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It’s National Apple Cider Day! Try this Turkey Recipe Soon

Today, November 18,  is National Apple Cider Day! How are you celebrating the day? Celebrate by adding this Apple Roasted Turkey Tenderloin with Cider Pan Sauce to your recipe box.

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching and many thinking of turkey, it’s time to offer this special recipe from the National Turkey Federation. This turkey recipe calls for apple cider and dry white wine.

Apple Roasted Turkey Tenderloin with Cider Pan Sauce

The recipe was created by Chef Jason Walter, The Machine Shed Restaurant in Lake Elmo, MN.


apple cider: 2 Cups
cider vinegar: 2/3 Cup
plain croutons: 4 Cups
tart apples, peeled, cored and diced: 1 Cup
pecan pieces, toasted: 1/2 Cup
fresh thyme: 2 Tablespoons
salt: 2 Teaspoons
freshly ground black pepper: 2 Teaspoons
minced fresh garlic: 2 Teaspoons
apple cider: 1/2 Cup
heavy cream: 1/2 Cup
canola oil: 4 Tablespoons
dry white wine: 2 Cups
apple cider: 2 Cups
minced fresh garlic: 2 Teaspoons
freshly ground black pepper: 2 Teaspoons
heavy cream: 1/2 Cup
cold water: 1 Cup
fresh sage, chopped: 2 Teaspoons
TURKEY BASE: 2 Tablespoons
roux: 4 Tablespoons
garlic mashed potatoes: As needed
thyme candied carrots: As needed
fresh thyme: As needed



Butterfly each turkey tenderloin and pound it to an even thickness of 1/4-inch.
Mix 2 cups of apple cider and cider vinegar. Add tenderloins and cover.
Set aside to marinate in the refrigerator.

Apple Stuffing

Mix croutons, apples, pecans, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic, cider and heavy cream together. Allow to macerate 10 minutes then mix again.

Spread stuffing atop the each tenderloin, leaving 1-inch of space along the edges. Tightly roll each tenderloin and tie with butcher’s twine.

Sear and Oven Finish

Heat oil in roasting pan and sear tenderloins until lightly brown.

Finish cooking tenderloins in a preheated 350 F oven until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F. Remove the tenderloins from the pan and allow to rest.

Cider Pan Sauce

Deglaze roasting pan with wine and remaining cider; reduce by 1/2. Reduce the heat and stir in garlic, pepper, cream, water, sage and turkey base.

Mix well, and when just below a simmer, thicken with the roux. Continue to cook until smooth and thicken.


Serve turkey with garlic mashed potatoes and thyme candied carrots.

Slice tenderloins into 2-ounce turkey medallions. Fan 3 to 4 medallions over potatoes. Ladle a small pool of cider sauce in front of the medallions.

Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme.


Online Wine Tasting with Ferrari Carano

Ferrari Carano 2015 Chardonnay, Sonoma County

Last evening, Kathy and I had the opportunity to participate in an online wine tasting of Ferrari Carano Vineyards and Winery holiday wines. The winery sent us four samples of wines. During the hour long online presentation, Chelsea Kurnick of McCue Marketing Communications moderated the tasting along with Associate Winemaker, Rebecka Deike. We sampled four wines.

•2015 Chardonnay, Sonoma County – SRP $23
•2014 Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley – SRP $38
•2013 Trésor, Sonoma County – SRP $55
•2015 Eldorado Noir, Russian River Valley 375 ml- SRP $30

These wines were selected to showcase wines that pair with holiday meals.

During the presentation, we had a chance to post questions and comments. We also could ask questions of the other eleven participants throughout the country. As usual in a wine tasting of this nature, I write haikus instead of traditional wine notes.

2015 Chardonnay, Sonoma County Haiku:

Yellow Chardonnay
Crisp, fruity and vanilla
Thanksgiving Day foods

2014 Pinot Noir Anderson Valley Haiku:

Anderson Valley
Pinot Noir classic red
Turkey and stuffing

Ferrari Carano 2013 Trésor, Sonoma County

2013 Trésor, Sonoma County Haiku:
Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Cabernet Franc

Lovely Bordeaux blend
A treasure of dark fruits, spice
Can age for decades

2015 Eldorado Noir, Russian River Valley Haiku:

A red Muscat wine
Citrus blossoms and roses
Delightful dessert

Prior to the tasting I asked the winery if they prefer a Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir glass or a Burgundy Pinot Noir glass. They wrote back and suggested the Oregon glass. During the tasting though, I decided to try both glasses to see if I could note any differences. The Oregon Pinot Noir glass showcased the aroma much better than the Burgundy glass. It was quite noticeable. However, I thought the Burgundy glass showcased the taste better than the Oregon glass. This may be something you can try at home if you happen to have both glasses.

