Friday, 30. April 2010
For many areas of the country, spring is in the air. The weather is getting warmer and it’s the perfect time for a little trip. Wine festivals are already becoming popular. Below are a few wine events this weekend to check out.
Montpelier Wine Festival near Orange, Virginia http://montpelierwinefestival.com/
Wein & Saengerfest in New Braunfels, Texas http://www.weinandsaengerfest.com/
22nd Vintage Bouquet Charity Wine Auction, Beverly Hills, California http://www.bhba.org/vb/
Blacksburg Fork and Cork in Blacksburg, Virginia http://www.blacksburgpartnership.org/fork/volunteer.html
If none of these wine events are near you, call the winery in your own backyard to discover wine events in your area.
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, 29. April 2010
I’m so excited about the move of the annual Wineries Unlimited vineyard and winery conference from Pennsylvania to Virginia. In March of this year, we had the opportunity to visit and write about Wineries Unlimited held in King of Prussia outside of Philadelphia. Due to a prior commitment we were only able to attend the trade show but it was wonderful. We met so many people who play an important part in the wine industry whether they produce stainless steel tanks, wine bottles or oak barrels. Wineries Unlimited is purportedly the second largest vineyard and winery conference in the US and it has been held in Pennsylvania annually for years.
A recent press release from JAG Public Relations has announced that the 2011 Wineries Unlimited will be held in Richmond, Virginia from March 29 thru April 1. How did this happen? I imagine it has something to do with the governor of Virginia being pro the wine industry in Virginia. Virginia’s wine industry is growing quickly. This is excellent for Virginia’s economy where the wine industry provides additional tax revenue and jobs. In addition, the travel industry including restaurants, hotels and gas stations benefit from visitors traveling to wineries in the state. It’s all about agri-tourism.
Congratulations Virginia in understanding the importance of the wine industry and in supporting it!
Wednesday, 28. April 2010
This week we visited Loudoun Valley Vineyards in Virginia where we had the chance to taste several wines. The owners of the winery are Cameron and Bree Ann Moore. Bree Ann is also the winemaker as well as a consultant for several wineries.
We enjoyed every wine we tasted. The tasting ended with Legacy, an Italian-style Port produced from Touriga Nacional. The aroma was of raisins and the taste was silky with dried fruit nuances. The finish was fruity with no heat. This port-style wine was delightfully light-bodied. Check out the Loudoun Valley Vineyards.
Tuesday, 27. April 2010
With Mother’s Day weekend quickly approaching consider a trip to a wine region for Mom. If a particular wine region visit is not possible, enjoy a picnic lunch with Mom at a winery in your own backyard.
A few of the wine regions we have visited that would make ideal spots to celebrate with your mother includes Temecula in southern California. Of course almost any region you visit in California will have fantastic wineries including Lake County, Sonoma and Napa Valleys, Suisun and Mendocino. In Oregon, think about a trip along the beautiful Columbia River that is home to many wineries. Texas also has its share of wineries especially in Texas Hill Country. On the east coast check out the wineries in the beautiful Finger Lakes in New York State. Virginia has several wine regions. Whether you are close to Washington, DC or not there are wineries in northern Virginia, around Charlottesville and along Interstates 66 and 81. Maryland has its share of wineries and is developing wine trails, with the most recent being the Frederick County Wine Trail. Don’t forget to check out the numerous wineries in Ohio as well as southern New Jersey, Colorado, Michigan and North Carolina. There is something different at every winery and your Mom will enjoy a day at a winery with family.
Many wineries enjoy having young children visit and often provide coloring books or small toys for them to play with. It does pay to call ahead to see if children are welcome in the tasting room.
If you are curious as to what to expect at a winery, check out the winery reviews of more than 465 wineries. on the Wine Trail Traveler website.
Later this week, I’ll delve into some of the specific Mother’s Day events being planned at some wineries.
Monday, 26. April 2010
This past weekend has been an exciting one for Virginia wineries many of which participated in the Drinklocalwine.com conference held in Lansdowne, Virginia. The weekend began Saturday night with a special winemakers dinner (invitation only). At this dinner we met Virginia winemakers and social media bloggers and Tweeters and Facebook users. This event took place at Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg, VA and the focus was local wines and local foods.
Sunday morning we were ready for the full day of events that included three seminars followed by the Twitter Taste-off. At the Taste off, approximately 21 Virginia wineries presented one white and one red wine for Tweeters to taste and tweet about. A small table set apart from the Virginia wineries was used to showcase six Maryland wineries. We enjoyed tasting many of these fine wines and tweeting about them.
Sunday evening we enjoyed another winemakers dinner with the focus on local wine and local food at the restaurant in Purcellville, Magnolia’s at the Mill restaurant.
This morning we are on our way to three Virginia wineries we have not had the opportunity of visiting. They are open for the media who participated in the drinklocalwine conference between 10 and 2pm. Watch Wine Trail Traveler for more information about Virginia wineries. http://winetrailtraveler.com/virginia/virginia.php
Sunday, 25. April 2010
The third session of the Drink Local Wine Conference delved into the idea of the “eat local movement” and asked why not add local wine. Dave McIntyre of the Washington Post moderated the session of panelists that included Todd Kliman of Washingtonian magazine, Andrew Stover of the Chef Wino blog and Mary Watson-DeLauder from Lansdowne Resort.
