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Sangria Recipes for Warm Summer Months

Sangria for Memorial Day Weekend

Sangria for Memorial Day Weekend

Warm summer days are perfect for Sangrias. Check out the sangria recipes below. There is also a recipe for Plantation Punch. Read all of the recipes and see which appeals to you!

Hope everyone is having a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend!

Safety Tip: When drinking alcohol anytime but especially on hot days, be sure to drink plenty of water.



Viognier Sangria

Sangria from Carlson Vineyards

Chumeia’s Merlot Sangria

Texas Legato Sangria

Savoy-Lee Sangria

Narmada’s Midnight Sangria

Pickering Winery Sangria

Simple Sangria

Plantation Punch

Lending Vineyard Assistance

Temperatures in central Maryland have finally warmed and spring is becoming a memory. It was a long cool and wet spring. As memories go, I thought about vineyard scenes that we have experienced in our travels. Vineyards tell a story during the entire year. Springtime sets the stage for new life budding forth. At times nature’s helpers lend assistance.

As I was looking over my vineyard pictures, my favorite was a ladybug attending new vineyard growth. The photo was taken at Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery during our April visit. The ladybug on the caps showcases a moment in time. Over the course of the remaining spring and summer months, the vine will show many changes. Photography can capture quieter moments.

Polar Junction vineyard in Templeton, California during April

Pomar Junction vineyard in Templeton, California during April

If you enjoy photography, grab a camera and head to vineyards to see what you can capture. Vineyards offer photogenic opportunities twelve months of a year. Enjoy!


Five Ways to Celebrate National Wine Day

It's National Wine Day!

It’s National Wine Day!

National Wine Day is May 25. How are you planning to celebrate National Wine Day? Below is a list of five ideas to help you find a way to enjoy a glass of wine.

1. Grab a bottle of your favorite wine and enjoy it while sitting in a rocking chair. Listen to soft music or if on the porch or deck listen for soft breezes and birds chirping.

2. Start a wine aroma garden by planting lavender or a rose bush. Depending on your region of the country, over time add other plants with aromas like daisies, lilacs, violets, honeysuckle, orange tree (for its blossoms) and lemongrass.

Plant a rose bush for National Wine Day!

Plant a rose bush for National Wine Day!

3. In your kitchen prepare a recipe that uses wine as an ingredient. Pair the dish with the wine you use in the recipe. Need a recipe with wine as an ingredient, check out the recipe section on winetrailtraveler.com.

4. Visit a winery in your neighborhood. Call ahead for the tasting room hours.

5. Watch a wine-related movie while enjoying a glass of wine. Movies with a wine theme include: Bottle Shock, A Good Year, Cement Suitcase, A Year in ChampagneSommA Year in Burgundy, American Wine Story, and Vino Veritas.

Enjoy the day and relax with a glass of wine.


Strawberry Martini with Zabaglione

St. Francis Winery & Vineyards

St. Francis Winery & Vineyards

This year create a special dessert for your guests for celebrating Memorial Day weekend. The recipe below for Strawberry Martini with Zabaglione is from St. Francis Winery & Vineyards in Santa Rosa, California.

The winery describes this recipe as, “Strawberries with a splash of red wine syrup topped with zabaglione and crumbled amaretto cookies.” Zinfandel is the suggested wine to pair with Strawberry Martini with Zabaglione.

Since the recipe has several components, I suggest reading the entire recipe before beginning the recipe for the first time.

If you have the opportunity, visit St. Francis Winery for a delightful wine and food experience.


Strawberry Martini with Zabaglione



4 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
½ cup Marsala wine


Over a double boiler, whisk all ingredients until three times its volume, about 8-10 minutes. Be careful not to over cook the yolks or they will curdle. You may serve warm as is or you may fold in 1 cup whipped cream and hold, refrigerated for several hours.

Red Wine Syrup


2 cups red wine
2 cups sugar


Add the sugar to the wine and boil 10 minutes. Chill 3 hours before serving.

Assemble Your Desserts


2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
½ cup red wine syrup
4 amaretto cookies


Toss the sliced strawberries with red wine syrup. Divide into 4 martini or margarita glasses. Top with a dollop of Zabaglione and one crushed amaretto cookie.

Recipe provided by St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, Santa Rosa, California

A Second Perspective: Georgia the Country

Georgia with views of the Caucuses

Georgia with views of the Caucasus

Did you watch the television show about the country Georgia? Yesterday, we received a phone call from my sister about a show last night focused on the country Georgia. Because of our love for Georgia, we waited in anticipation for the program to begin. This morning Terry and I discussed the show. Overall, we were disappointed in the way the show presented the country of Georgia.

The show began with casinos and night clubs. While I’m sure if visitors are looking for this type of entertainment they may find it; this is not the “real” Georgia. I wondered how many Georgians actually frequent these establishments.

Our two visits to Georgia encompassed the cities of Tbilisi to Batumi. We did experience the Georgian supras with so much food and wine. The television special highlighted many types of Georgian foods including bread. The few times they talked about the wines, wine was only mentioned in terms of homemade wine and how much one must drink at a supra.

