A Round Of Wine For Thanksgiving: The ‘Help Yourself’ Version

holiday wine, what to serve with Thanksgiving I was having a conversation just yesterday about the joys of Thanksgiving and they boil down to this: food and family. And I dare say, for many of us, the food category includes wine. My husband and I have served Thanksgiving to our big, extended Irish family since before we had children. I do recall a much, much younger me, a woman who printed out a list of Thanksgiving-friendly wine suggestions from some expert online and took it, part-and-parcel to the wine shop. It’s actually how I fell in love with Beaucastel, after buying some for that meal. If you’ve ever paused with concern about what to serve at Thanksgiving, I’m here to relieve your fears. I’ve tasted a number of excellent wines over the past months that will be lovely with your dinner. Rather than line up pairings—an act nearly impossible for the wide-open feast—this article highlights interesting wines ...

Alma Vitis, a White Wine from Portugal

Alma Vitis, white wine in Portugal

On a pleasant, sunlit afternoon, we opened a bottle of Alma Vitis wine from Portugal. This particular Alma Vitis white wine was a gift from the mayor of a town in the Torres Vedras DOC region. Our wine tour, e-Spain by Ángel Moretón, had stopped at three small wineries in the Torres Vedras DOC region and we were pleased to meet Carlos Manuel Antunes Bernardes, mayor of Torres Vedras. After our wine tasting at Quinta da Folgorosawe returned to our large tour bus and were pleasantly surprised to realize that we had been gifted with a Alma Vitis white wine. The Alma Vitis wine was 13.5% alcohol. The color of the wine was a pale yellow with a green hue. The wine aroma was light and delicate with tropical fruit notes including grapefruit and hints of pineapple.  The taste included ...

Make Your Holiday Recipes Special: Add a Little Wine

A recipe that calls for red wine and cherries!

Now that fall cooking is underway, it is a great time to start adding wine to your recipes. Of course, since you are unlikely to use the entire bottle of wine in the recipe, there will undoubtedly be enough wine left to enjoy while creating your masterpiece or to serve with dinner.  Below are seven suggestions for adding wine to your recipes.
  1. When baking a box cake, substitute wine for the water. Terry well remembers when he was in elementary school, his mother taught him this trick.
  2. When cooking meat, start off by marinating the beef, pork or chicken in a little wine. The addition of wine tends to help tenderize the meat making it tender and  and adds hints of robustness. We prefer using red wine for beef dishes and white wine for chicken.
  3. Risotto dishes frequently call for ...

Backsberg Estate Cellars

Backsberg EstateCellars

While attending the informative session at the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in Washington DC, we learned about tourism in South Africa, and also had the opportunity to taste some of the wines now produced in South Africa. One of the wineries represented was Backsberg Estate Cellars. The winery produces four lines of wine: Black Label, Premium, Kosher and Tread Lightly. We began with the Backsberg 2016 Brut Classique from the Paarl region of South Africa. This is a Kosher Brut. The wine is produced with 100% Chardonnay. According to the information card provided by the importer, the Kosher Brut included, “Prior to fermentation, the Chardonnay juice is pasteurized and all handling of the grapes and wine is performed by a rabbi with approval of the Cape  Town Beth Din. The MCC is made in the traditional method of a second fermentation in the bottle ...

Inside the Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction

Photo Courtesy: DuVine
I recently had the opportunity to cover the Hospices de Beaune wine auction, which occurs every November in one of my favorite wine towns in Bourgogne (Burgundy) France.
The Hospices de Beaune estate (most of it Grand Cru and Premier Cru) and its prestigious wines produced by 22 hand-chosen winemakers are utterly famous. The wines are sold annually at auction on the third Saturday of November in an event conducted by Christie’s auction house. The proceeds of the sale are still used in a non-profit fashion for the conservation of the historic Hôtel Dieu. There is also a charity lot, the Pièce des Présidents, proceeds from which are generally the highest in the auction and are donated to a very small number of select organizations each year.

< p style="text-align:center;">For the full story, click over to DuVine and take a peek. Thank you!

The Enjoyable Wine Tasting That Didn’t Happen!

