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A Recipe for National Drink Wine Day!

Pearmund Cellars in Virginia

Today, February 18 is National Drink Wine Day! So why not sit down, relax and enjoy a glass of wine produced by one of your local wineries. With every state having wineries, there is likely a winery near you.

Stop by your nearby winery and discover what’s new on their wine list. If you don’t have a winery near you, then stop by your local grocery store or wine shop to find a bottle of wine to share with family or friends.

While you are enjoying a wine, consider using your culinary skills to create a recipe that you can serve along with a glass of wine. The recipe below, great for a cold winter day, calls for white wine as one of the ingredients.

Penne Pasta with Artichokes, Parmesan & Sausage

Serves: 6
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes


4 sweet Italian sausages
1 large chopped Onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
18 Ocean Mist Baby Artichokes, rinsed and trimmed (See video: How to Prepare Baby Artichokes for cooking)
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
12 oz. penne pasta, cooked al dente
¼ cup butter (½ stick)
¼ cup parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste


How to Prepare & Cook with Baby Artichokes (YouTube)

  1. In a large stainless steel or enameled skillet, sauté the sausage over moderately high heat until it is browned. Add the Onion and garlic, and cook over moderate heat, stirring until the Onion is golden.
  2. Add the prepared Baby Artichokes, the wine and the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer the mixture, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until the Artichoke Hearts are tender.
  3. Cook the mixture, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until the juices have thickened slightly. Keep warm and covered.
  4. Serve over fettuccine, cooked al dente, tossed with the butter and Parmesan. Use salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley.

Recipe provided by Ocean Mist Farms.


Celebrate Mardi Gras with Cayuga Lake Wineries

Americana Vineyards celebrates Mardi Gras with other Cayuga Lake Wine Trail wineries!

Celebrate Mardi Gras on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Scheduled for February 25 thru February 26, all 16 wineries of the wine trail will be celebrating this 15th annual event.

As you travel from winery to winery participating in the Mardi Gras, participants will sample pairings of wine and food. Each participant can collect beads along the way. This two-day event includes a scavenger hunt with a chance to win a case of Cayuga Lake Wine Trail wine. There will also be an opportunity to win a prize at each participating winery.

In addition to the opportunity to taste and learn about Cayuga Lake Wine Trail wines, a number of Grand Prizes will be awarded. These Grand Prizes include:

Hosmer Winery in New York’s Finger Lakes region

  • The Hotel Ithaca
  • Finger Lakes Winery Tours
  • Deerhead Lakeside Restaurant & Bar
  • Cobtree Vacation Rental Resort
  • La Tourelle
  • Cayuga Lake Cabins
  • 34 State “Historic Luxury Suites”
  • 10 Fitch Luxurious Romantic Inn
  • Finger Lakes Wine Fest

Tickets for the two-day Mardi Gras event are $35 per person and include: one souvenir wine glass, one wine and food pairing at each winery, three additional wine tastings per winery, one recipe collection, beads at each winery and a chance to win a prize at each winery. Discounted tickets at $17.50 are also available for designated drivers. These special discounted tickets do not include the wine tasting and rather than a wine glass, the ticket holder will receive a special travel mug.

The Cayuga Lake Wine Trail members include:

Americana Vineyards
Bellwether Hard Cider and Wine Cellars
Buttonwood Grove Winery
Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery
Goose Watch Winery
Hosmer Winery
Knapp Winery
Long Point Winery
Lucas Vineyards
Montezuma Winery
Six Mile Creek Vineyards
Swedish Hill Winery
Thirsty Owl Wine Company
Toro Run Winery
Varick Winery & Vineyard

Wine Trail Traveler visited and wrote articles about many of these Cayuga Lake Wine Trail wineries. Check out the articles online.

For more details about the Mardi Gras event, visit the 15th Annual Mardi Gras website.


Available Now! “A Wine Lexicon: Increasing Your Knowledge”

A Wine Lexicon: Increasing Your Knowledge

Update: A Wine Lexicon: Increasing Your Knowledge is now also available through Barnes & Noble’s online store. The book is also available online through Amazon.

Our most recent book, A Wine Lexicon: Increasing Your Knowledge, is now available but only directly from Wine Trail Traveler. This 240-page book, with color photos, is a great resource for anyone who wants to know more about wine without taking an educationally stuffy and expensive wine class.

Written in a friendly manner, A Wine Lexicon provides easy to understand descriptions of many wine terms with numerous anecdotes. These anecdotes provide interesting experiences including visiting a small museum in Spain that celebrates phylloxera, visiting a wine cathedral, and experiencing a grape harvest. More details about A Wine Lexicon are available online.

