Browsing articles tagged with " wine festivals"
Jul 31, 2014
Terri Judson

Moving forward: Chamber, wineries join forces in marketing endeavors

WILLCOX – Willcox Wine Country and the Willcox Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture have joined forces officially through a resolution approved at the chamber’s board meeting on July 16.

The resolution, unanimously approved by Board President Brenda Haas, Treasurer Ron Bastian, Secretary and Chamber executive director Alan Baker and board members Scott Dahmer and Juanita Buckley, provides the framework for the Willcox Chamber to provide a “cooperative marketing group for the Arizona Wine Industry within the Willcox trade area.”  

The resolution allows the chamber to provide accounting and distribution of funds “according to the current marketing plan adopted January of every calendar year.”

Dahmer, also a chamber member as the owner of Aridus Wine Co. and crush facility, said each of the 10 wineries with tasting rooms in the Willcox area is part of the marketing cooperative and may pay annually either $250 to be a board (voting) member of the cooperative or $150 as a member without voting input.

The funds this year have been put toward television advertising (KVOA TV channel 4 in Tucson), two billboards on Interstate 10 (near exit 336 and near Sybil Road exit just east of Benson), as well as being a part of a Certified Folder rack card with tasting room listings, Dahmer said.

The chamber’s marketing is also a driver for the two Willcox Wine Country wine festivals, which are promoted on the WillcoxWineCountry.org Web site, the chamber’s Web site and Facebook. 

“The goal, however, is for the Willcox Wine Country group to become its own nonprofit organization in the future,” Baker said. “It’s a good relationship now, but when they are ready, we’ll transfer all their funds to them, along with all the marketing materials,” such as the Willcox Wine Country domain, owned by John McLoughlin, of Cellar 433. McLoughlin is also currently working on several AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) in the Willcox area, which sets a wine grape-growing region in the United States, distinguishable by geographic features and boundaries.

The marketing cooperative “is a good thing. It is helping us get established,” Dahmer said. “But I think there will continue to be a relationship with the chamber and the city, as it’s all about Willcox.”

Baker added, “This is helping Willcox Wine Country be on the map. It’s been a huge success (the chamber has been marketing the wineries for several years). When I got here (two years ago), there were three wine tasting rooms – Coronado Vineyards, Keeling-Schaefer and Carlson Creek. It has really grown.”

Dahmer also pointed out that new legislation passed this year by Arizona lawmakers went into effect Thursday, July 24, “and that’s really good for the wine industry in Arizona.

“I think we will have more tasting rooms in Willcox soon,” he said, as the new laws allow for “two remote locations with each liquor license without the wine being produced there.”

Also, previous to this “Liquor Omnibus” law, tasting rooms could not technically sell wine to consumers without the wine being produced on the premises. That meant each tasting room would have to produce on the site, as well. Enforcement was lax, but as Dahmer said, “We’d all much prefer to be operating within the state laws. Now people don’t have to build your own facility to have a bonded winery.”

Dahmer said the law also allows his crush facility to produce more wine now, as “I could only produce 40,000 gallons of capacity with my license at my facility. Now each of my clients with a license is allowed 40,000 gallons. So I can produce a lot more wine.”

Dahmer said Rod Keeling, co-owner of Keeling-Schaefer Vineyards in Willcox, and Eric Glomski, founder of Page Springs Cellars, “worked hard to get this legislation passed, talking to state legislators and politicians.

Keeling told the Range News that they originally started working on the issues that faced the Arizona wine industry in 2006, as “there were a lot of  people who held a winery license that didn’t have a winery – it was more like a bar. They had the wrong (liquor) license.”

“It was a reactive effort on our part, and it cost us $50,000 – we still have $12,000 left to raise. But it turned out to be a tremendous positive for  us. We extracted as much as we can out of it.”

The law allows for a five-year grace period for those not in compliance to become a bonded federal winery that makes wine, or they may get a “farm winery license with at least five producing acres of grapes with a contract with a crush facility. They don’t have to own a winery, but they can sell wine,” Keeling said.

“The wine industry is able to be part of all three tiers – production, wholesale and retail – as long as we are not bigger than 20,000 gallons per year,” he said.

