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Wine Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day Chocolate Fondue Recipe

Valentine’s Day Chocolate Fondue Recipe

For Valentine’s Day if you really don’t fancy spending time in the kitchen creating a creative meal with wine, you may rather just visit a winery with special events. Check out the wineries with events this weekend. Take your special person and enjoy the experience.

Cheers!
Kathy

Thursday, February 11

Grand River Cellars, Madison, OH
Event: Valentine’s Day Dinner
Event: Brushes & Lushes on Canvas 

Website Information

Friday, February 12

Duplin Winery, Rose Hill, NC
Event: Valentine’s Day Dinner
Website Information 

Grand River Cellars, Madison, OH
Event: Valentine’s Day Dinner
Website Information

Texas Legato, TX
Event: Wine Down Happy Hour
Website Information

Youngberg Hill, OR
Event: Pre-Valentine Wine Dinner
Website Information

Saturday, February 13

Duplin Winery, Rose Hill, NC
Event: Valentine’s Day Dinner
Website Information 

Grand River Cellars, Madison, OH
Event: Valentine’s Day Dinner
Website Information

Chateau Chantal, Traverse City, MI
Event: Valentine’s Wine Dinner
Event: Sips & Sweets in the Cellar 
Website Information

Pearmund Cellars, Broad Run, VA
Event: Valentine’s Day Winemakers Dinner
Website Information 

Sunday, February 14

Grand River Cellars, Madison, OH
Event: Valentine’s Day Dinner
Website Information

Pearmund Cellars, Broad Run, VA
Event: Souper Sunday
Website Information

Vint Hill Craft Winery, Vint Hill, VA
Event: Art Journaling
Website Information

Chocolate Fondue: A Perfect Recipe for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day Chocolate Fondue Recipe

It’s been a while since we visited numerous wineries in Wisconsin. However, we remember our delightful visit to Wollersheim Winery, where we were warmly welcomed to a winery tasting room with a long history. Enjoy the Wollersheim recipe below that uses White Riesling or River Gold Wine. Check out the Wollersheim article we wrote about their story and the experience.

Cheers!
Kathy

Wollersheim Winery, Prairie du Sac, WI

Wollersheim Winery, Prairie du Sac, WI

Chocolate Fondue

Ingredients

2 tablespoons Butter
16 oz. milk chocolate
1/4 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons Wollersheim White Riesling or River Gold Wine
Fresh fruit or Pound Cake for dipping (grapes, bananas, pineapple, oranges)

Directions

Over a double boiler, melt the ingredients while constantly stirring. Pour the sauce into the fondue pot and keep at lowest heat. To serve, dip the fresh fruit into the sauce and enjoy.

Recipe provided by Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin

Maryland Wine Passport Experience

Maryland Wine Passport Experience

Maryland Wine Passport Experience

During the last two weekends of February, wine enthusiasts can break out of winter’s doldrums and visit Maryland wineries. The wineries on the state’s seven wine trails will off exclusive access to holders of the Passport.  Passport ticket holders will receive free wine tastings and a behind-the-scene experience at each winery. Also included with the passport is a wine glass and a ten percent discount on wine purchases. You can purchase passport tickets on the Maryland Wine website. Tickets cost $25 plus a $2.37 fee.

Ticket holders can use the passports on February 20th, 21st, 27th and 28th. With four days to visit Maryland wineries, how many of the wine trails can you experience? Last year we attended some of the participating wineries that had a similar program. We met a couple that were also attending the passport event and they said it was a Christmas gift. With Valentine’s Day coming up, you can surprise a loved one with Maryland Wine Passport and enjoy four days of wine tasting.

There is plenty of flexibility during this event. You can attend one of the four days or all of them. You can visit wineries along one of the wine trail or several of the wine trails. You do not have to visit all of the wineries along any particular wine trail.