Do you wish you knew a little more about wine and sound a little bit more knowledgeable when talking with others about wine? This book was written for you. Be sure to get your copy of A Wine Lexicon: Increasing Your Knowledge, today. To purchase a copy, visit the Wine Trail Traveler bookstore.

Terry & Kathy

Port Fudge Brownies Recipe

Messina Hof Winery & Resort, Bryan, TX

Messina Hof Winery & Resort in Bryan, Texas makes a great Port. This special port, Papa Paul Port Private Reserve Double Barrel 2010,  is produced with the Lenoir grape  It’s yummy. The Port offered fruity notes of raisins and plums. It had 8% residual sugar, a medium  sweet wine.

For Valentine’s Day or any day of the year, try the Messina Hof Port with this yummy recipe provided by Merrill Bonarrigo, who founded the winery with her husband Paul.

Harvesting Lenoir grapes at Messina Hof Winery

Port Fudge Brownie Recipe


4 ounces (1/2 cup) bittersweet chocolate chips
1 stick of butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup Messina Hof Port
2 large eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


Grab your ingredients, an 8×8 pan and a large mixing bowl and preheat your oven to 350F. Next, use a double-boiler (or try this DIY trick) to melt the chocolate chips and butter together. Stir the mixture occasionally until it is velvety smooth. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Whisk in your chocolate mixture followed by Messina Hof’s Port. Add flour, cocoa powder and salt then stir until the brownie batter is smooth and slightly thick. Pour the batter into pan (make sure it’s buttered!) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Recipe provided by Messina Hof Winery & Resort in Bryan, Texas.

About Messina Hof Winery

We have visited Messina Hof several times and each time it has been a special experience. The family owned winery is friendly and welcoming as well as producing some wonderful wines. With a restaurant and an elegant lodging site, this is a winery that anyone may want to consider for celebrating a special event including anniversaries, birthdays or Valentine’s Day.

Check out our online article about Messina Hof Winery & Resort.


A Special Dip for Super Bowl Sunday

With Super Bowl Sunday only a day away, I discovered this dip for mushroom, cheese and herb dip from Schug Carneros Estate Winery. The recipe calls for one cup of red wine. Enjoy for the Super Bowl or any other day of the year.

Mushroom, Gorgonzola and Herb Dip

(serve with SCHUG Cabernet Sauvignon)


2 packages sliced mushrooms (10 oz. each)
2 tbsp. each butter and olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup dry red wine
1/3 lb. Gorgonzola cheese (5-6 oz.), at room temp.*
½ lb. cream cheese, at room temp.
¼ cup scallions, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh rosemary or thyme (or both!), finely chopped
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 or 4 dozen homemade croutons, or sturdy crackers for dipping/serving


Prepare mushrooms: 

  1. Chop the mushrooms until they are in pieces about ¼-inch across. Heat a large non-stick sauté pan over medium high heat then add the butter and olive oil and a large pinch of salt and several grindings of pepper. Add the chopped mushrooms to the pan and stir and cook for several minutes. Continue to stir and cook the mushrooms until all their juices have evaporated and the mushrooms are nicely browned.
  2. Turn flame to medium and add the red wine. Stir and cook the mushrooms for another several minutes or until the wine has completely evaporated and there is no steam coming from the mushrooms. Turn flame off and set mushrooms aside to cool to room temperature.

Prepare cheese and herbs: 

  1. Place the Gorgonzola and the cream cheese into the bowl of an electric mixer.  Turn machine on at low and mix the two cheeses together, scraping down the sides occasionally, until they are well blended but small pieces of Gorgonzola cheese are still visible.
  2. Add the scallions, herbs and pepper and blend again until all ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Next, add the room temperature mushrooms and stir again to blend evenly.**

Warm dip for serving:

  1. Place mushroom mixture into a decorative 8” x 8” casserole dish. Bake the mushroom mixture for 12-15 minutes in a pre-heated 375°F oven, or until it has softened and the cheese has just begun to brown a little.
  2. Serve dip with a spoon or spreader on croutons or sturdy crackers while warm. Makes enough for 12 people to have 3 or 4 servings each.

Cook’s Notes:

*Use a crumbly Gorgonzola, not a creamy one. The creamy cheeses tend to “break” or separate when heated and their oil floats to the top of the dip. Still tasty, but not as pretty!

**If made ahead of time, place mushroom/cheese mixture into a plastic container with an air tight light. Keeps for a couple days. To serve, begin recipe at warming step.

Recipe provided by SCHUG Carneros Estate Winery in Sonoma, California.


