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New Orleans Wine & Food Experience is Next Week!

The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE) begins Wednesday, May 23. Decide whether you want to learn how sausage is made, ride a bus to a variety of wine bars, go bowling paired with Chandon, or participate in a Grand Tasting. You are likely to find something to enjoy at the NOWFE.

NOWFE Events

Wednesday, May 23

  • Wine Dinners

Thursday, May 24

  • Vinola! – a special wine tasting
  • Royal Street Stroll
  • The Great Escape At Gold Mine Saloon Presented By Seagram’s Escapes

Friday, May 25

  • Seminars
  • Experiences
  • Evening Grand Tasting

Saturday, May 26

  • Grand Tasting

Sunday, May 27

  • Brunch Around the World

Ticket information is available here.

NOWFE is a non-profit. This year 100% of the event’s profits will benefit the Nunez Community College Culinary Arts Program.

Cheers! Kathy

Niagara Homegrown Wine Festival in June!

Reif Estate Winery, one of many Niagara wineries







Planning to be in the Canada’a Niagara wine region in June? The Niagara Homegrown Wine Festival takes place June 16–17 and 23–24. This is your chance to enjoy two weekends of wine, food, and experiences in the vineyards.

Think about purchasing the Discovery Pass that includes eight winery special deals. Discovery Pass tickets are available online.

Peller Estates to participatie at Niagara Festival

Festival Winery Participant Specials:

13th Street Winery: The Grape Queen Burger! 

Cave Springs: Get Cured With Riesling!

Creekside Estate Winery: Sip, Slur, Savour – Creek’d Noodle Bar 

Fielding Estate Winery: Raise a Glass of Rosé to the Summer! 

Flat Rock Cellars: Recipe for an OUTSTANDING Afternoon! 

GreenLane Estate Winery: Asiago Artichoke Bowl with Baked Pita Triangle! 

Harbour Estates Winery: The Cracked Goat Moos! 

Hernder Estate Wines:  Shout Out to the Summer! 

Hinterbrook Estate Winery: Made For Each Other! 

Inniskillin Wines: Why Have a High Tea When You Can Have P3? 

Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery: There’s a Riesling for Everything… 

Kacaba Vineyards Winery: Kacaba & Zooma, Now Offering Meritage Counseling! 

Konzelmann Estate Winery: Fully Loaded 

Lailey Winery: Fumé in a Glass 

Lakeview Wine Co.: You Had Me at PINOT & PIZZA!

Legends Estates Winery

Lundy Manor Wine Cellars: Wines of Summer Flight Experience 

Magnotta Winery: A New Generation of Wines 

Malivoire Wine: Homegrown Fare with International Flair – the Unlikely Pair! 

Marynissen Estates Winery

Megalomaniac: Duck Confit Spring Roll with Gamay and Rosé 

Niagara College Teaching Winery: Homegrown and House-made! 

Palatine Hills Estate Winery: Sip ‘N Slide 

Peller Estates Winery: Perfect Garden Pairing! 

Pillitteri Estates Winery: Summer Snow Pea Ravioli 

PondView Estate Winery: Summer Fling 

Rancourt Winery: BBQ Season is in Full SWING 

Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery: Sauvignon Blanc & Niagara Asparagus 

Red Stone Winery: A Platinum Pairing 

Reif Estate Winery: Drink Pink! 

Ridgepoint Wines

Riverview Cellars Estate Winery: Niagara Beef Sliders! 

Rockway Vineyards: Grilled Watermelon and Feta Skewer with Rosé 

Rosewood Estates Winery: Pork Rillette with Rosewood Smoked Honey Mustard & Riesling 

Southbrook Vineyards: Crack, Hiss, Boom! 

Stoney Ridge Estate Winery: When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Tarts 

Strewn Winery

Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery: Fancy Farm Girl at the Beach! 

Tawse Winery: Slide into Tawse for Jerky Turkey! 

Trius Winery: Twist on a Classic 

Vieni Estates: Say Ceviche! 

Vineland Estates Winery: Lazy Summer Dinner 

Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery: Canadian Gold 

Wine Trail Traveler has visited many of the Niagara wineries. Find out more about these wineries by reading the reviews here.


A Special Rosé from New Zealand for Mom or Any Day!

Pinot Rosé from New Zealand

Check out this special Pinot Rosé from The Sisters Wine Company in New Zealand. It would be delightful for Mother’s Day or any day of the year!

The red color of this wine is perfect for celebrating Mother’s Day. A chart I recently saw noted that the color red represents respect, passion and true love.

