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Gersing Cellars Shell Viognier

Gersing Cellars Shell Viognier

Late yesterday afternoon, after a day of preparing our gardens for fall, we decided to enjoy a glass of white wine on our recently renovated deck overlooking our small landscaped backyard. The Gersing Cellars Shell Viognjer 2017 was a perfect match for the backyard experience. 

The Viognier was a light yellow color. The aroma offered notes of floral and tropical fruit. The mouthfeel was velvety. The taste offered notes of citrus, pineapple and mango with a little rose petal and a bit of minerality. The finish had a long fruit taste. The grapes for this Viognier were sourced from the Yakima Valley.

The back label of the wine bottle explains the musical Shell name. Shell definition, “An open, two-note chord structure played on the piano by the left hand in accompanying oneself or another soloist. This wine-floral, citrusy, and mineral-driven – sings with the clear, pure harmony of a shell.”

Gersing Cellars is located in Portland, the city’s SE region. I also wrote about the Gersing Cellars Nebbiolo in an earlier blog.

Not mentioned in the first blog was that this urban winery offers wine enthusiasts a Jazz wine Club. Wine lovers can choose between the TWOs and FOURS wine clubs. According to the Gersing Cellars website: 

TWOS wine club members:

  • Receive two bottles each of three latest release wines, twice yearly (6 bottles in spring and 6 bottles in fall)
  • 15% discount on club shipment wines
  • 15% on any additional wines purchased at any time
  • Invitation and preferential pricing to Gersing Cellars release parties and special events for member and 1 guest
  • Pre-release access to exclusive wines, such as small production wines, library wines, and large format wines.
  • Preferential pricing for wine educational events for member and 1 guest

FOURS Wine Club members:

  • Receive four bottles each of three latest releases, twice yearly (12 bottles in spring and 12 bottles in fall)
  • 20% discount on club shipment wines
  • 20% on any additional wines purchased at any time
  • Invitation and preferential pricing to Gersing Cellars release parties and special events for member and 3 guests
  • Pre-release access to exclusive wines, such as small production wines, library wines, and large format wines.
  • Complimentary access to wine educational events for member and 1 guest
  • Yearly tasting with the winemaker

If you have the opportunity when visiting Portloand, Oregon be sure to visit SE Wine Collective Tasting Bar to taste the wines of Gersing Cellars.


28th Annual Virginia Wine & Garlic Festival!

Burnley Vineyards will attend the Annual Virginia Wine & Garlic Festival in October.

Like wine? Like garlic? Then the 28th Annual Virginia Wine & Garlic Festival is a festival you want to be sure to attend.

On October 13th and 14th Rebec Vineyards in Amherst, Virginia will be the location of  the Annual Virginia Wine & Garlic Festival.

Eleven Virginia wineries are participating in the festival. Look for wines from Rebec Vineyards, Peaks of Otter Winery, Lazy Days, Rockbridge Vineyard, Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery, Burnley Vineyards, Mountain Cove Vineyards, The Homeplace Vineyard, Virginia Mountain Vineyards, Cobbler Mountain Cider and AmRhein’s Wine Cellars. Check out Wine Trail Traveler if you you want to know more about what it’s like to visit some of these wineries.

This fun event includes entertainment and garlic-themed cuisine. Food options available include:

  • Asian inspired cuisine
  • Crab cakes
  • Greek & Italian-based cuisine
  • Smoked BBQ sandwiches
  • Shrimp, crab and lobster
  • Fried chicken
  • Pulled pork
  • Tacos, Fajitas
  • Garlic burgers, fries
  • BBQ-style nachos, brisket

A variety of entertainment will include: Applebutter Soul, Steve Freeman Band, Dragonfly, The Ruckus, Firecracker Jam, Tom Euler Band, Pete Turpin Band, L&H Acoustic with David Foust, The Severed Heads of Guion Pond, Bo-Zac, Randy Johnston and Sunshine the Clown.

A large number of artists and craft vendors will participate in the festival. Meander past numerous works of art and crafts. Look for handcrafted toys, furniture, scarves, hats, pottery and much more.

Festival Tickets

Several types of tickets are available online and include:

  • VIP Package – Saturday only: $60.00
  • Admission & Wine Tasting – early bird: $25.00
  • Admission Only – No Wine tasting – early bird: $15
  • Group Wine Tasting & Admission: $20

Activities for children include: a Bounce House, KidZone Fun Station, face painting, pony rides and inflatables.

Plan an exciting trip to Virginia to enjoy the Annual Wine & Garlic Festival in October.


67th Annual Niagara Grape & Wine Festival

Legends Winery participates in Niagara Wine Festival

Check out the 67th Annual Niagara Grape & Wine Festival.

The Montebello Park Experience

The 67th Annual Niagara Grape & Wine Festival  takes place at Montebello Park September 21-23 and 28-30. 

