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Pearmund Cellars Safely Continues March Barrel Tastings

Pearmund Cellars has announced that they will continue their traditional spring barrel tastings in March 2021. However, the winery is taking special precautions because of the pandemic.

Barrel room at Pearmund Cellars, VA

The Event:

  • Tasting 2020 wines from the barrels and some tanks
  • Learn about the winemaking process
  • Discover Pearmund Cellars techniques

When: Weekends during March 2021
March 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, and 28

How to Attend:
Make reservations online on Eventbrite

Pearmund Cellars Cares About Your Safety

According to the information in a recent email, Pearmund Cellars is focused on everyone’s safety. The safety protocol for this event is described as: “To ensure safety and comfort, the tastings will be done classroom style in our tank room with pre-poured wines at specific times. Between sessions, the area will be sanitized. Total of 10 people per session, with tables properly distanced.”

Price: $35 per person

Pearmund Cellars
6190 Georgetown Road
Broad Run, Virginia


It’s National Margarita Day!

Round Barn’s Sangria Cocktail

Today, February 22, 2021 is National Margarita Day. The recipe below is from Round Barn Winery, Brewery and Distillery in Baroda, Michigan.

Round Barn’s Sangarita Cocktail Recipe 

• 1.5oz Round Barn Distillery’s Blue Flame Agave
• 2oz Sour Mix
• 1oz Triple Sec
Round Barn’s Flavor Trip Red Sangria


  1. Fill glass 1/3 way full of ice.
  2. Pour in agave, sour mix, and triple sec.
  3. Top the rest of the glass with red sangria.
  4. Squeeze 1 lime wedge into the glass.
  5. Garnish with a lime wedge.

While enjoying a margarita ask yourself:

  1. Do you know what you need to make a margarita?
  2. Have you every made a margarita?
  3. How do you most enjoy a margarita? Over ice or frozen.
  4. Do you like a salted rim glass or a glass without any salt?
  5. Do you know where the largest margarita was made? (This must have been in the days before we knew about COVID. The large margarita was produced  in Las Vegas. It took 60 people 300 hours to down it.
  6. What unique item was in a $64,360.25 margarita? A diamond.

The recipe does not come close to the $64,000 price tag for the above margarita recipe that was sent to us. Enjoy the recipe from Round Barn for today or any day throughout the year.

The above questions are based on information from Margarita page on https://nationaltoday.com.

Distillery at Round Barn, MI

See the article about Round Barn Winery, Brewery and Distillery on Wine Trail Traveler.com. When you have the opportunity, visit Round Barn Winery, Brewery and Winery.


Messina Hof Uses Augmented Reality on Three Labels

Messina Hof Winery is the first Texas winery to use augmented reality on some of their wine bottle labels. Augmented Reality, or AR, is a technology that can superimpose computer images while viewing the real world. An easy example of this is watching football games on television. The producers color the line of scrimmage and the line that needs to be reached for a first down. Those lines were computer generated, they are not on the field of play. This example of AR can enhance the experience for the viewers of the game by letting them know if the offense is close to a first down or if the defense is stopping the offense. But what about wine bottles?

AR turns wine bottle label alive with a gentle shower.

Can Augmented Reality enhance the wine experience? After viewing several videos of posts showing AR wine bottle labels, I would conclude that whether AR enhances the wine experience depends on the individual and the AR experience after the novelty wears off. One wine producer crafted several wines with individual heads on the labels. During the AR experience the head talks and you hear what is said. It is more about the person on the label than the wine in the bottle. Another example viewed showed how a husband/wife team met, married and work in a vineyard, winery and sharing the fruits of their labors. This example of AR allows the viewer to learn about the winery and its owners who made the wine in the bottle. What about Messina Hof’s AR?

This bottle was sitting on a puzzle with the AR surrounding the bottle.

If you are interested in the novelty of seeing a wine bottle label come to life, Messina Hof has done a great job; however, they went beyond novelty. The three Messina Hof wines that feature AR have unique proprietary names Vitality, Abounding and Emblaze. These names go with the images on the labels and the AR experience. One has to download to their phone or tablet the Messina Hof app. Then they can aim the camera on their device at the wine bottle label and see a grapevine sprout from the ground and grow twirling around the wine bottle. A cluster of grapes form on the vine and ripen. The narration mentions, rather philosophically, the name of the wine. As you are viewing the AR on your phone or tablet, notice the background beyond the wine bottle and AR, it is your surface that the bottle rests on, in our case a jigsaw puzzle in progress.

