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Visiting Maryland this Summer? Visit a Winery

Chateau du Bu De Wineyard & Winery

Maryland is a delightful state with a wide range of landscapes that include the beautiful Atlantic seashore, the mountains and the tree-covered hills. Of course, Maryland also has its share of cities and towns. If your enjoy city or town life, visit Baltimore, Annapolis, Frederick, and remember that Washington, DC is just across the state line.

Maryland has almost 1,000 acres of grapevines. They can be found from the far western part of Maryland to the Eastern Shore.

Catoctin Breeze vineyards

Maryland has nine wine trails:

  • Antietam Highlands Wine Trail (9 wineries)
  • Capital Wine Trail (5 wineries)
  • Carroll Wine Trail (2 wineries)
  • Chesapeake Wine Trail (13 wineries)
  • Cider Trail (3)
  • Frederick Wine Trail (8 wineries)
  • Legacy Wine Trail (4 wineries)
  • Mead Trail (4)
  • Patuxent Wine Trail (8 wineries)
  • Piedmont Wine Trail (8 wineries)

Black Ankle Vineyards

Maryland wines to discover include dry, sweet, sparkling wines as well as meads and ciders. Red grape varieties include: Cabernet Franc, Barbera, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Chambourcin, Frontenac and Marquette. White grape varieties include: Albarino, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Petit Manseng, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion, La Crescent, Cayuga, Chardonel, Seyval Blanc, Traminette, Valvin Muscat, Vidal Blanc and Vignoles.

Bordeleau Vineyards & Winery

We have visited and written about many of Maryland’s wineries. For your convenience the articles are online on Wine Trail Traveler. Enjoy!


Visiting New York’s Finger Lakes Region this Summer? Visit a Winery!

Seneca Wine Trail sign helps travelers.

New York State’s Finger Lake region offers so much to summertime visitors. Among the many activities of hiking, swimming, fishing, boating and camping, the region offers numerous wineries to visit. Travelers will find small, boutique wineries as well as much larger wineries. Some of these wineries offer delightful views of Seneca Lake, Cayuga Lake and Keuka Lake. The lakes provide enough warmth to keep the grapevines safe during the harsh winters that the area can experience.

Lake views between the grapevines

Two of the most well-known wine trails are the Seneca Lake Wine Trail with 35 participating wineries and the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail with 16 wineries. A third wine trail is the Keuka Lake Wine Trail with 8 wineries. A few wineries are also close to Canandaigua Lake which also has the Canandaigua Wine Trail. As one drives along the Finger Lakes, also look for wineries that have chosen not to participate in a wine trail but are eager to offer visitors delightful wine tasting experiences.

The Finger Lakes region is well known for Riesling wines.

One of the most frequently found grapes growing in the region is Riesling. Wine enthusiasts will discover Riesling wines produced in many styles. Try tasting the sweet, dry, and sparkling Riesling wines available. A wide variety of wines are available whether one enjoys red or white wines.

The American Viticultural Areas of the Finger Lakes region include the Finger Lakes AVA, Cayuga Lake AVA and Seneca Lake AVA. The grape varieties growing here include vitis vinifera varieties,  French-American hybrids and Native American varieties.

We have traveled to many of the wineries in the Finger Lakes region. Our articles with photos about each of the wineries we visited are on the Wine Trail Traveler website.

Don’t miss an opportunity to discover the Finger Lakes wine region.


Save the Date: 2019 Zinfandel Experience

Chateau Montelena is a member of ZAP

Zinfandel Experience a.k.a. ZinEX. is a special zinfandel event taking place January 17 to the 19th in San Francisco. Tickets will be available online beginning July 16. Reminder: put July 16 on your calendar, too.

The three-day event begins on Thursday January 17 with a Welcome Event Dinner at the One Market Pavilion. Mark Dommen, an award-winning chef will present his new American cuisines. This very special dinner will be available in the VIP packages and a few tickets will be available for Heritage Club members.

Friday, January 18 offers Flights! and the Grape Gatspy Winemakers Dinner & Auction. The 2019 Flights will be a seminar-style tasting of zinfandel. The Grape Gatsby Winemakers Dinner and Auction is a fundraiser.  Silent and live auctions will take place. Auction items will include rare bottles, one-of-a-kind lots and winery experiences. The proceeds will benefit ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers.)