The Montebello Park Experience includes 100 wines and 50 hours of music. In addition, food and entertainment is available. Best of all admission is free; although food purchases must be purchased with purchased tokens. Festival tokens may be purchased at the park.

Special tickets are available for the Harvest Lounge and the Sommelier Wine Lounge. The Harvest Lounge will have specially chosen VQA wines and a charcuterie bar. The Sommelier Wine Lounge offers ticket holders an al fresco wine café experience where premium VQA wines and chef prepared food bites are available.

Montebello Park will be open:

  • Fridays: 5pm til 10:30pm
  • Saturdays: 11am til 10:30pm
  • Sundays: 12Noon til 8pm

In addition to the Montebello Park location, the festival includes a Discovery Pass program that started this past weekend. The special Discovery Pass allows the ticket holder to have eight VQA wine and culinary pairings.

Each Discovery Pass may be used on one of the next two weekends. Ticket prices are priced at $45 and the Driver’s Pass is $35. There are more than three dozen participating wineries from which to choose to visit.

Participating wineries include:

  • 13th Street Winery
  • Cave Springs
  • Creekside Estate Winery
  • Fielding Estate Winery
  • Flat Rock Cellars
  • GreenLane Estate Winery
  • Hernder Estate Wines
  • Hinterbrook Estate Winery
  • Inniskillin Wines
  • Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery
  • Kacaba Vineyards Winery
  • Konzelmann Estate Winery
  • Legends Estates Winery
  • Lundy Manor Wine Cellars
  • Magnotta Winery
  • Malivoire Wine
  • Marynissen Estates Winery
  • Megalomaniac
  • Niagara College Teaching Winery
  • Palatine Hills Estate Winery
  • Peller Estates Winery
  • Pillitteri Estates Winery
  • Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery
  • Red Stone Winery
  • Reif Estate Winery
  • Ridgepoint Wines
  • Riverview Cellars Estate Winery
  • Rockway Vineyards
  • Rosewood Estates Winery
  • Southbrook Vineyards
  • Stoney Ridge Estate Winery
  • Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery
  • Tawse Winery
  • Trius Winery
  • Vieni Estates
  • Vignoble Rancourt Winery
  • Vineland Estates Winery
  • Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery

During the festival travel to some of your old favorite wineries but be sure to try wineries that you have not visited before. It definitely adds to your wine experience!

Wine Trail Traveler has visited many of the wineries participating in the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival. Check out the articles online. We truly enjoy visiting this area of Canada with its vibrant vineyards and excellent winemaking skills.


35th Annual Maryland Wine Festival Postponed!

Photo from an earlier Annual Maryland Wine Festival at the Carroll County Farm Museum

One of Maryland’s very well-known wine festivals is the Annual Maryland Wine Festival. Due to the strong possibility of a very rainy and maybe more difficult weather for this weekend according to the festival website, the 35th Annual Maryland Wine Festival has been postponed until October 13. 

For those who have already purchased tickets for this weekend’s festival be sure to save them for using on Saturday, October 13, which will only take place on Saturday.

The location of the Annual Maryland Wine Festival is the Carroll County Farm Museum which offers a historic farmhouse and numerous farm buildings plus animals. It is a superb museum to visit and is ideal for children, adults and families. 

Here are some of things you will miss if you decided not to visit the 35th Annual Maryland Wine Festival in October:

  • More than 25 Maryland wineries with 150 wines
  • 40 juried vendors
  • 24-plus food vendors
  • Live music with selections of folk, jazz and ’80s covers.
  • A cheese pavilion with local artisanal cheeses

In addition, the Port of Leonardtown Winery which won the Governor Cup will have a public release of their Barbera Reserve 2015. 

Tickets for the October 13th Date

As mentioned earlier, tickets from this weekend’s postponed event may be used on Saturday, October 13. If you need tickets for the October 13th event several types are available including:

  • Explorer Pass
  • Explore Pass Designated Hangout
  • General Admission
  • Designated Driver
  • Children ages 13 to 20

It should be noted that children 12 and under are admitted with a paying adult. Festival tickets are available online.

Festival Location

Carroll County Farm Museum
500 S. Center Street
Westminster, MD  21157

For directions and parking visit the online festival website.


It’s North Carolina Wine & Grape Month!

Biltmore tasting room

The North Carolina Wine & Grape Month takes place during September. Although North Carolina wines are not frequently in the national or world news, the wineries in North Carolina are definitely worth visiting. September is a lovely month to visit the wineries where visitors can find beautiful vineyards, grape stomping activities and of course sip a variety of wines.

North Carolina vineyards

Did you know that North Carolina has five American Viticultural areas? The AVAs are: Appalachian High Country, Haw River Valley, Swan Creek, Upper Hiwassee Highlands and Yadkin Valley. 