How does Messina Hof AR wine labels enhance the wine experience? Listen to the narration, perhaps playing it more than once. Questions about the content come to mind. These questions can spark dinner table conversations. The AR experience along with the wine, food and friends can add a dimension to the experience.


This yellow colored wine was a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Blanc. The wine had 12% alcohol. The very aromatic aroma had traces of flowers and tropical fruit with a hint of lemon. The taste included honeysuckle, citrus and melon while the finish was 

crisp, refreshing and cleansing. Use the wine as an aperitif or paired with cheeses, poultry or fish.

Vitality Table Talk

1. Discuss the importance of rain to agriculture.

2. Specifically for grapevines, when is the best time of the year for rain?

3. What is the worst time of the year for grapevines to receive rain?

4. Is rain better for vineyards or should irrigation of the vines be used where allowed?

5. What was your impression of augmented reality (AR) as it played?


The Abounding dry red wine was crafted with grapes from the Texas High Plains AVA. The 13.5% alcohol wine was a blend of Merlot, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, Primitivo, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The translucent dark ruby colored wine had an aroma of a fruit salad of dark berry fruits and other black fruits. The taste was reminiscent of leather, black raspberries, blackcaps, earthiness-forest floor and black cherries. The wine had a medium-full body with mild tannins. The finish had a nice integration of fruit and oak influences. Pair the wine with beef dishes.

Abounding Table Talk

1.  Raise your glass to a toast for the harvest. Why aren’t all harvests the same year after year?

2.  What vineyard conditions, during the year, provide an abundance of fruit?

3. Why do some vine growers drop fruit?

4. What was your impression of the augmented reality (AR) as it played?


Messina Hof’s use of AR leads to discussion.

Emblaze with 12% alcohol was a proprietary blend. The wine had a translucent dark ruby color with a dark pink hue. Black fruit was on the aroma. The taste was slightly sweet with black raspberries and black plums. It reminded me of a black fruit pie. The wine had a medium/full body with mild tannins. Pair this wine with a rocking chair in front of a fireplace or wood burning stove on a cold, snowy day.

Emblaze Table Talk

1. How well does this wine pair with a fire on a cold winter’s day?

2. Does the wine provide warmth and comfort?

3. If port is too alcoholic for you, can Emblaze be used instead of a port?

4. What was your impression of augmented reality (AR) as it played?

The use of AR on wine bottle labels can bridge the gap between the wine consumer and the winegrowers and winemakers, especially during the time of the pandemic.


Valentine’s Day with Chocolate and Wine

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Effingham Manor and Winery in Nokesville, Virginia is offering a special treat for Valentine’s Day weekend and the following weekend. The winery is partnering with a local company, Artisan Confections to offer a tasting experience of wine and chocolate. Artisan Confections is located in Arlington, Virginia.

Effingham Manor & Winery, VA

Reservations are necessary. Each session is limited to 10 participants. Reservations may be made on Eventbrite.

Beginning Saturday February 13, Effingham Manor is offering ‘Something Sweet’ at the winery. The focus is on pairing wine and chocolate. More wine and chocolate tastings are scheduled for February 14 – Valentine’s Day and the following weekend. Each day the wine and chocolate tastings take place at 12, 2pm and 4pm. Each event will last 60 to 90 minutes. This special sweet event at Effingham Manor includes a welcome glass of sparkling wine followed by five wine and chocolate pairings. Cost: $35 per person

If your favorite person enjoys wine and loves chocolate, this event may be the perfect way to show you care.

Effingham’s Merlot

We visited and wrote an article about Effingham Manor and Winery. It is a delightful site that includes a lovely historical perspective. Check out the online article.

Are you ready for Valentine’s Day?


A Valentine’s Gourmet Dinner with Lanson Champagne

According to the information I received, Lanson Champagne is working with H.G Walter, an important butcher in England, to provide the main dish for a special gourmet Valentine’s Day dinner at home.

Champagne at Lanson Champagne

This year for Valentine’s Day, fortunate people in England, are able to order a special dinner for two that includes a bottle of Lanson Champagne. Vegetarians will be pleased to know that a vegan option is also available.