Restaurants and stores do a good job of having local foods, however they lag behind in having local wines. Todd discussed the state of local wine in D.C. area restaurants. He stated that it is pitiful. Only a handfull of restaurants have a single or perhaps two wines on their list from local wineries. The restaurants are slow to pick up on the developments occuring at Virginia and Maryland wineries. Todd went on to say that restaurants are using the term “local” for foods. But the term “local” does not extend to wines. Andrew stated that the millennials do not care about wine scores and are more acceptive of local wines.
So how do wineries encourage restaurants and stores to offer local wines? According to Todd, the restaurants that will be accepting of local wines are the more casual restaurants that are interested in teaching customers about local products. These restaurants are not the typical white tablecloth restaurants. Andrew also put emphasis on the casual restaurants as a starting point for local wines. Mary suggested that wineries learn about a restaurant’s menu. Wineries should do their homework and approach restaurants with suggestions of what foods on their menu would match their winery’s wines. Go after those restaurants that are more likely to be receptive to local wines. An idea from the audience is to have restaurant chefs come to the wineries to taste their wines and learn about their stories.
Sunday, 25. April 2010
The second session of the DrinkLocalWine Conference focused on social media – “Social media: How regional wineries can get the word out.” Jeff Siegel, the Wine Curmudgeon; Jennifer Breaux Blosser, Breaux Vineyards; Lenn Thomson, New York Cork Report were the panelists. Michel Wangbicker was the moderator. Social media allows people to find the regional wines that are out there and not making it on wine point lists. Lenn commented that social media fills in the spaces. When people go to the grocery store or wine shops all they see are bottles and numbers. Jennifer commented, “With social media we can reach people who have chosen to meet us.” A long discussion included print media versus social media. Question: How many tweets are too many? No definite answer because it depends on the circumstances.
Facebook is about who you know; Twitter is about what you know.
Social media is “free” but there is a time cost to social media. Social media has to be embraced and made a priority. Social media allows you to have a direct connection with the consumer. Don’t make it feel forced, actually engage people.
Social media is not going away, it’s easy to use so start using it to let people know about your winery.
Sunday, 25. April 2010
The first session of the conference asked the question, what grapes work best in Virginia? The session moderated by Richard Leahy of Vineyard & Winery Management magazine included panelists Matthew Meyert from Williamsburg Winery, Jennifer McCloud from Chrysalis Vineyards and Matthieu Finot from King Family Vineyards. The panelists represent three of Virginia’s nine wine regions: Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia and Central Virginia.
What grapes work best in Virginia? Jennifer mentioned that, “We should be growing grapes that we want to grow in our region.” Matthew suggested that all research funds for the wine industry should be placed in the vineyard. He believes that it is critical to know what grows well in the different Virginia regions. The first discussion centered on the hybrids and natives that the panelists use at their wineries. Several grape varieties were mentioned including Vidal Blanc, Seyval Blanc, Traminette and Norton. Matthieu explained that he is from France and doesn’t grow hybrids or native grapes at King Family Vineyards. Of the vinifera grapes, several were mentioned that do well in Virginia. These include: Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. All panelists were excited about the potential of Merlot in Virginia.
Other varieties of grapes that do well in Virginia include Petit Verdot, Malbec, Tannat, Viognier, Petit Manseng and Albarino. These grapes are well suited for the Virginia regions.
What grapes should probably not be grown in Virginia? Matthew thinks that Cabernet Sauvignon grown in Virginia can’t compete with the Cabs from other areas and questions if it should be grown in Virginia. Jennifer and Matthieu agreed with Matthew’s assessment of Cabernet Sauvignon. The panelists also question whether growers should grow Sauvignon Blanc and consider Pinot Gris boring.
Sunday, 25. April 2010
Last night a special winemaker dinner event for the drink local wine.com conference was enjoyed in Leesburg, VA at the Tuscarora Mill restaurant. A special menu was planned for the event and accented local wines and local foods. The two really go hand in hand. If one is going to support the eat local food movement then it follows one should support the drink local wine movement.
Last night’s dinner was a five-course meal prepared with local foods and local wines. As we entered the restaurant, we were offered a Sauvignon Blanc from Veritas. A short time later we enjoyed an avocado, mango and shrimp dish served with two local Petit Manseng wines. The second course was Truffled Ayrshire Farm Organic Chicken Galantine. This wine was served with two local Viogniers. The third dish was Baker Farms Pork “Blanquette” and the two wines offered with this were a Nebbiolo and a Cabernet Franc. The fourth course was Roasted Martin’s Angus Beef. Meritage wines were served. Finally, the dessert-strawberry shortcake! Yum, it was so good. However as Terry mentioned to me, that when I make strawberry shortcake at home, don’t make it this small. Yes, it was good and despite it being the fifth course of the meal, I could have found room for a little more. Dessert was paired with Pearmund Cellars Late Harvest Viognier.
Saturday, 24. April 2010
The Drink Local Wine Conference began with a reception held at Boxwood Winery in Middleburg, Virginia. Many wineries mention that they have a state of the art facility. Boxwood Winery could easily become the poster child for a state of the art facility. The technology includes GPS monitering of vineyards and computer controlled stainless steel tanks. A temperature and humidity controlled barrel aging cave has over eighty barrels resting over rocks. The rocks help control the humidity.
Unlike many American wineries, Boxwolod Winery produces a small portfolio of just three wines. The vineyard has plantings of the Bordeaux red grapes and the three wines made are blends of Bordeaux grapes. The winemakers add little to the juice while fermenting or the wine while aging.
This winery is a good example of a state of an art facility. In addition to a functioning winery, the facility is artistic. Unfortunately wine travelers cannot just stop by; they need to make an appointment first. Tours and tastings cost $20.