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Vintage Ohio Wine Festival

Raven’s Glen Winery attending Vintage Ohio Wine Festival

Save the Date August 4 and 5 for the Vintage Ohio Wine Festival. This event takes place in Kirtland, Ohio at the  Metroparks Farmpark.

While the focus is on Ohio wineries, beer will also be available. This is perfect for family and friends who prefer different beverages. Thirteen

Valley Vineyards (photo by Andy Neumeier)

Ohio wineries are scheduled to attend. Wineries include: Buckeye Winery, Barrel Run Crossing Winery & Vineyard, Chateau Tebeau Winery, Gervasi Vineyard, Grape & Granary, It’s Your Winery, Maize Valley Winery, Raven’s Glenn Winery, The Winery at Spring Hill, The Winery at Versailles, Valley Vineyards, Vermilion Valley Vineyards and Wagon Wheel Wines. For anyone who enjoys beer, three breweries will attend the festival. They include Double Wing Brewing Co, Maize Valley Brewery and Cellar Dweller Brewery.

The Winery at Versailles

A wide range of entertainment is planned. Look for the Don Perry Duo, Forecast, Andy’s Last Band, Sarry Smith, Yachtly Clue Horns and Things, Mason District, Aretifex, The Attraxxion, Stan Miller, Castaways, and Miles Beyond.

Gourmet and craft vendors will also be attending. Gourmet items to look for include: waffles, almonds, beef jerky, coffee, hot spices, dips, honey, maple syrup, biscotti, tea and more.  Crafts to browse include: jewelry, wine caddies, apparel, bottle serving trays, handmade wood items, license plate art, fiber products, candles, pet bandanas, ceramics and much, much more.

Tickets are available online.

Ticket Prices

Advance tickets for adults: $30 (at the gate: $35)
Advance tickets for 2-days: $45
Designated Driver: $12
Those under 18: $3
Children under 3: Free

Enjoy a visit to the Vintage Ohio Wine Festival where you will discover a wide range of wines produced in Ohio!


Purcellville Wine & Food Festival on Saturday!

Discover Bluemont wines at Purcellville Wine & Food Festival on Saturday

This Saturday, July 15, those in the Washington, DC and Baltimore metropolitan area will want to plan a visit to the Purcellville Wine & Food Festival. The festival is scheduled from 2pm to 8pm.

Numerous vendors will be available. Many of the vendors include several Loudoun County wineries such as: Bluemont Winery, Bogati Winery, Corcoran Vineyards & Cider, Dry Mill Vineyard & Winery, Hiddencroft Vineyards, North Gate Vineyards, Otium Cellars and Two Twisted Posts Winery. Reviews of these wineries are on the Wine Trail Traveler site.

For those who love beer look for Belly Love Brewing and Jack’s Run Brewing Company.

Food vendors will include Anthony’s Italian, Bada Bing Bagels, Country Pride Cheese, JR’s Italian Ice and Sherri’s Crab Cakes.

Activities of the day include Cornhole Tournaments for adults. Children’s Activities include moon bounce, face painting and art demos plus there is space to play and run.

Musical entertainment will include: VooDoo Blues, King Street Kats, Virginia Southpaws, McCoy & Addison, Mink’s Miracle Medicine and Julia Kasdorf.

Tickets are available online for $20 through July 14; if you wait until July 15 tickets at the gate are $30 for adults. Designated driver tickets online or at the gate are only $5.

If you can’t attend the festival this Saturday, do try to visit the individual wineries sometime this summer. You are sure to enjoy the experiences.


A Summertime Run/Walk for Charity

Columbia Winery in Washington hosts Charity Run/Walk

Columbia Winery, located in Woodinville outside of Seattle, is once again holding the Columbia Winery Charity Walk & Run. This August 19th event, which includes a 10K Run, 5K Run/Walk and a Kids Dash, benefits the children at the Seattle Children’s Hospital.

The Event

Participants in the run/walk will begin and finish at the Columbia Winery in Woodinville, Washington. Registration is available online.

Entry fees

  • Kids’ Dash: For those 12 and under the event is free; however, registration is required.
  • 5K Walk/Run: The fee is $35 until August 16. Those who wait until the day of the race will be asked to pay $40.
  • 10K Run: Those who want to go the extra effort can pay $40 until August 16. On the day of the race the fee is $45.

The events use IPICO Sports technology for times. The rules require wearing your chip on your shoe during the event. The chips are returned at the end of the walk/race. (Children 12 and under are not provided with a chip.)

