Friday, November 30, 2007

Richard Leahy - One Voice for the Eastcoast Wineries

First, let me say, that I do not know Richard Leahy. He is not an old pal, nor a another wine insider I am secretly corresponding with. There is no back to scratch here.

Richard Leahy is the East Coast Editor and Director of Eastern Programs for Vineyard & Winery Management magazine, a leading wine industry trade journal for North America. He coordinates the seminar program for Wineries Unlimited, the largest trade show for the wine industry in the East, and also coordinates the International Eastern Wine Competition, one of the oldest and largest in the country.

Mr. Leahy was also the Executive Director for the Virginia Wine Experience in London, which brought the top Virginia wines to serve for leading British wine media and trade in May 2007, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Jamestown settlement.

Mr. Leahy is currently enrolled in the Second Year program for the Institute of Masters of Wine. Other writing credentials include being a regional editor for Kevin Zraly's American Wine Guide, 2nd edition (2007); being Mid-Atlantic and Southern Editor for the Oxford Companion to the Wines of North America, (2000) and short pieces on wineries of eastern North America in Decanter.

Mr. Leahy has been a judge in the International Eastern Wine Competition, the Grand Harvest Awards, and regional competitions in the Mid-Atlantic, and was invited to participate in the Master Napa Valley program in September 2004, designed for the industry's most promising wine professionals. A graduate of William and Mary, Mr. Leahy also holds a Master's degree from the University of Virginia and lives in Charlottesville, VA.

All this said, it is important to note that Richard Leahy has been and is one of the single greatest promoters of East Coast wines in North America (along with Howard G. Goldberg), and is the leading voice for the wine movement on the East Coast. As the East Coast has now become a sizeable and recognizeable wine region, in and of itself, there is no singular voice that unites all the different states, New York, Virginia, Pennsylavania, Maryland, etc. like Mr. Leahy.

While it is good that the wineries are involved in their wine trails, and their regions (the Valleys and AVAs, etc.) and their state pride, eventually, for these wineries, and for the East Coast to gain the reputations they need to get to the next level, it will take someone who can speak with one voice for the region. That voice right now belongs to Mr. Leahy. He has the bully pulpit of his magazine column, and his position within the industry. As someone who believes in the East Coast as a region, as big and diverse as California, I think it is important to note that Mr. Leahy has that vision as no one else. And no one is articulating it as he is. And we should all be greatful he does.

And he is someone to be watched. The East Coast is something to be watched.

Vineyard and Winery Management Highlight Vineland Estate Winery

Vineyard and Winery Management magazine placed Vineland Estate Winery on the cover of the Novemeber/December issue. Always one of my favorite Canadian wineries, I thought it would be a great idea to feature a winery from up north way...especially with the winter wonderland of Decemeber, January and February approaching.

Situated on the slopes of the Niagara Escarpment with Lake Ontario in the distance, Vineland Estates Winery has been consistently among the best of Niagara's premium wineries.

In 1979 fifty acres of the 75 acre Estate were planted with German Riesling vines. Established on a homestead dating back to 1845, the Estate, while utilizing many of the original historic buildings has evolved into a world class winery and restaurant.

Vineland Estates Winery can lay claim to having one of the best locations for growing grapes. The slopes of our new vineyards are perfect for our recent plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc vines, imported directly from French nurseries.

Brian Schmidt is the resident winemaker. He was raised on his family's vineyard in British Columbia. The Schmidt family was one of the founding families in the Okanagan Wine Industry and this was the foundation of Brian's interest in winemaking.

Brian traveled extensively throughout Europe, studying winemaking and the winemaking process. In 1991, Brian traveled to Ontario to train with his brother Allan, who was the original Winemaker at Vineland Estates. Brian took over as Winemaker of Vineland Estates Winery in 1994 and has consistently produced Award Winning Wines that have garnered national and international attention.

This is a beautiful winery, with gorgeous buildings and marvelous vineyards. And they make lovely wines! If you're going anywhere near the region for the holidays, as many do, why not stop there? You won't be sorry you did.

Lewiston Christmas Walk Features Niagra Wines

Published: November 29, 2007 07:32 pm
LEWISTON: Christmas Walk keeps village lively
Lewiston officials look to replicate event’s success throughout holiday season
By Dan Miner/
Niagara Gazette

VILLAGE OF LEWISTON — Popular for its events in the summer and fall, officials in Lewiston are hoping this weekend’s 40th annual Lewiston Christmas Walk makes the village an attraction for all seasons....

