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What’s in a Wine Name?

St. Michael's Winery Home of the Go

St. Michaels Winery
Home of the Gollywobbler

Paul Vigna from Pennsylvania wrote a great post for pennlive.com  recently, What’s in a name? The Story behind Gollywobbler Braveheart and others. In addition, he wrote about questions and answers with Michael Kaiser of WineAmerica about wine names.

In his blog Vigna looks at wineries from eight wineries in Pennsylvania and Maryland and the unusual names they have chosen for wines. For instance at St. Michaels Winery in Maryland a wine is named Gollywobbler while at Orchid Cellar Meadery also in Maryland they produce a mead with the name Lumberjack. Read Vigna’s article to discover why some wines have unusual names such as Russian Kiss, Tears of Gettysburg, Zafferano, Braveheart and Detante.

In his Q&A with Michael Kaiser from WineAmerica  Vigna posed questions about TTB requirements for wine labels. In his post, On fanciful wine names and why the TTB rejects some he asked some general questions about wine names but also asked about the criteria used to approve or reject a name or label. Kaiser responded with some of the things that the TTB looks for on a wine label including alcohol content, brand name and class/type of wine. Most interesting is the list of reasons why a name might be rejected which includes “Anything implying health benefits” and “Anything with a government stamp or seal.” Read his blog to discover more reasons why a wine name might be rejected.

If you enjoy wine, you are likely to enjoy Paul Vigna’s blogs about wine names.

Cheers,
Kathy

It’s the Little Things You Do That Tells a Sommelier What Wine to Suggest

Sometimes it’s the little things that count when a sommelier is about to suggest a wine. A writer for the Washington Post, Dave McIntyre relates a wonderful experience he recently encountered in Charlottesville, Virginia. In the Washington Post article, “Why the sommelier watches how you attack the bread basket” he recounts visiting the restaurant, Fleurie, with his own bottle of wine only to find that it was oxidized. McIntyre discusses the pros of relying on a good sommelier to help with choosing a wine.

At the Fleurie restaurant, Erin Scala is the sommelier and has some definite ideas of the proper way to judge or read what the customer may like to enjoy in the evening. According to the article, McIntyre describes how Scala reads the customer by carefully observing how they eat the bread. Another clue for Scala to observe is if the diner orders ice with water. Do you know what picking up your napkin, leaving your wine glasses in the correct order or not moving your bread plate mean? Find out by reading McIntyre’s article. It’s fascinating to discover that it is the little things you do that can determine what a sommelier can learn about your wine preferences. You will also learn how Scala feels about Beaujolais.

Cheers!
Kathy

Wine Author and Teacher Karen MacNeil Will Deliver Keynote Address at Wine Bloggers Conference

Image provided by Karen MacNeil & Company

Image provided by Karen MacNeil & Company

During our early years of Wine Trail Traveler, we were starving for wine knowledge. Stumbling on a television broadcast, Wine, Food and Friends, we watched attentively as Karen MacNeil led the viewers through a gentle wine education that was also entertaining. We kept searching for other broadcasts in the series. Kathy and I have been fans of Karen MacNeil absorbing what we could form her book The Wine Bible. We are looking forward to her keynote address at this year’s Wine Bloggers Conference in Corning, New York.

We contacted Karen for an email interview prior to the August conference in New York.

Wine Trail Traveler: Can you describe how and when your wine journey began?
Karen MacNeil: At age 15, I started having a glass of wine with dinner. I bought the wine myself, but because I was afraid to go completely into the wine shop, I just bought anything they had in the 89-cent bin near the front of the store.

Wine Trail Traveler: You have said that you enjoy sparkling wines every day. What do you like to pair sparkling wine with?
Karen MacNeil: I like to pair it with 6pm.

Wine Trail Traveler: How can wine writers, bloggers and authors help to promote champagne, cava, prosecco and other sparkling wines as an every day wine?
Karen MacNeil: I think we all realize how perfect these wines are as everyday, after-work aperitifs. It’s puzzling why more people don’t drink them, although prosecco is on fire in terms of sales and cava is planning on being right behind it.