The Pinot Rosé was a bright translucent red color. The wine included an enticing aroma of raspberries  and strawberries. The taste was of summer berry fruit including raspberries with some earthiness. The finish was dominated by mineral notes making it a good wine to pair with a variety of foods.

Suggested food pairings include: risotto, light pasta dishes, seafood, Caesar salad, pizza, cheese as well as spiced curries.

The Rosé was produced by The Sisters Wine Company, located in New Zealand.  The Three Sisters also produces a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and the already mentioned Pinot Rosé. Perhaps a wine from The Sisters is especially fitting for Mother’s Day as the tagline for the company is “Wine for women who do extraordinary things every day.”

 The grapes for these wines are harvested from vineyards in the renowned Marlborough wine region of New Zealand. The winemaker is Rebecca Wiffen.

About The Sisters Wine Company

The name The Sisters encompasses the women who are able to “juggle careers, family, home, friends and community on a daily basis!”

The Sisters company website is fun and informative and provides an interesting look at a variety of issues that are likely to interest many women. For example here are some of the articles available: “How to Decide What to Wear Every Day,” “What Every Woman Should Know About Wine,” and  “How to Shop for Swimwear Fearlessly!”

Cheers, Kathy

Hearts Delight Wine Tasting & Auction

Château Guiraud wine at Hearts Delight

The annual Hearts Delight Wine Tasting & Auction  benefits the American Heart Association. This special charity event takes place May 9 through May 12 in Washington, DC. Tickets are available online.

More than 30 chefs are involved with this charity event. Numerous wines from around the world  including France, Germany, California, Oregon and Virginia will be involved in the event/auction.

Hearts Delight Wine Tasting & Auction Schedule

Wednesday, May 9: Congress Has Heart celebration highlights wines that will include owners and winemakers. There will also be a dinner and a live auction.

Thursday, May 10: Embassy & Winemaker Dinner Series: dinner at a home, restaurant or embassy with the host, winemaker and chef. 

Friday, May 11: Vintners Dinner & Auction: focuses on Château Margaux wines with dinner and  live auction.

Saturday, May 12: Bordeaux Master Class & Grand Tasting: includes a Bordeaux Master Class, seminars, and a Grand Tasting


WIne enthusiasts who enjoy auctions have the opportunity to participate in live and silent auctions. For those who can not attend Hearts Delight, an absentee Bidder Form is available online. One of the auction items is the Imperial Château Guiraud 2014. The description includes, “This very large and very impressive bottle is the equivalent of 8 regular bottles. It is brought to us by Xavier Planty, the dashing and debonair owner of Château Guiraud. Château Guiraud has been represented at every Heart’s Delight since the beginning. ‘The Château Guiraud 2014 has a perfumed bouquet with clear honey, beeswax and honeysuckle aromas that are well defined. The palate is fresh and taut on the entry: good tension and focus here, very harmonious with a gently build in the mouth towards a satisfying marmalade and quince-driven finish.’”

About Hearts Delight

The original event began in 1999 and was relatively small compared to this 2018 event. In 1999, the event featured seven chefs and 16 châteaux houses. The 1999 event raised $220,000. Since that time, the Hearts Delight event has raised over $16.5 million dollars for the well known American Heart Association.


A Little Black Dress Rosé for Mother’s Day

Little Black Dress Rosé

Are you looking for a wine for Mother’s Day or maybe a yummy wine to enjoy during the warm summery months? You will want to consider the LBD Rosé from Little Black Dress Wines.  Many people enjoy a light weight type of wine during warmer days and a light wine is wonderful to pair with salads and appetizers or just to enjoy as an aperitif.

Last night we enjoyed a glass of the LBD Rosé which had been sent to us as a sample. The Rosé  was a blend of Zinfandel and Petite Syrah. The wine was 12% alcohol with a residual sugar of 7 g/L. The color of the wine was a delightful salmon color with a pink hue. The aroma was lightly fragrant with red berry fruits such as strawberries and raspberries. The taste, while having a hint of sweetness, was crisp with notes of chalky mineral, raspberries and strawberries. There were significant strawberry notes on the aftertaste which was very dry. 

Pairing suggestions include light summer dishes such as salads, fish, grilled meats and fresh cheese. The LBD Rosé is also a lovely wine for use as a 3P wine – good for the patio, porch or poolside.

LBD Rosé retails for $11.99. The wine was produced in Mendocino County, California by winemaker Margaret Leonardi. In addition to the Rosé, LBD Wines also produces Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Diva Red, Merlot, Moscato, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir.

Our wine sample came with a recipe for a spritzer.