This offer appears to be a great way to enjoy Valentine’s Day with someone special and maintain safety during the pandemic. The Gourmet Food Boxes should be ordered by February 10 and will be delivered February 13 to be enjoyed on Valentine’s Day.

What’s Included in the Gourmet Food Box?

In addition to a bottle of Lanson Champagne, this meal includes three courses.


  • Lanson  Le Rosé


  • Oak smoked salmon, horseradish crème fraïche, pickled cucumbers, beetroot and apple remoulade
  • Served with sour rye kernel and cultured whipped butter


  • Hereford beef fillet Wellington, sandy carrot puree, crispy Pomme Anna potato, sprouting broccoli and bone marrow beef jus


  • Chocolate fondant, salted caramel sauce with Chantilly cream

According the email I received, “To be enjoyed with partners, friends or family, the Lanson Gourmet Food Box comes with cooking instructions and will be delivered straight to your door in stylish plastic free boxes using Wool Cool thermal insulation.”

All of this for 130£ for a dinner for two. Preorders can be made now.

This is a great concept for wineries and consumers, especially during the pandemic. Consumers can get ideas from the menu items and purchase a bottle of  champagne and make Valentine’s Day or any day special.

Wineries can capitalize on local foods to enjoy with a bottle of their wine or sparkling wine. This concept makes it more convenient for consumers to stay a bit safer during the pandemic or other difficult times.

I have to admit though, I wish I was in England to order a Lanson Champagne’s Lanson Gourmet Food Box.

Lanson Champagne

If you want to know more about Lanson Champagne, read the article about the champagne house we wrote a few short years ago.


A Special Chocolate Cocktail for Valentine’s Day

It is not too early to start thinking about how to celebrate Valentine’s Day with someone special. Despite the pandemic, we can still remember friends, family and loved ones while still being careful not to spread COVID.

From Round Barn Winery, Brewery and Distillery in Michigan comes a recipe for a Chocolate Covered Cocktail. You’ll find the recipe is easy as long as you have the ingredients.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cocktail

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cocktail

3oz Farm Market Cherry Wine
12oz Oronooko Cocoa Chocolate Milk Stout (or a Chocolate Milk Stout)
Chocolate sprinkles


Rim half of the glass with chocolate sprinkles. Pour in Cherry wine first. Fill the glass with the Oronoko Cocoa (or a Cocoa Stout of your choice).


We visited and wrote an article about Round Barn Winery, Brewery and Distillery several years ago. The round barn was built in Indiana.The building is very unique and was saved by the Moersch family a short time before it was to be demolished. The vintage building was carefully taken down by Amish workers and transported to Michigan where it was rebuilt by Amish craftsmen. 

Round Barn Winery, Brewery and Distillery, MI

For more about Round Barn Winery, Brewery and Distillery including photos read the online Wine Trail Traveler article.

Future Blog: Later this week discover how some people can celebrate Valentine’s Day in England in 2021.

Cheers! Kathy

Trentodoc Sparkling Wines Have Unique Characteristics

Last week we had the opportunity to learn more about the Italian wine region Trentodoc via Zoom. The Zoom presentation was delightfully well-prepared and in addition we enjoyed a delicious Ferrari sparkling wine from the Trentodoc region.

The tagline for Trentodoc is “Sparkling Wines from the Mountains.” The wine region is located in Trentino in northern Italy, not far from the Dolomites. The presentation included colorful, seasonal photos of the vineyards located on slopes with surrounding mountains.

The Trentodoc Trademark

“The Trademark is a seal of belonging, indicating territorial origin, quality assurance with the value-added features of brands that are already well-known and appreciated.”

Trentodoc winemakers are focused on tradition, territory and long aging. The DOC appellation, established in 1993, was the first appellation in Italy for champenoise sparkling wine.

The majority of the land in Trentino is located at more than 1000 meters (3,281 feet) above sea level. The Trentodoc vineyards can be found as high as 900 meters (2953 feet) above sea level. According to the presentation, “It is the only champenoise sparkling wine in the world produced in a mountain environment.”

Today the Trentodoc vineyards comprise of 750 hectares (1,853 acres). The vineyards are farmed sustainably.

Regulations for Trentodoc

Grapes varieties allowed include: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Meunier. Trentodoc produces both white and rosé sparkling wines. The wineries are limited to 150 tons per hectare. Irrigation is allowed only for emergencies.