Wine Trail Traveler: What options do wine consumers and enthusiasts have who want to learn about wine but not take certification or college coursework?
Karen MacNeil: Well, shameless commerce division: the Wine Bible is pretty good. So is Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World Wine Book.

Wine Trail Traveler: What can wine enthusiasts look forward to in you next edition of The Wine Bible?
Karen MacNeil: It’s a whole new book, new maps, new boxes, new regions including Mexico and Asia. But mostly I think I’ve become a better teacher so it’s a really great way to learn about wine.

Wine Trail Traveler: What is your favorite wine region in the world to visit and why?
Karen MacNeil: Alsace (for the combination of food, wine and beauty); the Mosel (for the grandeur of the vineyards and the refinement of riesling); Spain (for the sense of going back in time) and Burgundy (because it’s the “mother ship”).

Wine Trail Traveler: Wine alone can be great, but when you add wine with food and friends it can be magical. Can you recount an experience when wine, food and friends was magical?
Karen MacNeil: These are the sorts of experiences everyone can make happen in their lives. For me it was last night—a special 1991 Paradigm cabernet I had held onto, with a good steak on the grill and the first of summer’s heirloom tomatoes.

Wine Trail Traveler: What advise do you have for people who write about wine including authors and bloggers?
Karen MacNeil: Work as hard at being a good writer as you do at being a wine expert.

Karen MacNeil’s keynote address at this year’s Wine Bloggers Conference will take place on Friday, August 14th at 9:30 am EDT.

Cheers,
Terry

Wine & Food Event for Charity

Highland Heights near Cleveland, Ohio is the location of a charity event on August 14. The event includes food and wine. The goal of this year’s event is to help Maggie’s Place. Highland Heights Wine Benefit takes place August 14 from 7pm to 10pm at the Aberdeen Community Center. Only 100 tickets are available, so if you want to help this wine and charity event get your tickets soon.

Each year the event organizer will choose a different charity to receive help. For 2015 the money raised will be donated to Maggie’s Place. Maggie’s Place offers hospitality houses and support for pregnant and parenting women.

Tickets for this special event are available online.

This year the event will include 30 wines to taste, catered food by Joe’s Wood Fired Pizza including salad, snacks and pizzas, live entertainment and a silent auction. If you are interested knowing which wines will be tasted visit the website.

The ticket price of $65 includes wine and food. For anyone planning to take part in the silent auction, guests are asked to provide cash.

Young women who find themselves pregnant and need help can find help at one of the Maggie’s Place houses. Even if you cannot attend the fundraiser, perhaps you will consider a donation.

Cheers!
Kathy

29th Annual Grapefest in Grapevine, Texas!

Texas, Oregon and Argentina wines! Wow, what a great combination of wine regions to participate together in Grapevine’s 29th Annual Grapefest in September!

The Grapevine Grapefest offers a great opportunity to celebrate the wines of Texas and also discover wines from Oregon and Argentina. Look for arts and crafts vendors, food vendors and so much more.

The festival takes place in Grapevine, Texas a small town about 25 miles northwest of Dallas. The scheduled dates are September 17 through September 20.

This family-friendly event includes:

  • People’s Choice Wine Tasting Classic
  • Texas Wine Tribute
  • Grape Stomp
  • Champagne Terrace
  • KidsWorld
  • GrapeFest Golf Classic (check the date)
  • GrapeFest Tennis Classic (check the date)
  • Italian CarFest
  • Live entertainment

Tickets are available online. General admission tickets vary depending on the day you choose to visit. Some additional tickets are needed to participate in the People’s Choice Wine Tasting Classic, Oregon and Argentina wine tastings and the GrapeFest Golf Classic.

Watch the GrapeFest website for upcoming details including the names of craft and food vendors.

A few years ago we visited Grapevine, Texas and enjoyed the historic nature of the town. At that time, there were many boutique shops that would be fun to wander through, so if you plan to attend the Grapefest save some time for browsing the shops.

