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Niagara Homegrown Wine Festival June 2019

Peller Estates to participate in wine and culinary event in June 2019

The Niagara Homegrown Festival  takes place the weekends of June 15-16 and June 22-23, 2019.

Wine enthusiasts and any adults who want to learn about wine will enjoy touring the Niagara wine region during two weekends in June. Visit

Ticket holders have a choice of a wide range of wineries to visit in Niagara-on-the-Lake and 20 Valley  renowned wine regions. Discover Pass tickets are good for eight wine and culinary experiences. Tickets are also available for Designated Driver’s. Visit the online ticket site.

2019 Participating  20 Valley Wineries Specials

  • 13th Street Winery: Smoked Cherrywood Pulled Pork Taco with Cherry BBQ Sauce and Summer Slaw
  • Alvento Winery: Pairing of  West Wind wine with a Chinese spring roll.
  • Creekside Estate Winery: Summer bites  of grilled haloumi, marinated olives, hummus, peperonata and tzatziki
  • Fielding Estate Winery: Pairing Rosè 2018 with Strawberry & Rhubarb Cheesecake
  • Flat Rock Cellars: features Lime Ancho Chili Grilled Tofu Tostadas with Apple Cumin Slaw
  • Harbour Estates Winery: Pairing a Baco Noir 2018 with Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich
  • Henry of Pelham Family Estate: Estate Riesling paired with spanakopita served with tzatziki on the side
  • Kacaba Vineyards Winery: Wine pairing with Grilled Pork Tenderloin with star anise remoulade on tri-coloured quinoa salad
  • Legends Estates Winery: Wine paired with Shiraz Reserve and Gewürztraminer
  • Magnotta Winery: Food to pair with wine is a wild mushroom ragout on crispy polenta
  • Megalomaniac Winery: Food pairing  is a house-made crostini topped with chicken galantine and minted balsamic strawberries
  • Redstone Winery: Rosé paired with Marinated Queen Scallops with Strawberries, Basil and Balsamic
  • Rockway Vineyards:  Riesling paired with fresh avocado, goat cheese, chicken and fig jam
  • Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery: Pair Sauvignon Blanc with Seared Diver Scallop à la Nage
  • Vineland Estates Winery: Pinot Meunier paired with duck confit and double smoked bacon rillette

2019 Participating Niagara-on-the-Lake Wineries Specials

  • Inniskillin Wine: Wine paired with roasted sweet potato and pulled pork poutine
  • Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate: Sparkling Moscato paired with cypress grilled cheese sandwich with chili-pesto
  • The Lakeview Wine Co.: Fumé Blanc paired with Roasted Bell Pepper Bruschetta with Jalapeño Havarti
  • Niagara College Teaching Winery: Pinot Noir paired with Marinated Mushroom and Forbidden Rice Salad
  • Palatine Hills Estate Winery: Cabernet Franc paired with shaved beef on a garlic naan  topped with tomatoes and onions
  • Peller Estates Winery & Restaurant: A Late Harvest Vidal paired with Spicy Duck Thai couscous bowl
  • Pillitteri Estates Winery: Pinot Grigio with Charcuterie
  • Queenston Mile Vineyard: Pinot Noir Rosé paired with Smoked Trout Blini
  • Trius Winery & Restaurant: Sauvginon Blanc paired with Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich with Summer Slaw.
  • Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery: Merlot paired with a Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich

For more details about the Niagara Homegrown Wine Festival visit the festival website.

To help you learn more about the wineries you choose to visit, check out the Wine Trail Traveler section with reviews of many Ontario wineries.


Champagne Paul Launois Announces Single Barrel Champagne Auction

Sarah and Julien Launois hand-selected the Chardonnay grapes for the ten barrels to be auctioned. Image provided by The Gallavant Group.

Wine enthusiasts who love champagne might enjoy the possibility that Champagne Paul Launois is offering. The champagne house has set aside ten barrels of Chardonnay, that they will auction off on June 14th, 2019. The minimum price for each barrel is 23,400 Euros (about $26,142) for the 216 bottles of champagne that will come from the barrel. That would put the minimum price for each bottle of champagne at least at $121.

Those purchasing a barrel will have the opportunity to work with the champagne house to determine aging and dosage. Aging can take place between three and ten years. The dosage will be determined by the barrel owner’s preferences. 

