wine.

We toasted, and I took my first bites, I savored each like I was in a French café. The skin was a crispy golden brown and the mashed butternut squash and fresh string beans were exquisite. And the white wine was good and cold and delicious.

Congratulations to Sal and Sara Turdo at Turdo Vineyards, and here’s to an exquisite simple elegant wine.

The Vineyard at Strawberry Hill

The Vineyard at Strawberry Hill was not covered in my book, because I discovered it too late in the publishing process. I would like to correct that right now.

Robert Summer is a music industry executive who has been president of RCA Records and Sony Music International. He and his wife Susan Summer have been collecting fine art since before the 1980s.

"It was a time when everyone was collecting American art, and we looked at our collection and felt that what we really enjoyed were the young artists from Glasgow, so we thought going forward we would do a collection of figurative art" from British painters, Mrs. Summer told Alistair Highet in the September 2003 issue of Preview Connecticut.

Mrs. Summers told Highet that the young painters being featured in a particular exhibit "knew how to put paint to canvas, and of course the prices were a minor amount when compared to what they were asking in the states at the time." According to Highet, “The Summers' collection -- Stephen Campbell, Peter Howson, Adrien Wieszniewski among them -- then inspired a more ambitious idea. In the 1990s, the couple ran a kind of artists' residency program out of an old mill building in Bantam, where they invited young British artists to come and paint for a year, all expenses paid. The open studio events during those years were some of the most exciting art events in Connecticut, and many of those painters have gone on to prominent careers.”

These are the people who own The Vineyard at Strawberry Ridge, possibly one of the most beautiful vineyards in New England, along with Greenvale and Sakonnet, and that is saying something. In September of 2004, The Vineyard at Strawberry Ridge was recognized as a "Favorite Find" in the fall 2004 issue of Town & Country Travel Magazine. It’s that beautiful.

The Vineyard at Strawberry Ridge is located on 22 acres of hilly terrain overlooking Lake Waramaug in northwestern Connecticut. They’ve been making it for approximately 10 or more years. The crush, barrel aging and bottling, is performed under our supervision at a modern off premise facility in North Stonington, Connecticut.

The Chardonnay has been their signature wine. It is a small quantity production that has found excellent placement among restaurants around the New York City metropolitan area and beyond. They have recently released a 100% cabernet sauvignon. Both are dry and classic, as the Summer’s prefer classic wines.

At the recent CRITICS CHALLENGE 2006 WINE COMPETITION, The Vineyard At Strawberry Ridge received the Critics Award for their 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon 'Ascot Reserve' California. Nick Passmore wrote, “Appealingly sweet fruit balanced by a hint of fine minerality.” The 2003 Chardonnay 'Ascot Reserve' Western Connecticut Highlands also won the Critic’s Award. “Crisp, bright and lemony notes marry in a juicy chardonnay,” wrote Leslie Sbrocco.

According to their website, “In a first for Connecticut wine, Ascot Reserve has penetrated the international market and can now be found on the wine list at the new Wynn Resort in Macau.”

Their wines can be bought at Zachy’s, as well as ordered in these fine restaurants:

New York Restaurants
Atlantic Grill
Bao 111
Bella Blue
Bruno Jamais
Chin Chin
Coco Pazzo
David Burke & Donatella
Il Monello

Le Cirque
Jean Georges
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Manhattan Grill
Nice Matin
Paris Match
PJ Clarks
Restaurant 212
Rue 57
Serafina Fabulous Grill
Strip House
Il Valentino

Westchester County and Eastern Long Island Restaurants
Equus Restaurant at the Castle on the Hudson
Haiku, Bronxville
Harry's Oyster Bar, Hartsdale
Mulinos, White Plains
Saracen, Wainscott
Savana's, Southhampton
Scarborough Fair, Bronxville
Trotters, White Plains
Underhill Crossing, Bronxville

Connecticut Restaurants
Boulders Inn, New Preston
Columbus Park, Stamford
Elm Street Oyster House, Greenwich
Mayflower Inn, Washington
Oliva, New Preston
Petite Syrah, New Preston
West Street Grill, Litchfield
Woodward House, Bethlehem

National Establishments
Bellagio Las Vegas: Le Cirque, Circo
Beverly Hills Peninsula Hotel, Beverly Hills CA
Cafe Blue, Scottsdale AZ
LA Farms, Los Angeles CA
Wynn Las Vegas Hotel: Alex Restaurant, The Country Club Grill, Daniel Boulud Bistro

Vineyard at Strawberry Ridge
23 Strawberry Ridge Rd.
Warren, CT 06754
United States Map
Phone (860) 868-0370
Fax 860-868-0772

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Anthony Road's Sweet Dream Aptly Named

Anthony Road Wine Company of Penn Yan, New York makes a wonderful dessert wine aptly named Sweet Dream.

It is a deep gold viscous dessert wine made from their vignoles grape. Anthony Road claims, "It is naturally balanced in sugar and acid so that thefruit characters are carried through the long finish." And I would have to agree.

I came home dog tired tonite, and Dominique asked if I wanted a glass of wine before we went to bed. I didn't want a light white, nor a deep one, and I wasn't interested in a red. But a dessert wine sounded just right.