My favorite wines of the evening were the Trésor and the Eldorado Noir. I liked the Trésor blend, in part because it was closer to the 2012 Stagecoach Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2014 Stagecoach Vineyards Napa Valley blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot that we made. We crafted a barrel in each of those years. The Eldorado Noir was a dessert wine and although it had 127 grams per liter of residual sugar, the acid tamed the sweetness. What I liked most about this Black Muscat was the extremely long aftertaste. Concentrate on the aftertaste and soon the orange blossoms will come to the forefront.

When purchasing wines for the holidays, consider Ferrari Carano.


Annual Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer, and Food Festival

Black Star Farms is participating in the Pairing event at the Grand Rapids Festival

From November 16 to November 18, Grand Rapids, Michigan is the site of the 10th Annual Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer, and Food Festival.

Tickets are available online and at the festival box office. These tickets offer a complimentary sampling glass, a Festival Program, wine, beer and food seminars. For those who would like to taste food and beverage samples, sampling tickets will be available at the festival in 50-cent denominations.

Thursday Seminars

  • Tipsy Turkey & Drunken Gravy
  • Cooking with Wood and Smoke
  • Celebrate Out of the Box: Holiday Feasts
  • There’s BUG in my beer and WHY the brewery put it there!
  • Uncovering the Truth About Sparkling Wine
  • Not Your Grandma’s Rosé: A Tasting of Traverse Wine Coast Rosés

Friday Seminars

  • Handmade Pasta
  • Cooking with Wood and Smoke
  • Tipsy Turkey & Drunken Gravy
  • Celebrate Out of the Box: Holiday Feasts
  • “To Have and Have Another”
  • When and Why to Splurge
  • Michigan Fruit
  • Rieslings: A Tasting of Traverse Wine Coast Rieslings from Sweet to Dry
  • Guinness: A Tale of Two Centuries
  • Cider 101
  • Pinot Noir: A Tasting of Pinot Noirs from the Traverse Wine Coast

Saturday Seminars

  • Celebrating Michigan Fall Flavors
  • Tipsy Turkey & Drunken Gravy
  • Cooking with Wood and Smoke
  • “To Have and Have Another”
  • Handmade Pasta
  • KBS Beer Fudge
  • Rieslings: A Tasting of Traverse Wine Coast Rieslings from Sweet to Dry
  • The World of Fruit Beers
  • Cider 101
  • Sparkling Wines: A Tasting of Bubblies from Traverse Wine Coast
  • Develop Your Wine Sense with Blind Tasting
  • A Taste of the Lake Michigan Shore
  • Getting Naked with Chardonnay: Unoaked vs Oaked
  • Guinness: A Tale of Two Centuries
  • Wine, It’s Good for YOU: The Health Benefits of Drinking Wine
  • A Tasting of Cool-Climate Reds from the Traverse Wine Coast

In addition to the seminars, Craft Cocktail Workshops will be offered. Look for cocktail workshops including:

  • Simple & Sour: The Power of Citrus in Cocktails
  • Barrel Aged Cocktails
  • Bubble & Squeak: Beertails & Mules
  • Brandied Cherries
  • The French 75 Connection: Mawby and New Holland Artisan Spirits
  • Old Fashioned: The Original Cocktail
  • Mixing Cocktails in Hemingway Fashion
  • The Manhattan: Story of the First Modern Cocktail

Several special Pairing events will take place. Several restaurants will offer special menus for this event. Restaurants taking part in this event include: Black Star Farms, Gilly’s Smokehouse/B.O.B.’s Brewing, Nibi/FireKeepers, Reds at Thousand Oaks, Rockwell Republic, San Chez, six.one.six, The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck, and The Knickerbocker.


Holiday Wine Events on Ohio Wine Trails


Chateau Tebeau Winery will participate in the Deck the Wreath event.

Save these dates for celebrating the upcoming holidays by attending events offered by several Ohio Wine Trails.