A 7-foot ice bar will be located in front of the Village Vineyard Wine Boutique on Center Street, according to a release from the chamber. It will feature complimentary wine tasting from the wineries along the Niagara Wine Trail.

As it expands, the wine trail has been featured more prominently in village events recently.

“Not just locally but nationwide people are really interested in agro-tourism and wineries,” Hays-Mies said.

Oscar Vizcarra, president of the wine trail and also owner of Becker Farms and Vizcarra Vineyard in Gasport, said the village is ripe for increasing the wine trail’s visibility.

“We want to make sure we support these kinds of events, because the exposure creates new markets for us,” Vizcarra said. “We certainly can’t lose in promoting ourselves.”

The Christmas Walk also coincides with the wine trail’s Holiday Happening event, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. People can stop at each winery on the trail and collect a commemorative wine glass and ornament at each winery.

for the full story go to:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Holiday Wine Fun in Pennsylvania

November 23 - 25 Stone Villa Wine Cellars, Inc. Holiday Open House
Come out and celebrate our Holiday Open House! There will be Wine Tastings, New Releases and Special Discounts on Wines and Gourmet Gift Baskets.
Personalized Wine Label Service is Available!
Time: Friday and Saturday 11a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sunday Noon - 5 p.m.
For more information contact the winery at 724-423-5604

November 24 Christian W. Klay Winery Grand Opening of Holiday Greenery Sale & Event
Grand Opening of Holiday Greenery Sale & Event
Time: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Select from an array of wreaths, swags and trees while enjoying a bon fire, hot mulled wine, and hayrides for the kids. Complimentary admission.
Visit for the most up-to-date listing of our special events.

November 25 Crossing Vineyards & Winery Wine Tasting in Riedel Crystal
Join us for a Wine Tasting in Riedel Crystal. Includes: 90 minute tasting workshop; a tasting of 4 premium Crossing Vineyards' wines; a tasting kit with 4 Riedel Vinum series glasses (Retail value $125); 20% off any Riedel purchase.
Cost: $99
Time: 2PM
Call for reservations at 215-493-6500, ext 19 or buy on-line:

December 1 Christian W. Klay Winery Annual Christmas Open House
Annual Christmas Open House
Time:11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Popular carols, holiday food favorites, wine tasting and activities for kids of all ages make this afternoon an old-fashioned Christmas homecoming. Be sure to bring your Christmas list and select from an array of holiday gift ideas, including beautiful wine and gourmet food baskets, giftware, and custom labels. Complimentary admission.
Visit for the most up-to-date listing of our special events.

December 1 & 2 Chaddsford Winery Holiday Open House
Come see the winery in its holiday finery, laden with great wine gifts for everyone. Make shopping fun with tasting, hot mulled wines, holiday sweets and live carolers.
Time: 10am - 6pm
For more details contact the winery at 610-388-6221 or

December 1 & 2 Wilhelm Winery Winter Holiday Celebration
Mark your calendar to relax and enjoy the holiday season with us. Bring your friends to sample our vast array of wines, enjoy hors d'ouuvres, our spiced hot mulled wine and share in our warm holiday cheer.
Time: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Cost: Free
For more information contact the winery are 724-253-3700, or email to

December 1 & 2 Galen Glen Vineyard & Winery Dickens Holiday Open House
Come on out! We are decorated and dressed for the season, we're ready to help you select the perfect wine for dining or gift giving. Sample some of our famous homemade fruitcake and mulled wine too! Free!
December 1
Time: 10am - 5 pm
December 2
Time: 12 - 5pm

December 1 & 2 Stone Mountain Wine Cellars Christmas Open House
Stone Mountain Wine Cellars
1615 Panther Valley Rd.
Pine Grove, PA 17963
Time: 11am - 5 pm
Raising of Christmas Wreath Saturday Dec. 1 at 4:30 pm
Wine Specials, New Wine Releases and Cheese Samplings
For further inform,ation call Linda 570-739-4418 or on-line at

December 1 & 2 Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery Holiday Open House
Mark your calendars to celebrate the holidays with Clover HIll Vineyards & Winery! Visit either the Winery in Breinigsvielle or the Vineyard in Robesonia to start your holiday shopping! Each location will have special wine tasting, wine and food pairing, and great holiday gift giving ideas. Craig Thatcher will be playing at the Winery in Breinigsville from 1-5pm both days. Reservations are not required. Happy Holidays!
December 6 Crossing Vineyards & Winery Candlelight Holiday Concert
Take a break from the hustle and bustle with a romantic, candlelit evening of Christmas music.
Guaranteed to put even Scrooge in the holiday spirit. A great gift idea!
Cost: $45
Time: 7:30pm
For more information or reservations, contact us at or call 215-493-6500, ext. 19

