Saturday, 28. February 2009
Wine is a beverage item to be sold so why shouldn’t it be in grocery stores? It turns out that in some states it can be sold in grocery stores. The latest information I saw said that 35 states have allowed grocery stores to sell wine. However, the prospect of wine in grocery stores is upsetting liquor store owners.
The tenacity with which liquor stores seem to be holding on to this “right” of theirs not to allow alcohol in grocery stores has been in place since the 1960′s. However, times change and people change. While most people do not like change, change is important to progress. Some wineries are expressing their support of wine in grocery stores including Anthony Road Wine Company. In an email Ann Martini commented, “As far as ‘wine in the grocery store’, we are committed, at Anthony Road , to do what we feel is best for our industry. Change s never easy! In states where wine is sold in the grocery stores and other stores, sales in all markets are very good . We keep working and hoping!”
The wine industry is a wonderful group of people and organizations. I surely hope that the grocery stores, wineries and liquor stores can work together so that everyone wins, especially consumers.
How do you feel about wine available to adults in grocery stores?
Friday, 27. February 2009
Although much longer than Napa, the 100 miles along Interstate 90 travel through Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. Along this stretch from Madison, Ohio to Dunkirk, New York there are more than 35 wineries close to the interstate. However the acreage of grapes is much larger than one would expect. From locations along the interstate, one can observe acres upon acres of vineyards. This is also Welch’s country. Many grape growers are part of the National Grape Cooperative who sell the grapes to Welch’s.
Think for a moment of all the products made by Welch’s. Grape juice, jellies and jams are among the over 400 products that are made from grapes. Just like wine grapes, those grapes grow on vines in vineyards. One winery owner told us that one can smell the grapes in the air in North East, Pennsylvania around harvest time. It was an aroma that brought him back to North East to begin a second career as a winemaker.
Compared to Napa, there are many acres of vineyard in this area but much fewer wineries spread out over 100 miles. Although the wineries do make wines from Concord and Niagara grapes, they also have a portfolio of vinifera wines. The area is quickly learning about the varieties of vinifera that tolerate the harsh snowy winters.
Check out these Ohio trip itineraries:
Thursday, 26. February 2009
When thinking of Niagara-on-the-Lake the image of a quaint little town to the north and the Niagara Falls to the south may enter one’s mind. However there are 27 wineries in this area with many more forty minutes to the west in Jordan and Vineland. We visited the area twice in 2008 and each time was surprised to travel the side roads. It seemed like every turn led you to another vineyard. One can find small boutique wineries and large showcase estate wineries.
Tasting rooms vary in size and opulence. You can taste wines from small family owned wineries as well as in larger architecturally interesting facilities. What these wineries have in common, that you won’t find in Napa, is Canadian Icewine. These wineries take their Icewine seriously harvesting the grapes when the temperatures drop to a minus eight degrees Celsius or colder (seventeen degrees Fahrenheit).
The Vidal grape reigns supreme in Icewine production. One will also be able to taste Icewines made from Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Our favorite was a Cabernet Franc Icewine. All of the Icewines we tasted were sweet but have good acidity on the finish. For a memorable experience, pair Icewine and bleu cheese.
Check out these Niagara-on-the-Lake trip itineraries:
Wednesday, 25. February 2009
Palisade, Colorado is the sweet spot for growing grapes in that state. While flying to neighboring Grand Junction one may notice the acres of grapes while flying over Palisade. Many of these vineyards border Interstate 70 that in turn is bordered by the Bookcliffs. We found this area peaceful and photographically stunning. We enjoyed the backdrop of the Bookcliffs and Grand Mesa as seen from vineyards in Palisade. The blue sky, and yellow to brown colored rock formations painted the perfect backdrop for vineyards and grapes.
The new Wine Country Inn opened in Palisade and makes the perfect base for exploring the 15 area wineries. One can walk from the inn to three wineries. Some may enjoy biking to several others. The Red Rose Café, in Palisade is favorite eating spot for locals and visitors. They only serve Colorado wines, a tribute to the local wineries. Many more lodging facilities and restaurants are located in Grand Junction, about a twenty-minute drive.
Check out these Palisade and Grand Junction trip itineraries:
Tuesday, 24. February 2009
Other areas that would like to be known as the “Napa of” do not have the acreage or the number of wineries that you’ll find in Napa. However there are enough wineries to spend a few days to a week or longer. On the east coast of the United States a large concentration of wineries is along New York’s Finger Lakes.
There are more than 100 wineries along Cayuga (pictured), Seneca, Keuka and Canandaigua Lakes in New York. Some will take awhile to drive to while others are just minutes apart. Many of these wineries offer beautiful scenery with the vineyards sloping down toward the lake.
Just as in Napa, there is a range of winery tasting room experiences. Some tasting rooms are large while others are quaint. The area isn’t as crowded as Napa, however if a wine trail is sponsoring an event there will be large crowds in the tasting rooms.
