Gunpowder Wine Trail Celebrates with Special Wine Tastings


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Mount Felix Vineyard & Winery to celebrate Maryland Wine Month

In celebration of Maryland Wine Month, one of Maryland’s newest wine trails, Gunpowder Wine Trail, is celebrating with the Wine Lovers Tasting Experience Ticket. This Experience will continue throughout March.

Gunpowder Wine Trail has four participating wineries including: Fiore Winery & Distillery, Harford Vineyard, Mount Felix Winery and Royal Rabbit Vineyard.

Wine lovers can choose between a basic ticket or a VIP ticket. Tickets are available online.

Royal Rabbit is on the Gunpowder Wine Trail

Basic Tasting Experience

  • Tasting for 2 at each Gunpowder Wine Trial winery
  • Wine tasting includes six wines
  • When purchasing three bottles of wine or more, you will receive 10% off.

VIP Tasting Experience

  • Wine tasting for 2 at all four wineries
  • Includes your choice of 6 wines
  • Purchases of two or more bottle of wines will receive 15% off
  • Receive two Amplifier Vintner’s Crystal …

Jean-Louis SCHOEPFER Wines


This post is by Kathy from Wine Trail Traveler LLC


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The Jean-Louis SCHOEPFER winery is located in the Alsace region of France. In January I met Gilles Schoepfer who with his brother are owners of Jean-Louis SCHOEPFER, at the APVSA wine tasting in Washington. 

Wine enthusiasts enjoy tasting wines at APVSA.

The winery/vineyards started in 1656 and has been handed down from father to son. Today they are producing 50,000 bottles of wine. The winery has 10 hectares of vineyards and Gilles noted that they do everything themselves. The winery has a traditional cellar and a modern cellar. The traditional cellar houses old oak casks whereas the modern cellar, which holds much more, includes stainless steel tanks.

They are located in the Alsace vineyards region in the wine village of Wettolsheim.

Today the winery and vineyards are operated by Jean-Louis Schoepfer’s sons, Christophe and Gilles. The brothers have divided their hard work with Christophe busy with winemaking and administration. …

Les Roques de Cana


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Les Roques de Cana features Malbec

Earlier this month, we visited with Thibault VIAL, sales manager for Les Roques de Cana, and tasted a couple of the available wines produced by Les Roques de Cana. Les Roques de Cana is located in the southwest region of France. 

The winery was started by Martial Guiette and partners. The primary focus of the winery is growing and producing Malbec wines. The location of the winery is on a plateau of Saint-Vincent-Rive-d’Olt. This village was named for St. Vincent, the patron saint of winemakers.

The first wine we tasted was produced with 100% Malbec. This was the La Fiancée Rosé Malbec. The pink colored wine almost reminds one of fruit juice. The wine offered red fruit notes with some sweetness. When producing La Fiancée, the wine is “treated as a red wine.” The Les Roques de Cana Cahors-Malbec 2015 Appellation Cahors …

Discover Château de Potiron


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At the recent APVSA wine tasting in Washington D.C. we had the opportunity to meet Célia Caule, winemaker for Château de Potiron. The Château is located in Côtes de Bordeaux.

Cuvée Exceptionnelle 2014

Célia was enthusiastic about the wines from Château de Potiron and while tasting a couple of the Château wines we learned more about Château de Potiron.

The first wine we tasted, Cuvée Privilege 2012, was a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. This is the oldest wine that Château de Potiron has to offer and is considered an entry level wine. The wine was a translucent purple color. The aroma was earthy with black fruit notes. The taste included blackberries and black raspberries. The wine had medium tannins. The finish was long.

The second wine, the Cuvée Exceptionnelle 2014, was a high-end wine. This 13.5% alcohol wine was produced by hand. The color …

APVSA: You Will Be My Wine


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APVSA (Association for the Promotion of Wines and Spirits in North America) just began its annual January wine tasting tour to various cities in North America. This year the wine tasting roadshow is named You Will Be My Wine Tasting Roadshow. The event began today in New York City and will continue in several cities through January 30, 2020.

Image from APVSA event, January 2019

The You Will Be My Wine Roadshow: is open to wine professionals including: wine trade professionals, press and wine hospitality.