The 2004 Sweet Dream took Double Gold at the International Eastern in May this year, and a Bronze medal earlier in April at the Golden Nose. In August the 2005 Sweet Dream took a Silver medal at the 2006 New York Wine & Food Classic.

Dominique picked a bottle from the fridge and opened it up. We like our dessert wines cold. And she brought two glasses up to bed, while we discussed the day and happily sipped the golden ambrosia. Not too sweet. Very tastey. And a great nite cap.

Sweet dreams.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Winter White - Haight Vineyard Covertside

So I came home this evening and my wife, Dominique, had made a winter brothy stew, made of collard greens, wild rice, and grilled sausages. I looked at her quizzically. What kind of soup was that? I asked. It sounded strange, but indeed, in one of the first cool nights of fall here in New Jersey, it smelled good.

But what to drink with it? A chardonnay? A vidal blanc? a Sauvignon blanc? I searched the fridge for something interesting that might stand up to this clear broth stew. To my own surprise I went with a Haight Vineyard Covertside White.

More than two decades ago, Haight Vineyard was among the first to plant Chardonnay and Riesling near the historic Town of Litchfield, Connecticut. In 1978, the State Legislature passed a Farm Winery Act. Haight Vineyard became the first established winery. Haight now has two tasting rooms - one in Litchfield and one in Mystic.

I first discovered Haight Vineyrd when it was only Hopkins Vineyards, Haight Vineyard, and DiGrazia Vineyards in Connecticut. This was in the early eighties. It was among the first eastcoast wineries I ever visited. But it's been a while since I was last there.

To find this bottle of Covertside White was a special surprise. It's a light Seyval Blanc, that has just the slightest touch of sweetness, which comes across like a little bit of sour apple. This is not a sweet wine to the taste. Promise. Instead, it's puckerish, dryish white. We sipped it, and it tasted wonderful. Then came he moment of truth. What would this brothy concoction taste like?

I asked her, "Why not white cheddar maccaroni and cheese and sausage?"
"Because," she said, "That would be fattening."
And of course, she was right. And the soupy stew was wonderful.

And the Haight Vineyard was a delicious compliment to this steamy bowl of soup. And as if I didn't already know, it could stand up to many more wonderful winter meals. Here's one winter white worth serving.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Congratulations to the Maryland Wineries Governors Cup Winners! To Frederick Cellars!

Here's the Govenor's Cup, Gold, and Silver Medals winners for 2006 in Maryland. Congrats to all!! Big winners included Frederick Cellars, Boordy, and others. This show was especially a big show for Frederick Cellars...with the Cup and 4 Gold Medals. Congrats to the folks at Frederick Cellars.

2006 Governor’s Cup Winner
Governor Ehrlich announced the winner at the Maryland Wine Festival.
Frederick Cellars • 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon

Best of Class
Best in Class/White: St. Michaels Winery • Chardonnay 2005
Best in Class/Off-Dry: Elk Run Vineyards • Cold Friday Gewürztraminer 2005
Best in Class/Fruit: Fiore Winery • Blueberry
Best in Class/Rosé: St. Michaels Winery • White Zinfandel 2005
Best in Class/Specialty: Boordy Vineyards • Port 2005

Gold Medal Winners
Boordy Vineyards • Eisling 2005
Boordy Vineyards • Port 2005
Boordy Vineyards • Riesling 2005
Elk Run Vineyards • Cold Friday Gewürztraminer 2005
Fiore Winery • Blueberry
Fiore Winery • Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
Frederick Cellars • Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
Frederick Cellars • Eye of the Oriole
Frederick Cellars • Johannisberg Riesling 2005
Frederick Cellars • Mer de Glace
Little Ashby Vineyards • Old Dog Port 2004
Loew Vineyards • Raspberry in Grape
Solomons Island Winery • White Merlot
St. Michaels Winery • Chardonnay 2005
St. Michaels Winery • Pinot Grigio 2005
St. Michaels Winery • White Zinfandel 2005
Woodhall Wine Cellars • Angler White 2005
Woodhall Wine Cellars • Gunpowder Falls Red 2005

Silver Medal Winners
Boordy Vineyards • Chilled Apple
Boordy Vineyards • Jazzberry
Boordy Vineyards • Seyval-Vidal-Chardonnay 2005
Boordy Vineyards • Syrah 2004
Boordy Vineyards • Vidal Blanc 2005
Cascia Vineyards • Zinfandel 2005
Cove Point Winery • Blaufrankish 2005
Cove Point Winery • CabSyrah 2005
Cove Point Winery • Isabella 2005
Cove Point Winery • Symphony 2005
Cygnus Wine Cellars • Catawba Cuvée Rosé 2004
Cygnus Wine Cellars • Cygnus Red 2004
Elk Run Vineyards • Cold Friday Merlot 2004
Elk Run Vineyards • Liberty Tavern Chardonnay 2005
Elk Run Vineyards • Malbec 2004
Elk Run Vineyards • Syrah 2004
Elk Run Vineyards • Vin de Jus Glacé 2005
Fiore Winery • Vidal Blanc 2005
Loew Vineyards • Chardonnay 2005
Linganore Winecellars • Merlot 2003
Linganore Winecellars • Sweet Chessie 2005
Little Ashby Vineyards • Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Little Ashby Vineyards • Spring Wine 2005
Solomons Island Winery • Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Solomons Island Winery • Black Raspberry Merlot
St. Michaels Winery • St. Michaels White
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard • Chardonnay 2005
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard • Comus 2005
Woodhall Wine Cellars • Copernica Reserve
Cabernet Franc 2005
Woodhall Wine Cellars • Seyval 2005
Woodhall Wine Cellars • Vignoles 2005

Connecticut Wineries Hosting Fall Events This Coming Weekend!

