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Charity and Wine Events Weekend October 1 & 2

This next weekend, October 1 and 2, many charity and wine events are taking place across the country. Check out the charity and wine activities listed below.

Vineyards at Charles Krug

Vineyards at Charles Krug

23rd Annual Hands Across the Valley is a benefit for the Napa County Safety Net Food Programs. This charity takes place at The Historic Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena.
Date: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Time: 4:00pm to 10pm
Tickets area available online.

Barra Winery

Barra Winery

The Mendocino College Foundation Gala Harvest Festival helps the Mendocino College Foundation. The proceeds help to provide scholarships, support for instructional programs and funding for the Nursing Program.

Wineries participating in the Gala Harvest Festival include: Barra Winery, Bink Wines, Bonterra, Campovida, Coro Mendocino, Enoteca, Foursight Wines, Frey Winery, Greenwood Ridge, Handley Cellars, Husch Vineyards, Jaxon Keys, Kimmel Vineyards, Knez Winery, McNab Ridge, McFadden Farm, Naughty Boy, Panthea, Parducci, Philo Ridge, Seebass Vineyards, Simaine Cellars, Saracina Vineyards, Testa Vineyards, and Yorkville Cellars. (Articles about visiting many of these wineries are available online.)
Date: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Time:  2pm to 6pm
Location: Mendocino College

7th Annual Whiskers & Wine will benefit the animals at the Bradshaw Animal Shelter in Sacramento, California. This event includes wine & beer tasting, silent auction, Lucky Dog Raffle, live music and a buffet.
Date: October 1, 2016
Time: 5:30pm to 9pm
Location: 3839 Bradshaw Road, Sacramento, California

St. Francis Winery’s 16th Annual Blessing of the Animals This event will benefit the Sonoma Humane Society.
Date: Sunday, October 2, 2016
Time: 2pm to 5pm
Location: St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, Santa Rosa, California

Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards: Glorious Bites Contest

Lobster and Brie Dos Wins Semi-Final

Lobster and Brie Dos Wins Semi-Final

Over the past weeks, Gloria Ferrer has sponsored a special contest for food lovers and wine lovers. Participants who participated were to create an appetizer that paired with Gloria Ferrer’s Sonoma Brut, a delicious, yummy mouth exploding sparkling wine produced in the traditional champagne method.

We were pleased to be invited to the semi-final event taking place in Washington DC at one of the Union Kitchen facilities. We will be writing a whole lot more about the experience but check out these photos from last Thursday.

Maryland Chef Wins the Washington DC Semi-final of Gloria Ferrer’s Glorious Bites Challenge

Jerry Edwards winner of the Gloria Ferrer's Glorious Bites Challenge semi-final in Washington DC

Jerry Edwards winner of the Gloria Ferrer’s Glorious Bites Challenge semi-final in Washington DC

Jerry Edwards of Timonium, Maryland bested five other semi-finalists from the region, after creating an appetizer to pair with a Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut. Jerry will move on to the finals in October at Gloria Ferrer in Sonoma, California. His appetizer, Lobster and Brie Dogs, will square off against two other semi-finalists, one from the Los Angeles, California semi-final and one from the Austin, Texas semi-final.

This is the second year Gloria Ferrer put on the Glorious Bites Challenge. They had over 1,800 appetizer entries from 44 states. Only 18 people were invited to the semi-finals in three locations. These winners will compete at Gloria Ferrer for the $5,000 prize. Jerry is one step closer to the cash after impressing the four judges last night at Union Kitchen off New York Avenue in Washington DC. The six chefs drew corks with numbers 1 and 2 written on the corks. The three that had the number 1 collected their ingredients and spread out at three cooking stations. A time was set and the chefs started creating their master pieces. They had 30 minutes to cook and assemble the dish they hoped would impress the judges.

