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5th Day: Portugal

On our 5th day in Portugal, we visited the Amorim Cork Factory. The company purchases the cork from cork tree growers. At this location the Amorim factory receives the stacked layers of cork and begins boiling the cork and checking the cork for defects. At another Amorim location the cork begins its formation into bottle corks, insulation, soles for shoes and many more products.


Amorim Cork

Amorim Cork

Amorim Cork








Our next stop was Plansel winery and garden center. We met Jorge Böhm and quickly realized his passions of grapevines/olive trees, art and wine. Our group was treated to a delightful lunch in his private art collection room.


Plansel winery


Plansel Vineyards








Reguengos de Monsaraz is a delightfully unique and historic village set atop a high hill with views of the countryside. One guide told us that the village has approximately 50 residents who are located in the village below and the castle above. It was a wonderful stop for our group to make. A few minutes later we stopped to view a monolith.


Reguengos de Monsaraz

Reguengos de Monsaraz









Jose de Sousa winery emphasizes producing wines in large clay pots which are housed on top of the ground and located in the wine cellar. Notice the curved arches which add a lovely ambiance to the scene.


José de Sousa winery

José de Sousa winery

José de Sousa clay pots








We stayed overnight at Convento do Espinheiro. This building was once a convent and has been renovated to accommodate visitors. Guest rooms are large and the curved arches in the dining area, where we enjoyed breakfast, were elegant.



Convent dining area









Watch for our future Wine Trail Traveler articles about these Portuguese locations.


4th Day: Portugal

Our 4th day of touring the wineries of Portugal continued with our group of about 30. The tour was sponsored by Washington State University which used the culinary expert tours of e-Spain. We visited  Casa Santos Lima which has 400 hectares of vineyards onsite and off site. They are the largest producer of Vinho Regional Lisboa and DOC Alenquer. They are exporting 90 percent of their production.

Casa Santos Lima

Casa Santos Lima

Casa Santos Lima








Following the visit to Casa Santos LIma, we arrived qt Quinta de Monte d’Oiro where in addition to a winery tour we enjoyed lunch.


Quinta de Monte d’Oiro

Quinta de Monte d’Oiro

Quinta de Monte d’Oiro








Our next visit of the day was to Quinta da Folgorosa which was established in the early 1700s.

Quinta da Folgorosa

Quinta Da Folgorosa

Quinta Da Folgorosa, owner and winemaker








Our final visit for the day was to Quinta de São Domingos (Fonte das Moças) which is celebrating its 100th year. The region is on the UNESCO website.

Fonte Das Moças

Fonte das Moças

Fonte des Moças








Watch for Wine Trail Traveler’s articles about each individual winery we visited during this excellent tour.


Cocktails for St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is almost here! Do you need a special cocktail recipe to celebrate the day? Any of these recipes from Sparkling Ice and Santa Margherita would be tasty any time of the year.

Ginger Lime Mojito

Ginger Lime Mojito


3 oz Sparkling Ice Ginger Lime
1.5 oz White Rum
10 mint leaves
Lime wedge, for garnish
Mint sprig, for garnish


In an ice filled Collins glass, add Sparkling Ice Ginger Lime, rum, and mint leaves, then stir. Garnish with a lime wedge and mint sprig and serve.

Gin Fitzey

Gin Fitzy


1.5 oz of gin
Simple syrup
½ lime (sliced into 3 wedges)
Splash of Sparkling Ice Lemon Lime
Lime (garnish)

Add gin, simple syrup, and lime wedges to shaker. Muddle. Add ice. Shake and strain into chilled glass. Add a splash of Sparkling Ice Lemon Lime. Garnish with lime twist.

Ginger Sage Cocktail

Ginger Sage Cocktail


1 bottle of Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore DOCG
Simple Syrup
1 cup honey
3 cups water
2 whole pears, peeled, cored and diced
1 large piece of ginger, peeled and diced
20 fresh sage leaves (plus more for garnish)


In a saucepan combine the honey and water over medium heat and bring to a light boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the honey has dissolved completely. Add the pears, ginger and sage leaves. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the mixture has reduced by 1/3 (about 15-20 minutes). Remove from heat and let the mixture steep for an additional 10 minutes. Strain the syrup into a large canning jar or thick glass bowl. Discard the ginger and sage leaves.
Place a few pieces of the cooked pear into each stemless wine glass followed by 2 tbsps of the simple syrup. Add Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore DOCG and serve.