December 8 & 9 Crossing Vineyards & Winery Holiday Festival
Stock your wine cellar. Shop for one-of-a-kind gifts.
Time: Noon - 6 pm
For more information contact us at or call 215-493-6500, ext. 19

December 8 & 9 Chaddsford Winery Holiday Open House
Come see the winery in its holiday finery, laden with great wine gifts for everyone. Make shopping fun with tasting, hot mulled wines, holiday sweets and live carolers.
Time: 10am - 6pm
For more details contact the winery at 610-388-6221 or

December 9 Crossing Vineyard & Winery Wine Tasting for Dummies
Come out and learn about wine and have fun!!
Cost: $25 per person. Includes instruction, wine tasting, cheese and fruit.
Time: 2PM
Call for reservations at 215-493-6500, ext. 19 or buy on-line:

December 13 Crossing Vineyards & Winery A Charlie Brown Christmas & Other Favorites
Join us for a fun evening of Christmas favorites and original holiday music featuring The Eric Mintel Jazz Quartet. Includes hot mulled wine anc Christmas cookies.
Cost: 35 Per person
Time: 7:30 PM
For mor information or reservations, contact us at or call 215-493-6500, ext. 19

December 16 Crossing Vineyards & Winery A Wine Tasting in Riedel Crystal
Join us for a Wine Tasting in Riedel Crystal. Includes: 90 minute tasting workshop; a tasting of 4 premium Crossing Vineyards' wines; a tasting kit with 4 Riedel Vinum series glasses (Retail value $125); 20% off any Riedel purchase.
Cost: $99
Time: 2PM
Call for reservations at 215-493-6500, ext 19 or buy on-line:

Happy Holidays for Virginia Wine Lovers

Lots of fun doings in Virginia from now until New Years. See below for some fun destinations and events!

Nov. 17-25
Hickory Hill Vineyards & Winery’s Holiday Open House
Join us for a Country Christmas in our decorated farmhouse, where you can sip our hot
mulled wine, taste seasonal snacks and purchase gifts for the wine lovers on your holiday gift list. Free. 11am-5pm., 540-296-1393

Nov. 23-25
Holiday Open House at Barboursville Vineyards
Celebrate the holidays with us. Special sampling from PalladioRestaurant will be
available. Make your own gift baskets with our wines. No reservations required. Noon-
4pm., 540-832-3824

Nov. 23-25
Thanksgiving Open House at Burnley Vineyards
Tasting new releases including Cabernet Sauvignon and Hot Mulled Wine (Spicy
Rivanna). Items to nibble will be available. Free admission. 11am-5pm., 540-832-2828

Nov. 23-25
Wintergreen Winery’s Holiday Open House
Get in the spirit with hot mulled wine, unique gift shopping, warm hospitality & a festive setting! Enjoy complimentary tasting of our award-winning wines and delicious holiday refreshments. Located in beautiful Nelson County on the Sunrise Side of the Blue Ridge
Mountains. 10am-5pm., 434-361-2519

Nov. 23-24
Horton Vineyards Thanksgiving Open House
Join us for hot soup and Horton Norton Chili. Browse for gifts for the wine lover. Take a stroll through the vineyard and walk off some of that Thanksgiving feast. Stock up on wine for the Holiday season with special discounts on our award winning wines. $5/person includes glass., 540-832-7440

Nov. 24-25, Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16
Christmas Time’s A’Coming Open House at Peaks of Otter Winery
Come join us by the fire and taste warm Cinfulious (apple cinnamon) wine and cider in the wine tasting room. Gift packs of the many beautiful bottles of wine and canned products will make wonderful Christmas gifts. Noon-5pm., 540-586-3707


Dec.1-24, 26-30
“Winter in Wine Country!”
Capture the beauty and magic of wine country during the winter months. Offering Special wine tastings and champagne tastings at select wineries this month!, 540-622-2505

Dec. 1
Green Springs Holiday Open House
Wine, Gifts and Cookies! Save the date for our second annual holiday open house.
Purchase Green Springs Wine for all your holiday gifts. Check out the holiday specials,gifts and local crafts. Enjoy a glass of wine and handmade cookies by the fire while you take care of all your holiday shopping! Light fare available, no RSVP necessary. 10am- 6pm., 540-967-WINE

Dec. 1-2
Holiday/Christmas Open House at Burnley Vineyards
Tasting new releases including Riesling and Hot Mulled Wine (Spicy Rivanna). Items to
nibble will be available. Free admission. 11am-5pm., 540-832-2828