November 24 -25, 2017
December 1 – 2, 2017
December 8 – 9, 2017

Tickets are limited so decide which event you want to participate in and get your tickets soon! While enjoying the holiday events, visitors will have the opportunity to learn more about the wines produced in Ohio.

One of the frequently mentioned annual events is the Tannenbaum Trail on the Vines & Wines Trail located in Northeast, Ohio. Participants have the opportunity to enjoy wine samples and appetizers. Also an 18-inch Christmas tree will be provided at the first winery. Then collect a holiday tree ornament at each of the participating wineries.

Grand River Cellars is participating in the Tannenbaum holiday event.

The Tannenbaum Trail

Wineries participating in the Tannenbaum Trail event include:

Benny Vino Winery, Geneva
Buccia Vineyards, Conneaut
Deer’s Leap Winery, Geneva
Emerine Estates, Jefferson
Ferrante Winery & Ristorante, Geneva
Grand River Cellars, Madison
Goddess Wine House, Ashtabula
Hundley Cellars, Geneva
Laurello Vineyards, Geneva
Maple Ridge Vineyards, Madison
Old Firehouse Winery, Geneva-on-the-Lake
Old Mill Winery, Geneva
Park Avenue Winery, Ashtabula
South River Vineyard, Geneva
Spirits in Willoughby, Willoughby
The Winery at Spring Hill, Geneva
Virant Family Winery, Geneva

Reservations for the Tannenbaum Trail event are available online.

Another fun event for wine and holiday lovers is Deck the Wreath offered by Lake Erie Shores & Islands Trail on the Lake Erie Shores & Islands Trail.

Mon Ami to participate in the Deck the Wreath event

Deck the Wreath Details

Wineries participating in Deck the Wreath event:

Chateau Tebeau, Helena
D & D Smith Winery, Norwalk
Firelands Winery, Sandusky
Gillig Winery, Findlay
Matus Winery, Wakeman
Mon Ami Winery, Port Clinton
Paper Moon Winery, Vermilion 
Quarry Hill Winery, Berlin Heights
Rocky Point Winery, Marblehead 
Sycamore Lake Wine Company, Columbus Grove
Vino Veritas Cellars, Cleveland

Register for Deck the Wreath online.

Who doesn’t want to experience Stuff the Stocking offered in Central Ohio by the Capital City Wine Trail?

Stuff the Stocking

Wineries offering the Stuff the Stocking event include:

Buckeye Winery, Newark
Camelot Cellars Winery, Columbus
Manchester Hill Winery, Circleville
Plum Run Winery, Grove City
Sand Hollow Winery, Heath
Sand Hollow Speak Easy, Newark
Soine Vineyard, Powell
Wagon Wheel Wines, Canal Winchester

Tickets are available online.

Finally there is the  Uncorked Christmas  event celebrated by the Canal & Appalachian Trails located in East Central and SE Ohio.

Uncorked Christmas

Visitors participating in Uncorked Christmas will receive an electric corkscrew at the participating winery of their choice.

Wineries offering Uncorked Christmas include:

Cherry Road Winery, Massillon
Country Porch Winery, Cortland
Gervasi Vineyard, Canton
Grape & Granary, Akron
Lil Paws Winery, Lake Milton
Maize Valley Winery & Craft Brewery, Hartville
Mastropietro Winery, Berlin Center
Newman Creek Cellars, Massillon
School House Winery, Dover
Terra Cotta Vineyards, New Concord
The Winery at Raven’s Glenn, W Lafayette
Unicorn Wine Guild, Belpre

Tickets  for Uncorked Christmas are available online.

We have visited many of these Ohio wineries and discovered both large and small wineries and vineyards. Ohio wineries offer a wide range of wines and grape varieties. Check out the Wine Trail Traveler reviews online.


Wine Trail Traveler Holiday Gift Guide Part I

Eat Drink and Be Merry collage

The holidays are quickly approaching and there is no better time to order gifts for family and friends who live miles away. Don’t disappoint anyone by having your carefully selected gift arrive late.

Wine is an obvious holiday gift item. But there are plenty of non-wine, wine-related gifts to consider giving to wine enthusiasts during this holiday season. Consider wine books by Wine Trail Traveler, 100% cotton kitchen towels with embroidered wine sayings and wine collages with mats and plastic sleeves.