Saturday is the grand finale with the Grand Tasting. Participants will have the opportunity to meet winemakers. Zinfandel wines and wines will be available.  In addition to the wines, culinary samples from winery chefs and restaurants will be available.


Visiting Indiana this Summer? Visit a Winery!

Owen Valley Winery

While enjoying a vacation in Indiana or winding through Indiana on your way to your summer destination, stop at one of Indian’s many wineries.

Do you know that Indiana has several wine trails? Indiana wine trails include:

Vineyards at Huber’s Orchard, Winery & Vineyards

  • Cardinal Flight Wine Trail
  • Indiana Uplands Wine Trail
  • Indy Wine Trail
  • Indiana Grown Wine Trail
  • Hoosier Wine Trail
  • Indiana Wine Trail
  • State Line Wine Trail

Oliver Winery and Vineyards

If you have a moment, take time to enjoy wineries participating in one Indiana’s wine trails listed above.

  1. Indiana has two American Viticultural Areas, the Indian Uplans and the Ohio River Valley 
  2. More than 80 boutique-size wineries and large wineries can be discovered throughout Indiana
  3. Indiana wines are produced with traditional vinifera, hybrid and Native American grapes.
  4. Wines produced with fruit are also available including: blackberry, blueberry, black currant and strawberry
  5. Butler Winery & Vineyards

    During the 1800s, the first vineyards in Indiana were  started by an immigrant from Switzerland, John James DuFour. Unfortunately, by the 1830s, the vineyards were replanted with various other crops. Just prior to Prohibition, wineries were scattered around the state. After Prohibition, the wine industry did not start making a comeback until 1970. 

Wine Trail Traveler has visited and written about several of the Indiana wineries.

Ertel Cellars Winery

Check out the winery reviews online.

If you will be in Indiana to enjoy a portion of your summer, be sure to look for a winery or two. As you discover wines you enjoy, purchase a bottle to take home with you as a reminder of summer.

Cheers! Kathy

Crab Salad on Blini Recipe

This recipe for Crab Salad on Blini from J Vineyards in Sonoma County calls for one cup of white wine and champagne or white vinegar. Try it soon and enjoy!

Crab Salad on Blini

Serves 4-6

Crab Salad

8-10 oz  Dungeness crab meat
1/8 cup small diced fennel
1 Satsuma mandarin (portion into segments chop segments into thirds)
½ fennel bulb shaved or sliced thin
2 T small diced Shallot
1 T finely chopped parsley
1 T lemon zest
1 tsp Esplette pepper
Kosher salt


Step 1.  Incorporate all ingredients in with the crab and thoroughly mix and season with salt to taste.

Beurre Blanc

1 cup white wine
1/8 cup of champagne or white wine vinegar
1 T whole black peppercorn
1 T whole coriander
3 bay leaves
½ cup of heavy cream
1 pound of unsalted butter (cut 1 inch cubes)
Kosher salt


Step 1.  Place wine, vinegar, shallot and spices in a wide bottomed sauce pan and place pan over medium heat until about ¼ of the liquid remains.

Step 2.  Add heavy cream and reduce until bubbling and then add butter a couple cubes at a time.  Slowly incorporate the butter until it creates an emulsified sauce.

Step 3.   Strain sauce and add salt to taste.

Blini Recipe

3 eggs (separated)
2 cups whole milk
2T canola oil
1 ½ cups of all purpose flour
2 T sugar
1 T kosher salt
3 T of dry active yeast


Step 1. Mix the canola and egg yolks until completely incorporated.

Step 2.  Warm milk to 90 degrees.

Step 3.  Sift and mix dry ingredients and fold in dry ingredients with the wet mixture but do not over mix.

Step 4.  Proof for at least two hours at room temp or overnight in the refrigerator (the mixture should at least double in volume).

Step 5.  Before serving whip egg whites until peaked and fold into the mixture.

Step 6.  Melt butter on a non-stick surfaced pan or griddle at medium heat and add enough batter per portion to create 2 inch blini(about a 2 tablespoons), flip when bubble appear on the surface (just like making pancakes)

Step 7. To complete heat the crab mix in the buerre blanc until warm and top the blini with the mixture.