Maryland’s Wine Trails

Winter's rest

Winter’s rest

The furthest west wine trail is the Antietam Highlands Wine Trail. It includes six wineries west of Frederick. North and east of Frederick there are five wineries along the Frederick Wine Trail. The Carroll Wine Trail has three wineries in Carroll County. Maryland’s newest wine trail is the Capital Wine Trail with four wineries in Montgomery County. The Piedmont Wine Trail includes wineries north of Baltimore along Interstate 83 and Interstate 95. In Southern Maryland, ten wineries are members of the Patuxent Wine Trail. The wineries range from south of Annapolis to south of Saint Mary’s City. The Chesapeake Wine Trail includes 15 wineries along Maryland’s eastern Shore from Rising Sun to Eden. Check the Maryland Wine Passport website for the wine trails and the list of wineries participating in the event.

Want to learn about Maryland wine? Visiting the wineries and tasting the wines is one of the best ways to learn about wine. Another is to read about Maryland wine and wineries. Wine Trail Traveler has written several articles about Maryland Wineries and Wine. Check them out.

-Misconceptions 1 examines some of the misconceptions about Maryland wine.
-Misconceptions 2 looks at some of the misconceptions about Maryland wineries.
-Maryland Grape Varieties mentions the most widely planted grapes in Maryland and the hard to find grape varieties.
-Where are Maryland Wineries? Wine regions and wine trails in the state are presented.
-Maryland Fruit Wines lists the Maryland wineries that produce fruit wines and presents the different methods of producing fruit wines.

Cheers,
Terry

Sip and Paint at Winery 32

Winery 32,  Leesburg, Virginia

Winery 32, Leesburg, Virginia

Last year we had the opportunity to visit Winery 32 located in Loudoun County in Virginia’s northern area. Winery 32 is a delightful friendly winery to visit. The winery was the inspiration of the owners who enjoy food and wine.  Michael is a professional chef and the winery has a Bistro menu.

We recently received an email from Winery 32 that highlighted a special paint and sip event happening on February 28 from 11am to 1pm.

The price of the ticket is $40. The ticket includes materials, instruction and a glass of Winery 32 wine. The instructor will give participants step by step directions for creating the painting. Best of all for inexperienced painters, no painting experience is needed. Participants may also purchase lunch for an extra $8. Tickets for the Sip and Paint event are available online.

We recently participated in a similar type painting event and found it easy and fun. If you have the inclination to paint and enjoy wine, this type of event is for you!

Prolific vines at Winery 32

Picturesque vines in Northern Virginia

Even if you cannot attend the Sip and Paint event, if you enjoy wine you will enjoy the experience of visiting Winery 32. Read the article we wrote about Winery 32 online.

Cheers,
Kathy

Chocolate Almond Shortbread Recipe with Pinot Noir

What could be better for Valentine’s Day than home baked chocolate shortbread with Pinot Noir? Enjoy creating this recipe from J Vineyards & Winery in Sonoma County, California.

Chocolate Almond Shortbread

Ingredients for Chocolate Almond Shortbread

8 ounces butter (at room temperature)
2 ounces granulated sugar
1 ounce powdered sugar
1 ounce cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
8 ounces all purpose flour
1 ounce chopped almonds

Ingredients for Pinot Noir Dried Bing Cherry Puree

8 ounces dried Bing cherries (or other Fruit)
4 ounces J Pinot Noir
2 ounces water

Directions for Chocolate Almond Shortbread

1. In mixer on low speed blend butter, sugars, cocoa, vanilla and salt.
2. Then add flour, and nuts.
3. Roll out dough between two pieces of parchment paper to 1/8 of an inch.
4. Chill dough in refrigerator for one hour; this will make it easier to cut into desired shapes.

Bake 350º for 8-10 minutes.

Directions for Pinot Noir Dried Bing Cherry Puree

1. Combine all the above in small saucepan and bring to a boil, then adjust heat to low and cook until cherries are soft, about 10 minutes.
2. Pour into blender and puree.
3. Allow mixture to cool then place in a pastry bag for piping.

This recipe was provided by the J Vineyards & Winery Culinary Team.

Cocktails for Valentine’s Day

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Van Gogh Vodka is offering four special cocktail recipes for you and your friends to enjoy. The first recipe, Flutter & Fizz has sparkling wine as one of the ingredients. The next colorful cocktail is topped with Chandon Rosé.