LBD Spritzer


4 oz. LBD Rosé
1/2 oz of lychee liqueur
1/2 oz of Pama liqueur (or POM juice)
2 dashes of rhubarb bitters
Dash of Strawberry Rhubarb soda or Club soda


Fill a wine glass with ice. Combine LBD Rosé, lychee liqueur, Pama liqueur, and rhubarb bitters. Top with strawberry rhubarb soda or club soda. Garnish with fresh cut strawberries and wheels of lime and a fresh sprig of rosemary.

It is important to know that LBD Wines supports the causes of women around the world. Some of the organizations LBD supports include: Dress for Success Worldwide, Susan G. Komen, Keep a Breast and Fatigues to Fabulous. 

Look for LBD wines at your local wine shop and consider the LBD Rosé for Mother’s Day or for enjoying this summer!


Cinco de Mayo Day is May 5!

Pearmund Cellars is celebrating Cinco de Mayo with their special sangria!

May 5 is Cino de Mayo Day, a day celebrating the Mexican army’s victory at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. This battle took place during the Franco-Mexican War that was waged between 1861 and 1867.

Are you planning to celebrate Cinco de Mayo Day this weekend? Consider avoiding crowded venues and create your own Cinco de May feast. 

Another great option is to check your local winery to see if they are hosting a Cinco de Mayo celebration. In Northern Virgia, Pearmund Cellars is offering a Mexican-inspired menu. The winery will begin offering their special sangria that will be available by the pitcher or the glass. Check the Pearmund Cellars website for details.

If you are planning your own celebration of Cinco de Mayo, consider some of these recipes: corn dip, tamale pies, quesadillas, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, queso dip, guacamole, salsa and nachos. A quick look on the internet will provide you with many available recipes.

Beverages for Cinco de Mayo

To add to the Cinco de Mayo theme, prepare your own margarita or sangria. The Wine Trail Traveler website with a recipe section has several sangria recipes. 

In February of this year, I posted a blog for National Margarita Day and included several Margarita recipes. Look for Spicy Sparkling Margarita, Watermelon Ball Margarita, Slim and Sparkling Margarita and Pomegranate Margarita.


Best South Africa Wine Tasting

Simonsig Wine Estate Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rose paired with smoked salmon

Last month Kathy and I participated in an online tasting of five wines from Simonsig Wine Estate in South Africa. These were among our favorite wines we have had from South Africa. This was our first online tasting that utilized YouTube. We had only one little hitch, a browser quit but a relaunch solved the issue. It was interesting to taste the wines while listening and seeing the winemaker and owners discuss the wines and answer our questions. 

The line-up of wines included:
Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rose
Chenin Blanc
Redhill Pinotage
Frans Malan Red Blend

Since the tasting was done during our lunch time on the East Coast, during the evening in South Africa, I decided to grill a turkey breast and pair it with the Pinotage. First however, was salmon paired with the sparkling wine. Alaska smoked salmon on club crackers was paired with Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rose 2016. The color of the wine matched the color of the salmon. This was a flavorful combination that complimented and cleansed the palette. 

Our next course was a turkey breast with an African Peri Peri Spice Rub paired with 2015 Redhill Pinotage. The spices on the turkey matched the wine without overpowering it. The fruit of the wine added a nice dimension to the turkey. African Peri Peri Spice Rub is a mix of spices from South Africa. It is excellent to rub on meats and then grill.

As with prior online wine tastings, I heeded Eric Asimov’s challenge to use non-traditional wine descriptions. He challenged us at the Wine Bloggers Conference. Since then, I have written haiku’s to describe the wines. 

Redhill Pinotage paired with grilled turkey rubbed with Peri Peri Spice Rub


Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rose 2016 Haiku:

Light salmon color
Center mousse, lively mouthfeel.
Citrus and apple.

2017 Chenin Blanc Haiku:

Fruity tropicals
Melon, guava, and grapefruit.
Nice aperitif. 

2015 Pinotage Haiku:

Dark ruby perfume.
Fruity burst with cloves, nutmeg.
Quaffable. Want more.

2015 Redhill Pinotage Haiku:

Pinotage Red Hill
Velvet feel meets spice and fruit.
Rocking chair on porch.

2015 Frans Malan Cape Blend Haiku:

Perfume, vanilla
Plays with plums and cedar wood.
Bold tannins calling.

During our tasting, our next door neighbor was having tree trimmers scale his 80-foot tree and trim it. He sat in a lounge chair and observed what at times seemed like aerobics. We took him a glass of the Red Hill Pinotage. He returned the empty glass and commented how much he enjoyed it. We did too.