Recipe provided by J Vineyards & Winery in Sonoma County, California.

For more recipes with wine, check out the recipe section on Wine Trail Traveler.


Visiting Texas this Summer? Visit a Winery

Messina Hof Winery, Texas

Texas is home to many wineries. With so many wineries, it is quite easy to find a Texan winery to visit. Take time to visit the GO TEXAN website before leaving for Texas. You will find an plethora of information regarding Texas. The website also lists the numerous wine trails in Texas including:Texas Hill Country Wineries, Grapevine

Texas Legato Wine

Wine Trail, Way Out Wineries, Texas High Plains Wine and Vine Trail, Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail, Fredericksburg Wine Road 290 and several more.

If you are looking for a grape harvest experience, you will want to consider participating at the Messina Hof Winery & Resort harvest experience. This year will be Messina Hof’s 41st Annual Harvest Festival. The Harvest Festival at their Bryon, TX location begins in late July and continues into August. The festival includes a  range of activities to choose from including harvest and special dinners. Tickets are available online.

Spicewood Vineyards, Texas

Particularly interesting is the GO TEXAN website’s Flower & Wine Pairings. Examples include pairing Chardonnay with chrysanthemums, lilies with Sauvignon Blanc, red roses with Cabernet, and snapdragons with Syrah wines.

While visiting Texas wineries we came across some grape varieties that are less familiar to wine enthusiasts; however, we certainly enjoyed them. Of course, we enjoy tasting any well-made wine. While tasting traditional wines, be sure to expand your wine experience by tasting Orange Muscat, Blanc du Bois, Lenoir and Muscat Cannelli. 

Wine Trail Traveler has been fortunate to visit and write about more than 50 Texas wineries. Many of the wineries have very unique stories to tell and quality wines to taste. We hope to return to Texas again to discover more delightful wineries.


Last Minute Ideas for the 4th of July!

Effingham Manor in Virginia

Hope everyone is enjoying a fun and safe 4th of July!

If you do not have plans to celebrate yet, why not stop by your favorite neighborhood winery tasting room? You may want to call ahead of time to be sure the winery is open today.

I received an email this week about three delightful wineries in Virginia. Pearmund Cellars, Vint Hill Craft Winery and Effingham Manor are all open today. Keep in mind that Effingham Manor, where there is an emphasis on antiques/history, is open for adults only.

Vint Hill Craft Winery

Vint Hill Craft Winery’s courtyard will be open. Visit and enjoy the music. The winery will also have Wine Cocktails available. Corn hole will be available. Enjoy the day with the family as children are welcome. 

If you are curious about wine cocktails, the Vint Hill Craft Winery, located in Vint Hill offers “The Crisis”  made with Petite Manseng. This cocktail is a reminder of the Cuban Military Crisis in 1962.  The Pin Up cocktail is made with Chardonnay. Pappy’s Punch  has an informative note,“Gregory ‘Pappy”’Boyington was a WWII flying ace and Commander of the The Black Sheep Squadron in the South Pacific.”

Pearmund Cellars celebrates its 15th year!

Visit Pearmund Cellars in Broad Run, Virginia which is celebrating its 15th year. The celebration includes shrimp, hots dogs, and ribeye steaks from the grill. Don Bruce will provide live music. Lawn games will also be available. During the week families are welcome at the tasting room. A cute note reads, “Pearmund Cellars welcomes families during the week, reminding kids to always supervise their parents!”

Effingham Manor in Nokesville, Virginia is one of the newest wineries in Virginia. At this adult only winery, visitors can enjoy history and a tranquil atmosphere while tasting wine.


(Please drink in moderation.)

Five Recipes for the 4th of July!

St. Francis Winery & Vineyards

Nothing says it’s like the 4th of July than grilled foods, oysters and yummy desserts. Try some of these recipes for your July 4th celebration this year. In addition to these five recipes, be sure to check out the recipes available on the Wine Trail Traveler website which includes more recipes for Sangria.