Flutter & Fizz with sparkling wine

Flutter & Fizz with sparkling wine

Flutter & Fizz (created by Jonathan Pogash, The Cocktail Guru)

Ingredients

1-1/2 oz. Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka
1 Strawberry, chopped
Handful of Mint Leaves
1 tsp. Agave Nectar
1/4 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
3 oz. Sparkling Wine

Directions

Muddle the strawberry with the agave and lemon.  Add vodka and strain into chilled Champagne flute.  Top with the sparkling wine.

The Art of Seduction
(created by Devin McCullough)

Check out this cocktail with Chandon Rosé

Check out this artistic cocktail with Chandon Rosé

Ingredients

2 oz. Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka
1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 oz. Rich Demerara
1 Whole Strawberry
Topped with Chandon Rosé
Chocolate Drizzle

Directions

Muddle strawberry in Boston Shaker. Add Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate, lemon juice and rich demerara. Shake and double strain. Make an artistic design with chocolate in a martini glass. Top with Chandon Rosé. Serve with a chocolate strawberry on the side.

Pomegranate Serenade

Pomengranate Cocktail

The colorful Pomegranate Cocktail

Ingredients

2 oz. Van Gogh Pomegranate Vodka
3 oz. Pink Lemonade
(Remember the raspberries and lemon for the garnish)

Directions

Pour ingredients into a rocks glass with ice and stir.  Garnish with floating raspberries and a squeeze of lemon.

 

 

 

Chocolate Almond Kiss

Chocolate Almond

Chocolate Almond Kiss

Ingredients

2 oz. Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka
1 oz. Hazelnut Liqueur
1/2 oz. Dark Crème de Cacao
Splash of Cream
(sprig of mint to garnish)

Directions

Pour vodka, hazelnut liqueur and dark crème de cacao into a rocks glass filled with ice and stir. Top with a splash of cream and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Hope you enjoy creating one of these cocktails for Valentine’s Day.

Please enjoy in moderation.

Cheers!
Kathy

Bonny Doon Vineyard Wines

Sparkling Albariño from Bonny Doon Vineyard

Sparkling Albariño from Bonny Doon Vineyard

Below are reviews of Bonny Doon Vineyard wines that you may want to enjoy for Valentine’s Day. Many thanks to Bonny Doon Vineyards for the opportunity to taste and write about some of their many available wines.

Of the Bonny Dune wines perhaps our favorite was the 2010 Sparkling Albarino Central Coast wine produced in the traditional sparkling wine method. This sparkling wine was aged for 14 months in the bottle prior to disgorgement. The result was a 12.5% alcohol wine with a golden color and multiple columns of beads forming a mousse in the center of the wine glass. The wine offered an aroma with peach notes and the taste included notes of peach, citrus and mineral. The mouthfeel was smooth. The finished was lively and refreshing with a peach aftertaste yielding to mineral. Consider this sparkling wine for Valentine’s Day.

Choose a sparkling wine for Valentine's Day

Choose a sparkling wine for Valentine’s Day

We also tasted the 2014 Grenache which had a translucent dark ruby color. The aroma included notes of spices and red berry fruit. The taste offered notes of red raspberries, cooking spices and mild tannins. The Grenache had a smooth mouthfeel. The fruity finish yielded to spices. There was some heat on the aftertaste.

Cinsaut Counoise

2014 Cinsaut Counoise

The 2014 Cinsaut Counoise was a blend with 67% Cinsaut and 33% Counoise. The wine with 13.7% alcohol was a translucent ruby color with an aroma of black fruits and spice. The taste offered a variety of notes including plum, blackberries, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. The medium/full bodied wine had a smooth mouthfeel. Mild tannins were noticed. The finish was fruity and spicy.

Bonny Doon Vineyard produces an array of wines including red, white and sparkling. Other wines produced include: Le Cigare Blanc, A Proper Pink, Pinot Noir, Popelouchum Cougnà, Cinsaut Counoise, The Heart Has Its Rieslings, Gravitas, and  BIen Nacido Syrah. Sparkling wines also include a Sparkling Syrah. In addition the winery produces a dessert wine, Vinferno and ciders including Querry, Querry? SparklingHard Cider and Winter Nélis Sparkling Perry.