A Wine Lexicon by Terry & Kathy Sullivan

Wine Trail Traveler now has a select list of wine-related items available for your family members and friends who enjoy wine. Notice that these are unique items we have created for the enjoyment of wine lovers and wine enthusiasts. Here is the link to the 2017 Holiday Wine Gift Guide Part 1.




Kitchen towels embroidered by Wine Trail Traveler

The kitchen towels are machine embroidered by Kathy at Wine Trail Traveler. The collages are designed by Wine Trail Traveler in the US. Production is limited and only available on the Wine Trail Traveler website.

Questions about any of these holiday gifts? Contact us at kathy@winetrailtraveler.com.

Cheers, Kathy


Discover the Wines of England and Wales

Ridgeview Wine Estate

A number of years ago we visited several wineries in England and one winery in Wales. Each one of the wineries was boutique, although the largest was Ridgeview Wine Estate which produces delightful sparkling wines. Review.

To discover Breaky Bottom Vineyards, we were told “keep going.” This winery was memorable because we missed the sign and traveled another 45 minutes beyond the long road/driveway to the winery. Eventually we discovered the turn to make and

A little piece of heaven at Breaky Bottom Vineyards

continued until we were in no man’s land. We encountered sheep on the driveway and patiently waited for them to cross our path. Eventually and almost ready to call it a day, we crested a hill and saw a little piece of heaven. The winery and farm property below was highlighted with bright yellow blooming daffodils. Nearby were high cliffs of limestone similar to the limestone of Champagne. Read our review of Breaky Bottom Vineyards.

Roman-style spring at Parva Farm Vineyards

Our visit to the Parva Farm Vineyards in Wales was special, in its own unique way. Also a farm, vineyard and winery,  Parva Farm Vineyards has the remains of a spring that the owners believe may have been built by the Romans. Most surprising was the sign in the winery that said that if the winery was closed, visitors could go to the local post office to get their wine. The owners are warm and friendly and ready to share their story with wine lovers. Read our review online.

Fast forward to today when the wine industry in England is increasing. The following statistics are from the English Wine Producers website which is the official website for the English and Welsh wine industry.

The latest figures show that the region has 502 vineyards with 2,000+ hectares. Today there are 133 wineries. The top three grape varieties growing in the United Kingdom are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Bacchus. However the vineyards are filled with a large number of other grape varieties. Wine enthusiasts will find: Auxerrois, Faberrebe, Huxelrebe, Kerner, Madeleine Angevine, Müller-Thurgau, Optima, Orion, Ortega, Phoenix, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Regner, Reichensteiner, Rivaner, Schönburger, Seyval Blanc, Siegerrebe, and Würzer. Red grape varieties include: Dornfelder, Dunkelfelder, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Regent, Rondo and Triomphe.

Wine lovers traveling to England or Wales should plan to includes visits to some of the unique wineries.


14th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

The 14th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival takes place November 12 to November 19. This fun wine and food festival includes wines from around the world, events, distillers, breweries and many restaurants from San Diego.  The festival website says, “With over 40 events throughout the week, the 14th Annual San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival is a unique opportunity to share in the love of all things culinary with Southern California’s collection of foodies, wine connoisseurs, members of the wine trade, bloggers, and media.”

A wide array of different tickets for the San Diego Wine & Food Festival events are available online. Choose the events you want to attend and order your tickets. Some of the events are already sold out; if you plan to attend get your tickets soon.

Events include:

  • Sunday, November 12
    Golf Classic
  • Monday, November 13
    FLIX Fermented
  • Tuesday, November 14
    Fish Taco TKO
    The Blais Experience
  • Wednesday, November 15
    Expedition Baja
    Ocean-to-Table Rosé Wine Luncheon
  • Whisky & Wagyu
    Behind Farm to Table: Panel Discussion
    An Evening in Barolo & Langhe
  • Thursday, November 16
    Beyond Bubbles
    Champagne, A Blind Comparison
    Wine and Music
    Flavors of Spain
    Oysters & Sauvignon Blanc
    Cult Wines of Napa
    The Rise of the California Underdog
    The History of Wine
    Agave & Terroir
    Culinary Icons
  • Friday, November 17
    Biodynamic and Natural Wines of Spain
    Steve Brown’s Farmers Table
    Sushi & Sake
    Louis Latour at Mister A’s
    Coastal Qualities of Slo Wine Country
    Blind Taste with the Masters
    The Tasting at Somm Con
    Roots Dinner Experience
  • Saturday, November 18
    Grand Tastings
    After Party with the Chefs
  • Sunday, November 19
    Cali Baja Brunch

The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is organized by FAST FORWARD Events whose focus is to make lives a little bit better. According to the FAST FORWARD Events website, “We hope to leave people’s lives a little bit better because of our existence, surround ourselves with passionate team members, project and clients, and find JOY daily in doing what we love.”