Special February Events at Painted Stave Distilling

Owners of Painted Stave Distilling in Delaware.

Painted Stave Distilling is a delightful, boutique distillery in Smyrna, Delaware. The two owners, Ron Gomes Jr. and Mike Rasmussen are innovative and crafting some delightful spirits. Their creativity lends itself well to the site and to the events they host.

Painted Stave is located in an old movie theatre structure which they renovated into a tasting room, large event room and distillery. The event room with white walls and wood flooring is ideal for numerous types of events including art shows. It is also available for rentals.

During February, Painted Stave Distilling is offering special events to celebrate Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras. Also, check out the Painted Stave online calendar for tasting room hours. Below is a description of the February events from a recent email.

Thursday, February 9

Owl’s Brew Tea Mixers

Owl’s Brew Tea Mixers is taking over for the evening! We’ve crafted a slew of “one night only” cocktails using our spirits and their mixers. Stop by for an evening of freebies, delicious drinks and even better company.

Saturday, February 11

Shakespeare & St. Valentine: A Night of Poetry, Music, and Romance

Delaware Shakespeare Festival brings a delightful mix of Shakespeare readings, song, and romance perfect for Valentine’s Day weekend! DSF actors will celebrate Shakespeare’s lovers (and some of his not-quite-lovers) in this light-hearted evening, for a performance lasting approximately one hour.

Tickets are $25 and includes one regular cocktail.
Tickets are online.

Saturday, February 18

Cheese Pairing with Harvest Ridge Winery

Wine, cheese, AND cocktails! Harvest Ridge Winery and Painted Stave are joining forces at the distillery to bring you this five cheese pairing – each with one wine and one cocktail. Keep an eye out on our Facebook page for a link to purchase tickets! Tickets: $25

Saturday, February 25: 6 to 10pm

Mardi Gras Party 2017

Beads, Sazeracs and Masks- oh my! It’s that time again – we might be a few miles from Bourbon Street, but that’s no excuse to miss Mardi Gras!

Join us on February 25th for our 3rd annual Mardi Gras Party- we’ll have classic Cajun fare, a live NOLA style jazz band and a King and Queen of Zulu to be elected for coming in the best costumes. Laissez les bons temps rouler! Tickets are $16.82 to buy early and $20 at the door- see you there!
Tickets are available online.

We visited Painted Stave Distilling in 2016! Check out this article about the experience.


Maryland’s Winter Wine Event Photos

Last week we attended the delightful annual Winter Wine Event held each year at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. We discovered numerous wines from around the state of Maryland with an overwhelming enthusiasm from both the Maryland winemakers and attendees. Held each year in the middle of the winter, the Maryland Winter Wine event is the perfect activity to wile away the winter doldrums. Enjoy these photos and watch for next Winter Wine Festival to be announced.

Maryland Wine

Maryland winemakers produce many types of wine including: red, white and sparkling wine. Visitors to the Mary Winter Wine event discovered many of these wines including this sparkling wine pictured below.

A Maryland Sparkling Wine

Old Westminster Winery Sparkling Wine

Maryland Winemakers

Crow Vineyard is located in Kennedyville, MD

Lauren, Winemaker at Port of Leonardtown Winery in Leonardtown, MD

Elk Run Vineyards & Winery is in New Windsor, MD.



Winter Wine Festival Food

The event was catered by Zeffert & Gold Catering and event Planning who provided tasty appetizers.

Artisan Cheese Tray

Charcuterie Tray

Yummy Crabmeat with assorted crackers

Flavored Water

B&O Museum

B&O Roundhouse in Baltimore

Railroad car in the B&O Roundhouse

Railroad car in the B&O Roundhouse Museum


Small Group Wine Tasting Fun

Small group wine tasting by Wine Trail Traveler

Small group wine tastings offer a relaxing, social atmosphere any time of the year. Yesterday we offered a wine tasting event for a group of 15 people who are interested in wine. Over the past year we have offered several of these types of events which are suitable for anyone with an interest in wine. For this group, numerous nibbles were provided by the organizer The Village in Howard (TVIH)  for the event.

However, we did add a couple of items to encourage people to pair food with wine. For example, with the Sauterne wine, we passed a plate with bits of dark chocolate from the Ranger factory in Portland, Oregon. We paired the Icewine with bites of blue cheese. Our final food and wine activity was to teach the guests how to do a Tim Tam Slam using a Tim Tam as a straw and a little Port.