Dec. 1-2
Gray Ghost Holiday Open House
See the world’s largest cork Christmas display containing over 50,000 corks and complete with a ten-foot Christmas tree. Enjoy spectacular holiday foods and wine! Collect the 13th in a series of unique holiday glasses. This event is a Gray Ghost favorite! $15 per person includes food, wine and collectable holiday glass. 11am-5pm., 540-937-4869

Olio and Vino Novelli at Villa Appalaccia Winery
This is a rare treat. We will bring back olive oil pressed within the prior 10 days in Tuscany and present it along with our 2007 fresh Chianti! What a combination: almost like being there! Enjoy the new wine, oil and oven-baked flat breads. We will have holiday wine specials available. Fee for event. Noon-4pm, 540-593-3100

Dec. 1-2
Heart of Virginia Wine Trail Jingle Bell Wine Trail
Tour Central Virginia’s premier wineries-Cooper, Grayhaven, Green Springs, James River and Lake Anna. Receive souvenir glass, special gift for completion of trail, tastings and light holiday fare. $10/person. 11am-5pm, 804-550-7516

Dec. 1-2
Hearth Warming Open House at Naked Mountain Winery
Hot and cold hors d'oeuvres are served in front of an open fire. Come browse our holiday gift selections and watch the train encircle our Christmas tree. Admission is free. 11am-5pm., 540-364-1609

Dec. 1-2
A Shenandoah Wine Country Event Deck The Halls Weekends
Shenandoah Valley Wine Growers Association Venues. Pick up your unique holiday
ornament at each of the SWX Venues. Each participating venue will feature a unique
design or theme. $15 per wreath. Go to your assigned starting winery and begin a
weekend of fun and festivities. Limousine transportation available. Participating
Shenandoah Valley Wine Growers Association Venues and to sign-up visit our website.
1-5pm., 888-367-3965

Dec. 1, 8
Wreath Making Workshop at Barboursville Vineyards
Enjoy festivities of the season by creating your own boxwood wreath! Bring your hand
pruners! $40 per person. Reservations required, 540-832-3824. Noon-3pm., 540-832-3824

Dec. 1-2, 8-9
Winter Open House at Afton Mountain Vineyards & Winery
Barrel Tasting of the new vintage with complementary minestrone soup. Taste our entire selection of wine for the holiday gifts including our sparkling wine. Light picnic fare available. 10am-5pm., 540-456-8667

Dec. 1-2, 8-9
Breaux Vineyards Holiday Open House
Join Breaux Vineyards for a Holiday open house complete with light fare, mulled wine and discounts on holiday gifts and our award-winning wines! Gift certificates, wooden wine boxes and library wines available. Unique items for the wine lover on your list are in ample supply. Free. 11am-5pm., 800-492-9961

Dec. 1-2, 8-9
Holiday Open House at Ingleside Vineyards
In December we celebrate the holiday season with refreshments, tours, tastings (including mulled wine), and special holiday wine and gift specials. Our gift shop has been called the best at a Virginia winery. Sat, 10am-5pm. Sun, noon-5pm., 804-224-8687

Dec. 1-23
Yuletide at The Winery at La Grange
Share holiday cheer by decorating our christmas trees with your historic themed ornament and receive a free tasting of our award-winning wines. (one free tasting per ornament please) Member of The Blue Ridge WineWay. 11am-6pm., 703-753-9360

Dec. 6-9, 13-16, 20-23, 27-30
Holiday Wine Specials at Old House Vineyards
Holiday shopping made easy at Old House Vineyards. Stop in for 10% discounts on all
wine bottle purchases. Enjoy a wine tasting and a warm hearth to kick your legs up on.
Thursdays-Sundays in December, 1-5pm., 540-423-1032

Dec. 8
Holiday Open House at Woodland Vineyard
Celebrate the holiday season at Woodland Vineyard. Join us for wine tasting, light hors d’oeuvres, our signature mulled wine and holiday cheer! We also have hot cider and cookies for the kids. Noon-5pm., 804-739-2774

Dec. 8-15
Happy Holidays from Mediterranean Cellars Winery
Happy holidays from Mediterranean Cellars Winery! Join us for some holiday cheer and
unique gift shopping. 11am-6pm., 540-428-1984

Dec. 8-9
Holiday Open House at Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery
Come in out of the cold and enjoy fruit wines and meads. Food pairings, hot soup, hot
mulled wine. We’ll show you how our wines pair with foods. Lots of Holiday spirit. Find a unique gift for someone special from our gift shop or wine selection. Included logo glass.
Saturday 11am-5pm, Sunday open 1-5pm., 434-361-1266