The Schedule

7am: onsite registration
8:30: start of the 10K Run
8:45: start of the 5K event
9:45: dash for the kids
10am: awards and festival
11:30am: post event festival ends

Details about how the event proceeds help children are described on the website as, “Proceeds benefit uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital which ensures quality care to all children in the Northwest, regardless of their ability to pay.  The need for uncompensated care is estimated to be more than $120 million this year.  Of the 100,000 patients treated at Children’s each year, 65% need financial assistance.” In 2016, the event raised more than $100,000 for the uncompensated care for children at the Seattle Children’s Hospital.

If you enjoy running or walking, this will be an event you want to try to attend. You can enjoy the run or walk and help out children in need. Anyone who does not want participate in running or walking events can also help out by donating. Find out about the possible ways to donate.

We visited Columbia Winery a few years ago and enjoy the beautiful tasting room. Check out the review we wrote about the winery experience.


Discover the Finger Lakes Wine Region

Rooster Hill VineyardsThe Finger Lakes region of New York is a wonderful place to visit any time of the year. Many people travel to the region during the summer. After all, this a a delightful location where vacationers can reconnect with nature, savor a variety of foods and enjoy the opportunity to visit any number of wineries during a visit. The lakes and countryside of the region provides ample opportunities to hike, swim and boat.

The Finger Lakes region of New York is a wonderful place to visit any time of the year. Many people travel to the region during the summer. After all, this a a delightful location where vacationers can reconnect with nature, savor a variety of foods and enjoy the opportunity to visit any number of wineries during a visit. The lakes and countryside of the region provides ample opportunities to hike, swim and boat.

Buttonwood Grove Winery

Check out some of our favorite photos during our numerous visits to the region. The region offers so many wineries to visit that you will want to return again and again.

The wineries in the Finger Lakes vary from small, boutique type wineries to much larger ones. Visitors will discover that each winery has its own personality and style of wines to taste. For example, during our visit to McGregor Vineyard, we were encourage to sit at picnic-style tables and were served our wine tastings. Other wineries such as Knapp Winery offer dining on the property. You will even discover wineries that are also producing distilled products.

Frontenac Point Vineyard & Estate Winery

To help you choose which wineries to visit reviews of more than 65  wineries in the region are available on the Wine Trail Traveler website. If you have the opportunity, be sure to include a visit to the New York Wine & Culinary Center in Canandaigua.

Barrington Cellars

Anyone interested in history will want to visit the Pleasant Valley Wine Company located in Hammondsport, New York. Bully Hill Vineyards, also with a long history, is nearby. Of course, another must visit is Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery, which provides a look at Dr. Konstantin Frank, who was one of the first to realize the potential of growing cool climate grapes in the Finger Lakes region.

After a morning of hiking or swimming, plan to stop by a winery to relax and socialize.


Bodegas La Val, a Rias Baixas Winery

Albariño wine from Bodegas La Val in Rias Baixas

Bodegas La Val is located in the DO Rias Baixas of Spain. The winery was established in 1985 by Mr. Jose Limeres Guille. Historically, Bodegas La Val was started in the O Rosal region. In 2003 the winery relocated  to Finca Arantei in Condado do Tea. It was one of the first wineries in the region to focus on using only their own estate grown grapes.  In 2010 the winery was bought out by a group of investors and today the administrators of Bodegas La Val are Fernando Bandeira García and Antonio Ruiloba Molíns.  Now Bodegas La Val has four estate vineyards that cover approximately 60 hectares (148 acres). The soils in the vineyards range from slate to alluvial and granite. The focus of the winery is the popular Albariño grape variety. In addition to producing Albariño wines, Bodegas La Val is producing liquors. Current liquors include: White eaux-de-vie, Herbs eaux-de-vie, Coffee Liquor and Cream Orujo.

The wines of Bodegas La Val are distributed to over 20 countries. The majority of wines are shipped to the United States, the UK and Germany.

The La Val 2015 was produced with the Albariño grape variety. It had 12% alcohol and the retail price is $18. The wine spent two months on lees. The winery tasting notes included, “The wine has an intense and clean straw-yellow colour with bright green tones. On the nose it shows aromas of fresh herbs and laurel with fine floral and lemon notes as well as white stone fruits. In the mouth it is fresh and rich, with citrus notes and a long finish.” Bodegas La Val suggests food matches including cheese, foie gras, rice, pasta, chicken, fish and seafood.