Savoy-Lee Sangria

Sangria for the 4th of July


1 bottle of Savoy-Lee Johnson Mountain Picnic Blush Wine or dry fruity rosé
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 orange, cut into wedges
1 lime, cut into wedges
2 T sugar
1 small can of diced pineapple (with juice)
1 small container of sliced, sweetened frozen strawberries (thawed)
2-4 c of ginger ale (preference)


1. Pour Savoy-Lee Johnson Mountain Picnic Blush Wine in a pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the lemon, orange and lime into the wine.
2. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds) and pineapple then add sugar.
3. Mix well.
4. Chill overnight.
5. Add strawberries and ginger ale just before serving.
6. Use fruit wedge or fresh strawberry for garnish..enjoy!

Makes approximately 10 – 12 glasses of Sangria.
NOTE: Do not double recipe – make individual batches.

Zinfandel Cherry & Chocolate Chip Triangle

Makes about 30 pieces

Pairs with: Zinfandel


1 2/3 cups quick cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 ounces bar milk chocolate
3/4 cup dried cherries, cooked in red wine and chopped
1 cup St. Francis Zinfandel reduced to 1/4 cup


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two cookie sheets. Place the oats in a food processor and grind to a powder then stir the dry ingredients together. Place the butter in a mixer and whip until light. Add both sugars. Whip until fluffy then whip in the egg and vanilla. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add the cherries and chocolate chips. Mix again. Carefully fold in the reduced Zinfandel without over blending. Roll dough into 1½ inch balls. Place the balls of dough on the greased cookie sheets about 1½ inches apart and shape into triangles with fingers. Bake for 8-10 minutes then allow triangles to cool on a rack. May be refrigerated in airtight containers.

Recipe provided by St. Francis Winery & Vineyards.

Grilled Veal Chops with Mushroom & Red Wine



6 veal chops, cut about 1 to 1 ½ inches thick
peanut oil
salt and pepper


2 tbsp. Fresh rosemary, finely chopped and crushed in a mortar
1 large red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup peanut oil


2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. good olive oil
3 tbsp. fresh shallots, minced
3 cups fresh, assorted mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced (try crimini, shiitake and/or fresh morel mushrooms)
1 cup Merlot (or other dry red wine)
2 cups stock (veal or chicken)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. each: chopped fresh rosemary, parsley and chives


Marinate the chops: Stir together the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Place three of the chops in a large reclosable plastic bag, add half the marinade, seal, and turn the bag in different directions until the chops are fully coated with the marinade. Try to evenly distribute the onions as well. Repeat with remaining three chops. Marinate at room temperature for 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Prepare sauce: Heat the butter and the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Stir in the shallots and sauté until they begin to turn translucent. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are lightly browned and fully cooked. Add the wine to the pan and simmer until about half of it has reduced. Add the stock to the pan and simmer until sauce has reduced by about half again, or until slightly thickened; remove pan from heat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and set aside until chops are grilled.

Grill chops: Remove chops from bags and pat them with paper towels to remove excess oil. Sprinkle them generously with salt and pepper, then place them on a preheated grill (charcoal or gas). Grill chops 6 to 7 minutes on the first side or until nicely marked. Turn chops over and continue grilling until desired doneness is reached (approximately 3 or 4 more minutes). Remove chops to a platter, cover lightly with foil. Bring sauce to a boil, add the herbs and remove from heat. Place a chop onto each of six serving plates, ladle a large spoonful of mushroom sauce over the top of each and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings. 

Recipe provided by Schug Carneros Estate .

Oysters on the Half Shell with J Mignonette

Ingredients for Oysters on the Half Shell

¼ Cup J Vintage Brut, reduced to 2 Tbls
2 Tbls O Brand Citrus Champagne Vinegar
2 Tbls Shallots, finely minced
To Taste Fleur de Sel or Kosher Salt and White Pepper

Directions for Oysters on the Half Shell:

Combine above ingredients and mix well. Place a teaspoon in each oyster half.

Ingredients for Cocktail Sauce

¼ Cup Ketchup
¼ Cup Chili Sauce
1-2 Tbls Horseradish
To Taste Lime Juice and Tabasco
Optional ¼ cup Port Wine reduced to 1 Tbl

Directions for Cocktail Sauce:

Combine all ingredients and stir well.

Recipe provided by J Vineyards.