Dec. 8-9
Oakencroft Holiday Open House
The holiday season is approaching and Oakencroft wines make a great holiday gift. We
offer the opportunity to avoid the crowds and sample some of Virginia’s best wines while doing your shopping. Snacks will be available and we will offer special holiday discounts. Oakencroft is the closest winery to Charlottesville and The University of Virginia. 11am-5pm., 434-296-4188

Dec. 8-9
Pearmund Cellars Holiday Celebration Weekend
Come share the joy of the season with Pearmund Cellars. Offering superior awardwinning wines and savory hors d'oeuvres while shopping for that special wine lover gift. You can’t go wrong with a gift in hand of Pearmund Cellars wine. Let our knowledgeable friendly staff assist you. 11am-5pm., 540-347-3475

Dec. 14-16
James River Cellars’ Holiday Open House
‘Tis the season for celebrating with friends, family and of course our seasonal wines. Who is naughty and who is nice? Find those perfect last minute gifts, taste our award-winning wines, and visit with special craft vendors to pick up some unique Holiday gifts. Stock up on wine, gifts and especially, holiday cheer! 11am-5pm., 804-550-7516

Dec. 15
North Mountain Vineyard Winter Solstice Celebration
Help us celebrate and bring light into the longest nights of the year by lighting the great bonfire on a late winter’s afternoon. Warm yourself around the stone fire pit while sampling our authentic German Gluehwein with traditional German cookies. Gourmet light fare specials and homemade soup available. Snow, rain, or shine. Hopefully snow. A wonderful pre-Christmas festivity., 540-436-9463

Dec. 15-16
“Wassail Weekend” at Smokehouse
Warmed, spiced mead to nurture the soul. Come in from the cold and enjoy mead and
good cheer. We will feature some special musical acts this winter at the Meadery (TBA
soon). Come in and groove as well as hunting down some unique gifts. $10/person. for more info., 540–987–3104

Dec. 15-16
Holiday Open House at Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery
Come in out of the cold and enjoy fruit wines and meads. Food pairings, hot soup, hot
mulled wine. We’ll show you how our wines pair with foods. Lots of Holiday spirit. Find a unique gift for someone special from our gift shop or wine selection. Included logo glass.
Saturday 11am-5pm, Sunday open 1-5pm., 434-361-1266

Dec. 15-16
Christmas at the Cellars at Rappahanock Cellars
Spoil yourself this holiday season. Sample award-winning wines; tour, listen to live music and shop for those on your gift list. Christmas gift baskets available. Tasting Fees: $4.50/includes souvenir glass. Food: Light fare, i.e. cheese & crackers. 11:30am-5pm., 540-635-9398

Dec. 15-16
8th Annual Christmas in the Cave at Valhalla Vineyards
Our wine cave, 60 ft. under the vineyard, is decorated for the holidays. Bring your out of town guests for this neat event. Special wines from our ‘wine library’ will also be available this weekend only, so if you have been looking for that wine you loved but cannot get any more, try this weekend., 540 725 9463

Dec. 28-31
Winter Open House at James River Cellars
Come in out of the cold and warm up during our winter open house. Did you run out
before the New Year? Then stop by at James River Cellars as you sample our awardwinning wines and restock before the new year. Perfect indoor ambience sets the scene for a warm and cozy Winter Season Wine Tasting. 11am-5pm., 804-550-7516

Dec. 31
New Years Eve Dinner at Barboursville Vineyards
Join us at the Palladio Restaurant at Barboursville Vineyards. Celebrate the New Year
with us at Palladio Restaurant. Enjoy a five-course dinner prepared by Chef Melissa Close and expertly paired with six Barboursville wines. Reservations required, 7:30pm-Midnight., 540-832-7848

New Jersey Holiday Wne Trail Nov. 23, 24 & 25

November 23rd, 24th & 25th

It has been a great year for New Jersey wineries, with dozens of Gold medals won at prestigious national and international wine competitions, with the opening of new wineries, with the continued recognition of New Jersey as the fifth largest wine producing state in the country and, to top it all off -- an outstanding harvest. To celebrate, New Jersey wineries will be holding a Holiday Wine Trail Weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 24th, 25th, & 26th, from Noon to 5:00 p.m. and all are invited to attend.

The weekend will offer visitors a chance to learn more about wine, wine tasting, and wine making; as well as the opportunity to stock up on award-winning wines for the holidays. Participating wineries will offer wine cellar tours, food that can be sampled with the wines, a gift to all who attend, and more. The event is free at all but two wineries and takes place on New Jersey’s Wine Trails, which are day trips to several wineries.