Although the auction is out of the reach for most wine enthusiasts, collectors, industry professionals and restaurants may have an interest. The Chardonnay grapes chosen for the ten barrels are from vineyards in the Le Mesnil-sur-Oger area of Champagne. The grapes were hand-selected by Sarah and Julien Launois (pictured), owners of Champagne Paul Launois. Champagne specialist Philippe Jamesse developed tasting notes for the barreled Chardonnay.

The auction will take place at 6:00 pm onsite in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, France as well as online and by phone. Visit the Champagne Paul Launois website for information. 


A Tóth Ferenc Wine from Eger, Hungary

Egri Csillag, a white wine from Hungary

Late yesterday afternoon, we enjoyed a white wine from Tóth Ferenc, a winery in the Eger wine region of Hungary. The Egri Csillag 2018 was 13% alchol. The light yellow colored wine offered floral and tropical aroma notes. The taste included peaches, citrus, daisies and honeysuckle. The finish was crisp and the aftertaste had a hint of minerality.

The Egri Csillag 2018 was a blend produced with Hungarian grape varieties and international grapes. The blend included Hárslevel?, Királyleányka, Leányka, Olaszrizling, Ottonel Muskotály and Sauvignon Blanc. Egri Csillag is a white blend of wines, a white wine answer to the regions’ Egri Bikavér (Bull’s Blood), a red blend.

We enjoyed our glass of wine on a small deck while relaxing after working in the gardens with planting flowers as well as attempting to rid ourselves of bamboo encroaching on our vegetable garden and lawn. By the way, does anyone have a fool-proof way of getting rid of bamboo?

As to our visit to Tóth Ferenc Pincészet in Hungary’s Eger wine region, we entered the winery where a small counter is available for purchasing Tóth Ferenc wines and were immediately greeted by the winemaker, György Markovics. After touring the winery and wine cellar, we went to a tasting room where we spoke with György about the wines he produces and also learned his story. 

Tóth Ference winery in Hungary

More information about our visit to Tóth Ferenc Pincészet and the wines we tasted are available online.

Kathy and Terry

Virginia Governor’s Cup 2019 Seminar Next Week

Paradise Springs

2019 is the 36th year for the Virginia Governor’s Cup. Each year Virginia wineries are provided with the opportunity to submit their wines to the Virginia Wineries Association Governor’s Cup® Competition. 

The submitted wines go through four preliminary tastings in Washington, D.C. Then the finalists move on to the final wine tastings in Richmond Virginia. The top winner of the Governor’s  Cup is chosen from the top 12 best wines submitted. In 2019, Horton Vineyards won the Governor’s Cup with their 2016 Petit Manseng. 


All 12 top-rated wines are used for marketing the wines of Virginia by the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office.

One of the marketing events includes a  Governor’s Cup Case Seminar that takes place May 21, 2019. The main seminar will take place at King Family Vineyards where all the winemakers will be available to talk about their wines and answer questions. In addition five satellite locations will have access to the seminar (live-streamed) where attendees can also taste the wines and ask questions online. Since Virginia is such a large state, offering the seminar via live-stream, means more people have access to the seminar. Great idea!

In 2019 the top 12 Virginia wines ( Governor’s Cup top 12) include:

  • Barboursville Vineyards 2017 Vermentino Reserve
  • Early Mountain Vineyards 2016 Eluvium
  • Glen Manor Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Franc
  • Horton Vineyards 2016 Petit Manseng
  • King Family Vineyards 2016 Mountain Plains
  • King Family Vineyards 2016 Meritage
  • Paradise Springs Winery 2015 Meritage
  • Virginia Wineworks 2016 Hamlet Vineyards Eltham
  • Virginia Wineworks 2016 Michael Shaps Petit Manseng
  • Virginia Wineworks 2016 Michael Shaps Raisin d’Etre White
  • Virginia Wineworks 2015 Michael Shaps Tannat
  • Virginia Wineworks 2014 Upper Shirley Zachariah

We have visited about all but one of these award winning wineries and wrote articles about each one. Find our more about Virginia wineries on the Wine Trail Traveler website.


Mother’s Day is Tomorrow!

Celebrate Mother’s Day tomorrow!

Mother’s Day is important for mothers, grandmothers and step-mothers. Over the years I have written about Mother’s Day ideas. Many of the blogs are about recipes that you can create to show someone special that you really care. However some of the blogs are about visiting a winery with your mom or possible gift ideas.

In one blog I wrote: “For those who live hours away perhaps on the opposite coast, other wine related ideas include sending a gift basket with a bottle of wine, a box of candy with chocolate filled with wine/Port, or perhaps something as simple as a wine bottle opener that is easy to use. 