We attended supras while in Georgia. The supras we attended were very organized and fun. They included enormous amounts of food, spread throughout the meal, almost like separate courses. The belief in Georgia is that if there is no food left on the table after the meal, the host has not done enough for their guests.

A Georgian winery filled with qvevris

A Georgian winery filled with qvevris

At the supras we attended, there was plenty of well-made Georgian wines, but unlike the show mentioned, we were not instructed to down every glass that was poured. Supras are very long affairs lasting several hours to several days. The wines are spread out over the courses of hours and with the foods. It should be noted that Georgians do not find drunkenness acceptable behavior.

We enjoyed the numerous toasts that are made during the supras and learned that these are organized in a very specific manner beginning with a toast to God.

Since we write about wine, we were interested in the qvevri-made wines that Georgia is becoming well known for. However, neither the qvevri-made wines or the fact that qvevri winemaking is on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity were mentioned on program.

During the television show, a scene from the Pleasant Tear’s restaurant is shown. The scene was with two government employees. However, the scene never went beyond the restaurant table. Did the creator of the program know that in the basement were several buried qvevris?

On the show, Georgian music was portrayed. However no emphasis was placed on the type of music which is called polyphonic music. Polyphonic music is on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

For me, the best part of the show was the scene of large rolled barbed wire fences constructed by Russia. This is the place where Russia has encroached upon the country of Georgia. This was an area we had not visited but had frequently heard about. It was frightening to hear about it and to see the barbed wire fence rolled along an area that really belongs to Georgia was heartrending.

Georgia, Sakartvelo: the Birthplace of Wine

Georgia, Sakartvelo: the Birthplace of Wine

If you are interested in a realistic view of the country Georgia or if you plan on visiting Georgia, find out more by reading our book, Georgia, Sakartvelo: the Birthplace of Wine.

When you visit Georgia and must return home you will likely feel that you have left a piece of your heart in Georgia.


Capellini with Shrimp, Tomatoes, Arugula Recipe

Capellini with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Arugula

Capellini with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Arugula

Earlier this week during an online wine tasting with Ferrari-Carano wines, we mentioned the recipe from the winery’s website for Capellini with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Arugula. Before the wine tasting, we discovered that the Ferrari-Carano website has a section called Rhonda’s Kitchen which offers many recipes some of which use wine as an ingredient. Terry prepared the recipe that included a 1/4 cup of the Fumé Blanc. (Rather than use capellini, Terry used whole grain spaghetti as a substitute.)

In addition to enjoying the  Fumé Blanc, the Capellini with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Arugula added a delightful note to the day. This is definitely a recipe we will use again.


Capellini with Shrimp,  Tomatoes and Arugula

Serves 4



16 oz cappellini


4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp lemon zest, minced
Freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste


2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc
4 cups fresh arugula (rocket greens)


1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp fresh mint, julienne sliced for garnish



1. Cook the cappellini according to package directions.

Basil-Lemon Marinade

2. In a small bowl, add oil, garlic, basil, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper and stir. Set aside at room temperature.


3. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet, add shrimp add tomatoes. Add Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc. Let cook until the shrimp turn just pink.

4. Drain pasta onto a platter and immediately add the shrimp and tomato mixture, the fresh arugula greens and the basil-lemon marinade.

5.  Toss with Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle top with fresh mint. Serve immediately.

Recipe provided by Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery

Enjoyable Ferrari-Canaro Wine Tasting

Capellini with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Arugula

Capellini with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Arugula

Last night was the Ferrari-Canaro Vineyards and Winery online wine tasting. We tasted and tweeted about the 2014 Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc Sonoma County, 2013 Ferrari-Carano Merlot Sonoma County and 2012 Ferrari-Carano Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley.

Terry wrote haikus to describe the wines while I wrote brief descriptions. However, besides the quality of the wines I was very interested in the recipes that are on Ferrari-Carano website under Rhonda’s kitchen. The consensus of those tasting the wines and tweeting was that the wines were well-made and delicious.

The Fumé Blanc was used in the Mussels Poached in White Wine and the Capellini with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Arugula. For dinner last night Terry recreated the Capellini with Shrimp recipe. The Fumé Blanc and the other ingredients all blended together creating delicious flavors.

The Merlot was an ingredient for Grilled Spareribs with Balsamic Merlot Glaze and the Braised Venison Stew with Dried Cherries and Chocolate.

The Gorgonzola, Walnut and Cabernet Spread called for two tablespoons of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Terry’s wine haikus:

Wine, Food and Twitter

Wine, Food and Twitter

2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Cassis, blackberries
A food or rocking chair wine
Enjoyed bold tannins

2013 Merlot 

Sonoma Merlot
Chocolate, cherries, spicy
Looking for dessert

2014 Fumé Blanc

Sauvignon Fumé
Peaches, tropicals, citrus
Smooth, cleansing, delight

The next time you visit Sonoma County, be sure to stop for a visit and wine tasting at the Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery. I know we will add the winery to our itinerary.