Cheers!
Kathy

Ojaleshi the Rolls Royce of Georgian Black Grapes

072315aPerhaps divine intervention or fate led to events that make me wonder. Kathy and I were visiting Dadiani Old Cellar in the Shmegrelo region of the country Georgia. Monks own the property, church, mansion and winery. The grounds are beautifully landscaped. We enjoyed a tour of the entire property and settled in the cellar of the winery to taste what the monks call the Rolls Royce of Georgian wine – Ojaleshi. We throughly enjoyed the setting. A long table had a hole cut out in the center. Affixed to that hole was a qvevri filled with the almost black colored Ojaleshi wine. We could have spent hours there enjoying the camaraderie.

On our return to our vehicle, the monk that led our tour tracked us down and gave Kathy and me a bottle of Ojaleshi. It made it home to Maryland just fine, securely packed in my suitcase. For the past year, I pondered when to open the bottle. I was looking for the right time to seize the moment. This was not an ordinary wine, after all it was the Rolls Royce of Georgian black wines.

I seldom see Ojaleshi mentioned. Then last week a Facebook comment caught my attention. I wrote a blog post on my winemaking site about my qvevri wine made in Maryland. A comment was posted that showed the surprise that qvevri wine was made in the United States let alone in Maryland. I contacted Nina Kutaiselli, who wrote the post, and discovered that she is a film maker working on the film, The Land of 8,000 Vintages. As I learned about the film, I discovered that Nina wrote the quote, “Wine makes you lose your equilibrium, but helps you find yourself, I found myself in Ojaleshi, I become a filmmaker.” There it is, Ojaleshi, fate or divine intervention?

Kathy and I met Nina and her brother Nick. They were born in Georgia and came to the United States when Nina was 15 years old and Nick was nine years old. Nina has returned to Georgia a few times. She also visited Dadiani Old Cellar and had their Ojaleshi. She knew she had to make a film about Georgian wine, especially qvevri wine. As Nina recounted her trip to Dadiani, I decided to open the Ojaleshi wine given to us by the monk from Dadiani. Our guests enjoyed the wine.

The Ojaleshi was a dark ruby to black color with a dark ruby rim. Dark fruits were on the aroma especially black cherry. The taste also had black cherries, plums and blackberries with a hint of earthiness. The full-bodied wine had tannins and a long fruity aftertaste. This grape grows 6,000 miles from Maryland. But for a moment the wine brought together two Georgian/Americans and two Americans that have come to love the country Georgia and its wine culture.

Cheers,
Terry

Randall Grahm: Goal is to Create The First New World Grand Cru at Popelouchum

Randall Grahm, California winemaker and author, is reaching out to numerous wine enthusiasts about a new project he is developing. In his recent email, he writes: “ To (slightly) paraphrase Brillat-Savarin, ‘The discovery of a new grand cru brings more happiness to humanity than the discovery of a new star.”  While I imagine that some people may disagree with this assessment, it does showcase the importance that a new grand cru might bring to the wine world.

Grahm’s initiative is to create/discover a ‘wine of place’ for the New World. He describes his idea as one that would create a ‘wine of place” by breeding 10,000 new grape varieties. He notes that there is the potential benefit of identifying one or more new genius varieties. The massive project is to take place at Popelouchum close to San Juan Bautista, California. If you have any interest in Popelouchum be sure to check out the extensive information online at Indiegogo.

You might wonder why Grahm is reaching out to others. This long term initiative of Grahm’s will take massive amounts of money and Grahm has established a crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo for it. The goal is to reach $350,000. Already the contributions have reached more than $26,000 and there is still a month left for the campaign.

Interested people can help by contributing as little as $5 to as much as $5,000. Nine categories of contributions with increasing benefits include:

  • $5           Join the Dooniverse
  • $25         3 signed posters
  • $35         Webinar with Randall
  • $65         Book + Tasting Flight for 4
  • $75         Name Your New Grape Variety + Flights for 4
  • $250       Picnic for 2 at Popelouchum
  • $800       Dinner for 4 at Popelouchum
  • $1500     Wine Club Membership + Dinner for 2
  • $5000     Wine Club Membership + Dinner for 10

Be sure to visit the Indiegogo website to contribute.

Cheers!
Kathy

Wineries Offer Numerous Fun Events Coming Up Soon!