Cucumber Lime & Basil Prosecco Spritzer

Prosecco Spritzer


1 lime juiced
4 basil leaves
4 cucumber slices
Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore DOCG


Muddle lime juice, basil and cucumber in a shaker glass. (For extra flavor infusion allow mixture to marinate in the fridge for at least one hour). Add ice and shake mixture. Strain the juice only (about ½ oz.) into a Prosecco glass. Top with Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore DOCG and garnish with a basil leaf and cucumber slice.

Spicy Sparkling Margarita

Spicy Margarita


2 parts Blanco Tequila
½ part Cointreau
3 slices of Jalapeño pepper
Juice of 1/8 lime
1 ½ parts Sparkling Ice Lemon Lime


Shake Tequila, Cointreau, lime juice and peppers with ice. Pour into rocks glass with salted rim and lime wedge. Top with Sparkling Ice Lemon Lime.
Enjoy these delightful cocktails safely.




Day 3: Portugal

Unique vineyard in Portugal

On Sunday we visited a very special vineyard where we saw a unique way of growing grapes that protects the grapevines from strong winds. In our March visit the grapevines appear to be in deep sandy holes with the vines laying on the soil. Decades ago it was discovered that grapevines should survive in this location if they grew in the sand close to the soil. The grapes from this vineyard are some of the most expensive grapes in Portugal. Bring that into dollar signs, it was estimated that the grapes sell for about $4,000 a ton.

Ocean view

After leaving this unique vineyard, we drove on to a nearby location with views of the ocean. The ocean was very rough with the waves rushing and crashing on the shore. Too soon it was time to leave this mesmerizing sight of such strong winds.

We then arrived at Adega Regional de Colares, one of the oldest wine cooperatives in Portugal.

Wine Cooperative


Our final stop of the day was the Palace of Regaleira, built in the 1800s as a summer home. With gardens and underground tunnels to explore, it must have been a special treat especially for children!

Summer palace








Discovering the Culture and Wines of Portugal

We have had a fun filled, enjoyable experience with like-minded wine enthusiasts. Our tour (through e-Spain) while featuring wineries in Portugal also included cultural activities. After Friday night’s dinner at Cervejaria Trindade, Saturday was a chance to experience more of the culture around Lisbon.

Cristo Rei Almada

Saturday began  with a visit to the Cristo Rei Almada, which in addition to a large statute and a fascinating history also offers picturesque views of the city of Lisbon.  We then visited two wineries followed by a visit to the monument (The Statue of Gago Coutinho Sacadura Cabral Plane)  dedicated to the first pilot to fly across the South Pacific.

The two wineries visited  on Saturday are on the Peninsula of Setubal.  The first winery was Quinta da Bacalhôa where we saw centuries old olive trees, large barrel rooms, humongous stainless steel tanks, and a museum of African culture. This visit was followed by lunch at Comporta Cafe located at the edge of the Comporta beach. After a long lunch (dinner by American standards) we proceeded to Herdade da Comporta, a winery located adjacent to rice paddies. It was interesting to see in the wine shop, bottles of wine and packages of rice for sale. Watch for reviews of the Portuguese wineries we visit to be added to the Wine Trail Traveler website.

Portuguese Food and Tiles in Lisbon

On our first evening in Lisbon, our tour group had dinner at the historical brewery Cervejaria Trindade. This brewery is known as Portugal’s first brewery.

Cervejaria Trindade dates back to 1294 when it was started as the Most Holy Trinity. The mission of the monks at that time was to help those imprisoned by the Moors. In 1498 one of the monks at the monastery established the Catholic Charity Hospital.

Misfortune occurred in 1708 when a massive fire caused the monastery much destruction. Then in 1755 Lisbon including the monastery suffered from a major earthquake. In 1766 another fire occurred.

The year of 1834 saw the extinction of religious orders. A brewery was started in a small area of the monastery. In 1846 the Trindade Brewery was established. As a brewery, the times and events have changed. Today the Cervejaria Trindade offers visitors beer and a wide selection of foods plus atmosphere.

On our evening at Cervejaria Trindade, several tables were set aside for our group. We enjoyed the flow of beer and wine with numerous food selections. Below is a gallery of the foods we had that evening.

For me, in addition to the camaraderie of the group of wine enthusiasts, there was another feature of Cervejaria Trinidad that I found fascinating. Throughout the restaurant numerous Portuguese tiles portray a variety of images. Check out these photos. When you visit Cervejaria Trindade, be sure to look for the tiles.