Keeling said the law also allows “alternating proprietorship” agreements, with a cooperative agreement between a landlord who owns a winery facility and tenant wineries who pay for space and a common area on the premises where the wines are made. Both the host and the individual wineries are bonded licensed wineries, but the non-host wineries do not have to invest in the equipment and premises.

“This is a winery business incubator, as it eases entry into the industry,” Keeling said. “All these changes help to qualify who can hold a license so it can be enforced and regulated. This makes the wine tasting experience more authentic for the consumer. You have to make wine to be a winery.”

Dahmer added, “These are huge sweeping changes that are all very good . . . it’s a huge bonus for the wine industry and Willcox.”

 

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Jul 31, 2014
Terri Judson

Bangalore International Wine Festival turns a ‘Mela’

The organizers perhaps had grandiose plans to make the Wine Festival accessible to masses rather than classes and had reduced the entry charges from Rs. 300 last year to Rs. 49. This gave a considerable opportunity to everyone interested to taste wines. But the fortified wines available free of charge saw many people get drunk with a case of molestation involving the police marred the sanctity of the annual fest which is a progressive and laudable effort by the Karnataka Wine Board.

Unlike last year when the entry fee was Rs.300 and a limited number of tastings was free, this year the organizers reduced the entry ticket to Rs.49 with the tastings at stands erected by producers like Sula, Grover, Big Banyan and KRSMA have tasting flights at prices varying from around Rs. 150-200 flight of 4-6 wines.

Aeisha Sahni, Brand Manager of Bangalore-based Big Banyan feels the Festival could not be termed as a roaring success. ‘Big banyan tried to do something completely different and erected a stand with a young fresh look to attract the younger audience. We created a take away shack out of our stand that was very vibrant and colourful. The overall experience was good but we did not come across too many serious wine drinkers as the entry cost was only Rs. 49. We sampled our wines at Rs. 150 for 4 varietals and 200 for 6 varietals. The Bellissima (late harvest Moscato) did exceptionally well at the fest and we were sold out by the second day.’ Their ‘Rose Rossa’ Rose and Merlot had many takers as well. Interestingly, although they did not taste the top-end ‘Limited’ they managed to sell a few bottles as they have a regular following who were happy with a 10% discount allowed at the Exhibition.

She best sums up their experience best by saying,’ after seeing the type of crowd that came, I personally feel that we should have brought our ‘Goana’-the fortified wine instead of our premium range and we would have done a big business!’ Goana is one of the leading brands in South India for fortified wine but is not produced under the Big Banyan banner but directly under John Distilleries Pvt.  Ltd., the parent company of Big Banyan.

Sneha Rao, Business Development Manager for the newly introduced KRSMA wines in Bangalore earlier this year was slightly more charitable about the Show. ‘Many people wanted to taste out wines as we have introduced them this year and they had not tasted them though they had heard a lot of positive things. We also wanted the trade to taste the wines. Therefore, we charged Rs. 200 for a flight but for the trade professionals including the hospitality industry professionals, Sommeliers and journalists, it was complimentary.’ She was quite pleased with the response.

The biggest problem according to most trade professionals who attended the Show and informed delWine, was the presence of too many people who neither knew anything about wine nor were interested. They came for a free joy ride with the booze. To that extent, the busy stand of Heritage Winery provided the fuel. Although they were selling a bottle of their fortified wine at Rs. 100 and had many takers, the free tasting was the big attraction. It seemed to be a win-win for all except the serious wine connoisseurs and women many of whom were reportedly harassed by the inebriated. In fact, one case of molestation reportedly involved police and arrest of two people, leaving a very bad taste in the mouth of organisers and many of the visitors.

Seemingly, the organisers had adopted a strategy to discourage the fortified wine producers who had to shell out Rs. 40,000-50,000 for a stand for which premium wine producers paid Rs.25,000 only. Apparently, this plan backfired as they attracted the maximum crowd due to freebies.

Besides Wine Tasting, the Fest offered the opportunity to pick up wine at a discount of up to 10%, there were seminars on Wine Food Pairing.  There was Live Kitchen Art Craft Zone and the Grape Stomping that has become traditional at all such wine fests, thanks to the now defunct Chateau Indage. There were various wine Conferences and Workshops, Entertainment and Live Performances.

Estimates on the attendance vary, ranging from 2,000 and up- but very different than the organisers might like to project-someone seems to have conveyed an astonishing figure of 30-35,000 people at the exhibition which was held on the lawns of the hotel. The rain on the first day did not help either and one saw very thin crowds on Friday.