Participating wineries include:
» Alba Vineyard, Village of Finesville - $5 fee
» Amalthea Cellars, Atco
» Amwell Valley Vineyard, Ringoes
» Bellview Winery, Landisville
» Cape May Winery, Cape May
» Cream Ridge Winery, Cream Ridge
» DiMatteo Winery, Hammonton
» Four JGs Winery, Colts Neck
» Four Sisters Winery, Belvidere
» Heritage Vineyards of Richwood, Richwood
» Hopewell Valley Vineyards, Pennington
» Kings Road Vineyard, Asbury
» Renault Winery, Egg Harbor - $3 fee
» Silver Decoy Winery, Robbinsville
» Sylvin Farms Winery, Germania, NJ
» Tomasello Winery, Hammonton
» Unionville Vineyards, Ringoes
» Valenzano Winery, Shamong
» Westfall Winery, Montague.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

New York Strikes Big in Tom Stevenson's Wine Report 2008

NEW YORK WINERIES once again got great ratings in Tom Stevenson’s Wine Report 2008, with the “Atlantic Northeast” section created by Sandra Silfven of the Detroit News. For the fourth year in a row, Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars was #1 among the “Greatest Wine Producers”, with all four of the top five also from New York (Bedell, Wolffer, Lenz and Paumanok) followed by L. Mawby (MI), Linden (VA), Barboursville (VA), Chaddsford (PA) and Sakonnet (RI). Among the “Fastest-Improving Producers” were Heron Hill (#1) and Anthony Road (#3); “New Up-and-Coming Producers” included Thirsty Owl ((#4); and “Best-Value Producers” had Fox run (#2) and Lakewood (#4). In the “Most Exciting or Unusual Finds” category, the top five were from New York : Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs 1999, Martini-Reinhardt Selection Riesling 2005, Taste White 2005 from Bedell, Meritage 2005 from Ravines, and Meditazione 2004 from Channing Daughters. While New York made a strong showing in the book, equally exciting is the fact that so many wineries in so many states are making exceptional wines as well. Wine—the all-American art form.

Dove Valley Vineyard Debuts

Thanksgiving Marks Dove Valley Winery's Debut
By Jennifer O’Keefe

The week of Thanksgiving, one of the Maryland Wineries Association’s newest vineyards, Dove Valley, will host its grand opening in Rising Sun.

Nine years ago Harry Hepbron discovered wild grape vines, nearby a farm he had recently purchased. He turned to his wife and children and said “I bet you that soil is great for grapes.” Sure enough, Hepbron found out he was right after having the soil tested.

After Hepbron realized he wanted to cultivate a vineyard, he interest was to educate his own family including his wife, three sons, daughter and grandchildren. “This has become very hands on,” his daughter Janel Griffith said, “We are learning everyday, as a family, how to maintain, harvest and make wine.” Although he grew up on a farm and has a background in agriculture, Hepbron attended a wine school in New Jersey to gain a better understanding of how to open and run a vineyard and winery.

For eight years now, grapes have been planted in the ground. Fortunately enough, a couple of years ago, Dove Valley was able to sell their grapes to other Maryland Wineries. “By selling our harvest, we are able to gain some profit to put back into planting and growing,” Griffith said. After years of growing and preserving the land, Dove Valley wine is ready to be sold.

“We are excited to be the first licensed winery in Cecil County,” Griffith said. The winery has eight different varieties of wine, including Cabernet Franc, Vignoles, Rose, and two Dove Valley blends. The family hopes their wine will spark the interest of the local people, farmers, and tourism too.

The wine is made and kept in the air tight, temperature controlled basement. “On one side, there is a heated room for the fermentation process and on the other side is where the wine and kegs are kept cool at about 60 to 64 degrees,” Griffith said. The winery itself is a log cabin to fit the architecture of the other homes on the farm. The wine tasting room and porch will be where visitors are welcome to drink their wine, they can enjoy the beautiful setting of the vineyard and valley. Without a doubt, there will be walking tours throughout the land to see the grapes, vines and the processes of growing and winemaking.

The name for the winery Dove Valley derived from all the birds, especially doves, to be found nesting in the vines. “Out in the vineyard in the early spring, I saw a bird come fluttering out of the branches and realized there are doves all over the vineyard,” Griffith said. She brought the notion of the name to her father and it was deemed so appropriate for the vineyard and winery.