Enotourism at Bodegas La Val

Tourists and travelers can visit Bodegas la Val and receive guided tours. The winery offers to adapt the tours based on whether the visitors are tourists, professionals or visiting for a leisurely experience. Tours can last from one to three hours. Tours are available in Spanish, English and Galician. Visits may include wine tasting and appetizers. Access to Bodegas La Val is available daily at specific times. Contact  Bodegas La Val for registration and more details.

Below is an online interview with Chema Ureta, the winemaker at Bodegas La Val.

Recent Online Interview with winemaker Chema Ureta at Bodegas La Val

What are your most enjoyable aspects of winemaking? 

The heterogeneity of the vintages, every year is different. It is not a methodical  or a  routine process,  every year you have to face different challenges that test your winemaking skills, sometimes you have to take a fast decision that transforms into transcendental, that creates passion for this job.

How and when did your wine journey begin? 

I am the fourth generation of winemakers. Already in the early  1900’s, my great-grandfather bought wine in bulk to sell it in a wine store. From an early age, I was busy filling bottles, cleaning barrels, bottling wine, etc, you can say that I grew up surrounded by wine

Why did you decide to start making wine? 

I had it in my blood and studied for it.

What do you wish you knew when you started making wine that you now know?

When it comes to winemaking, the less you interfere, the better.

To what do you contribute your success as a winemaker?

If we consider success the fact that our wines are appreciated, I think that it is due to several reasons such as the quality of our vineyard, the dedication and generosity of our workers , and the good job at the winery.

Albariño is a very food friendly wine. What types of foods do you like to pair with Albariño wine? 

Of course, the seafood is the perfect pairing, as well as fresh cheese, but for me it is a surprise how good it pairs with Japanese food (sushi, sashimi, etc).

Look for Bodegas La Val wines at your favorite local wine shop.


Think About a Grape Harvest Getaway!

Grape harvest at Messina Hof Winery & Resort

Now is the time to begin your search for a winery that allows wine lovers to experience a grape harvest. Some wineries around the country offer an opportunity for wine enthusiasts to participate in harvesting grapes. These wineries are happy to provide the experience for little cost. Activities may also include stomping grapes, music and food. Our experiences have taken place at grape harvests in Maryland and Texas. All were fun experiences. While searching for wineries that offer a grape harvest experience, keep in mind that other wineries prefer to have only their own employees harvesting grapes. Please do not enter any vineyard without  permission.

Of the wineries we have visited for harvest, Messina Hof Winery & Resort in Bryan, Texas provides the most detailed experience. In 2017 the winery is hosting their 40th Annual Grape Harvest. This event takes place over several weeks. This year the first harvest event is in the evening from 7:30 to 10pm on July 28. On Friday, the Moonlit Harvest  begins with a Blessing of the Vines followed by harvesting the grapes and then grape stomping. The general admission ticket this year is $59.95 plus the tax and gratuity. This ticket will include  the general admission, a harvest shirt and a dinner buffet.

Additional 2017 Harvest Days at Messina Hof include July 29, August 5, August 12, and August 19 . These days include orientation, harvest, the Big Kahuna Contest, grape stomping, tour and wine tasting, lunch and a food & wine pairing class. Ticket prices vary depending on the activities in which you wish to participate. Prices begin at $35 plus tax and the high end is $75 plus tax and gratuity which includes the wine and food pairing.

If you don’t get to Messina Hof’s Bryan location, consider attending Messina Hof’s location in Fredericksburg, Texas. The Fredericksburg location has a harvest festival scheduled for August 25 and August 26.  Tickets are available online.

To discover a winery that offers wine enthusiasts a grape harvest event, check with your favorite winery. Otherwise do an internet search for wineries that offer this delightful experience.

If you are not sure what to expect, read our blogs that we wrote about our experiences when harvesting grapes. Check out this blog about a harvest festival we attended at Messina Hof.

We also have a reviews of Messina Hof at their Bryan, Texas location and the Fredericksburg location. If you will be traveling and need lodging, both locations have lodging available. Check out this article about the Villa at the Bryan winery. An article about the lodging at Fredericksburg is here.


Maine Lobster Recipe with Chardonnay for the Summer!

Looking for a lobster recipe for this summer?