Mothers who enjoy spending time in the kitchen may like a special olive oil. Some olive oils are available with an infusion of fruit.”

Check out some of these Mother’s Day blogs on the Wine Trail Traveler website:

Take Mom to a Winery for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day Recipes

Mother’s Day Gift Idea – Grapeseed Oil

How to Choose a Wine for Mother’s Day!


Take Mom to a Winery for Mother’s Day

Visit a winery for Mother’s Day!

Visiting a winery can be a delightful experience. With so many types of wineries in many regions, there is likely a winery that will provide the experience or event that you and your Mother will appreciate. Check the wineries in your local area to find out what is happening this weekend! Below is list to help you get started.

Of course, if you would rather spend some time in the kitchen to create a dish your Mother would appreciate, check out these Mother’s Day recipe suggestions.


Saturday, May 11

Cambria Estate Winery, California
Event: Sundowner Series
Website Info

Catoctin Breeze Vineyard, Maryland
Event: Live Music
Website Info

Orfila Vineyard and Winery, California
Event: Tunes on the Terrace
Website Info

Painted Stave Distillery, Delaware
Event: The Inaugural Garden Party
Facebook Page

Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards, Oregon
Event: Gourmet Burgers & Brew
Website Info

Robin Hill Farm and Vineyards, Maryland
Event: Lovely Ladies & Mother’s Day Celebration
Website Info

The Winery at Perennial Vineyards, Ohio
Event: Live Music
Website Info

Sunday, May 12

Catoctin Breeze Vineyard, Maryland
Event: Mother’s Day Celebration: Wine, Pizza & Live Music!
Website Info

Effingham Manor and Winery, Virginia
Event: Effingham Queen for a Day
Website Info

Orfila Vineyard and Winery, California
Event: Mother’s Day
Website Info

Painted Stave Distillery, Delaware
Event: Mother’s Day Drag Brunch
Event: Cool Mom’s Brunch

Facebook Page

Pearmund Cellars, Virginia
Event: Mother’s Day Celebration
Website Info

Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery, Virginia
Event: Mother’s Day Brunch
Website Info

Vint Hill Craft Winery, Virginia
Event: Mother’s Day Event
Website Info

Youngberg Hill, OR
Event: Mother’s Day Market
Website Information

Mother’s Day Recipes

Recipes for Mother’s Day

This year celebrate Mother’s Day by spending some time in the kitchen to create a tasty dish for your special Mother. Wine Trail Traveler offers an assortment of recipes but also has specific recipe suggestions for Mother’s Day. 

Below we have added a recipe from Ocean Mist Farms for Instant Pot Lemon and Herb White Wine Artichokes. If your Mom enjoys artichokes try this recipe out.

If you don’t live close enough to cook for your special Mother, be sure to give her a call this Mother’s Day.




Instant Pot Lemon and Herb White Wine Artichokes


3 artichokes
1/2 c white wine
2 thyme sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
1/2 stick of butter
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp minced thyme
1/2 tsp minced rosemary
Lemon wedges


  1. Cut the top one third of artichokes off and trim bottom stem flush with the base.
  2. Trim off the prickly point of each leaf with a pair of kitchen scissors.
  3. Rub a cut lemon over the artichoke to prevent it from browning.
  4. Add wine, thyme sprigs and rosemary sprigs to Instant Pot.
  5. Add rack to instant pot and place artichokes on top.
  6. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove artichokes and set aside.
  8. Remove rack and whole herbs.
  9. Add butter, garlic, minced thyme and rosemary to the instant pot and turn on saute mode until butter is melted and sauce is aromatic.
  10. Pour some of butter sauce over artichokes and serve with lemon slices and remaining sauce for dipping.

Recipe provided by Ocean Mist Farms

The Romantic Danube: Hungary, A Teach and Taste Experience

Hungarian Wine Teach & Taste

On Sunday, May 5, Terry and Kathy offered two 2-hour presentation, The Romantic Danube: Hungary, a Teach and Taste experience. The Teach and Taste experiences  have a new format for 2019. Each wine enthusiast sits at the table and is provided with wines and food pairings. Terry explains the wine  details and why the food matches with the wine.

The Romantic Danube: Hungary presentation included six Hungarian wines with six different foods, winemaking and vineyard details, Hungarian geography and history. Photos from our recent visit to Hungary, added a colorful look at the wines of Hungary and added to everyone’s fun experience.