2020 Schedule:

January 14: New York
January 15: Washington D.C.
January 16: Atlanta
January 17: Miami
January 20: Houston
January 21: Mexico City
January 22: Los Angeles
January 23: San Francisco
January 24: Seattle
January 27: Vancouver
January 29: Toronto
January 30: Montreal

With the help of APVSA, various European wineries participate in showcasing their wines. While the emphasis is on French wineries …

ZinEx, A Celebration of Zinfandel


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2020 ZinEX, an annual wine experience, promoted by ZAP (Zinfandel Adovcates & Producers) takes place in San Francisco from January 30 to February 1.

Thursday, January 30: Trade and Media Tasting
January 30-31: Opening Night Dining (a VIP event)
Friday, January 31: Flights!
January 31 – February 1: Winemakers Auction & Dinner 
Saturday, February 1: Grand Tasting

Special VIP package.

The VIP Package for 2 includes:

  • Lodging for 2 nights at the Palace Hotel
  • 2 tickets to 4 events ( Reservations at Opening Night Dining, reserved seating at flights, preferred seating at Winemakers Auction and Dinner and all day access to Grand Tasting.
  • A walk-around with a winemaker at the Grand Tasting (limited to the first 10 booked)
  • Shuttle service to Saturday and Thursday events
  • Heritage Club-Vintage Membership

Tickets are available on eventbrite.

About Zinfandel  (information from A Wine Lexicon)

Zinfandel: a vitis vinifera grape variety that has …

Niagara Icewine Festival


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January 10 is the start of the Niagara Icewine Festival that begins with the 25th Niagara Icewine Gala.

Reif Estate Winery participating in 2020 Niagara Icewine Festival

Niagara icewines rival other sweet dessert wines including: late harvest wines, ice ciders, Port, Hungary’s Tokaji,  France’s Sauternes, and Italy’s Vin Santo.

If you haven’t tasted an icewine from Niagara, Niagara is a great place to visit and discover icewines. 

This year in 2020, Niagara Icewine participants can purchase a Icewine Discovery Pass for January 10-12, 17-19 and 24-26. The Snow Globe Soirée takes place January 16 – February 16. Wineries participating in the Niagara Icewine Festival are located in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Twenty Valley.

Tickets are available online as well as at Ontario Tourism Centres, Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce and participating wineries.

Niagara Icewine Gala (January 10) includes:

  • Icewine from more than 30 producers
  • Culinary treats paired with the icewine
  • Ice sculptures

Trentodoc: Sparkling Wines from the Mountains


This post is by Kathy from Wine Trail Traveler LLC


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Partner and sommelier at Maxwell Park Wine Bar.

Recently we traveled into Washington, DC to attend a wine tasting featuring Trentodoc wines. The Trentodoc wine region is located north of Lake Garda in Italy. The DOC features sparkling wines but also produces still wines. Our Trentodoc wine tasting consisted of all sparkling wines. While we had our favorites, the best part of the tasting was that all of the sparkling wines were well made. 

The tag line for Trentodoc wines is “Sparkling Wine from the Mountains.” Trentodoc is the only wine region allowed to use this tag line. A paper we received at the wine tasting quotes Lord Byron, “Up here I live not in myself, but I become portion of that around me. And to me, high mountains are a feeling.”

After the short and concise presentation and wine tasting, a gourmet lunch was served. We …

Bear Harvests Grapes in California Vineyard


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Navarro Vineyards is located in Mendocino County in Northern California. We traveled there several years ago and discovered a heartwarming welcome and a delightful one of a kind visits at numerous wineries and homes. We’ll always treasure our time visiting there where kindness and goodwill seem to predominate. 

Babydoll sheep are used for controlling vineyard weeds at Navarro Vineyards.

Mendocino County wineries came to mind today, when I read a short article about Navarro Vineyards, one of the delightful wineries we visited. The winery is located in Philo and when we visited we learned about their extensive interest in using babydoll sheep to control vineyard weeds.

The news regarding Navarro Vineyards involved cameras that they have set up in the vineyards. In August one of the cameras caught sight of wildlife including fox and a large bear trotting or trudging past Navarro Vineyards. Later in September, a bear is …

Maryland Wine Festival 2019 this Weekend!


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One of Maryland’s best known annual wine festivals, The Maryland Wine Festival, takes place this weekend, September 21 and September 22019.This festival is intended for the whole family. A varsity of tickets and prices are available; those under under 13 are admitted free with a paying adult. Designated driver tickets are also available. Ticket details are available online.

Prolific vineyards in Maryland

One of Maryland’s best known annual wine festivals, The Maryland Wine Festival, takes place this weekend, September 21 and September 22, 2019. 