North Haven Post ran this article on September 21, 2006, about this weekend's upcomming events at several area wineries.....

By Frederick Nevin

This Saturday marks the official return of autumn, complete with the promise that we will soon see leaves turning color and cooler temperatures.
The return of fall also is a special time of year for winemakers in Connecticut as the change of season comes in the middle of the yearly grape harvest.
To celebrate the bounty, two Connecticut wine farms will hold festivals this weekend and next.

In Litchfield county, the Haight Vineyard - the state's oldest winery - invites the public to get out and celebrate at the Litchfield Hills Harvest Festival scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Next weekend, the Stonington Vineyards, 523 Taugwonk Road, Stonington, will welcome the public to its 8th annual harvest wine and food festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Stonington festival will feature gourmet food, live music, wine tasting and a wine-cellar tour. There is no entry fee. You can learn more about the Stonington festival at
Meanwhile, the festival at the Haight Vineyard will be staging its 15th annual festival. The Vineyard has been producing wine grapes on 20-acres of land ever since commercial wineries were permitted by state law in 1978 with the passing of the Connecticut Winery Act.

The owner of the vineyard, Sherman Haight, was instrumental in passing the law, which he said, was written at the winery and presented to the state legislature. It took a few years to pass the bill, he recalled earlier in the week, because lawmakers did not believe wine farms could be successful here. Two good harvests convinced them otherwise, he recalled.

Currently, the Haight vineyard produces 45,000 bottles of wine each year.
"Eighty percent of it is white wine," Haight said. Growing grapes for red wine is coming along. But Haight said it is not yet where it should be. "We hope it will be a big success in a few years," he explained.

Climate is the biggest reason why vineyards have emerged so slowly in Connecticut. The cool, wet climate presents numerous growing problems.

As for the festival, Haight said, the event offers something for everyone and fun for all. The festival is in keeping with traditions in other more popular wine-growing countries where they are regularly held to "celebrates the grape harvest."
To give the festival that real wine flavor, the vineyard will offer a complimentary wine tasting, vineyard tours and an old-fashion grape stomping contest for kids at 1 and 4 p.m. each day. Other children activities include hayrides, pony rides, and tug-of-war contests at noon and 3 p.m. each day.

The event will also feature a number of artisans selling hand-crafted treasurers, gourmet food and other wares in an old-fashioned Yankee village setting.
Also, the wine garden pavilion will be open with a menu of hearty fare and Haight wines served by the glass. As an added bonus, state law allows the vineyards to sell bottles of wine to the public on Sundays, something retailers are not allowed to do in Connecticut.

To reach the Haight Vineyard, 29 Chestnut Hill Road, Litchfield, take Route 8 to exit 42. Follow Route 118 for approximately 3 miles and turn left onto Chestnut Hill Road.

The cost is $5 for adults and $4 for seniors. The event is free for children 12 and under.

American Heritage Entices Readers to Travel the Historic Wine Trails of Virginia!

Travel: The Historic Wine Trails of Virginia

From an article published September 1, 2006....

Nearly 400 years ago English settlers began cultivating grapevines in Virginia in hopes of shipping good wine back to King George. They had no choice. By law every male settler had to plant at least 10 vines for winemaking (and grape theft was a capital crime).

Alas, the wine sent to London wasn’t very good, and when tobacco reared its ugly but profitable head, commercial wine production became a memory. The wine aficionados George Washington and Thomas Jefferson didn’t have much success with their own vineyards in northern Virginia—so they might be surprised to learn that today Virginia is one of the top five wine producers in the nation. And despite their differences with the Crown, they might also be pleased to know that Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales order wine from Virginia.

The largest concentration of wineries is in the northern part of the state, where they have become not only places to taste and purchase fine wines but epicurean community centers where people go to take cooking classes, have gourmet dinners, pick grapes, hear concerts, and get married. Many of the wineries offer children’s activities, so that families can tour the countryside together. (It is not unusual to see a children’s play area at a winery.)

“Wine is the local pride here,” says Chris Pearmund, who worked in many wineries before establishing Pearmund Cellars (, in Broad Run. His vineyard is part of a 1740s farm that once cultivated tobacco, apples, and dairy herds. Many barrels in the winery bear metal nameplates identifying people who have paid $700 to own a barrel in return for several cases of the wine from it. “We don’t sell a product here,” Pearmund says, “we sell a memory.” Pearmund is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hillsborough Vineyards (, in Purcellville, is on a 36-acre estate that once belonged to the Fairfax family, friends and neighbors to George Washington, who danced at many parties there. Sally Fairfax, in fact, was Washington’s first love. The romantic view of the Blue Ridge foothills and endless rows of grapevines makes the winery’s terrace a popular wedding site. Bora Baki, who with his family owns the land, says that 300 to 400 people come by on weekends: “We tend the vines during the week, and on weekends we tend the customers.” Hillsborough’s tasting room is open Friday to Monday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

At Oasis Winery (, in Hume, an expansive outdoor dining pavilion overlooks Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge mountains and a beautiful lake complete with swans. The owner, Tareq Salahi, a third-generation winemaker whose Belgian grandfather began the vineyard, says, “Virginia has identical soil to Bordeaux. It’s the zinc and other nutrients that make it right.” Tourism is now such an integral part of the business that Sahali and his wife, Michaele, plan to add an inn and spa near the property. “We focus on affordable luxury for the epicurean traveler,” he says. Each August the new harvest is blessed with a celebration of hymns by a local choir and a candlelight dinner for participants. Oasis also produces the official wine for George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon. The tasting room is open daily.