Bonny Doon Vineyard is the brain child of the creative writer and winemaker Randall Grahm. The winery is located in Davenport, California. To purchase Bonny Doon wines directly from Bonny Doon visit their online store.

Randall Grahm is also a unique writer and wrote Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology.  We posted a review of his book online.

Cheers!
Kathy

Rave Reviews for Cava

Terry talks about Spanish cavas to a captivated audience.

Terry talks about Spanish cavas to a captivated audience.

Yesterday we had an enjoyable and fun afternoon with a group of Howard County residents where Terry explored cavas, sparkling wines from Spain. Terry presented a 45-minute talk with photos of Spain’s delicious and very reasonably priced cavas. Five different styles of cavas were offered for tasting. The organizer of the event, Susan from The Village in Howard, provided an assortment of nibbles and snacks for everyone.

Everyone was attentive and enjoyed the cavas, snacks and conversation. People were encouraged to talk and ask questions. It was interesting to hear comments about the cavas. With the first cava a brut paired with salty potato chips, someone said, “I like this.” After the first cava, the next two cavas met with even more rave reviews. Both were brut natures, one a reserva and the other a gran reserva. By the last cava, a semi-seco rosé, it seemed that the rosé was the favorite cava for several of the attendees.

The people who attended the cava talk are members of The Village in Howard, a part of the worldwide village group that encourages people to “age in place.” This was our second presentation about wine to members of The Village in Howard. Our first presentation centered on our book Georgia, Sakartvelo: the Birthplace of Wine.

The Village in Howard (TVIH) offers a variety of activities for those aged 55 and over. The group is fairly new, having started in 2015 and already has more than 100 members. Depending on their needs people can choose either associate memberships or full memberships.

The TVIH organization offers a variety of events. The online February calendar includes: Happy Hours, Lunch Bunch, Sneakers and Coffee, Bridge Club, Writing Our Lives-How to Create A  Memoir, Travel Club/Potluck, and My 3 Cents.

We enjoyed our time with this group of friendly TVIH members and we are looking forward to participating with them in other events.

Residents of Howard County who have reached 55 years of age may join The Village in Howard. To find out more about The Village in Howard visit the TVIH website.

Cheers,
Kathy and Terry

Maryland Winter Wine Event Photos

Photos from the Annual Maryland Winter Wine event. Be sure to watch for the Maryland Winter Wine Event at the B&O Museum in 2017!

Winery Events and Valentine’s Day Dinner

Valentine's Day wine events

Valentine’s Day wine events

The list of events at wineries (advertising with Wine Trail Traveler) has just been updated.  If you are looking for some fun or a way to get past the blizzard of 2016, be sure to check out the calendar. Plus if you are already thinking of how you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day, check out these specific winery events. Valentine’s Day events are starting as early as February 11. Notice that at Grand River Cellars you can enjoy dinner and add on a Brushes & Lushes on Canvas event.

Cheers!
Kathy

Thursday, February 11

Grand River Cellars, Madison, Ohio
Event: Valentine’s Day Dinner
Event: Brushes & Lushes on Canvas 

Website Info

Friday, February 12

Duplin Winery, Rose Hill, North Carolina
Event: Valentine’s Day Dinner
Website Info

Grand River Cellars, Madison, Ohio
Event: Valentine’s Day Dinner
Website Info

Texas Legato, TX
Event: Wine Down Happy Hour
Website Info

Youngberg Hill, OR
Event: Pre-Valentine Wine Dinner
Website Info

Saturday, February 13

Duplin Winery, Rose Hill, North Carolina
Event: Valentine’s Day Dinner
Website Info

Grand River Cellars, Madison, Ohio
Event: Valentine’s Day Dinner
Website Info

Chateau Chantal, Traverse City, Michigan
Event: Valentine’s Wine Dinner
Event: Sips & Sweets in the Cellar 
Website Info

Pearmund Cellars, Broad Run, Virginia
Event: Valentine’s Day Winemakers Dinner
Website Info

Sunday, February 14

Grand River Cellars, Madison, Ohio
Event: Valentine’s Day Dinner
Website Info

Pearmund Cellars, Broad Run, Virginia
Event: Souper Sunday
Website Info


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