Our Journey to Lisbon, First Leg Dulles to Amsterdam

Champagne in the lounge and on the KLM flight

This year marks the third trip we took with Washington State University Enology and Viticulture Department. Previous treks included New Zealand and France. This time our journey is to Portugal. We are anxious to capture the wine essence of this country that is famous for its Port and Madeira. We are hoping to discover that Portugal is more than Port.

After spending some reflection on packing our luggage, we finally started the allotted one-hour drive to the airport. En route, my Garmin GPS placed a dreaded window on the right of the screen. “Delay ahead 5 minutes.” Past experience has taught me to not believe the time mentioned. It was bound to get worse. And worse it did get. Our hour-drive turned into a 90 minute excursion as drivers weaved in an out of lanes to gain a car’s length at a time. Traffic on the Washington Beltway was at a snail’s pace in both directions. Interestingly, there were no accidents or road work. The traffic was just simply too many vehicles for too few lanes. We talked about how traffic designers need to think “outside of the box” to help with this major of congestion.

We made it to our pre-arranged parking facility and took their shuttle bus to the airport. During the 15-minute drive we passed through a snow shower. The last I looked, the temperature was forty degrees. At that temperature the snow was more fanciful than challenging.

Our flight to Lisbon was on KLM. We flew KLM perhaps 15 years ago. I am interested to see how business class now feels. Dropping off luggage was simple. We were able to walk to our gate rather than take a bus ride to the terminal. It was a long walk but felt good. Our first stop was the Air France/KLM lounge. If Air France is connected with the lounge, there must be champagne.

Champagnes Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve

Champagne  Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve

This champagne was served in the lounge as well as on the flight to Amsterdam prior to departure. The champagne had a yellow color with gold hue. The champagne had multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming a center mousse. Apple and freshly baked bread were noticed on the aroma. The taste was quite apple-like with a lively mouthfeel and crisp finish. After a hectic drive to the airport on interstates that were not designed to accommodate the snail pace or too many vehicles, the champagne was a welcome aperitif.

2016 Blanc de Lys by Thierry Delaunay

Once we reached cruising altitude it was time for dinner. For an aperitif, I had the 2016 Blanc de Lys by Thierry Delaunay. This Sauvignon Blanc from the Val de Loire, France was a light yellow color with a light green hue. The wine had tropical fruit notes on the aroma reminding me of pineapple, melon, kiwi and citrus. The finish was crisp and fruity with an undertone of lemon grass. The wine had mineral on the aftertaste. The wine was paired with a small delft bowl of mixed nuts. I liked the saltiness of the nuts and the mineral presence of the wine’s finish.

2017 Simonsig Chenin Blanc with Salmon Tartare

2017 Simonsig Chenin Blanc

The 2017 Simonsig Chenin Blanc was a light yellow color with citrus on the aroma. The taste was reminiscent of citrus and tropical fruits although less intensive than the Sauvignon Blanc. The finish was crisp. The first course was a salmon tartare with chunky tomato salsa, mixed greens and sour cream. The salmon tartare was very flavorful and overpowered the Chenin Blanc. The wine faired better with the salad green that had a lemon and olive oil Dressing. The wine and salad matched with the citrus flavor.

Ramón Roqueta Tempranillo 2016

The Tempranillo was a dark ruby color. The wine offered blueberries and blackberries on the aroma while the taste also had blueberries and blackberries with the addition of leather and licorice. The wine had a medium/full body and medium tannins. There was a perceived sweetness on the finish which was fruit yielding to baking spices. The second course was rigatoni pasta with roasted pepper sauce, artichoke heart, sautéed spinach, black olives and Parmesan cheese. This course also had a slight sweetness. The perceived sweetness of the wine matched the sweetness of the entree.

For dessert I had the Cantal and Camembert cheese plate along with Taylor’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2012. The port had an opaque dark ruby to black color. The aroma was jammy fruits. The taste included raisins and orange blossoms. It paired nicely with the cheese especially with the dried fruit on the dish. The fortified wine really shined when paired with a piece of dark chocolate. The faint hint of orange blossom in the wine and the chocolate was memorable.

So far, on the first leg of our journey to Portugal we ended with a Portuguese wine. What will the final leg of the journey to Lisbon deliver.


Sips, Chips & Dips on the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail

Willow Vineyards wine among the vines

If you enjoy snacks and wines, you will want to attend the Sips, Chips & Dips hosted by the wineries on the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail scheduled for Saturday, March 24.