Gray Ghost Winery and Vineyards (, in Amissville, is named for Confederate Gen. John Mosby, whose knack for infiltrating enemy lines without being detected prompted the Union Army to give him that nickname, although he never used it himself. The vineyard’s location at the southern end of the region once known as Mosby’s Confederacy, where many of his troops were from, gives its owners, Al and Cheryl Kellert, a chance to honor local history while also producing a product they hope will live in history. A likeness of Mosby adorns the bottles’ labels. At harvest volunteers vie for the chance to hand-pick grapes in exchange for a breakfast cookout and a Gray Ghost T-shirt. The tasting room is open Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Harvest time is busy everywhere, of course. The annual Virginia Wine Festival ( will take place in Leesburg on Saturday, September 30, and Sunday, October 1. Inns and hotels in the area also provide winery tours. In the historic town of Washington (the locals distinguish it as Little Washington), five-day guided bike tours are available from Tour d’Epicure (, operated by John and Diane MacPherson, owners of the Foster Harris House bed-and-breakfast ( In addition to a guide (and a bike, if you don’t bring your own) the tours include food and drink for the road, and winery and park fees.

Little Washington, the first of the nation’s 28 cities, towns, and villages to be named Washington, was surveyed in 1749 by a 17-year-old George Washington. Today it is a popular wine-country tourist destination, with antiques shops, art galleries, and its own celebrity chef, Patrick O’Connell, who has made the Inn at Little Washington ( the first such facility in the nation to earn a five-star, five-diamond rating.

Some miles away in Hume is a unique bed-and-breakfast that has served dignitaries from Chief Justice John Marshall to Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. The Inn at Fairfield Farm is in a Colonial manor house set in the midst of a sprawling Western-style cattle ranch. The house was built in 1814 by James Marshall, brother of Chief Justice Marshall. The Marshall brothers had owned the land since 1799, when they had purchased it for about $70,000 from the heirs of Lord Fairfax (obviously the real estate magnate of the time). The property changed hands over the years until in 1951 it was purchased by J. W. Marriott, founder of the Marriott hotel chain. He restored the stately manor house and developed the land into a cattle ranch because it so reminded him of the Western mountain country where he had grown up. An old log cabin was remade into a 1950s ranch house, ideal for families with children, who should get a kick out of the cowboy wallpaper. Trail rides and cattle drives are available, and private winery tours can be arranged (

Between the wine trails and Washington, D.C., are many historic and epicurean stops. For example, in Lansdowne, at the resort of the same name (, you can take a wine class with the sommelier Mary Watson-Delander. In Alexandria you can dine at Gadsby’s Tavern (, where George Washington liked to have breakfast, or at Restaurant Eve (, where chef Cathal Armstrong creates the most sophisticated contemporary cuisine.

Keep an eye out across this green countryside for the spirit of George Washington. He rode over these same trails all his life.

For more information, call 800-VA-VINES to get the Virginia Wineries Association’s free 91-page guide to the state’s wineries and wine-related events. Also check with the Virginia Wine and Travel Tour Office (, the Loudoun Wine Trail (, and Blue Ridge Wine Ways (

—Marian Betancourt is a freelance writer who lives in New York City.

Virginia Wine Festival Opens September 30, 2006

I will be traveling this year, so it comes with a deep sense of sadness and regret I will not be attending this wonderful event. But it is becoming more and more a must for wine folks.

Go, and Dominique and I promise you will absolutely love it. It's easilly one of the best, and largest, wine fairs on the eastcoast. And tasty o boot!

From Leesburg Today, The Journal of Loudon County (9/21/06):

The 31st annual Virginia Wine Festival, which opens Sept. 30 at Morven Park International Equestrian Center in Leesburg, has been selected as one of the Top 20 events in October by the Southeast Tourism Society.

The Virginia Wine Festival is the oldest on the East Coast, having made its debut in 1975 to showcase the first wines successfully produced in Virginia. Since its inception, the Virginia Wine Festival has become a grand Commonwealth tradition, showcasing hundreds of wines produced by the boutique farm wineries in the state. The festival is hosted by the Vinifera Wine Growers Association, which boasts that visitors can "See Virginia in a Day," through a grand tasting from 57 of the area's award-winning wines, gourmet pairing cuisine, educational seminars and cooking demonstrations every hour, a treasure trove of fine arts and crafts vendors displaying and selling their wares, and nonstop concerts and entertainment all day both days on a main stage and children's stage. Headline performers include several of the most popular groups in the music arena, such as the Grandsons, Carroon Johnny, Crooked Road, Sapphire, The Uppity Blues Women and Lisa Moscatiello. Additional information and advance tickets are now available online at or by contacting the event office at 703-823-1868.