Jerry preparing his appetizer Lobster and Brie Dogs

Jerry preparing his appetizer Lobster and Brie Dogs

At times, the kitchen area reminded me of some of the challenges in the tv series “Hell’s Kitchen.” The chefs had to face the challenges of cooking in a kitchen they were not use to, and the media people and well wishers who were taking photo after photo while they were working. This attention did not bother another chef, Ronna Farley of Rockville, Maryland. After the competition, Ronna said, “I had a ball.”

When the short 30 minutes were up, plates with the appetizers were delivered to the judges who set to the task of scoring each appetizer. The paparazzi-like photographers in the room swarmed around the appetizers that were placed on a table in front of the kitchen area. The four judges did take a break while the second group of three chefs created their appetizers. In the end, after a drum roll, the winner was announced and Jerry’s smile was infectious.

Lobster and Brie Dos

Lobster and Brie Dos

We caught up with Jerry earlier during the evening. We asked how he tackled creating an appetizer that would pair with the Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut. Jerry stated, “The wine is already made.” So his plan was to create an appetizer that would compare and contrast with the sparkling wine. The green apple in his recipe compared with the brut while the richness of the brie contrasted with the wine. Jerry is a professional chef. He owns his own catering company, Chef Expressions in Lutherville, Maryland.

The six chefs who competed at Union Kitchen represented only one percent of the chefs throughout the country that entered the competition. These semi-finalists included:

The six chefs in the Washington DC semi-final of the Gloria Ferrer's Glorious Bites Challenge

The six chefs in the Washington DC semi-final of the Gloria Ferrer’s Glorious Bites Challenge

Christina Schurr of Patterson, New York
Josee Lanzi of Newport Ritchie, Florida
Jerry Edwards of Timonium, Maryland
Brett Youmans of Reading, Pennsylvania
Ronna Farley of Rockville, Maryland
Becky Ellis of Roanoke, Virginia

We wish Jerry continued success when he travels to Sonoma to compete in the finals.


Wine Just Off the Vine

The Vineyard at Hershey

The Vineyard at Hershey

During November, wineries on the Mason Dixon Wine Trail will be hosting their annual Wine Just off the Wine event. On November 12 and 13 and November 19-20, 17 wineries will participate in this event. A reasonable $20 ticket is available and is good for both weekends. As you visit each winery, your ticket will be stamped at the wineries.

In addition to the wine tastings, participants will receive a 10% discount on purchases and a souvenir wine glass. The wine tastings will include food pairing samples.

Ticket holders will be able to win prizes. To win a prize visit eight wineries and get your ticket stamped. At the last winery you visit, leave the ticket. Your ticket will be entered to win a gift card.

Tickets are available online. Note that there is a limited number of tickets available for this event. Ticket sales end on November 9.

Participating members of the Mason Dixon Wine Trail include:

  • Boordy Vineyards
  • CrossWinds Winery
  • DeJon Vineyard
  • Fiore Winery
  • Four Springs Winery
  • Galloping Goose Vineyards
  • Harford Vineyard &Winery
  • Hauser Estate Winery
  • High Rock Winery
  • Logan’s View Winery
  • Maple Lawn Winery
  • Moon Dancer Winery & Cider House
  • Mount Hope Winery
  • Naylor Wine Cellars
  • Spring Gate Vineyard and Brewery
  • The Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey
  • Thunder Ridge Vineyards

We have visited and written articles about many of these wineries located in Pennsylvania and Maryland that are on the Mason Dixon Wine Trail.

Discover the magic of this area during the fall with brilliant colorful leaves and much more. Plan your autumn trip to wineries along the Mason Dixon Trail soon!

Boordy Vineyards

Boordy Vineyards

Hauser Estate Winery

Hauser Estate Winery


Naylor Wine Cellars

Moon Dancer

Moon Dancer Winery

Four Springs

Four Springs Winery

High Rock

High Rock Winery

24th Annual Autumn Wine Tasting for St. Jude

On Thursday October 13, plan to be at Guastavino’s in New York for the chance to help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Participants in the event will have the opportunity to taste wines from premium wineries, enjoy hors d’oeuvres, participate in raffles and a silent auction.