Terry talked about the thousands of years of winemaking, Hungarian indigenous varietal grapes, the influence of the Communist era, Tokaj and much more. The food pairings included Pogacsa (Hungarian cheese biscuits), Melon wrapped with Prosciutto, pasta salad, Hungarian Goulash, Chicken Tenders and a Cheese & Fruit plate. Terry included a few of the Hungarian wine vocabulary words such as Borbirtok for wine estate and Egészségedre for cheers!

Yesterday, the favorite Hungarian wine was the Sparkling Furmint from Garamvári, that was produced with the Furmint grape variety. We also had  from Garamvári the Irsai Olivér wine.

Likely the most unusual wine was Csoka from Vylyan. This wine was produced with the indigenous Csókaszölö grape variety. The third wine were the Hangacs Egri Bikaver from St. Andrea Szölöbirtok, a blend of Kékfrankos, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Kadarka. This was followed by the Kékfrankos wine from Takler Borbirtok and the final wine was sweet wine – a Tokaj Szamorodni from Gróf Degenfeld Winery. This sweet wine was produced with Furmint, Kabar and Zeta.

Based on a quick survey everyone enjoyed discovering some of the Hungarian wines. Be sure to look for Hungarian wines at your local wine shop.

Kathy and Terry

Weird Wine Event this Sunday

Big Cork will offer Russian Kiss wine May 5 at Weird Wine event in Baltimore.

On Sunday, May 5, a most unusual wine tasting is taking place in Baltimore, Maryland. Weird Wine is the event and will feature unique wines produces by numerous Maryland wineries.

Tickets are available online.

General admission tickets are $35 and offers the following:

  • Sample 12 of the wines available
  • A stemless souvenir glass
  • A custom popcorn bar
  • Weird Wine vinyl sticker

VIP tickets are $50 and the benefits include all of the above general benefits and

  • Samples of all 30 and more wines
  • Gourmet grazing station of charcuterie, cheese and focaccia
  • One full-size glass of wine
  • A 6-bottle wine tote.

Take advantage of this opportunity to taste unusual wines. Some of the unique wines available include:

Witty White Merlot
Crabapple Imperial
Northern Spy
Russian Kiss.

Other wines will have more common names, but if you attend the Weird Wine event on Sunday, you will likely discover why they are weird. Look for unusual ingredients some winemakers are using in their wines such as coffee and locust blossoms.

We have visited Big Cork Vineyards who produces the Russian Kiss wine. At the time we tasted the 2013 Russian Kiss and wrote this description, “Russian Kiss 2013 was a blend of three grapes including XIV, SK-77 and Muscat Canelli. The pale yellow colored wine offered a very floral aroma with tropical fruit notes. The taste was of orange blossoms, mango, peach and nectarine. The finish was crisp with a long aftertaste of fruit.

If you are looking for a fun wine tasting event, the Weird Wine event sponsored by the Maryland Wineries Association and Baltimore Magazine, might be just what you are looking for.


Rosé All May

45 North Vineyard & Winery, Leelanau Peninsula

During the entire month of May, wineries on the Leelanau Wine Trail are celebrating Rosé wines with the Rosé All May event. The wineries on Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan are producing a wide range of rosés and during the month of May, the wineries are celebrating rosé wines.

The tickets at $20 a piece are good for the entire month of May. Wine enthusiasts can taste rosés at 23 different wineries. The list of wineries participating in Rosé All Day include:

  • Aurora Cellars
  • Bel Lago Vineyard & Winery
  • BigLittle
  • Black Star Farms
  • Blustone Vineyards
  • Boathouse Vineyards
  • Chateau Fontaine
  • Ciccone Vineyard & Winery
  • 45 North Vineyard & Winery
  • French Valley Vineyards
  • Glen Arbor Wines
  • Good Harbor Vineyards
  • Green Bird Organic Cellars
  • Laurentide Winery
  • Leelanau Cellars
  • M22 Tasting Room
  • Mawby
  • Rove Estate
  • Shady Lane Cellars
  • Silver Leaf Vineyard & Winery
  • Two K Farms
  • Verterra Winery
  • Willow Vineyards

Tickets are available online.

Black Star Farms Inn, Michigan

Wine Trail Traveler has visited many of the northern Michigan wineries. Michigan winery articles and photos are available online.

In addition, we had the opportunity to stay at the Black Star Farms Inn during one of our visits to Michigan. We wrote a review of our lovely stay at the Inn.

Enjoy a visit to Leelanau Peninsula soon!


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