Sierra Sun (CA) Applauds New York Wines - Dr. Frank, Swedish Hill Among Recommendations

Find old vines in New York state
By Janice Jones
Food & Wine
Sierra Sun, posted September 15, 2006

There are around 11,000 acres of wine grapes planted in New York state today. European immigrants started planting vines they brought with them from their homelands as soon as they arrived in America. Most of these vines died, but as they migrated inland and began crossing native vines with the imported vines, new ones began to take hold and the wine industry began.

By the Civil War, the wine industry in New York was established with the Finger Lakes becoming the center for New York‘s wine industry. Wines were mostly produced from these crosses of European wine grapes of the Vitis vinifera family, which most wines are made from in all wine regions of the world, and native American grapes.

By the time Prohibition hit, the wine industry was thriving and the wines produced in the Finger Lakes and Hudson Valley regions were in high demand. The ban on alcohol damaged New York’s wine industry, which did not begin to really rebuild until the mid-1970’s. At that time, with only a few wineries in existence and the reputation of producing cheap jug wines, the industry seemed doomed.

But in 1976, the Farm Winery Act was passed which reduced fees and allowed wineries to sell directly to restaurants and the public. That started a renewed interest in wine making began — from 19 wineries in 1976 to 50 by 1983 to more than 160 small-scale wineries today.

New York wines, for the most part made from European grape crossed with American native grape varieties, created a wine that had peculiar grapey flavors and aromas quite different from Californian or European wines. Therefore winemakers started planting more vinifera grapes in the 1980’s and started producing some very nice wines solely made from these grapes.

Winemakers there still grow and use many of the native and hybrid grapes they have always used, making distinctly New York flavored wines. Four major wine regions exist there, all possess cool climates and are adjacent to large bodies of water. They are the Finger Lakes region, which is the largest; the Hudson River Valley; Lake Erie; and the newest region, Long Island.

The Finger Lakes region has more than 70 wineries located within it’s boundaries. The first vinifera wines in the state were produced here in 1961. The area produces all types of wines, including some exceptional ice wines, Reislings from this area shine.

Hudson River Valley is the oldest wine region, with vineyards that date back to 1677, and is home to the oldest continuously operated winery in the U.S., The Brotherhood Winery. The Lake Erie region is a small area with only a few wineries and only 1,000 acres used in wine grape growing. The Long Island region, designated a wine growing region in the late 1970s, is the newest region and one of the fastest growing areas with more than 27 wineries located there today.
Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet franc thrive in this area. In addition to these major areas there are two smaller AVA’s — Cayuga Lake, located within the Finger Lake area, and the Hamptons, in the Long Island area. Because all wine regions in New York are located in cool-climate, with some warm micro-climate vineyards here and there, the yields are generally low.

There are some great wines from New York that you may want to try if you can find any of them. Look for Dr. Konstanin Frank, ‘04 Johannisberg reisling, ‘05 Millbrook Cab Franc or the wonderful tropical fruit and vanilla flavored ‘05 Knapp seyval blanc. For dessert wines, look for the ‘04 Swedish Hill Late Harvest Vigneles or the ‘04 Standing Stone ice wine.

Janice Jones Truckee resident and wine consultant. Reach her at

Monday, August 21, 2006

Detroit Free Press Raves About Connecticut Wine

Everything but the grapes
Connecticut fruit winery part of a growing national trend
Detroit Free Press
August 20, 2006

SHERMAN, Conn. -- White Silo Farm and Winery isn't very big or elaborate.

There are no 300-gallon fermentation bins, no oak barrels for aging, no fancy corking or bottling machinery.

In fact, there are no grapes. Not one single grape.

Instead, there are raspberry and blackberry bushes, black currant shrubs, cherry trees and rhubarb plants.

That's because the small, family-owned business is a fruit winery, tucked away along the border of Connecticut and New York. And in the past five years, it has become part of a sharp growth of specialty and traditional wineries across the nation.

The number of wineries in Connecticut has more than doubled in the past six years, from 11 to 27, according to the National Association of American Wineries. There are some 4,280 wineries in the United States, up from 3,820 in 2005.

The White Silo Farm and Winery jumped on board around 2001. It is one of an estimated 50 to 100 specializing in fruit wine around the country.

The old red barn it's housed in overlooks nearly 90 acres of lush meadow. Visitors can watch cows and horses grazing in the pastures.

Inside the barn, an art gallery displays works from local artists. Small tables face the doors for a calming view of the orchards.

The winery produces sour cherry, rhubarb and raspberry wine. Black currant and blackberry wine are also available.

The house specialty in the summer is a blackberry sangria made with dry rhubarb wine, sweet blackberry wine and orange juice.

In the winter, visitors are encouraged to go for a black currant wine, a dark, full-bodied wine that Ralph Gorman, the winery's owner, says goes well with spaghetti and meatballs.

Nestled in Litchfield Hills, the specialty winery is part of the Connecticut Wine Trail, 16 wineries promoted together to lure tourists. Gorman says business has steadily grown since his business joined three years ago.

Though Connecticut isn't Napa Valley or Bordeaux, the specialty winery offers a unique, appealing getaway.

read the rest at:

Pennsylvania Wines Getting Good Press Too!