Tickets are $200 a piece but keep in mind that this is a charity event. If you can’t attend the wine tasting then consider donating any amount online.

Sponsorships are also available. The charity website includes specific details of what each level of sponsorship receives as well as how each sponsorship will help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. For  example, the Wineries Sponsorship at $7,500 could help St. Jude provide 10 children’s wheelchairs and 20 hours of physical therapy. In return the winery sponsor receives 10 event tickets, logo on display at the event on sponsor signage and at each winery table, a full-page ad in the event program and a custom thank-you plaque featuring patient artwork.

Sponsorships available include:

Platinum Sponsor: $25,000
Silver Sponsor: $10,000
Wineries Sponsor: $7,500
Restaurant Sponsor: $5,000
Silent Auction Sponsor: $2,500
Patient Stories Sponsor: $1,500
Friend of St. Jude: $1,000

For more information about the 24th Autumn Wine Tasting for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital visit the website.


Wineries in Paso Robles Win High Points


Vineyards of Ancient Peaks

Vineyards of Ancient Peaks in Paso Robles

While visiting many wineries in the Paso Robles region last spring, we discovered numerous delightful Cabernet Sauvignons. We also attended a presentation at which the winemakers and other wine professionals included details as to why Cabernet Sauvignons produce so ideally in the Paso Robles AVA.

According to a press release from the Paso Robles CAB Collective, the members of the CAB Collective received many scores of more than 90 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

Below is a short list of the Wine Advocate’s 90 plus wines from Paso Robles.

It should be noted that another CAB Collective winery, San Antonio Winery, which recently opened a new facility, was awarded the prestigious Wine of the Year award by Wine Enthusiast.

While visiting wineries participating in the CAB Collective and attending seminars, we also wrote articles about the Paso Robles experiences. Check out all of our Paso Robles articles online.

In 2009 we sourced grapes from Paso Robles for our own Cabernet Sauvignon. You can find out more about our winemaking experiences on the Wine Trail Traveler companions website.


The Film “Burgundy: People with a Passion for Wine”

090516aThe film, Burgundy: People with a Passion for Wine certainly delivers on the passion of the winemakers and people featured in the film. Viewers gain the sense that Burgundy is a special place and the wines crafted are exceptional. During the film, winemakers discuss Burgundy and the wines. The viewer learns that winemaking in Burgundy is a challenge. There are very strict rules. However, the growers and winemakers are quick to point out that within those rules they can show their creativity. We hear winemakers using words like finesse  and elegance to describe Burgundian wines. The wines are a reflection of the place. Terroir is frequently mentioned, with the caveat that from one vineyard to another the nuances may be very little, but in Burgundy they are there. One of my favorite statements was that you can drink Burgundian wine anywhere in the world. “But in Burgundy it tastes better.”

The film, Burgundy: People with a Passion for Wine was filmed by filmmaker and videographer Rudi Goldman. His wife, Dr. Lydia Bokken, was a production partner. Beautiful landscapes, dusty cellars, bricks, quarried stones and  oak barrels are the backgrounds for many of the film’s talent. The film can make you want to travel and experience Burgundy for the first time or a repeat visit.

Some of the passionate wine people are winemakers. Véronique Drouhin-Boss is the fourth generation winemaker at Maison Joseph Drouhin. She brings a personal touch to the wine cellars when she fondly remembers it as her playground. She and her brother use to roller skate in the cellar. Alex Gambal of Maison Alex Gambal links wine to classical music. Philippe Duvernay, co-owner of Chassagne-Montrachet Domaine Coffinet-Duvernay discusses filtered and unfiltered wines. He mentioned that his unfiltered wines are rich and powerful. Winemaker Olivier Leflaive sees wine and food as a marriage. He enjoys seeing how people react to his wine at a dinner table.

The film covers different stages in the winemaking process. Of particular interest is during harvest, some harvesters haul large containers on their backs. These are filled with grapes from other harvesters. After filling the container, the grapes are taken and emptied into a truck. Then the harvester heads back to the vineyard to harvest more grapes. Although the harvesting can challenge one’s muscles, there is always a harvest lunch to look forward to. Once filled, the trucks whisk the grapes to a production facility. In the winery, we see sorting tables and grapes fermenting. One winemaker comments, “While the wine is fermenting it is singing.”