Aging Categories

  • Brut: 15 months
  • Single-vintage: 24 months
  • Riserva: 36 months on lees

Some of the wine producers age their sparkling wines on the lees for as along as 10 years.


In addition to the informative presentation and the wine tasting, we found the research intriguing. A three year study analyzed 43 Trentodoc wine samples. “They were founded 1,700 volatile compounds (ten times more than those known to date and in amounts similar to more complex prestigious red wines), 200 of the volatile compounds, are specific to Trentodoc.” 

A number of (100) aromatic compounds were produced because of wide temperature changes. It was noted that these aromatic changes were not caused by the way the wines were produced but rather to the temperature changes. “These results indicates a strong link with the mountain territory: if a metodo classico sparkling wine contains a significant amount of these compounds, this means that specific grapes are used and that that wine can only be Trentodoc.”

Trentodoc Wine Tasting

The Ferrari Perlé 2014, TrentoDoc had a yellow color with light gold hue. The 12.5% alcohol sparkling wine was as impressive as it was complex. Multiple columns of tiny bubbles formed a central and circumferential mousse on the wine’s surface. The columns of bubbles continued to last while the wine was tasted. The wine aged for 50 months on the lees. Made entirely with hand harvested Chardonnay grapes, the aroma was reminiscent of apples and freshly baked bread. On the taste there was apple, freshly baked bread, citrus and mineral like chalk. The mouthfeel was lively. The finish was refreshing and cleansing with plenty of fruit. We have an apple pie that is begging to be matched with the Ferrari Perlé 2014.

The next time you are looking for a sparkling wine, ask at your local wine shop about Trentodoc wines.

Terry and Kathy

International Tempranillo Day

2015 El Cuentista, a white wine made with 100% Tempranillo
2015 El Cuentista, a white wine made with 100% Tempranillo

For wine enthusiasts, international grape variety days gives a cause to celebrate different grapes. In 2020, on November 12th, we can celebrate International Tempranillo Day. The grape is native to Spain, and is also planted in other countries throughout the world including the United States. Our favorite Tempranillo from the United States is from Southern Oregon.

This year, to celebrate the day, we tasted five Tempranillo wines from Pradorey winery in the Ribera del Duero wine region of Spain. The winery sent us samples. For this blog post, Terry wrote haikus for each wine rather than traditional wine notes. The wines included a white Tempranillo and a Tempranillo made in earthen vessels called tinaja. 

2015 El Cuentista, a white wine made with 100% Tempranillo


White Tempranillo
Nectarines and vanilla
Fruit and mineral.

2015 Finca Valdelayegua, Tempranillo with a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot


Single vineyard blend
Garnet color with black fruits
Spicy notes throughout.

2016 Adaro, 100% Tempranillo


Adaro – founder.
A tribute with berry fruits
Baking spice finish.

2014 Élite, 100% Tempranillo


Elite the unique,
Great fruit, spice, body, tannins.
Drinks expensively.

2016 El Buen Alfareo, 100% Tempranillo made in tinaja


A good potter wine.
Grown in earth; made in earth.
No oak, delicious.


Learn About Maryland Wines the Easy Way

Prolific vineyards in Maryland

If you want to discover the wines produced in Maryland, the Maryland Wine Association has established a program called Maryland Wine Explorer.

During October 2020, the association began offering the Maryland Wine Explorer program. This allows wine enthusiasts to order Maryland wines and have it delivered. 

During the ongoing pandemic and safety issues, this program offers consumers a safe way to purchase Maryland wines. The program also makes it much easier to obtain Maryland wines by online ordering rather than traveling to wineries.

Below is a brief description of the Maryland Wine Explorer program.

Included in Maryland Wine Explorer

In addition to receiving direct shipments of wine, wine enthusiasts also have access to:

  • Wine Flash sales
  • Curated Maryland Wine Packs
  • Maryland Wine Explorer Club subscriptions

Maryland Wine Explorer accounts are free to setup. According to the website, there are several benefits for becoming a subscriber. “Subscribers earn discounted pack pricing, a 10% discount on all store orders (club packs do not qualify for additional discounts,) and flat rate shipping on all orders. 