Pearmund Cellars, Broad Run, Virginia

Pearmund Cellars, Broad Run, Virginia

Check out these winery event ideas coming up between tomorrow and August 2.If you haven’t visited a winery yet, get started on your “wine journey” this summer! Find out what you are missing.
Cheers!
Kathy

Wednesday, July 22

Chateau Chantal, Traverse City, Michigan
Event: Wine and Food Pairing Tours! Make reservations.
Event: Wine Dinner! 
Website Info

Thursday, July 23

Chateau Chantal, Traverse City, Michigan
Event: Wine and Food Pairing Tours! Make reservations.
Event: Jazz at Sunset 

Website Info

Grand River Cellars, Madison, Ohio
Event: Brushes & Lushes

Website Info

The Winery at Perennial Vineyards, Ohio
Music: Brook Tournoux
Website Information

Friday, July 24

Chateau Chantal, Traverse City, Michigan
Event: Wine and Food Pairing Tours! Make reservations.
Event: Wine Dinner! 
Website Info

The Winery at Perennial Vineyards, Ohio
Music: Diana Chittester
Website Information

Saturday, July 25

Chateau Chantal, Traverse City, Michigan
Event: Wine and Food Pairing Tours! Make reservations.
Event: Wine Dinner! 
Website Info

Grand River Cellars, Madison, Ohio
Event: Vineyard Carriage Rides

Website Info

Pearmund Cellars, Broad Run, Virginia
Event: Fauquier Release Weekend
Event: Heritage Pizzeria 
Website Info

Sunday, July 26

Chateau Chantal, Traverse City, Michigan
Event: Wine and Food Pairing Tours! Make reservations.
Website Info

Pearmund Cellars, VA
Event: Fauquier Release Weekend
Event: Heritage Pizzeria
Event: Yoga in the Vineyard 

Website Info

Monday, July 27

Chateau Chantal, Traverse City, Michigan
Event: Wine and Food Pairing Tours! Make reservations.
Website Infor

Tuesday, July 28

Chateau Chantal, Traverse City, MI
Event: Wine and Food Pairing Tours! Make reservations.
Event: Wine Dinner! 
Website Info

Wednesday, July 29

Chateau Chantal, Traverse City, Michigan
Event: Wine and Food Pairing Tours! Make reservations.
Event: Wine Dinner! 
Website Info

Thursday, July 30

Chateau Chantal, Traverse City, Michigan
Event: Wine and Food Pairing Tours! Make reservations.
Event: Jazz at Sunset 
Website Info

Grand River Cellars, Madison, Ohio
Event: Brushes & Lushes

Website Info

The Winery at Perennial Vineyards, Ohio
Music: Major Lee
Website Information

Friday, July 31

Chateau Chantal, Traverse City, Michigan
Event: Wine and Food Pairing Tours! Make reservations.
Event: Wine Dinner! 
Website Info

The Winery at Perennial Vineyards, Ohio
Music: Tim and TJ Gang
Website Information

AUGUST

Saturday, August 1

Chateau Chantal, Traverse City, Michigan
Event: Wine and Food Pairing Tours! Make reservations.
Website Info

Grand River Cellars, Madison, Ohio
Event: Vineyard Carriage Rides

Website Info

Vint Hill Craft Winery, Vint Hill, Virginia
Event: Winemaker’s Dinner
Website Information

Sunday, August 2

Chateau Chantal, Traverse City, Michigan
Event: Wine and Food Pairing Tours! Make reservations.
Website Info

Wine Bloggers Conference Gives Chance to Plug Ancient Winemaking Protocols

The previous Wine Bloggers Conference on the East Coast was in Charlottesville, Virginia. At that 2011 conference, I took a couple bottles of wine that I had made and shared with other members of the media. One bottle was an east/west blend of Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon and Virginia Tannat. This year’s conference returns to the east in Corning, New York. I plan to take a qvevri wine Kathy and I made in Georgia (Eastern Europe) and a bottle of a qvevri wine we made in Maryland.