Lugana & Valpolicella winetasting

We live in the mid-Atlantic region, so it takes us 1 1/2 to 2 hours to make a trip into the center of Washington, DC via car and Metro. We don’t mind the trip especially when we are cordially invited to a special wine tasting. This week was the first time we had trekked into the city for a wine tasting and a seminar but there were no wines to taste! You may wonder why a wine tasting event did not have wines available. It was all explained to us. One of our early wine courses emphasized the three entities that influence the wine in your glass. These include the vineyard, the winemaker and government. Government can control the vineyards with laws on whether you can irrigate or not. During winemaking, government may have laws regarding chaptalization. Then there are numerous rules regarding labeling the bottle. ...

Lirac: Five Star French Wine And Travel

Lirac Vineyard
A view of a Lirac vineyard at Château de Montfaucon. Photo Credit: Jill Barth
France’s Rhône River runs north to south, beginning in the Swiss Alps and eventually finding its way to the Mediterranean Sea. Populating its banks are world-renowned vineyards, divided into Northern and Southern designationsthe latter of which includes the Lirac Cru. In a valley where wines are classified by region – not variety – possessing this Cru designation is a key distinction, as there are only 13. Though Lirac was officially recognized as such in the 1940s, the area has been known for quality vineyards since the middle ages, famous for fresh, aromatic and structured wines.
Domaine Clos Sixte Lirac
Photo Credit: Jill Barth

The AOP – which includes the communes of Roquemaure, Saint-Laurent-des-Arbres, Saint-Geniès-de-Comolas and Lirac — produces red, white and rosé wine from 782 hectares. It is home to 44 domaines and châteaux, 18 négociants and ...

Lirac Vines
Lirac, Vacqueyras, Rhône, Gigondas, Rasteau
Avignon at Night
red wine from France, south of France, travel to France for wine
Lirac, Alain Jaume, Best wine in French

A Travel and Wine Destination: South Africa

Sign outside the SA Embassy in Washington, DC

Early in October we visited the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in Washington, DC for a presentation emphasizing the wonderful experiences of visiting South Africa. Before our visit, we already were aware of the wine industry in the country. We were impressed by the enthusiasm of all the presenters at the embassy event. The word “beautiful” was liberally sprinkled throughout the presentations. 

Symbol of South Africa

We were first welcomed to the event by Ambassador Mahlangu. In addition to his smile, he talked about South Africa as if it was a country he was in love with. Inspiring comments by Ambassador Mahlangu included: that they “always welcome visitors,” there is a “people to people engagement, people should “experience South Africa as a country.”  He also encouraged people that if you have not been there, then you should go ...

#MerlotMe In The Kitchen: A #WinePW Special

wines for fall, Sonoma wine, Napa wine
#MerlotMe wines from California — an October celebration. Photo Credit: Jill Barth
Many years ago I walked into a wine store and the clerk approached me with a question: “What’s your favorite wine?” Hmmm. It’s an honest question, but anyone who has tasted as much wine as I have will never be able to provide an answer. Another version of the inquiry sounds like this, “What sort of wine varieties do you like best?” Same hesitation, on my part. Even a single variety can present itself as endless. Perhaps none more so than merlot, which thrives in France, Italy, Chile, the United States and Australia. Simplified, merlot provides silky tannins and red or dark fruit — it’s complex and depended upon in blends but can fashion a staid single varietal wine. I’ve found that versatility on the table is a characteristic that is often overlooked. To prove that ...
J Lohr, Robert Hall, Still Waters, Ancient Peaks, california wine
#MerlotMe 2
#MerlotMe 1

35th Maryland Wine Festival is this Saturday!

Earlier Maryland Wine Festival photo at Carroll County Farm Museum

The 35th Maryland Wine Festival takes place Saturday, October 13 at the Carroll County Farm Museum, a wonderful location that celebrates history. The Maryland Wine Festival usually takes place in September but due to dire weather forecast predictions was postponed until this coming Saturday.  At this 2018 festival more than 150 Maryland wines will be available for wine enthusiasts. Those people with Explorer Pass tickets will receive a commemorative tasting glass, have access to all the wines from Maryland wineries participating in the event plus additional special wines. The Explorer tickets include access to special seating in a shaded area, bottled water and private restrooms, also participating in a blind tasting competition. While food is not included in the tickets, culinary delights will be available from vendors. The Carroll County Farm Museum is a great family historic site to ...

October is Pennsylvania’s Wine Month!