Tickets are $10 each and include a souvenir wine glass and a snack & wine pairing at each winery. Tickets for Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail events are available online.

Below is a list of the snack and wine pairing offered at each winery for the day.

45 North Vineyard & Winery: tortilla chips with cilantro jalepeño dip paired with a wine (TBD)

Amoritas Vineyards: tomato salsa with tortilla chips paired with Pinot Gris.

Aurora Cellars: cherry bbq chips with Sun-Drenched Smoked Tomato Cheese Dip paired with Radiance (a  fruity dry red).

Bel Lago Vineyards & Winery: coming soon!

Black Star Farms of Suttons Bay: wavy potato chips and loaded baked potato dip with bacon, green onion and cheddar cheese paired with 2016 Arcturos Semi-Dry Riesling

Blustone Vineyards: pesto hummus with tortilla chips or garlic hummus with wavy chips, paired with 2016 Naked Chardonnay

Boathouse Vineyards: wavy potato chip with a dip paired with Pinot Grigio.

Chateau de Leelanau of Suttons Bay: tortilla chips with chili con queso dip and Vintner’s Choice of Wine or Hard Cider.

Chateau Fontaine: Three Different Monk’s Meadow Dips, plus their Fan-Favorite Chardonnay Cheeseball all served with Chips and paired with Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.

Cherry Republic: tortilla chips and seven layer dip paired with Sangria.

Ciccone Vineyard & Winery: tortilla chips and roasted red pepper hummus paired with 2016 Pinot Grigio

French Valley Vineyard & Bistro: tortilla chips with baked parmesan artichoke dip paired with 2014 Rosé

Good Harbor Vineyards: homemade cheese crisps paired with your choice of wine

Green Bird Organic Cellars & Farms: tortilla chips and roasted corn and jalapeño dip paired with Semi-Sweet Riesling.

L. Mawby: curvy chips served with green onion dip paired with their Green.

Laurentide Winery: a variety of in-house seasoned, buttered, & baked breadsticks served with Pinot Gris 2016

Leelanau Wine Cellars: cherry bbq potato hips with jalapeno crab dip paired with 2016 Semi-Dry Riesling.

Nathaniel Rose at Raftshol: coming soon!

Rove Estate: tortilla chips and organics cherry salsa paired with 2016 Gewurtz/Gris Silver.

Shady Lane Cellars: potato chips and a sweet and tangy Ddp paired with Dry Riesling

Silver Leaf Vineyard & Winery: tortilla chips and cheese conqueso dip paired with “Fling” Rosé or 2015 Riesling.

Tandem Ciders: coming soon!

Verterra Winery: A variety of dips including Ranch Dressing and wave potato chips paired with  UnOaked Chardonnay or homemade chili dip with seasoned tortilla chips, paired with Chaos White.

Willow Vineyards: pretzels and feta sun-dried tomato dip with Rosé.

Wine Trail Traveler visited wineries on the Leelanau Peninsula. Check out the reviews and photos online.


New Maryland Wine Trail Opens March 17th!

Vineyards at Romano Vineyard & Winery

During Maryland Wine Month, the Legacy Wine Trail is celebrating its opening on an auspicious day, March 17. The wine trail with four wineries is located in Prince George’s County. According to a press release, “The Legacy Wine Trail celebrates our state’s newest collection of wineries,” said Kevin Atticks, executive director of the Maryland Wineries Association. “Visitors can experience four of our newest wineries while traversing the trail, all within minutes of each other.”

The Legacy Wine Trail wineries include:

“We are proud to have the closest cluster of wineries in the state, here in Prince George’s County,” said Kim Rush Lynch, Agriculture Marketing Specialist for University of Maryland Extension in Prince George’s County. “The Legacy Wine Trail is a nod to the rich history and culture of tobacco in Prince George’s County, but with a new diversified and delicious twist.”

The opening of the Legacy Wine Trail  is scheduled for March 17 from 12pm to 6pm. The event includes five wines and a souvenir at each winery. Tickets  are $30 for the event and are available online.

During March, visit Maryland wineries and perhaps for St. Patrick’s Day attend the opening of the Legacy Wine Trail.


Virginia’s Wine Gala Photo Gallery

Last week there was a celebration of the 2018 Annual Virginia Governor’s Cup™ Wine Competition. Virginia’s gold medal winners poured their wines and the 2018 Governor’s Cup Case™ winners were recognized. Enjoy the photos from the event! Watch for the 2019 Annual Virginia Governor’s Cup™ Wine Competition!


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