The way out

What is the way out to make such festivals productive? Wine Festivals are a very important and irreplaceable tool to promote wine culture anywhere but especially India where advertisement of any kind is not allowed and wine education is non-existent, with a vast majority linking wine drinking to liquor guzzling. Alok Chandra, a local consultant and journalist who attended the BIWF on 2 days and confirms that the only stall giving free samples for their fortified wines which retail for Rs. 100 for a standard 750 ml bottle, was Bangalore-based Heritage winery ; all others were charging anything from Rs. 50/30 ml upwards. He says the way out is to 1) Charge a higher entry fee to dissuade louts, 2) Ban free samples of fortified wines being dished out and  3) Have 1 – 2 days reserved for the trade (retail/ HORECA) for B2B transactions and tastings, as is the norm internationally.

The organisers would perhaps agree that there is a need to evolve and change the direction, tweaking every edition but we certainly don’t want to throw the baby out with bath water. Karnataka has a good thing going thanks to Karnataka Wine Board (KWB) and by involving various stakeholders; KWB can be the binding factor. Carry on KWB and the Department of Horticulture!!

Subhash Arora

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Jul 30, 2014
Terri Judson

Make Plans, save the date, plan ahead for these upcoming events:

Save the date, plan ahead for these upcoming events:

Hobby winemakers wanted: Destination ARTS! is seeking independent wine makers for a fall festival Sept. 13.

Volunteers associated with Waynesboro’s “Destination ARTS!” initiative plan to bring an arts, music and wine festival to town but, unlike many wine festivals in the region, this event will give independent wine makers an opportunity to engage in a little friendly competition.

“The idea is to have at least two wine makers set up inside each of the six art galleries that are open in the downtown area,” said Deb Hollen, a festival chairman. “People who purchase a wine glass from the arts alliance would then have the chance to travel from gallery to gallery, sampling the wines and choosing a favorite.”

Hollen said the number of wine makers accepted into competition will be limited, with each one allowed to enter one of their wines for critique.

A panel of judges will taste each entry to choose first, second and third place winners. A People’s Choice award will also be given.

Wine makers will pay a $10 entry fee for each wine they submit for the event. The judges’ top three choices will receive cash prizes and certificates. None of the wine included in the competition will be for sale.

Applications are available at the Arts Alliance of Greater Waynesboro website www.artsalliancegw.org. Deadline to submit applications is Aug. 15.

For more information, call 977-1741 or email artsalliancegw@gmail.org.

Dancing with the Cars: 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 18 at Jennings Chevelot, Buick, GMC Showroom, 916 Norland Ave., Chambersburg.

Buzz Jones Big Band will play dance tunes, local food vendors will offer tasty specialties (some are Cafe’ D’ Italia, EJ’s, Main St. Deli, The Butcher Shoppe and the Big Oak Cafe, all in Chambersburg)

A live auction will feature an African safari for two; a week’s stay in a beach front home on Oak Island, S.C.; a weekend at Whitetail Ski Resort, Mercersburg; an Alpine Lake chalet weekend; and more, as well as some silent auction items up for bid.

The evening’s proceeds benefit Women In Need’s Capital Campaign to build the new WIN shelter and advocacy center in Chambersburg.

Tickets are $100 a person, available online at www.winservices.org or call 372-6660.

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Jul 29, 2014
Terri Judson

Kick August off with Eat Drink SF

The City by the Bay is renowned for its many incredible food options. From food trucks to seven-course dinners created by celebrated chefs, San Francisco has no shortage of good dining. So, to make things a bit easier for foodies, Eat Drink SF is taking over the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason August 1-3 for a decadent extravaganza of all things delicious in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Pièce de résistance is the Grand Tasting featuring over 200 of San Francisco’s finest restaurants, bars, distilleries, breweries and wineries sharing their best in show. The weekend festivities also include classes, demonstrations, tastings, competitions and parties throughout the city.

RELATED: View food festivals and events worldwide
SEE MORE: The complete culinary guide to San Francisco

One of the most highly-anticipated events is the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100 Class of 2014 Dinner withchefs Andrew Cain (Santé), Michael Chiarello (Coqueta), Nico Delaroque (Nico), Tyler Florence (Wayfare Tavern), Shotaro Kamio (Iyasare), Emily Luchetti Jennifer Puccio (The Cavalier), and Jared Rodgers (Picco) for a five-course, sit-down dinner benefitting the SF-Marin Food Bank.