There is ample lodging in Ithaca, Watkins Glen, and Geneva with vineyards just minutes away from these towns. Several bed and breakfasts are scattered along the lakes. Check out the Halsey House. Glenora Wine Cellars also has an Inn.
Halsey House link
Check out the Finger Lakes trip Itineraries:
Cayuga Lake South?
Cayuga Lake North?
Monday, 23. February 2009
Some of the marketing and PR people in different areas will make the statement “We want to be known as the Napa of the …”. There are certain regions that could well become like another Napa. Coming to mind are the Finger Lakes in New York, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Palisade, Colorado and Temecula, California. There are similarities between Napa and these areas.
There are also differences. Napa has well over 300 wineries and close to five million visitors staying at least one night. At times during the year this can make for crowded tasting rooms and slow moving traffic on California Rt. 29. However there are months when the crowds have subsided and traffic is not a problem.
We visited Napa in late February 2007 and had a delightful time. Often we were the only ones in the tasting rooms seldom were there more than five people. The reward for traveling to Napa in late February is the mustard growing between the rows of vines (pictured). The yellow flowers offer a brilliant contrast to the winter. The vines’ architecture can readily be observed during winter. The wineries are relatively close together and one can easily visit three or more a day. You would need a couple of months to see all of them though. Interested in choosing a few wineries to visit? Check out our Napa itinerary at: http://winetrailtraveler.com/itineraries/napaca2.php
This week I’ll blog about some of the other areas that would like to become the “Napa of the ….”.
Sunday, 22. February 2009
Unforgettable Walks to Take Before You Die
Authors: Steve Watkins and Clare Jones
Published by Firefly Books Ltd. 2008
Yesterday I spent time at my local library browsing through books. I can easily spend hours at the library. Numerous topics interest me besides wine so it is delightful to come across a book that grabs my eye. Okay, so the cover is bright orange. In large font the title begins with Unforgettable. Pulling the book out from amidst the others, I almost returned the book to the shelf because of the complete title, Unforgettable Walks to Take Before You Die. After all there is enough focus on bad news in the world, dying is not a focus for me at this moment. Hesitating, I quickly started turning pages and realized the photos were wonderful and that the book concentrates on living.
In the introduction, the authors write “ By choosing to walk, which naturally engages both body and mind, we sense everything around us more acutely, and can have a deeper, healthier and revitalizing travel experience.”
Filled with numerous photographs on almost every page, this book is delightful to enjoy and if you want more details read the accompanying articles.
The authors chose 30 destination sites around the world. Will the authors write Book Two? Will wineries and vineyards be included? How many destinations are possible for one to visit and walk in a lifetime?
Saturday, 21. February 2009
Consider attending a private wine tasting at Chateau O’Brien. Recently Chateau O’Brien at Northpoint in Virginia sent a flier describing a Private Wine Tasting event. This event only happens three times a year and appointments are necessary. The next wine tasting is February 28. Experience a private wine tasting with the Chateau O’Brien’s winemaker, Jason Murray. For more information, visit http://www.chateauobrien.com/events.php.
We attended a barrel tasting at Prince Michel in Virginia. The winemaker enthusiastically had us compare wine from barrels that was about to be bottled to wine that needed to age for several more months. This experience reinforces the concept of how aging for months and years improves the quality of wine.
Many wineries host private wine tastings. Sometimes these tastings are called “Barrel Tastings.” Check the wineries in your own “backyard” to see what type of special tastings they offer. There is usually a fee for these special wine tastings although Wine Club members may receive a special discount or no fee. You will undoubtedly enjoy the experience.
Friday, 20. February 2009
Enomatic Wine Serving Systems offers wine establishments the opportunity to serve more premium wines by the glass without fearing loss of quality or oxidation. This seems to be ideal for restaurants, bars, wine shops or perhaps the smaller size for home use. By using gas to protect the wine from oxidation, the Enomatic machines can keep wine fresh for up to three weeks.
If winery tasting rooms decide to use the Enomatic serving system, they will need to be careful about maintaining the experience that many wine tasters come to expect in tasting rooms.
Have you used an Enomatic serving system for a tasting or a glass of wine?
Where was the Enomatic located? What was your experience like?
Thursday, 19. February 2009
Recently North Carolina started a new winery website at www.VisitNCWine.com. The website offers excellent maps for discovering the 80-plus North Carolina wineries and their events. By moving an icon of “ME” to any spot on the map, one can pinpoint the location of the closest wineries. Lodging and dining facilities are also added to the winery information.
Another feature of the website is the listing of events on the first page. Select a date and winery events are displayed. This makes it easy to discover events that fit in with your available dates.
Cheers to North Carolina for supporting their more than 80 wineries by hosting a new website that highlights wineries and makes it easy to locate them.
If you will be visiting North Carolina, check out the numerous itineraries at http://www.visitnc.com/itineraries/index/1/views.
North Carolina is encouraging people to visit their state!