Many Burgundian wines ferment and or age in oak barrels. The filmmaker included the process of barrel making from the cutting of aged trees to the toasting of the barrels. Viewers can observe the splitting of wood, cutting the staves and the hammer force to mold the wood into the barrel shapes. Fire and water are used during the toasting process.

We learn in the film that in Burgundy, winemakers celebrate the differences in the vintages. They do not aspire to make a house wine that is the same each year, rather they let the grapes speak for themselves and relish the differences that each year affords them. The damages of hail are presented, and one feels for the grower that may lose 50% or more of his crop. After a devastating hail storm, there is “a big silence in the village.” Some growers are experimenting with nets to help protect the grapes from hail.

In Burgundy, wine and food are not separate concepts. They go together. The beginning of the film features the marketplace at Beaune where a plethora of foods are for sale. The viewer sees the luncheon La Paulée de Meursault, where hundreds of winemakers attend. A rare glimpse of truffle hunting with trained dogs is shown. Karine Magnin of Les Truffières de Crépey takes her dogs truffle hunting where being in touch with nature is important for Karine and her two dogs. Michelin Chef Laurent Peugeot discusses the differences in wine from several villages and the foods that pair well with the wines.

Viewers also experience the theme of passion that is exhibited with the Wine Brotherhood initiation and the Charity Wine Auction at the Hospices de Beaune.

Rudi Goldman’s film, Burgundy: People with a Passion for Wine is a wonderful film for wine tourists and wine enthusiasts. The passion for wine and food is evident for those who make wine as well as those who make wine disappear. The film makes me want to revisit Burgundy and experience the people with a passion for wine.

The film is planned to launch in Europe in mid-October 2016. The phased-in distribution by EST and VOD rental distribution on different platforms includes the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Benelux, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and South America.


A Perfect Score: The Art , Soul, and Business of a 21st-Century Winery


A Perfect Score by Kathryn and Craig Hall

A Perfect Score by Craig and Kathryn Hall

A Perfect Score: The Art, Soul, and Business of a 21st-Century Winery
Authors: Craig and Kathryn Hall
Publisher: Center Street, New York, Boston, Nashville
Copyright: 2016
ISBN: 9781455535767
Reviewed by Kathy Sullivan, Wine Trail Traveler

This review is based on a review copy. The 200 plus page paperback book is an easy to read book that follows the wine journey of Craig and Kathryn Hall who founded HALL and WALT Wines.

A Perfect Score begins with the story of how Craig and Kathryn met in Dallas, Texas. At the time, they were professionals outside of the wine industry. Kathryn’s careers have included: community activist, lawyer and US Ambassador to Austria. Craig is the founder and chairman of HALL Group based in Dallas. He has authored several books, and is a philanthropist and civic leader.

Kathryn’s interest in wine goes back to her childhood, when she grew up on a vineyard owned by her parents in Mendocino County, California. When Kathryn and Craig met in Dallas, Craig was enchanted with Kathryn, but knew very little about wine. Near the beginning of their relationship, Craig asked Kathryn if a rosé was made by mixing red and white wines. For wine lovers and wine enthusiast readers, this provides a bit of humor. Overtime, Craig became passionate about the wine industry.

Eventually Kathryn and Craig established HALL Wines in Napa Valley, which was later followed by WALT Wines. A Perfect Score details the Halls’ trials and successes, including: searching for their first vineyard, dealing with Napa Valley regulations, hiring great employees, the 2007-2008 economic downturn, financial strains, weather difficulties affecting the vineyards, selling wines, charity events and much more.

Craig and Kathryn wrote A Perfect Score together as a couple. It is written in such a way that it tends to draw the reader in as a part of the scenario. The reader gets a sense of the emotions that the Halls must have felt as they worked to create their dream. The center of the book offers several pages of black and white photos of various special moments for the Hall family.