Naylor Wine Cellars, PA

Did you know that October is Pennsylvania’s Wine Month? Enjoy traveling along Pennsylvania’s countryside roads while touring the state’s many wineries. Wine enthusiasts can discover small, boutique wineries as well as much larger wineries. Pennsylvania wineries are producing a vast array of wines. In addition to many traditional wines produced with vitas vinifera grapes, Pennsylvania wineries are producing wines crafted from hybrid varieties and vitis labrusca grapes as well as a variety of fruits.

Clover Hill Vineyard & Winery, PA

Pennsylvania vineyards include more than two dozen grape varieties. While visiting wineries in Pennsylvania look for vitis vinifera, hybrid and native American varieties. Check the list below for the varieties below growing in Pennsylvania.

Oregon Hill Winery in Pennsylvania

Vitis Vinifera Varieties Albariño
Cabernet Sauvignon
Grüner Veltliner
Pinot Grigio
Lemberger (Blaufränkisch)
Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris)
Pinot Noir
Syrah     Hybrid ...

Lugana: An Italian White Wine For All Seasons

Lugana vineyards
Photo Credit: Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC
Lugana, surrounding captivating Lake Garda, is an Italian wine enclave in Lombardy and Veneto. If you’re looking for a full-bodied white wine to take you into the Autumn season, Lugana may be your answer. Lugana is comprised of 2,100 hectares, situated between the provinces of Brescia and Verona near Italy’s largest lake. Lake Garda provides a Mediterranean aspect to the growing environment, with cooling breezing emanating off the water and relatively stable diurnal spread. The soil here is predominantly clay-based and rich in minerals — in hilly areas of the denomination soil can tend to be sandy. It is interesting to note that the area was once that of a marshy, wet forest called Selva Lucana. To reclaim the land for agriculture, at the time grain farming, the Republic of Venice drained the land. With a Bronze Age history of vineyards, the practice of ...
Italy, Wine, Food, travel


wines from Provence, wine country, French wine
Organic vines at Domaine Dalmeran. Credit: Jill Barth
An Autumn Escape To France’s Hilltop Wine Towns
September 6, 2018, Forbes Hill towns capture the imagination and inspire travel, and Provençal villages situated around the Dentelles de Montmirail are no exception. These villages anchor gem wine regions of France’s Southern Rhône Valley, distinct cru defined by their own names: Beaumes-de-Venise, Cairanne, Gigondas and Vacqueyras. These islands produce some of Europe’s best wine
September 6, 2018, USA Today 10Best Eat Sip Trip Some of Europe’s most interesting wine regions are islands – environments and cultures preserved by a frame of sea. Whether planning a trip or a meal, get to know these five tempting island wine regions. New Ways To Experience Burgundy Winemaking History This Fall
August 28, 2018, Forbes When UNESCO recognized the Bourgogne (Burgundy) vineyards known as the Les Climats du Vignoble de Bourgogne, it was an acknowledgment of not ...

Annual Evening of Wine & Art Library Fundraiser

On Saturday, the Snyder County Libraries Evening of Wine and Art Fundraiser will include wine, entertainment and art. This fun wine event will also include a  raffle and a silent auction. The event takes place at Shade Mountain Winery on Saturday, October 6 from 5:30 to 8pm. This fundraiser will benefit the Snyder County Libraries. Tickets are $40 a piece and each ticket holder is entitled to two Shade Mountain Winery drinks and/or Shy Bear Beer. Heavy hors d’oeuvres will also be available.

Shade Mountain vineyards

Music entertainment will be provided by Bret Alexander and Aaron Fink. The guest artist at the fundraiser is Ross Smoker. His focus is on carving birds. Ross competes around the country. Numerous organizations have donated food including: Amato’s Pizza Selinsgrove, Aramark at Susquehanna University, Rose Flood, Giant, National Beef, Planet Fitness, Shade Mountain Winery, Shy Bear Brewing, SUN Tech and Weis Markets. The ...

Book Review: Wine Folly: Magnum Edition: The Master Guide

The Wine Folly: Magnum Edition: The Master Guide ($21), written by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack ,reflects many of the features that make their Wine Folly website so popular.  The book utilizes info-graphics and photos to simply yet clearly explain wine topics such as grapes and regions.  The book is most suited for wine novices but also provides easily accessible references for more experienced wine consumers. The book starts with Wine Basics such as how to taste and store wine in addition to how it is made. After a section on Food & Wine Pairings, the book guides readers through dozens of grape varieties and styles of wine -- such as the different categories of sparkling and dessert wine.  This section is quite informative as it includes information on the grape's lineage, tasting profile, serving recommendations, where it grows, and similar grapes. A nice quick and easy ...