A Ferrari-Carano Online Wine Tasting


Ferrari Carano Wines

Tomorrow, Thursday May 19, twelve wine enthusiasts will be tasting and tweeting about three wines from Ferrari Carano Vineyards and Winery. The three wines include the 2014 Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc Sonoma County, 2013 Ferrari-Carano Merlot Sonoma County and 2012 Ferrari-Carano Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley.

This special one-hour online tasting event takes place on Thursday at 5pm PDT. The tasting event will feature Rebecka Deike, the associate winemaker at Ferrari-Carano. The moderator of the online wine tasting event is Chelsea Kurnick of McCue Communications.

Follow the conversation by using the  hashtag #FCxBordeaux.

Detailed information about Ferrari-Carano Vineyard and Winery was included with the information from Ferrari-Carano.

Ferrari-Carano dates back to 1979 when the first vineyards were purchased by Don and Rhonda Carano. Their first vintage was 1985 and the winery opened in 1987. Today, visitors to Ferrari-Carano can enjoy the Villa Fiore wine shop and tasting room, the Enoteca wine tasting room, Il Terrazzo (an outdoor patio) and five acres of gardens.

The Ferrari-Carano wine styles include: The Classics, Vineyard Selects, Spirit of Italy, PreVail and Dessert Wines.

We look forward to tasting and writing about the three wines that were graciously sent to us for this special event.


Le Cigare Volant from Bonny Doon

Le Cigare Volant from Bonny Doon

Le Cigare Volant from Bonny Doon

Over the weekend, we enjoyed a bottle of Bonny Doon Vineyard’s Le Cigare Volant Reserve 2011. Translated Le Cigare Volant means Flying Cigar.

The wine was a blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. The protocols for producing Le Cigare Volant included oak and 20 months in glass carboys sur lie. According to the back wine bottle label, “Our Flying Cigar is based on the traditional Southern style encépagement.”

It is also interesting to note that the bottle is labeled with the ingredients, “INGREDIENTS: Grapes, tartaric acid, and sulfur dioxide. In the winemaking process, the following were utilized: Indigenous yeast, yeast nutrients, and French oak chips.” Bonny Doon is one of the few wineries that lists ingredients that were used to make a wine.

The wine was an opaque dark ruby color. It offered notes of black fruits including black raspberries, plums and cherries. There was also a hint of baked bread with mild tannins and a medium/full body. The finish was crisp and fruity. This was an easy-to-drink red wine that would be great as a 3P (porch, patio, pool) wine.

We enjoyed this wine with a home-baked delicious pizza. The pizza crust was made with sourdough starter. Pizza toppings included mozzarella, cheese, chicken, spinach, mushrooms and broccoli.

You may want to consider this wine for a summer picnic or barbecue. This enjoyable red wine might be an idea for Memorial Day or Father’s Day, too.

Check out the interview about Bonny Doon’s owner and winemaker Randall Grahm.


Wine in the Woods Festival

The Urban Winery

The Urban Winery one of many Maryland wineries to attend Wine in the Woods

Maryland has a growing wine industry. More wine lovers are becoming aware of the potential that Maryland has for delicious wines obtained with well managed vineyards. Add  good winemaking protocols  and you will have delightful wines. Direct to consumer shipping has helped the Maryland wine industry to grow over the past few years.

Next weekend, May 21 and May 22, will be the annual Wine in the Woods festival. Almost 30 Maryland wineries will be present. This popular festival in Columbia, Maryland offers live music, food, wines, and artisans & crafters.

Wine lovers will discover numerous types of wines available for tasting. Almost half of Maryland’s wineries will be presenting wines at the festival. Want to learn more about wine? Then plan to attend one of the wines seminars taking place at the festival. Topics include:

  • Wine Tasting 101
  • Maryland White Wines
  • Maryland Red Wines
  • Maryland Sweet and Dessert Wines

For 2016 numerous artisans and crafters will feature their products. Enjoy browsing the wide selection of artistic products available including: jewelry, photography, canvas paintings, stained glass, hanging chairs, forged iron ware, and soy waxed candles.

Music events are a big part of the Wine in the Woods festival. While tasting wine listen to jazz, rock, soul, pop, latin, swing and reggae.

And of course there is the wonderful selection of foods. A big part of enjoying wine is the food to enjoy with it. A variety of foods will be available including sausage wraps, brick oven pizza, cajun shrimp, crab cakes, pit beef, burgers, quesadillas, bruschetta, funnel cakes, butterfly fries, kettle corn, cinnamon roasted nuts and curry chicken. For vegetarians K. Asian Grill will have vegetarian lo mein.

Ticket information for Wine in the Woods is available online.

Tips for enjoying the festival.

  • Wear sun screen and comfortable shoes
  • Keep hydrated,plan to drink as much water as wine
  • Eat whether at home or at the festival, before drinking wine
  • Plan to purchase a bottle or two of wine to enjoy at home or with friends.

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