For this particular wine event, we were asked to focus on sweet wines. The wines ranged in styles and prices with the least expensive one that we had made by back sweetening it. The most expensive was the Icewine by Inniskillin in Canada. The wine tasting ended with a yummy  Port produced by Messina Hof in Texas and the Tim Tam Slam experience.

The presentation covered concepts such as residual sugar, fermentation and crafting of sweet wines

These wine focused-group meetings are great for people who want to know more about wine. The attendees are encouraged and do  frequently ask questions and also enjoy discussing which wines they like. We enjoy sharing our wine experiences with others, and these small group presentations are ideal. This was a fun wine event for everyone involved.

We are looking forward to our next wine tasting speaking event with those who want to learn more about wine at a relaxing, social event.

If you are interested in group wine tasting events, contact us at Wine Trail Traveler.

Kathy and Terry

Maryland’s Winter Wine Event Chases Away Winter Doldrums

On Thursday evening January 26th, Maryland wineries showcased white and red wines as part of the Winter Wine event. This is one of the finest wine events on the East Coast. The setting, for the third year in a row, was the roundhouse at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. The large roundhouse is surrounded by trains and passenger cars from different eras. These old machines give a sense of historic elegance to any event held in the large center of the room. Adding to the sophistication of the setting was the attire of the attendees. Gone were the tee shirts and shorts common to summer wine festivals. In its place was cocktail attire. Many men wore ties and women wore dresses and pant suits. This provided a stylish setting for showcasing Maryland wines.

Maryland Winter Wine 2017

Not only were the wines on center stage, also presented was a new logo for Maryland wine. The logo shows the outline of the state made from different sized grape berries. A sienna red and purple colored the berries. A single grape vine tendril and grape leaf was added to Western Maryland. The new logo signifies that the Maryland wine industry covers the entire state. Most Maryland residents are only thirty minutes away from a winery.

Danny and Darlene Ellis

We interviewed several people who attended the event. This was the third year at Maryland Winter Wine for Danny and Darlene Ellis who also enjoy the autumn Maryland Wine Festival at the Carroll County Farm Museum. They like the wine presented and the atmosphere of the museum. Danny is a history buff and relishes the historic trains surrounding the wine tastings. In contrast this was the first Winter Wine event attended by Kristen and Collin Hayward. They too were excited about the venue. Kristen likes to learn about wine and mentioned the willingness of the wineries to talk about the wines they were pouring.

Alexa Wolff and Harrison Scott traveled from Virginia to attend their first Winter Wine event. They used words like “fabulous” and “fantastic” to describe the event space and the wines. They were surprised with the quality of the wines and especially liked the wines from Boordy Vineyards. Also Boordy Vineyards fans were Tom and Sarah Haines. They also liked the wines from DeJon Vineyard. They noticed the variance in Maryland wines and pointed out some of their favorite reds.

Maryland Wine new logo

The main tasting took place in the roundhouse. Previous to that there was a sparkling wine reception in different museum rooms. During the sparkling wine reception we met Karen Marc and Liz Crammond. This was their first time at the Maryland Wine. They liked the diversity of people attending as well as the diversity of Maryland wines. They also commented about the beauty of the venue.

If you like getting dressed up and attending a classy wine tasting event, look for the 2018 Winter Wine event next January. It is a wonderful way to spend an evening chasing away the winter doldrums.


Sweetheart Dinner at Pearmund Cellars

Barrel room at Pearmund Cellars, Virginia

If you want to romance the love of your life, you may want to consider enjoying a Valentine’s Sweetheart Dinner at Pearmund Cellars in Virginia on February 11. The winery is within easy driving distance of Washington, DC.

The Valentine’s Sweetheart Dinner begins at 6:30pm and continues until 8:00pm

This very special dinner includes a four-course dinner from Savory Faire and will be paired with Pearmund Cellars  and Effingham Manor wines.

The menu:

  • Hors d’oeuvres: Brie Bites & Beef Crostini
    Effingham Sparkling Wine
  • Lobster Bisque
    2014 Pearmund Cellars Chardonnay
  • Seared Sesame Tuna over Mixed Greens
    2015 Pearmund Cellars Viognier
  • Duet of Filet Mignon in Shallot Demi-glaze with Tuscan Chicken, Basil Whipped Potato and Roasted Asparagus
    2013 Pearmund Cellars Cabernet Franc Reserve
  • Sweethearts Crème Brulee with Chocolate covered Strawberries
    2015 Effingham Rose

This elegant Valentine’s dinner is $199 per couple.
For reservations email john@pearmundcellars.com or call 540-347-3475.

For an extra special Valentine’s event, you will want to consider the Sweetheart Dinner at Pearmund Cellars.


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