The wineries in North Carolina are located from the Mountains to the Coast. The wineries are also divided between the Mountains, Piedmont and Coast. The wineries in the Mountains and Piedmont are growing traditional vitis vinifera grapes as well as hybrids. Visitors to the Coastal area are likely to discover Muscadine (Scuppernong, Vitis rotundifolia) wines and more. Some of the wineries on the Coast are also producing traditional wines.

Wines at A Secret Garden

Wine enthusiasts can choose from more than 185 tasting rooms to visit. Choose between small boutique wineries and large wineries such as the winery at Biltmore and Duplin Winery. One of the smallest and very interesting wineries is A Secret Garden Winery that is devoted to producing organic wines.



Divine Llama Winery pairs vineyards with alpacas & llamas

Wine Trail Traveler has visited more than 30 North Carolina wineries in all three geographic areas. Read the reviews with photos online.

During hurricane season, when planning your visit to North Carolina be sure to watch the weather forecast and as always it’s a good idea to contact the wineries prior to visiting. We hope everyone will be safe from the current possibility of Hurricane Florence  reaching the East Coast. 


Tzafona Cellars Vidal Icewine for Yom Kippur

Tzafona Cellars 2015 Vidal Icewine

On one of our trips to wineries in the Niagara Peninsula, we learned that if Icewine were a stringed orchestra, Riesling would be the violins and Vidal would be the cellos. We were thrilled to receive a bottle of Tzafona Cellars 2015 Vidal Icewine, and immediately thought of Yo Yo Ma. According to the back label, Tzafona is an ancient Hebrew word meaning northward. Wineries along the Niagara Peninsula are among some of the most northern wineries in North America. Tzafona Cellars’ Vidal Icewine would be a perfect sweet accompaniment to desserts on Yom Kippur.

The certified Kosher Icewine had a dark gold color with orange hue. The aroma of this 100% Vidal Icewine suggests honeysuckle and jammy peaches. The full-bodied and silky mouthfeel could best pair with a rocking chair on a porch. The taste included honey, nectarines, apricots and peach notes. Although sweet, the wine had good acidity. The wine was 11.5% alcohol and the residual sugar measured 20.2% or 202 grams of sugar per liter. 

A partnership between Toby Berkel and Avi Gislason provided the motivation to create Kosher wines in the Niagara Peninsula of Ontario, Canada. In addition to the Kosher Vidal Icewine, they also produce a Kosher Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine and a Kosher Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines are crafted by the winemakers at Lakeview Wine Co. under the supervision of the COR and Mehadrin Toronto – Rav Shalom Hirsch Adler.


Kosher Dessert Wine for Yom Kippur

Try Herzog’s delicious dessert wine for Yom Kippur or anytime.

After working and almost finishing an outdoor project last week, we decided to relax with a glass of Herzog’s Late Harvest White Riesling, Monterey County, a lovely dessert wine. For anyone observing Yom Kippur, this White Riesling should be considered as a wine for dessert. The wine is labeled kosher for Passover with kosher for Passover Mevushal.

Herzog Wine Cellars Late Harvest White Riesling 2016 with 8.5% alcohol was a dark yellow color. The aroma with mineral notes also reminded us of peach pits. The taste was full-bodied with notes of ripe peaches and dried apricots. The wine was sweet but the acidity balanced the sweetness. The mouthfeel was velvety. During the aftertaste the wine dried in the mouth. This dessert wine had a residual sugar of 10.1%

About Herzog Wine Cellars

Herzog Wine Cellars is a large kosher winery located in Monterey County, California. In addition to kosher wines, Herzog also produces non-Kosher wines. The Herzog family has been able to trace their winemaking history back for more than a century. Philip Herzog made wine for the Austro-Hungarian court in Slovakia. The Emperor Franz-Josef enjoyed Philip’s wine so much that he made Philip a baron. As a baron, Philip produced non-kosher and kosher wines. After emerging from hiding from the Nazis during WWII, Eugene, Philip’s grandson reclaimed the family’s winery. A few years later the Herzog family was forced by a communist regime to leave their home. In 1948 Eugene came to America with his family. Living in New York City, Eugene discovered a kosher winery in Manhattan, where he was hired. When the winery did not do well, Eugene and his sons, decided to continue the winery renaming it Royal Wines. During the mid 1980s  the family expanded their wine business by adding a facility in California where they began making two different wine labels. 

The winery has a tasting room that is open Sunday thru Thursday from 10:30am to 9 pm. On Fridays the hours are 10:30am until 4pm. While planning your visit to the winery plan to stay awhile and enjoy the Tierra Sur dining area. The restaurant offers lunch, dinner, dessert menus and more. The focus of the menus is on locally grown foods.