“The toughest step of the process has been getting our labels approved,” Griffith adds, “now, we are waiting on them to be printed.” Once the bottles are branded by Dove Valley, the vineyard will be nearly ready to open in just a couple of weeks. “Everyday is an experience for us here and our family is really looking forward to the opening,” Griffith said.

Dove Valley Vineyard & Winery
645 Harrington Road
Rising Sun, MD 21911


Opening in December. Please call before visiting.

For more information on Dove Valley and Maryland wine, please log onto

Hopewell Valley WInery Announces New Ports & Other Events

Premier Wine Tasting Party
Featured Wines - Porto Rosso & Porto Bianco
November 16th, 2007 (5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.)
Free Admission

Join us to celebrate the much anticipated arrival of our Porto Rosso Red Port. Aged for 3 years, we're now ready to let the tasting begin! Also, back in stock, Porto Bianco White Port. Specially selected hor d'oeuvres will be chosen to compliment the Ports. Reservations not required.


Holiday Wine Trail Weekend
November 23rd, 24th, and 25th, 2007 (Noon to 5:00 p.m.)
Admission $5.00

Participating wineries will be offering samples of their award winning wines. For a list of participating wineries and directions please visit


November Music Night - Hopewell Valley Vineyards' Jazz Ensemble featuring Matteo Neri & Samantha Friedman
November 24th, 2007 (7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.)
Admission $10.00
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
Pennington, NJ 08534


Premier Wine Tasting Party
Featured Wine - Spumante Secco
November 30th, 2007 (5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.)
Free Admission

Join us for the release of our brand new sparkling wine, Spumante Secco! Specially selected hor d'oeuvres will be chosen to compliment the Sparkling Wine. Reservations not required.


5th Annual Holiday Open House
December 7th & 8th, 2007 (7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.)
Free Admission
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
Pennington, NJ 08534


Premier Wine Tasting Party
Featured Wines - Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio with Sushi by Sumo Sushi
December 14th, 2007 (5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.)
Free Admission

Join us as we sample our new Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio complimented with great sushi by Sumo Sushi in Pennington, NJ. This will certainly be a special treat! Reservations not required.


December Music Night
December 29th, 2007 (7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.)
Admission $10.00
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
Pennington, NJ 08534

New York Times Discovers/Raves About Canadian Ice-Ciders

photo Christinne Muschi for The New York Times

Where Cider Gets a Frech Kick
Published: November 11, 2007
ASK for a glass of “cidre” in Quebec and you will get not the unfermented, unfiltered juice of the apple that cider drinkers in the United States expect, but an alcoholic, sometimes sparkling beverage that can range from sweet to dry. Ask for cider in the Eastern Townships — a sprawling area east of Montreal and south of Quebec City — and you are likely to be served a flute of cidre de glace, or ice cider, an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting the juice of apples that have been left to freeze in the frigid Quebec winter. In local restaurants, it is offered, well chilled, with the cheese or dessert course.

Although there are producers of ice cider outside of the Eastern Townships, there is a de facto “cider trail” concurrent with the well-marked Route des Vins (wine route), which extends from Bedford, Quebec (about 10 miles north of the Vermont border) on the west, north to Farnham and east to Lac-Brome. At least four ice cider makers and five vineyards are clustered around the towns of Dunham and Frelighsburg, just east of Bedford.

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Clos Saragnat: 100, chemin Richford, Frelighsburg, Quebec; (450) 298-1444;, also makes and sells ice wine and aperitifs. Open daily from late May to Thanksgiving, then weekends through December. Ice cider tastings are free; other products cost from 75 Canadian cents to 1.50 Canadian dollars a sample, 82 cents to $1.63 at $1.09 to the Canadian dollar.

Domaine Pinnacle: 150, chemin Richford, Frelighsburg; (450) 263-5835; Open daily May through December; tastings are free.

Val Caudalies: 4921, rue Principale, Dunham; (450) 295-2333; Open Wednesday to Sunday from June to November. Free tastings.

Vignoble les Blancs Coteaux: 1046, route 202, Dunham; (450) 295-3503; Also available: wine, ice wine and apple aperitifs. Open daily May through December, and on weekends January through April. Tastings are 50 Canadian cents a sample.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I often don’t write from the perspective of an insider, because I have been an outsider, though a somewhat knowledgeable on, for many years. I have always liked giving the tasting counter experience, because it’s what the consumer or other friends might really experience for themselves.

I recently had the privilege of touring the cellars of Raphael, in Long Island with Richard Olsen-Harbich. He showed me their extensive caves, and let me taste all manner of wines, from bottled to wine still in barrels. Everything was yummy one from the other.