In addition to the Halls developing the HALL and WALT wineries and vineyards, A Perfect Score devotes many pages to the importance of well-maintained vineyards, and the importance of the winemaking techniques especially in regard to creating great Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir wines. The book depicts the owners as very passionate about producing great wines.

Throughout A Perfect Score, the Halls mention many names of wine and political people they have met and who have been associated with as they developed their Napa Valley wineries. Familiar names mentioned in the book include the Mondavis and Senator Tom Daschle.

A Perfect Score culminates with the Halls receiving a 100 point score from Robert Parker in 2013 for their 2010 HALL Exzellenz Cabernet Sauvignon. As noted in the book, the 2010 year was a very difficult year for Napa Valley Vineyards. The Perfect Score details many of the steps the HALL staff took to mitigate the bad weather affects on the vineyards.

A Perfect Score emphasizes the hard work, risk taking, years and the money required to successfully be involved in the wine industry. Anyone who enjoys a good glass of wine is likely to appreciate the story of the Halls’ wine journey as it is depicted in A Perfect Score: The Art, Soul, and Business of a 21st-Century Winery.

The Perfect Score is available online at Amazon and the Hall Wines online store.

Chicken Picatta Recipe with White Wine

Early this summer, while visiting wineries in Western Pennsylvania, we met Dr. McCarthy at Christian W. Klay winery. Dr. McCarthy of Dr. McCarthy’s Kitchen kindly sent us the recipe below for Chicken Picatta which calls for 1/2 cup of white wine. Dr. McCarthy is the sister of the winery owner and moved from New York to live near family in Pennsylvania. She described her journey to owning a restaurant which included renovating a historic barn for the site of the restaurant. We learned from Dr. McCarthy that her restaurant menu focuses on eating delicious, healthy foods. Find out more about Dr. McCarthy’s Kitchen on Facebook.

Chicken Picatta
Servings: 6


6 nine oz pounded boneless chicken breast filets
2 tablespoons EVOO
1 tablespoon butter
12 tablespoons flour
2 eggs beaten
3 tablespoons capers
3 crushed garlic cloves
1 finely minced shallot
1 tablespoon finely minced sundried tomatos
2 tablespoons diced prosciutto
1/2 cup reduced chicken broth
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup campare tomatos
6 large basil leaves chiffonade
6 slices of fresh mozzarella
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound angel hair


  1. Coat chicken in flour then egg wash then back to flour.
  2. Sauté garlic, shallots, sun dried tomato and proscuitto in half the  EVOO and butter.
  3. In separate pan sauté the coated chicken.
  4. Boil angel hair according to directions.
  5. After garlic and shallots are translucent, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until flavors marry.
  6. Place angel hair on a plate; top with chicken, sauce and a slice of mozzarella.

Dr. McCarthy’s Kitchen is located at:

1186 National Pike
Hopwood, PA 15445


Two Virginia Wineries Remember September 11th

Pearmund Cellars in Virginia

Pearmund Cellars in Virginia

Pearmund Cellars in Broad Run, Virginia is honoring the memory of 911 with a special on Sunday, September 11. Visitors will discover that Pearmund Cellars is donating $3 to the New Baltimore Volunteer Fire & Rescue for each bottle of wine sold. What a great way to help! It is a win-win for wine lovers and the New Baltimore Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department.

Vine Hill Craft Winery in Vint Hill, VA

Vine Hill, Virginia

At another winery located in Vint Hill, Virginia, Vint Hill Craft Winery is also remembering 911 by offering fire, rescue and airline employees and volunteers a free wine tasting.

In addition to the free tastings on Sunday, Vint Hill will be the site of the Art Journaling event. This special event takes place from 2 to 4. Participants do not need to have art or writing experience. The cost is $30 plus $7 for a journal (if it’s your first time.) Register online.

Congratulations to Pearmund Cellars and Vint Hill Craft Winery for continuing to remember the tragedy of 911 and to honor those we have lost.


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