Wine Spectator Learning Center Opens Soon!

U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson to attend the Grand Opening of The Wine Spectator Learning Center

The Wine Spectator Learning Center at Sonoma State University is scheduled to open at the end of May. The Grand Opening including a ribbon cutting ceremony takes place May 29 between 6pm and 8pm.

Those who would like to attend can RSVP online.

The Wine Spectator Learning Center will be the Wine Business Institute’s new headquarters and is considered to be a state-of-the-art center.

The facility will have numerous dedicated spaces including:

  • 3 classrooms with advanced technology
  • a student commons
  • a café
  • garden areas
  • faculty and business leaders collaborative spaces

According to the Sonoma State University announcement about the Grand Opening, “This state-of-the-art center is a true reflection of both the character and business needs of our wine-growing region,” said President Judy K. Sakaki.

The announcement included remarks by Executive Director of the Wine Business Institute, Ray Johnson. “This is not only the grand opening of a customized learning environment, it also creates a home for us to execute on our mission to be the educational nucleus of the global wine industry.”

Several dignitaries will be at the Grand Opening including U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson, who founded the Congressional Wine Caucus.


Friday May 4: May Day Sip & Stroll

This Friday, May 4 celebrate the start of May in Geneseo, New York. The town, located south of Rochester, is offering a May Day Sip & Stroll event from 5pm ’til 8pm. This fun event is sponsored by the Geneseo Community Main Street, a group that supports businesses and events in support of  the community.

Wine, beer and cider will be available for tasting. For three hours enjoy the beverages with food and music.  Numerous Main Street area businesses have partnered with the Geneseo Community Main Street and offer an array of food, beverages and specials.

Just a few of the many businesses taking part in Sip and Stroll include:

  • Sundance Books
  • Sweet Arts Bakery
  • Envy Salon and Spa
  • Pizza Paul’s
  • Market on Main Geneseo
  • Finger Lakes Cookie Company
  • Genesee Valley Florist

Tickets for the May Day Sip & Stroll are available online. Chances & Changes, a non-profit, will receive a portion of the proceeds. Chances & Changes helps domestic violence victims. 

According to the Geneseo Community Main Steet Facebook information, the mission of the group “is a collection of businesses and community members in support of maintaining a vibrant community.” More information about the Sip & Stroll event in Geneseo, NY is available, including specials, on Facebook.

This event sounds like a lot of fun, so be sure to check it out. Kindly remember the event also supports Chances & Changes, a non-profit.


May is Oregon’s Wine Month

Willamette Valley Vineyards

Celebrate Oregon’s Wine Month beginning May 1. It’s not too early to start planning your visit!

To celebrate, a special sweepstakes has been planned, the 2018 Oregon Wine Month Sweepstakes. “One lucky winner and guest will spend 4 days and 3 nights in the vineyards, the kitchens and the company of some of Oregon’s most acclaimed winemakers, chefs and craftspeople for an immersive celebration of Oregon’s wine and food bounty. Three runners up will win a two-month, two-bottle membership to Cellar 503, the premier wine club for anyone wheo wants to explore Oregon’s small-batch wineries.”

Vineyards at Abacela

Many of the Oregon wineries are events offering special events during May. Visit the Oregon Wine website or the websites of the individual wineries for details.

Quick Facts about Oregon’s Wine Industry

  • Oregon is the third largest grape producer
  • Oregon is home to 18 AVAs.
  • Oregon has 720 wineries
  • Number of grape varieties: 72
  • Top 12 grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Viognier, Gewürztraminer, Tempranillo, Pinot Blanc and Cabernet Franc.
  • Oldest continually operating winery is Honeywood Winery in Salem.

Youngberg Hill Vineyards and Inn

Oregon has several wine growing regions including: Central Oregon, Columbia Gorge, Portland’s Urban Wineries, Southern Oregon, Walla Walla Valley and Willamette Valley. Some of these regions include smaller wine regions. For example, Willamette Valley includes Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge, Dundee Hills, Cascade Foothills, Eola-Amity Hills, Heart of Willamette, McMinnville, North Willamette, South Willamette and Yahmill-Carlton. Another one of our favorite wine regions in Oregon is Southern Oregon where wine enthusiasts will find wineries in Applegate Valley and Umpqua Valley.

If you are planning to visit Oregon during your summer vacation, order the 2018 Oregon Wine Tour Guide.

Wine Trail Traveler has visited many of Oregon’s wineries over several years. Read the articles about each winery we have visited, the information and photos may spark your interest in visiting a particular winery or wine region.


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