French-American Hybrid Grapes Make Tasty Wine
August 20, 2006
Centre Daily Times (Pennsylvania)
Jo and Tom Chesworth are AWS Certified Wine Judges and can be found in the

In the latter part of the 19th century, after the American Civil War, a group of grapevine diseases from North America arrived in Europe. They probably hitchhiked on North American vines taken there for cross-breeding experiments and for specimens in botanical gardens. In any case, they escaped and began growing wild in Europe. Among them were a variety of fungal and viral diseases, including powdery mildew and downy mildew which are controlled by chemical fungicides, notably Bordeaux Mix. But the worst of these plagues was the phylloxera epidemic of the 1870s in French vineyards.

Phylloxera is a plant louse that sucks a bit of the sap from the grapevine, primarily from the roots. North American grape species roots heal after the insect feeds, but European vinifera roots are soft and fleshy and do not heal. They subsequently become infected, and these infections kill the plant. The French wine industry was destroyed in the 1870s and a frantic search began to find a way to save the vineyards.

One of the methods tried was to cross the European VITIS vinifera with various North American species of grape including VITIS aestivalis, rupestris, riparia and berlandieri. The best of the resultant plants were winter hardy, disease resistant and made tasty wine. That was the problem. Although the wine was tasty -- meaning tasted good -- it didn't taste like vinifera wines and different is bad. Right? In 1934 the French government outlawed several hybrids: Isabella, Noah, Othello, Jacquez and Herbemont. We get the impression that if the market does not discourage a type of wine because of its taste, outlawing it is not in the consumer's interest and is inspired by some sinister political motive. In France, several others of these hardy hybrids are still grown, although the EU discourages the practice.

In the Northeastern U.S., the government also almost stamped out these vines and their wines -- prohibition did in this country what the phylloxera did in Europe. It killed most of the grapevines. Because VITIS vinifera is not cold-hardy nor disease-resistant, it has a hard row to hoe in eastern North America, but the French hybrids do very well. A resurgence in the wine industry in eastern North America at the very end of the 20th century is partly based on the white hybrid wines, Vidal and Seyval Blanc, and the red hybrids, Chambourcin and Baco Noir to name a few.

These wines are available mostly from small vintners in Canada, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio. Try a Mazza Vineyards Vidal Blanc at $8 a bottle. Or in case you feel that Vidal produces an inexpensive and therefore inferior wine, buy an Inniskillen Icewine Vidal at $54 for half a bottle. Seyval Blanc is grown widely in England where it is the second most planted grape after Muller-Thurgau (a German hybrid). Because it is winter-hardy, it does well there, and is made into outstanding wines. Or you can get Lone Oak Vineyard Estate Seyval Blanc (from Michigan) at $9. From Bully Hill winery in New York, you can get Lighthouse White, a blend of Vidal and Seyval at $10, or from Allegro in Pennsylvania you can get Susquehanna White, also a Vidal/Seyval blend, at $10 a bottle.

There are red French hybrid wines available, too. Try a Bully Hill (the old Taylor winery in New York still in business even though the name was sold) Bulldog Baco Noir or a Bully Hill Chambourcin, each at $10. Or try some Pennsylvania Chambourcins: Mazza makes one costing $10 a bottle and Clover Hill produces one that costs $15 a bottle. You can even get a White Chambourcin, white wine made from a red grape, from Lone Oak Vineyard Estate in Michigan for $10.

Many of the French-American hybrids are still grown in various countries around the world, including France and other countries in Europe. They have a distinct advantage over vinifera in that they are cold-hardy and much more resistant to diseases. If you try some of the wines mentioned here, you will find that they taste no more different from vinifera grape wines than various vinifera grape wines taste different from each other.

Jo and Tom Chesworth are AWS Certified Wine Judges and can be found in the

Great Story About Small Winery in Maryland

Wicomico winery wins favor
By Deborah Gates
Staff Writer
The Daily Times - Salisbury, Md.
August 6, 2006

ALLEN -- Tom Shelton walked his vineyards Friday as he customarily does this time of year, checking roots and drip-system sprinklers and red, but mostly green, grapes dangling from rows and rows of vines. He's been corking bottles of wine from grapes grown in his Wicomico County vineyards since 1999, and doling them out to family and friends the only way the law would allow: Free of charge.

But 2006 should be the best year yet for his Bordeleau Winery on Noble Farm Road.

Grapes pulled from Shelton's vines in September and October -- and suitable for a light and medium-bodied sauvignon blanc, a fruity chardonnay, an early maturing cabernet franc or a merlot -- are close to finding their way into bottles for retail sale.

Last week, the Wicomico County Board of Appeals approved Shelton's request for a special exception to market bottled wine from vineyard grapes at his farm's Bordeleau Winery. The measure marked a milestone in Wicomico agribusiness history, paving the way for the first county grape grower to sell self-bottled wine retail at his farm and host public wine-tasting events, said Clark P. Meadows, county zoning administrator.

"His winery is the first in the county that I know of and this is the first form of that use," Meadows said.

The measure, which Meadows anticipates Appeals Board Chairman J. Phillips Wright, Jr., to sign, would become final after a 30-window for citizen comment. "We had no opposition at the (public) hearing and we don't expect any," he said. "A couple of people who called from the community were supportive."

Permissions still must come from federal and state agencies, and Shelton also intends to apply for a license that would allow him to distribute his wine products to licensed retailers.