Cleaning a qvevri with a cherry bark brush and water

Cleaning a qvevri with a cherry bark brush and water

I have written several blog posts about qvevri winemaking on my winemaking blog. However, I haven’t mentioned it very often on the WineTrailTraveler.com blog. Qvevri winemaking is the only winemaking process that is on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The practice is thousands of years old and shows that the ancients knew a thing or two about winemaking.

Filling the qvevri with Rkatsiteli grapes

Filling the qvevri with Rkatsiteli grapes

Today, ancient qvevri winemaking meets new winemaking practices. For instance, I cleaned a qvevri at Twins Wine Cellar in Napareuli in the Kakheti region of Georgia using a cherry bark brush and water. This is ancient technology. After removing the water and repeating the process several times, I lit a sulphur strip, lowered it into the qvevri and let it burn releasing the sulphur gas. When the gas hit the wet sides of the qvevri, the chemical reaction produced sulphuric acid, a sanitizing agent. This is modern technology. Kathy and I, after harvesting Rkatsiteli grapes with a family, filled the qvevri with the grapes minus the stems. The juice fermented and the wine remained on the skins in the qvevri buried underground for the next six months.

On returning to Twins Wine Cellar in April of 2014, we opened the qvevri. We did not use any fining agents or filtering. The wine naturally filtered in the qvevri. I’ll bring of bottle of this to WBC15. Six months of maceration for white wines is not a protocol commonly practiced today. Several Georgian winemakers told me that the skins of grapes are like our mothers. At birth, we do not whisk the child away from its mother. Why then do winemakers do this when making a white wine?

Opening the qvevri after six months

Opening the qvevri after six months

The wine was not filtered or fined.

The wine was not filtered or fined.

My Maryland qvevri wine was a challenge. We were in Europe during the prime harvest for white grapes. By the time we returned home, we had slim pickings of white grapes left. We did end up getting some Muscat grapes and destemmed them by hand. After a mild crushing, we placed the grapes in the qvevri, also buried underground. By the end of October, the juice had fermented. It was then time to let it macerate on the skins for several months. We sealed the qvevri and covered it with sand. In April, when we removed the eight inches of sand and opened the cover, we did not observe what we expected. Perhaps the 23-liter qvevri was a bit small, we did check it with our luggage on our return flights from Georgia. Rather then settling to the bottom of the qvevri, the grape skins were mixed with the wine. My theory is that for six months, the skins and wine were in constant motion.

Muscat wine made in a 23 liter qvevri in Maryland

Muscat wine made in a 23 liter qvevri in Maryland

I racked the wine to a carboy and within 24 hours, the suspended particles began to settle to the bottom. Before bottling, I lightly filtered the wine. I’ll also bring a bottle of this to WBC15. If you are attending the conference and would like to sample some wines made the way the ancients south of the Greater Caucus Mountains made and still make wines, let me know. The Wine Bloggers Conference affords an opportunity to share with each other, even winemaking practices that are thousands of years old.

Cheers,
Terry

Wine Women & Shoes® Helps Organize Fundraising Events

Are you looking for an event that benefits women and families? Then you will want to check out the Wine Women & Shoes website which helps numerous charitable events around the country. So far the organization has raised more than $30,000,000 for children’s and women’s charities.

WW&S helps organizations with fundraising events. According to their website, “Wine Women & Shoes® sophisticated events feature SHOEMMELIER-style wine tasting, auctions, fashion marketplace and often a fashion show created for women who enjoy fine wine, great style, and female camaraderie – all to support a noble cause.”

Two upcoming  charity events in August 2015 include:

Location: Boston, MA
Date: August 28, 2015
Organization: UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation

This event takes place at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. The event includes wine tasting, designer shopping, runway fashion show, gourmet three course dinner, and silent/live auctions.

Location: Joplin, MO
Date: August 29, 2015
Organization: Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

This event in Joplin includes wine tasting, shopping, Shoe Guys, savory bites, glamorous fashion show, auctions and a Key-to-the-Closet raffle.

A list of more upcoming charities is available here

If you are interested in fun, wine, fashion and helping others be sure to check out the  Wine Women & Shoes® website.

Cheers,
Kathy


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