Wild Mushroom Crostini with Truffle Oil


½ pound mixed wild mushrooms (such as chanterelle, porcini, oysters, crimini, or shiitake)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
¼ cup dry white wine
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 thin baguette
Good olive oil
2 tablespoons white truffe oil


1. Thinly slice mushrooms. In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, heat butter until it bubbles. Add mushrooms and garlic, and stir until mushrooms wilt but are not browned, about 2 minutes. Add wine; cook and stir another 2 minutes, or until most of liquid has cooked away. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

2. Preheat oven to 300°.

3. Slice baguette into ¼ inch rounds, brush lightly with olive oil, and toast on a baking pan about 10 minutes, or until crisp and very lightly browned.

4. Place a tablespoon of mushroom mixture on top of each slice. Transfer crostini to a serving plate, drizzle with a little truffe oil, and serve immediately. Crostini can also be kept warm in the oven 5 minutes before adding truffe oil and serving.

Serves 10/Makes 20

Recipe provided by J Vineyards.


Don’t Travel July 4th! Stay Close to Home and Visit a Winery!

A Maryland Sparkling Wine

The news has been reporting that travel over the 4th of July  is expected to rise. Rather than getting involved in intense traffic congestion, why not stay close to home and enjoy visiting a winery in your neighborhood? You may even want to consider leaving the driving to Lyft or Uber.

In a winery tasting room you can enjoy the atmosphere while having an enjoyable conversation with other like-minded wine enthusiasts. And the topics are not just about wine, but can cover anything from food to travel and so much more. Do yourself a favor and visit a nearby winery and save the frustration of hours of driving.

Fast Facts

  • Every state has at least one winery.
  • Several states have significant wine regions.
  • Numerous wineries offers special events open to the public.
  • Wines produced in the United States can rival those from other countries.
  • The top six states for producing wine include: California, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Virginia and New York.
  • Visitors to wineries often have access to wines that are not available in wine shops. 
  • There are many types of wine including the still wines that may be dry or sweet, sparkling wines and fruit wines. Other alcoholic beverages that might be found in a winery tasting room are hard ciders and distilled spirits.
  • In the United States, only wine from the onsite winery may be on the premises. Fines are hefty if anyone brings in a wine from another winery. This is regulated by law, not the winery.

Not sure about what it is like to visit a winery, check out this article Terry and I wrote about tasting room etiquette.


Traveling to Michigan this Summer? Discover the Leelanau Peninsula Wineries

Willow Vineyard, Leelanau Peninsula

Visitors to Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula will discover a delightful combination of fun activities, quality wines and exquisite landscapes. Upon reaching Traverse City, it is easy to find your way to the wineries on the Leelanau Peninsula. Don’t miss the nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes, a National Lakeshore. While driving between the wineries, stop and enjoy the scenery and the small town atmospheres.

Leelanau Peninsula Wineries

More than 20 wineries are located on Leelanau Peninsula. Twenty-two of these wineries belong to the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, which claims to be the oldest wine trail in Michigan. To help travelers navigate their way to the wineries, the wine trail offers three loops with suggested wineries. The loops are: Sleeping Bear Loop,  Northern Loop and Grand Traverse Bay Loop.

45 North Winery, Leelanau Peninsula

Located in the cooler state of Michigan, numerous winemakers have discovered that Michigan is a great place to produce wine.  The Leelanau Peninsula is one of Michigan’s five AVAs (American Viticulture Appellations). Even though the region is so far north, the vineyards on the peninsula are protected by the Lake Michigan lake effect. It is important to note that this region has the same 45 parallel as Bordeaux.

L Mawby produces sparkling wines.

The most popular wine grapes growing on the Leelanau Peninsula are Riesling and Pinot Noir. Other wine grapes in the region are Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Franc. In addition to numerous types of grape still wines produced, the region also produces fruit wines and sparkling wines as well as distilled items and hard ciders.

Some of the wineries are located close to Lake Michigan and travelers will want to take numerous photos of the landscape which may include the sparkling blue waters and thriving vineyards.

Wine Trail Traveler has visited and written reviews about many of these wineries. These reviews are available online.

Enjoy your visit to Leelanau Peninsula soon!


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