The proposal mirrors the vision of the Wicomico County Comprehensive Plan that, during a 2002 revision, was expanded to include an agribusiness special exception provision for property zoned for Agriculture 1 usage, Meadows said.

"This is consistent with the goals and direction of the comprehensive plan for diverse businesses, potential exporters of goods and the provider of income," he said. "It creates diversity in agricultural usage in the county."

According to 2003 data from the Peninsula Wine Institute, an agriculture cooperative for the region's grape growers and enthusiasts, a one-acre vineyard on average could produce three tons of grapes, or between $1,200 a ton or $3,600 an acre.

Family farms on the Lower Shore are on a rapid decline, with a loss rate of more than 30 percent between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, according to the Department of Agriculture. And Kevin Atticks, executive director at the Maryland Wineries Association, said Shelton could anchor Maryland's wine industry as an alternative agribusiness in the region.

"It would help foster a wine tourism industry, and begin the process of converting more land into vineyards," Atticks said Friday, and counted 23 licensed wineries in the state. Shelton, one of about 40 grape growers in the region, would be among four statewide expected to be licensed this year, he added.

The Bordeleau facility would be family-operated, offering wine by the bottle from a retail shop in the 6,400 square-foot winery on a 4.5-acre spread southwest of Allen and close to the Somerset County line. The business also would house a tasting room, and Shelton envisions special tasting events against the rural backdrop of mostly farmland off the Wicomico Creek that includes two vineyards and open space.

The business would be a trendy alternative for out-of-town shoppers, said Sandy Fulton, director of the Wicomico tourism division that annually hosts the county Autumn Wine Festival.

"To have our own winery is like putting us on top of the mountain," Fulton said Friday. "We are not a destination for travelers, and with conventions, we could arrange to tour the winery. It is an absolute dream come true."

For now, Shelton tends his grapes -- 726 vines per acre and spread over 10-foot rows.

"It's a lot of work," he said. "I started planting in 1999, and I'm pretty excited. I wasn't sure that I'd like to do it; I was feeling my way through."

Wines bottled before all permits and licenses are granted would not qualify for retail sale, and since the aging process typically requires between six months and a year, and it could be summer again before consumers sip the season's harvest, Shelton said.

He is hopeful, though, that a Bordeleau sauvignon blanc that requires less aging will be ready, although a bit "green," for the October wine festival.

And so is Fulton.

"We have 14 wineries registered at the festival this year, and all are from out of town," she said. "(Shelton) would be No. 15 and the first one from our county. To have a local grower attending, I'm ecstatic."

About the 4th Annual Wicomico County Autumn Wine Festival

Where: Pemberton Historical Park, off Nanticoke Road outside Salisbury

When: Oct. 21 and 22

Information: To participate, visit

Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia Herald Mail Annonces Maryland Grape Growing Grants

Tuesday August 8, 2006
Grants available for wine, grape growing

ANNAPOLIS - The Governor's Advisory Commission on Maryland Wine and Grape Growing is seeking grant proposals through the Maryland Wine and Grape Promotion Fund.

In all, $147,000 is available this year to organizations to promote the production of wine-grapes and consumption of Maryland wine throughout the state.

The funds may only be used for marketing, research, advertising, retail/festival promotions, activities that promote the growing of wine grapes, and educational seminars.

To apply or to get more information, go to Maryland Department of Agriculture's Web site at

Vino Virginia! Orlando Sentinel Raves About Virginia Wines

Vino Virginia!
Visitors blend a taste for history and grapes on the trail of the state's wineries.
Roger Moore | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted August 20, 2006

That original, celebrated "Virginia Is for Lovers" tourism campaign never mentioned grapes.

Ocean lovers, mountain lovers, history lovers, yes.

But make room for wine lovers. The Old Dominion -- first among the 13 original American colonies; mother of presidents and home to Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe -- is now among the top wine-producing states, with more than 100 wineries.

They range from the quaint and cute Tomahawk Mill Winery -- a decommissioned water-powered grist mill south of Chatham slowly being converted into a tasting room and shops -- to the tourist-centered Chateau Morrisette on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

They're opening throughout the state, but most are concentrated in the Blue Ridge Mountains -- where the television show The Waltons was set -- creating a gorgeous drive between tastings.

And lest you fear the Sideways derision of your favorite wine snob, remember that many Virginia vintages have earned praise from the snob's snobs at Wine Spectator. That includes a "solidly built" merlot from Jefferson Vineyards that received a rating of 87 (out of 100), or any number of highly rated cabernets from Barboursville Vineyards, one earning an 88.

Merlot and Monticello

Because the wineries are near many of the state's famous historic sites, an oenophile can easily squeeze in a few tastings between trips to shrines to the fathers of our country. Thomas Jefferson -- statesman, writer, inventor and wine lover -- is a magnet for the best of both worlds. Near the university he designed and the famous home he built are the 17 wineries of the Monticello Wine Trail.

Twisting, narrow mountain roads lead past hobby farms and getaways for the wealthy and D.C.-connected, small estates with names such as Skunk Ridge Farm and Fiddletop. At the end of many of these paved goat trails, vineyards climb the slopes of this peak or that as the rest of the Blue Ridge Mountains frame them in "Take that, Napa Valley" splendor.