Try the recipe below for Maine lobster uses two cups of Chardonnay for cooking the lobster and one cup of Chardonnay for the sauce. The recipe is from Jordan Winery in Sonoma, California. The recipe is enough to serve six. Cooks and chefs alike will want to check out the numerous recipes on the Jordan Winery website.


Maine Lobster with Chanterelle Mushroom Yuzu Sauce and Fingerling Potatoes

Serves 6


For the lobster

2 gallons water
2 cups Jordan Chardonnay
½ cup kosher salt
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 sprig thyme (lemon thyme if available)
2 bay leaves
6 each Maine lobsters (1½ pounds each)

For the greens

1 bunch savoy cabbage
1 bunch green chard
reserved lobster poaching liquid

For the potatoes

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil
18 fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
3 sprigs thyme

For the sauce

3 medium shallots, minced
1 tsp unsalted butter
¾ pound chanterelles, peeled or brushed
¼ cup yuzu juice
1 cup Jordan Chardonnay
2 Tbsp cream
¾ cup unsalted butter cut into ½” cubes
kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 sprig tarragon or marjoram for garnish


  1. To prepare the lobster, combine water, Chardonnay, salt, lemon juice, thyme and bay leaves to make poaching liquid. Bring liquid to a boil; cook lobsters for six minutes. Plunge lobster in ice bath to arrest cooking. Reserve lobster poaching liquid. When lobsters are cool enough to handle, remove tails and slice in half; remove claw meat and reserve.
  2. Blanch greens for 2-3 minutes in lobster poaching liquid, until tender. Refresh greens in ice bath; remove excess water. Wrap one portion of the lobster tails in cabbage and one in chard.
  3. Preheat oven to 360°. Melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Place potatoes cut side down in the oil and butter and roast for 14 to 16 minutes, turning after 6 minutes. Season, add thyme and reserve warm.
  4. For the chanterelle yuzu sauce, sauté shallots in 1 tsp butter until they are just softened but have not taken color. Add chanterelles and sauté over medium high heat until they have just begun to color and very little liquid remains. Deglaze pan with yuzu and white wine; reduce to 2 tablespoons. Add cream, bring to a simmer and whisk butter into reduction, one cube at a time. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. To serve, warm lobster in chanterelle sauce and arrange over fingerlings. Sauce again with the chanterelles and garnish with tarragon or marjoram.

Recipe provided by Jordan Winery, 1474 Alexander Valley Road • Healdsburg, CA.

Pazo de Señorans in Rias Baixas, Spain

Pazo Señorans, a Rias Baixas winery in Spain

Pazo de Señorans is a Rias Baixas winery in Vilanoviña Meis, Spain. The winery, located in a 16th century Manor House, is a family winery that was started in 1989 by Marisol Bueno and Javier Mareque. Today their four children are in charge of the winery. The focus of Pazo de Señorans is on the Albariño grape variety. It should be noted that the Manor House is representative of a Galician house-style.

In addition to producing Albariño wines, Pazo de Señorans is producing distilled spirits. Their current portfolio includes Herb-Flavoured Aguardiente Pazo Señorans with 37.5% alcohol and Aguardiente Orujo Pazo Señorans with 41% alcohol

The Albariño vines are planted on a pergola system. The vineyards are influenced by the Atlantic ocean and rivers and as a result have mild temperatures. Rainfall is significant except for summers when it tends to be dry. The soil is mostly a sandy granite type which results in grapes having a tendency to have notes of minerality. The grapes are hand harvested which usually begins during the third week of September.

Visits to Pazo Señorans include: the story of the winery, appellation information, a visit to the vineyards, a distilling explanation, a visit to the Manor House and cellar and a Pazo Senorans tasting. Travelers and tourists who wish to visit Pazo Senorans can request a visit through the Pazo de Señorans website.

At the Rias Baixas wine tasting this spring, we tasted the Pazo de Señorans Albrariño 2015 wine. This yellow wine had 12.5% alcohol and retails for $21. The aroma and taste offered notes of stone fruit, some citrus and mineral with a hint of salt. the wine was medium-bodied with with an oily mouthfeel. The wine offered a sense of the exotic. Wine pairings suggested included all types of seafood such as octopus, squid, shrimp, salmon, swordfish and oysters.

Paxo de Señorans winemaker is Ana Quintela who kindly replied to our online interview questions.

Winemaker Ana Quintela at Pazo Senorans 

What are your most enjoyable aspects of winemaking? 

Harvesting. Waiting an entire year to pick-up the grapes and elaborate de wine. The result is always more satisfactory than expected.