Gersing Cellars in Portland Produces a Nebbiolo Wine

Gersing Cellars is an urban winery in Portland, OR

Last week we enjoyed a bottle of wine with our eldest daughter who gave us a bottle of the Gersing Cellars Bri0 Nebbiolo Ciel Du Cheval Vineyard 2016. The dark ruby color wine was opaque. The wine offered an aroma of blackberries, currants, black cherries and sour cherries.  The mouthfeel was silky. The taste of black fruits included nuances of black cherries. This full-bodied wine offered medium to bold tannins. The wine finished with smooth tannins, mulberries and white pepper. This Nebbiolo wine was 14.6% alcohol

The back label of the Nebbiolo gives some insights to the name of the wine. The label notes the pronunciation and definition of brio: “noun \ br?-( )ö \ Def: enthusiastic vigor; verve”.

Gersing Cellars is located in Portland, the city’s SE region. This is a relatively new, up and coming urban winery. Gersing Cellars was established in 2015 by Jason Gersing. Two of Jason’s passions are wine and jazz. While becoming a professional jazz musician, Jason worked at a winery during harvest. He became increasingly interested in winemaking and spent time in Europe learning more about winemaking. Later Jason moved to Portland and eventually started Gersing Cellars.

The winery focuses on wine grapes from several vineyards in the Northwest with a focus on Oregon and Washington vineyards. Vineyards where grapes are sourced from include:

  • Washington’s Yakima Valley: Willard Vineyard, Red Willow Vineyard, Dineen Vineyard
  • Washington’s Walla Walla AVA: Les Collines Vineyard
  • Washington’s Red Mountain AVA: Ciel du Cheval
  • Oregon’s Willamette valley: Domaine Margelle Vineyard
  • Oregon’s Eola Amity AVA: Methven Family Vineyard

Currently Gersing Cellars crafts Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Nebbiolo, Syrah, Merlot varietal wines available for purchase. Visit the SE Wine Collective Tasting Bar or visit Mt. Tabor Fine Wines, Blackbird Wine, Division Wines, C’est si Bon and 1856 Beer Wine Cider to purchase Gersing Cellars wine.

Gersing Cellars’ wines are available online.


Esprit Couture for our 46th

Champagne Collet Esprit Couture enjoyed on our 46th wedding anniversary.

By the end of the day we were too tired to go out for dinner. Taking family to the airport, we stopped to do a bit of shopping before returning home. Fortunately, I placed a bottle of Champagne Collet Esprit Couture in the refrigerator prior to our sojourn. I am a firm believer that sparkling wines are an everyday wine. However, when it comes to champagne, given the near $100 price, I see this wonderful sparkling wine as a celebratory wine. We spent the early evening of our 46th wedding anniversary enjoying an Esprit Couture Brut.

This 2014 disgorged champagne was crafted from a blend of of 50% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Meunier. The wine had 12.5% alcohol. We had two bottles of this champagne in our wine room waiting for the appropriate opportunity to open and enjoy. The dark yellow to light gold colored champagne had multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming a center and circumference mousse. The aroma offered apple, citrus and freshly baked bread. The taste had a lively mouthfeel with lasting apple, bread and citrus notes. Added this was a hint of mineral. We enjoyed the champagne paired with cocktail shrimp.

We visited Champagne Collet in early 2015. We met Sébastien Walasiak, chef de caves, who spoke of the champagne Esprit Couture. “The base wines went through malolactic fermentation and the style of winemaking is closer to a reductive style than an oxidative style.” During our visit we tasted three champagnes, toured the onsite museum and ambled through the caves. You can read our Champagne Collet article on Wine Trail Traveler.  If you are looking for a reason to celebrate with a bottle of champagne, Friday October 19th is Champagne Day. Join with wine lovers from around the world and open a champagne from the Champagne region of France.

Caves tour at Champagne Collet

Sébastien Walasiak, chef de caves, head winemaker, at Champagne Collet


A Few Labor Day Weekend Wine Events

Estate wine at Catoctin Breeze Vineyard

With Labor Day Weekend quickly approaching, you may want to visit a winery with family or friends. Check out these upcoming events at wineries.

Saturday, September 1

Catoctin Breeze Vineyard, MD
Event: Wine, Crepes & Live Music
Website Information

Duplin Winery, NC
Event: Rose Hill Live Music
Website Information

The Winery at Perennial Vineyards, OH
Event: Live Music
Website Information

Sunday, September 2

Catoctin Breeze Vineyard, MD
Event: Wine & Live Music
Website Information

Sunday Brunch at Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery

Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery, VA
Event: Sunday Brunch
Website Information

Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards, OR
Event: September Wine Club Release
Website Information

Monday, Sept 3, LABOR DAY

Pearmund Cellars, VA
Event: Celebrate Labor Day at Pearmund Cellars
Website Information

Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery, VA
Event: Bistro Open
Website Information

Please drink responsibly.

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