"Good wine is a necessity of life," Jefferson once wrote. The third president, one-time ambassador to France, loved his wine, and took a shot or two at transplanting French vines to his estates. He never succeeded, but later generations learned to graft the vines onto the root systems of hardy native Virginia grapes.

Jefferson Vineyards is next to Monticello and just a wine-cork's toss from lesser-known Ash Lawn, home of the less celebrated but almost-as-accomplished Virginian James Monroe. Even closer is the historic Michie Tavern, a Revolutionary-era dining and drinking establishment open for tours and meals.

The Jefferson Vineyards winery, established in 1981, was originally named Simeon, for a nearby crossroads. The Jefferson name was taken up, a helpful tour guide informs us during our visit, when the owners realized that the guardians of the Jefferson-Monticello empire had never copyrighted the famous man's famous signature.

But because Jefferson once owned the land the 30 acres of vineyards are on, and tried to grow grapes there, this seems fair.

"Wine-making here in Virginia," the guide tells us, "is basically a hobby." None of the wineries we visited could be called a huge commercial enterprise, although Barboursville has impressive production numbers and ambition.

Of celebrations, scenery

Down the rack-and-pinion workout better known as Route 720 is the 63-acre First Colony Winery, which, like many of these wineries, has fermenting vats and aging barrels in a barnlike building next to its tasting room. It's a relatively new winery that already is managing solid reds. It has outdoor picnic and reception areas suitable for a favorite Virginia winery sideline -- hosting weddings.

The best place for a wedding might be the cavernous two-level tasting room-bar of the swank Veritas Vineyard & Winery, which has picnic areas and a wrap-around porch. This 25-acre operation west of Charlottesville is one of several wineries worth stopping by after taking in the marvels of Mr. Jefferson's university, the University of Virginia.

The views are wonderful, and songbirds fill the property's oaks and hickories as we sip a few winning reds. This would be the place to hit near lunchtime.

Save Jefferson, First Colony and others to the east for the afternoon, and start with a run of power-tastings at a group of wineries clustered in a small area -- seven within a few minutes' drive of one another. Wintergreen is adjacent to the Virginia resort of the same name. Afton Mountain Vineyards sits close to a mountaintop and is open early -- at 10 a.m. -- with Mountain Cove and DelFosse Vineyards just down the next country road.

Oakencroft, White Hall, Stone Mountain, Horton Cellars, Keswick Vineyards and Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery all are tucked into Jefferson's old grape-stomping grounds.

Army vet's vineyard

Although almost every winery offers a tour, the one we found most rewarding came at the least pretentious winery of all, Cardinal Point, in Afton.

It was started by Paul Gorman, an Army vet who served in Bad Kreuznach in Germany's Rhine wine country. It's no shock that this unassuming vineyard does a decent Riesling.

For most of its 20 years, Cardinal Point produced grapes for neighboring wineries. But now it bottles its own. A 15-minute video that you watch on a balcony overlooking stacks of oak barrels takes you through the winemaker's year, season by season -- from the care and pruning of vines to the day the tractor-trailer with rented bottling gear shows up.

Overall, there's a charming lack of pretension to these wineries. The servers are informed, even if many seemed to be scion of the owners, home from college for the summer.

An abandoned billboard for a long-gone Walton's Mountain side attraction points to Schuyler, where TV and film writer Earl Hamner grew up and drew his Waltons inspiration. The Waltons are gone and almost forgotten, and perhaps Virginia's wine mania will fade as well. Still, this is a great excuse to see one of the prettiest regions in America. And remember, John-Boy never would have turned up his nose at a Virginia merlot.,0,7100024.story?coll=orl-travel-headlines-print

2006 Wine and Food Classic winners: Herman J. Weimer wins best white wine and Governor's Cup: Dr. Konstantin Frank wins Best Winery of 2006!

The New York Wine and Food Classic was held between August 15-16. Lots of winners to report and congratulate!

The biggest winner of the show was Herman J. Wiemer. Their reisling won best white wine and the Governor's Cup, meaning it was named best wine in the show.

"Since 2000, Finger Lakes Rieslings have won the contest every year except 2005 (when the winner was a Vidal Blanc dessert wine). These successes have strengthened the view that the region has become one of the world's great Riesling terroirs," wrte Howard G. Goldberg for Decanter magazine.

The next highest honor went to Dr. Konstantin Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars, from Keuka Lake. They were declared Winery of the Year! on the basis of total number of medals accumulated in the contest.

Finger Lakes winners included the following:

Sparkling wine: Chateau Frank's 2000 Blanc de Noirs

Semi-sweet Riesling: Chateau LaFayette Reneau's 2005

Gewürztraminer: Dr. Konstantin Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars' 2005, which tied with Corey Creek Vineyards' 2005 from Long Island

Cabernet Sauvignon: Chateau LaFayette Reneau's 2002

Pinot Noir: Chateau LaFayette Reneau's 2002

Other winners include (from Long Island):

Cabernet Franc: Jamesport Vineyards' 2004, voted best overall red

Chardonnay: Corey Creek's 2005 reserve

Merlot: Peconic Bay Winery's 2001

Late-harvest Chardonnay: Wölffer Estate's 2005, best dessert wine.

From the Lake Erie region:

Semi-dry Riesling: Mazza Chautauqua Cellars' 2005