This popular wine and food festival includes Maryland wines, food, music, arts and crafts. In addition the festival includes a Local Cheese Pavilion. The event is held at Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster, Maryland.

Many Maryland wines will be available for tasting; more than 20 wineries will attend. Additional wines will be offered for those with Explorer Pass tickets. The Explorer Pass …

Vinos de Madrid Open Tasting in Washington DC


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Vinos de Madrid seminar at Barcelona Wine Bar in Washington DC

Earlier this week we had an invitation to attend a seminar tasting with wines from the Vinos de Madrid DO. The seminar was followed by a walk-around tasting. The venue was held at the Barcelona Wine Bar on 14th Street NW in Washington DC. We have attended several wine tasting at this restaurant all featuring Spanish wines. The restaurant does a wonderful job with tapas served during the walk-around tasting.

One of the purposes of the tastings and seminar was to introduce wine enthusiasts, distributors, importers and writers to Vinos de Madrid, an often undiscovered wine region in Spain. Many of the producers in this area are crafting premium wines at very reasonable prices. Gretchen Thomas, Vice President of Beverage at Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group that owns Barcelona Wine Bar, conducted the seminar and tasting. 

Gretchen became interested …

Gambero Rosso’s Top Italian Wines Show in Washington D.C.


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The Gambero Rosso Italian Wine Road Show took place at the Embassy of Italy in Washington DC

On Monday, June 3rd, we attended the Gambero Rosso’s Top Italian Wines Show in Washington D.C. held at the Embassy of Italy. The weather was beautiful for a June day in the nation’s capital. We had a mile walk to the Italian Embassy from the DuPont Circle Metro Station. The walk was easy passing many embassies along the way.

We were asked to arrive early for our scheduled 1:15 pm seminar on Italian wine. Unfortunately, we were informed that they were not ready so we had to wait outside the entrance gat for the embassy. At 1:40 pm we were let in, only to wait again. The session began at 2:15 pm. During this wait, I recalled the first day we were touring wineries in the country Georgia. We were quickly off …

A Unique Father’s Day Gift: Wine on the Vine


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Wine on the Vine

For a unique Father’s Day gift for those wine enthusiast dads, consider planting a vine at an Israeli winery for your Father’s Day gift. This opportunity comes from Wine on the Vine, an initiative from the Israel Innovation Fund.

The steps are easy, starting with visiting the Wine on the Vine website. Choose how many vines you wish to plant ranging from one for $18 to 1000 vines for $18,000. For the one vine you will receive a certificate. For the 1000 vines you receive a certificate, 100 bottles of wine from the winery you choose, dedicated vineyard and a wine label of your own. You start receiving a bottle of wine with five vines. 

Your next step is to choose a winery to plant your vine. Nine wineries are participating in the program. Your final step is to choose a cause from the …

A Unique Father’s Day Gift: Wine on the Vine


This post is by Terry from Wine Trail Traveler LLC


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Wine on the Vine

For a unique Father’s Day gift for those wine enthusiast dads, consider planting a vine at an Israeli winery for your Father’s Day gift. This opportunity comes from Wine on the Vine, an initiative from the Israel Innovation Fund.

The steps are easy, starting with visiting the Wine on the Vine website. Choose how many vines you wish to plant ranging from one for $18 to 1000 vines for $18,000. For the one vine you will receive a certificate. For the 1000 vines you receive a certificate, 100 bottles of wine from the winery you choose, dedicated vineyard and a wine label of your own. You start receiving a bottle of wine with five vines. 

Your next step is to choose a winery to plant your vine. Nine wineries are participating in the program. Your final step is to choose a cause from the …

Catoctin Breeze Vineyard Repeats as “Best in Show” at the 2019 Maryland Wine Comptroller’s Cup Awards


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The 2018 “Best in Show” award went to Catoctin Breeze for the 2016 Cabernet Franc.

Last June, Kathy and I were invited to the Maryland Wine Comptroller’s Cup Awards at Catoctin Breeze Vineyards in Thurmont, Maryland. Catoctin Breeze hosted the event. They won the top prize “Best in Show” for their 2016 Cabernet Franc. It is not easy to repeat. Just look at the Washington Capitals early exit in the 2019 NHL playoffs. But repeat is exactly what Catoctin Breeze did, again with their Cabernet Franc, this time with the 2017 vintage. We congratulate Voytek Fizyta and his wife, Alicja along with the winemaking team at Catoctin Breeze for their outstanding job with Maryland Cabernet Franc. 