Additionally, as a Maryland Wine Explorer Club Subscriber, you gain early access to future flash sales, exclusive wine releases, and subscriber-only packs, such as the “Governor’s Cup Case“ of top wines from our annual, professionally-judged, competition.

The benefits of subscribing don’t end with wine! Maryland Wine Explorer Club Subscribers will be invited to exclusive virtual and live events and will gain early access to event ticket sales.”

Currently Maryland wines through the Maryland Wine Explorer Club include:

Flash Sale Wines: Chardonnays, white blends, Vignoles, Pinot Grigio. The Flash Sale wines are only available while they last. 

Specialty packs are also available depending on the season. For instance, currently a Thanksgiving Pack is available. This holiday special includes one bottle of a sparkling Barbera rosé,  one bottle of dry Pyment (mead-wine blend) and a bottle of a red Bordeaux Blend.Three-packs and six-packs are sent out quarterly to subscribers. For Fall 2020 the options available are: 

Red Wine Pack: Available as a 3-pack or 6-pack
White Wine Pack: Available as a 3 pack and 6-pack

Currently, shipping for the Maryland Wine Explorer is only available to Maryland residents. Watch for updates when shipping may be available outside of the state.


Country Style Spareribs with Red Wine Recipe

Choose a dry red wine for Country Style Pork Spareribs

If you have plenty of time this recipe for Country Style Pork Spareribs from SCHUG Winery is one to be sure to try. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of a dry red wine and the suggested wine to pair with this entree is SCHUG Cabernet Sauvignon. The recipe starts with grilling the spareribs and then using a slow cooker. I suggest reading the entire recipe before beginning.

Cheers and Happy Cooking!

Country Style Pork Spareribs with Herbed Balsamic Glaze and Fresh Tomato Relish
Pair with SCHUG Cabernet Sauvignon


  • 6 country style pork spareribs about 5-6 lbs total
  • Salt and pepper


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 c onion cut into very thin 1-inch slices
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • Salt large pinch
  • ½ c dry red wine
  • ½ c balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T rosemary fresh, very finely chopped
  • 2 T thyme fresh, very finely chopped
  • 1 T black pepper freshly ground



1. Prepare Grill: Several hours before spareribs are to be served, turn grill on to medium-high heat, or prepare charcoal grill to medium-high heat.

2. Grill spareribs: Place spareribs on a sheet pan covered with two layers of foil. Generously salt and pepper them. Grill spareribs until very nicely browned on all sides, taking care to not let them break apart. It is not important for the meat to fully cook them, just to get them nice and browned/marked. Remove foil used for raw spareribs and put the grilled ones on the clean foil.

3. Continue cooking spareribs in a slow cooker: After grilling, place the spareribs into a slow cooker and fill with enough water to just cover them. Add a generous spoonful of salt to the water. Turn slow cooker to its “Low” setting and simmer pork for about 3 hours or until the meat is completely tender. Set aside one cup of pork broth, then carefully remove meat to a rack on a sheet pan covered with foil. Allow meat to drip dry for a few minutes. Brush glaze on all sides of spareribs and let dry for a couple minutes then brush them again. Do this several times until the ribs are a deep rich brown color.* Place the spareribs into a preheated 350 F oven, bake for about 30 minutes or until heated through.

4. Make Glaze: Prepare glaze while meat simmers. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir and cook for a minute or two. Add the onion slices and stir and cook several minutes or until they are translucent and soft. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the sugar. Cook onions until they are a deeper shade of brown, 6 or 7 minutes or so. Add the salt, red wine, and vinegar. Simmer glaze for several minutes or until it has reduced and thickened a little. Remove from heat, add herbs and pepper, then set aside until spareribs are tender.

5. Make relish once spareribs have been glazed and are in the oven: Heat a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and, when it is hot, add the minced garlic. Stir and cook the garlic for a minute or just until it is golden. Add pork broth and the rest of the glaze. Increase heat to high, then reduce to a simmer once sauce boils. Reduce liquid until it is fairly thick, allow to cool slightly, then add the tomatoes and herbs.

6. Serve recipe: Place each of the six hot spare ribs onto a serving plate and ladle a generous spoonful of the Tomato Relish over the top of each one. Add side dishes of choice to the plates and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

*At this point the spareribs can be put into a container, sealed and refrigerated for up to two days. Continue the recipe with reheating the spareribs.

Recipe provided by SCHUG Winery in California.

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