It’s National Chocolate Day! Try this Dessert Recipe Paired with Port

St. Francis Winery & Vineyards emphasizes wine & food pairings!

Today is National Chocolate Day! Celebrate by spending a little time creating one of the chocolate recipes you can find on the Wine Trail Traveler’s website dessert recipe section, or perhaps trying your hand at this Mocha Pot de Crème created by the chef at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards in Sonoma, California. The wine suggested wine pairing is St. Francis Winery’s Port.

 Mocha Pot de Crème

Makes 8 4-ounce ramekins


1¾ cup whole milk
1¼ cup heavy cream
8 ounces chocolate chips
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
½ each vanilla beans
¼ cinnamon sticks
¼ cup decaf coffee


  1. In a sauce pan on medium heat, scald milk, heavy cream, vanilla beans and cinnamon stick for about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, then add coffee, chocolate and vanilla extract, let melt together. Steep for 5 minutes and strain. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar together. Slowly add the cream liquid into egg mixture.
  4. Strain and cool. Evenly pour mixture into 8 individual 4-ounce ramekins. Bake at 300°F for 50-70 minutes or until slightly set.

Recipe provided by St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, Sonoma, California.


A Yummy Cocktail, Perfect for Halloween

Liquor ‘N Front Cocktail

The cocktail recipe below, for Liquor ‘N Front, was crafted by Erin Sullivan, Mixologist and Event Director in Portland, Oregon.

The colorful, deep orange color of the Liquor ’N Front cocktail makes it a perfect drink to add to your choice of beverages for autumn. If you are looking for orange foods and drinks for Halloween and Thanksgiving, this orange-colored cocktail is definitely one to consider. The ginger juice and carrot juice add the perfect touches for fall. Enjoy trying the Liquor ’N Front cocktail after the trick and treaters have left to count their Halloween candy treats at home.

Liquor ’N Front


1 1/2 oz Aviation Gin
1/4 oz. Cointreau
1/4 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. carrot juice
1/4 oz. ginger juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
Fever-Tree Ginger Beer
Carrot top (for garnish)


  1. Shake all ingredients (except ginger beer) in tin over ice.
  2. Strain into a Collins glass and add ice.
  3. Top with Fever-Tree Ginger Beer, garnish with a carrot top.

Many thanks to Erin Sullivan for sharing this recipe and photo.


One Week Left to Celebrate Texas Wine Month

Vibrant grapevines in Texas.

According to the Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association, Texas is home to the first vineyard planted in North America. This vineyard was established in the early 1660s by Franciscan priests.

Today Texas produces a large number of grape varieties. Red grape varieties include: Malbec, Tempranillo, Syrah, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Lenoir. Texan white grape varieties include: Chardonnay, Blanc du Bois, Pinot Grigio, Viognier, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Orange Muscat, Muscat Blanc, Muscat Canelli, Gewürztraminer and Semillon. If you haven’t tried a Blanc du Bois or an Orange Muscat wine yet, be sure to give them a try!

Texas has more than 350 bonded commercial wineries. The wineries produce several types of wines including: still wines, fortified wines, dessert wines and sparkling wines. Texas wineries include the large wineries such as Messina Hof winery and the smaller boutique wineries including Texas Legato.

The AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) in Texas include:

Texas Hill Country
Bell Mountain
Escondido Valley
Texas Davis Mountains
Texas High Plains
Mesilla Valley

For more information about Texas wineries, check out the GO Texan website which has a section devoted to the wine industry in Texas. One unique aspect are the flower and wine pairing suggestions the website offers.

Texas passport to wineries.

As we have traveled and written about many of the Texas wineries, we are always a bit sad to leave a state where we discovered warm welcomes, friendly hugs and invitations to return again. Check out the reviews we have written about Texas wineries and plan to enjoy your next vacation in Texas. Be sure to ask about the Texas Passport to wineries.


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