How and when did your wine journey begin?

My career was focused on biology and I found a professional path related to the field I was passionate about through a person I knew.

Why did you decide to start making wine? 

I found a great opportunity at the best momentum, when the D.O. was taking a new direction.

How many hectares of grapes are you growing? Which varieties are you growing?

I only work with albariño. We have around 197 acres, including external sourcing.

What do you wish you knew when you started making wine that you now know?

When you start you miss all the experience.

To what do you contribute your success as a winemaker?

Constant work and to my sensibility.

Albariño is a very food friendly wine. What types of foods do you like to pair with Albariño wine?

Albariño is the perfect pairing for food. I love to pair it with a baked fish, grilled crustaceans or Asian cuisine.

Many thanks to Ana Quintela for answering our questions. Look for Albariño wines at your local wine shop.


A Cabernet Sauvignon from Staglin Family Vineyard

Staglin Family Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

We have traveled to Napa Valley several times but unfortunately never had the opportunity to visit Staglin Family Vineyard. After enjoying a 2009 Staglin Family Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and finding it definitely a delightful wine, I visited the winery’s website and discovered some intriguing info.

Staglin Family Vineyard is a true family winery and vineyard with parents and adult children, Shannon and Brandon, very involved. Garen and Shari Staglin purchased the vineyard estate in 1985. Today the vineyard estate has 51 acres of grapevines. The estate vineyard is certified organic. The property has habitats for bees, insects and birds of prey. Wildlife on the estate includes: dragonflies, ladybugs, jackrabbits, fiches and red-tailed hawks. Solar power provides the winery with all of its energy needs.

Most interesting for me is the philanthropy that is a major commitment by the Staglins. While they support numerous charities, their main support is the Music Festival for Brain Health. According to the Staglin’s winery website, “The Music Festival for Brain Health at Staglin Family Vineyard has brought together generous chefs, wineries, top billed musicians and scientists to raise significant funds and awareness for the cause. Thanks to its donors and support from the National Institute for Mental Health, the Music Festival for Brain Health  has raised over $200 million.”

Staglin Family Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford, Napa Valley 2009
This particular Cabernet Sauvignon had 14.9% alcohol. The wine was an opaque, dark purple color. The aroma was like a fruit salad of blackberries, black cherries, cassis and blueberries.  The wine had a smooth mouthfeel. The taste included notes of blackberries, black cherries, licorice and cassis. This full-bodied wine had medium-bold tannins. The finish, with a medium length offered a hint of crispness and fruity notes.

It’s interesting to note that the front label of the bottle is an image of the “Winged Woman Walking” sculpture by Stephen de Staebler. The back label recognizes the winery’s motto. “Our motto “Great Wine for Great Causes” reflects our belief that any success we have achieved with our wines and in our lives is only a beginning to go on and do good things.”

Music Festival for Brain Health

In 2017 the 23rd Annual Music Festival for Brain Health takes place September 16. The events includes a Scientific Symposium, Wine Tasting Reception, Concert Performance and a VIP Dinner.

If you are planning to visit Napa Valley, make plans to visit Staglin Family Vineyard. Reservations can be made online. I know that the next time we visit Napa Valley, we will try to include a visit to Staglin Family Vineyard!


Two Cocktail Ideas for the Summer!


With the official start of summer yesterday, it’s time to start thinking about the cocktails you want to stay cool with and enjoy this summer.

The first recipe below uses Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore. For a twist on a cocktail, try this recipe for Winesicles!

Santa Margherita Winesicles


Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore
Edible flowers
Popsicle mold


  1. Place 3-5 edible flowers in each popsicle mold and fill it with Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore.
  2. Freeze for 4-6 hours, or until completely solid.
  3. Once frozen, remove mold and garnish popsicle sticks with ribbon.

Or try this cocktail recipe below that requires whiskey and Cointreau.

Basil Nectarine Smash Cocktail

Basil Nectarine Smash


1.5 oz of bourbon
0.5 oz of Cointreau
½ peach
6 Mint leaves
Peach Nectarine Sparking Ice
Slice of peach and sprig of mint (garnish)


  1. Add bourbon, Cointreau, and mint leaves to shaker.
  2. Muddle.
  3. Add ice.
  4. Shake and strain into Collins glass ½ filed with ice.
  5. Top with Peach Nectarine Sparkling Ice. Garnish with peach slice and sprig of mint.


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