The Annual NYCWFF is Almost Here!

Discover wine, spirits and food at the NYCWFF in NYC this month!

The NYCWFF, a large festival in New York City, is almost here. This all-encompassing event begins October 11 and runs through October 14. One of the most important points of the NewYork City Wine & Food Festival is that the festival benefits two charities: No Kid Hungry and the Food Bank For New York City. Ticket information is available online. Back in June I provided information about the NYCWFF including reasons why to volunteer. While many events have been sold out, there are still tickets available for numerous fun events. Also package tickets are available.  As of this writing, Sunday, September 30, tickets are available for: Date: Thursday, October 11
  • Benoit 10th Anniversary Dinner with Alain Ducasse and Laetitia Rouabah
  • Supper is Served
  • Chelsea Night Market
  • Tacos & Tequila presented by Tequila Cazadores
Date: Friday, October 12
  • ...

WineFest in Pennsylvania’s North East is this Weekend

South Shore Wine Company

The first time we traveled in Pennsylvania’s North East region (in the northwestern part of the state along Lake Erie) it was early Fall when grapes were ripe and just hanging, awaiting the harvest. At the time large trucks filled with luscious, ripe grapes rolled along the roads leaving behind whiffs of grape aromas. Needless to say the grapes were not all wine grapes but many were of the Concord and Niagara varieties for commercial juice. We drove along the roads with our windows down enjoying the aromas. While in North East we also discovered several wineries also producing traditional wines. All of these reminisces were brought back by the announcement of the 2018 Wine Country Harvest Festival. This year the Winefest is this weekend from September 28 to September 30. The festival takes place at two parks, Gibson Park and Gravel Pit Park. Events and ...

Winemaking and Wine Tasting at Tin Lizzie Wineworks

A couple of weeks ago we stopped by Tin Lizzie Wineworks, a teaching winery, in Clarksville, Maryland. This is an unusual winery where wine enthusiasts and wine lovers can produce their own wines under the guidance of Dave Zuchero, owner and winemaker.  Yesterday we received an email from Dave announcing an “Exclusive Vertical Cabernet Tasting”  that is scheduled for October 3. If you are interested in crafting your own wine, you may want to attend this event. The wine tasting is limited to only 20 people. If you want to attend, contact Dave Zuchero at dave@tinlizziewineworks.com. The email from Tin Lizzie announced that for a very limited time, there is time for anyone to sign up to make wine this fall. Spaces are still available to craft quarter and half barrels of wine. As of yesterday, interested people can choose to participate in any of the ...

Two French Wine Trips To Take This Fall

The vineyards of Beaumes-de-Venise with the commune of Suzette in view. Credit: JILL BARTH
I’ve recently written about two extraordinary travel opportunities for lovers of French wine. Both dive deep into culture and experience while keeping wine front and center.

An Autumn Escape To France’s Hilltop Wine Towns, published on Forbes, is all about Rhône Valley communes in Provence, along the Dentelles de Montmirail:

Hill towns capture the imagination and inspire travel, and Provençal villages situated around the Dentelles de Montmirail are no exception. These villages anchor gem wine regions of France’s Southern Rhône Valley, distinct cru defined by their own names: Beaumes-de-Venise, Cairanne, Gigondas and Vacqueyras.

Offering the natural, rugged side of the south of France, the Dentelles de Montmirail are a lacy, jagged skyline caused by prehistoric geological upset to Jurassic limestone. Ancient villages cling to the mountains and vineyards are planted along the terraced slopes and the hem ...

Books & Wine Event at Ohio Winery

A Vineyard in Ohio

Books and Wine! What could be a better match than pairing books with wine to support Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library? The Books & Wine event takes place in Xenia, Ohio not far from Dayton. The location for the charity is Caesar Creek Vineyards. The event is scheduled for October 1 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library helps to provide books for children from birth through 5 years of age. This is a wonderful opportunity for young children. Online tickets are $25 each. Waiting until the day of the event, ticket prices will be $30 at the gate. Tickets are also available at the local Greene County Public libraries. Each ticket includes live music, food from Bella Sorella and a glass of Caesar Creek Vineyards wine.  For anyone who is busy on October 1 and would still like to make a donation, information is ...