The 2019 Best in Class awards included:

White: Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards • Legacy 2017

White Blend: Big Cork Vineyards • Russian Kiss 2018

Rosé: Port of Leonardtown Winery • …

Champagne Paul Launois Announces Single Barrel Champagne Auction


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Sarah and Julien Launois hand-selected the Chardonnay grapes for the ten barrels to be auctioned. Image provided by The Gallavant Group.

Wine enthusiasts who love champagne might enjoy the possibility that Champagne Paul Launois is offering. The champagne house has set aside ten barrels of Chardonnay, that they will auction off on June 14th, 2019. The minimum price for each barrel is 23,400 Euros (about $26,142) for the 216 bottles of champagne that will come from the barrel. That would put the minimum price for each bottle of champagne at least at $121.

Those purchasing a barrel will have the opportunity to work with the champagne house to determine aging and dosage. Aging can take place between three and ten years. The dosage will be determined by the barrel owner’s preferences. 

Although the auction is out of the reach for most wine enthusiasts, collectors, industry professionals and restaurants may …

Day 11 of Visiting Hungarian Wineries


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Pálffy in Hungary

On Thursday, our 11th day of visiting Hungary, we stopped at Pálffy Since and visited with Mr. Gyula Pálffy, who is the owner and winemaker. The winery is a boutique style. We walked to a small knoll where Gyula provided with us with a detailed description of the region. He commented that the land was once under the sea. One of his best comments was, “You  just don’t sit down and drink wine, you have to work.” After viewing the landscape, we entered the cozy tasting room where he showed us rocks embedded with fossils from the area. We also enjoyed tasting  a few of his wines.

Kreinbacher Estate

We then traveled to  the second smaller wine region of Hungary, Somló, to learn about the Kreinbacher cellar in this region. At this modern-style winery we tasted wines and enjoyed lunch. In the Somló region, …

Day 10 Near Lake Balaton, Hungary


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Pezsgö, sparkling wine at Garamvári.

On the 10th day we traveled about two hours to reach Lake Balaton,the largest lake in Central Europe. The area around the lake to home to tourist spots, traditional homes and not far away are wineries. A ferry provides easy transportation across the lake.

The first visit of the day was at Garamvári where we met one of the owners and the winemaker. Garamvári was established 25 years ago. Today the winery, an 85 hectare estate, produces sparkling and still wines. The temperatures of the vineyards are moderated by Lake Balaton. 

We then enjoyed lunch at Kistücsök, a restaurant owned by a brother and sister. The restaurant menu offers a variety of Hungarian foods. The atmosphere is friendly with touches of low-key elegance including fabric tablecloths. After lunch we reached the far side of Lake Balaton by a short ferry ride.

Weeping vines at …

Day 9 in Hungary


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Wine cellar at Bodri wine estate

We began day 9 in Hungary by traveling to Szekszáred to visit Vida Péter, a boutique winery, where Mr. Péter Vida is both winemaker, vineyardist and owner. At a young age, Peter’s father had Peter and his brothers tending a vineyard. Eventually, Péter learned to make wine and  Péter entered wines into a contest without his father’s knowledge. When his father read the newspaper and saw that the wines had won, he told Péter, “God will help you with your work.” Years later Péter is enthusiastic about producing the best possible wines from his vineyard.

After a delightful visit with Péter Vida, we traveled to the Bodri wine estate where we learned that the family has been involved with vineyards for eight generations. A restaurant where we enjoyed lunch is also on the property. Large cellars include a section that wine collectors can …

Day 8 in Hungary


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Vylyan Wine Estate cellar

On day 8 of our visit to Hungary we traveled to Villány to visit Vylyan Wine Estate and enjoyed a large elegant lunch with the owner. The winery produces a unique Hungarian wine with the grape Csoka. Vylyan winery claims to have the largest vineyard of Csoka with 0.6 hectares.

After a delicious lunch at Vylyan, we visited Gere Wine Estate. The winery has 75 hectares of organically grown grapevines. After the end of Communist domination, the owner’s parents, Attila and Katalin, began buying vineyards. The maternal grandfather, Adam Wéber, remembered where the good vineyards had been located and this helped to locate which vineyards to buy.

Gere Wine Estate

Bock Cellars acoustical room

To end the day, we visited Bock Wine cellar which included dinner at the Bock restaurant. Bock winery now produces sparkling and still wines. Bock began producing sparkling wines in 2007. …