But one thing indeed caught me eye. As far as I know, Raphael makes the only east coast malbec. Malbec is a blending grape from Bordeaux and the surrounding regions. I has been growing alongside its better known counterparts - Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for years. There are a great many great houses that use a small percentage of malbec in their assemblages.

But the South Americans have found this French bit-player, and made it a star. Argentina and Chile feature no small amount of big wines made with this deep, purpley, jammy grape. These wines offer up bits of plum and dark black berries in huge abundance, but finish dry and smooth.

I have written about Raphael’s malbec before. They grow a small amount of it at Raphael for their wine club. Rich allowed me to taste there 2004, 2005, and 2006 malbecs. One was better than the other. Each was bursting with big dark fruits, and were mouthfuls of jam. Vanilla aromas gave the nose a magical effect. the colors were all dark and plummy.

Each wine was a great and unique experience. And I cannot crow about these wines enough. The only problem with these wines are that they are made in small supply, and are sold only through their wine club. Personally - I will do what I have to so that I can get my hands on these wines again. Call them, and join their wine clubs now. Find this wine no matter what you can do. Run, don't walk. It’s wonderful. It's excellent.

Sakonnet Rhode Island Red 2004

The train was taking forever. I had gotten on at Penn Station and was getting off in Hudson, NY. The train ride seemed to take forever since the cabin temperature was set to broil. I was dying. On top of it, we had gotten sidetracked because of late trains coming the other way. And when the train finally let out at the Hudson station I was 40 minutes late. Needless to say I was less than generous with slow driving locals who were impeding my way to see my wife and kids and the dogs.

Finally I was home. And my wife had prepared for me a lovely meal of grilled kolbasi, fresh peas and campanella pasta all tossed with butter and cheese and salt and pepper. We needed a nice wine to celebrate my long journey to my family.

Amonst the many bottles lay one I had not yet tried and Dominique, my long suffering wife, was willing to give it a try. Sakonnet Rhode Island Red 2004. It comes in a burgundy style bottle with a cool label. The wine looked lighter in the bottle than when it poured. It had a deep ruby color and silky tannins. The blueberry and boysenberry, violet and lilac, all came through, as well as a touch of oak. It was a much more serious wine than we suspected. Dominique was impressed, and she's a much harsher critic than I.

The label was created by a team of artists from the Rhode Island School of Design's Graphic Design Graduate Student Studio.

Needless to sa, it was an excellent accompaniment to our rustic little dish and homecoming, and we downed the bottle happily.


This is the story of two cabernet francs. Cabernet Franc is becoming more and more popular in the United States a an alternative deep red varietal. One of my favorites was the Neibaum-Coppola Cabernet Franc which I have long favored. But many east coat wineries have taken the plunge into the cab franc pool - and with great success.
The two which gained the most notable recognition early on were Schnider of Long Iland and Millbrook of the Hudson River Valley. Other eat coat success’s were tasted from Raphael in Long Island, and several others.
Two I recently tasted were quite exceptional. The first was Castello di Borghese’s 2003 Cabernet Franc. Castello di Borghese, in Long Island, is a venerable, even historic house. It is what remains of Louise and Alex Hargraves winery and vineyards, which were the first on Long Island.
The Borghese cabernet franc were a brilliant wine. A clear, bright ruby against a strong light, the wine burst forward with cherries, a touch of plum, and some vanilla. It was fruity up front, but finished dry and fabulous. It was an elegant wine, as one expects from a venerable Long Island house.

The other wine was a pleasant surprise,, although someone as experienced as Howard Goldberg, my venerable friend from the New York Times, might not be so shocked. Tomasello is a larger winery, and is mostly known by the public for the large amount of jug wines they sell, as well as large, inexpensive wines many people use for entertaining large crowds. However, Howard has always been good about citing Tomasello’s other side, a small line of high end wines, meant for a more discerning pallet.
This of course is the well documented Atlantic County series of wines. Packaged in dark bottles, with black labels, highlighted by a painting of a Jersey shore scene, Thi series is an accomplishment. And out of this series I plucked, from my local Wegman’s in Freehold, NJ, a cabernet franc. It's made from 100% Atlantic County New Jersey Cabernet Franc grapes. There is some rose petal in the nose. This Cab Franc spend six months in second year air-dried American oak casks which affords it a light oaky character as well as the roundness accomplished by barrel aging.
It was different in many ways, which is what makes the world go round, and why people bet on horses. It couldn’t have been more different yet just as lovely.
The wine was much darker and more opaque than then the Borghese. Plums and dark cherries were set off by an intense vanilla taste. The wine was rich and dry, and lovely.
Try either of these wines, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.