Because of San Francisco’s proximity to organic farms, sustainable agriculture, a variety of wine regions and caring chefs, the area has been a major influencer in international food and wine trends. Along with fresh cheeses, meats, fruits and vegetables, the region is blessed with the Pacific Ocean. Just outside the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the richest fisheries in the world. The chefs in the area take advantage of the incredible bounty and for three days in August, guests have an opportunity to experience some of the best food and wine in the nation.

For more information, visit eatdrink-sf.com.

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Jul 29, 2014
Terri Judson

6 Annual Wine Festivals You Need to Know About

One of the most interesting things about wine is its production—in some form—in nearly all of the countries in the world. Given different climates, soils, techniques, and histories, this results in an amazing variety of wines around the world. Enter wine festivals, whose primary purpose is to educate guests on local and international wines—in addition to sipping, of course. With this in mind, we’ve selected some of the most exciting festivals around the world.

International Pinot Noir Celebration

Source: flickr.com/photos/craigcamp/

6. International Pinot Noir Celebration
McMinnville, Oregon
July

While a wine festival devoted to one grape variety might not seem very dynamic, a visit to the International Pinot Noir Celebration will quickly have you thinking differently. Since the first annual event was held in 1987, the IPNC has been “uniting” international Pinot Noir producers, journalists, devotees, chefs, and food lovers for a weekend of tasting, dining, learning, and celebrating. The attendance for the weekend is kept small—approximately 800 guests—and an additional event, Passport to Pinot, sees an addition of nearly 600 guests. One of the most notable things about the IPNC is its partnership with farm-to-table cooking: Each year, more than 50 guest chefs from the region’s restaurants create courses made from local farm ingredients to pair with the wines.

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Jul 29, 2014
Terri Judson

Wine Country’s Top Food & Wine Festivals This Fall

One of the covetable challenges of living in or near Wine Country is the abundance of first-class food and wine festivals occurring nearly every weekend—plus many weekdays—throughout the year.

With so many temptations, how’s a party-goer to plan? That’s why we put together this handy list of our top choices for events happening through the end of 2014. These six fests were chosen for the most delicious eats and drinks, most winsome entertainment, and best bang for your buck. 

West of West, Sebastopol (August 1-3)

The Saturday Grand Tasting is small, with 40 wineries pouring in a cozy tent at the Barlow, and just a few tables offering charcuterie and cheeses. But that’s one of the reasons it’s so stellar – the intimate setting means the winemakers themselves share the stories of their work. Many are boutique, small production stars who rarely offer their acclaimed cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah outside their West Sonoma County neighborhoods. Claypool Cellars, for example, or CrossBarn by Paul Hobbs, Fort Ross Vineyard Winery, or MacPhail Family Wines. New this year is a gala dinner hosted by the James Beard Award winning/nominee chefs from Statebird Provisions, Rich Table, and Bar Tartine.

Heritage Fire by Cochon 555, St. Helena (August 3)

A major part of the thrill of the boisterous fiesta at Charles Krug Winery is the meats, cooked over roaring open flame by 40+ notable chefs and butchers who show a crazy flair for theatrics (and tattoos). Last year, a brave chef roasted an entire sturgeon over a spit, while another focused on black breed chickens. This year, the 3,000 pounds of heritage proteins are slated to include goat, beef with oysters, rabbit, guinea hen, another sturgeon and more, plus wildcards like “toast and cheese on fire.” Add in lots of free-flowing wine and beer, live music, and dishes created by top restaurants like RN74, Torc, and Zazu – what’s not to get fired up about?

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, Sonoma County (August 29-31)

Sonoma County’s top wine and food artists gather for three action packed days of winery lunches and dinners, vineyard barbecues, an opening night “Starlight” supper club party at Francis Ford Coppola Winery, and the finale Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction. Some 2,500 guests snatch up every last ticket for Taste of Sonoma, a walk-around eating and drinking extravaganza of more than 200 artisan wineries, growers, chefs and food purveyors at MacMurray Ranch in Healdsburg, while the auction sells every last seat each year, too, for wine-fueled, often-a-bit-crazy bidding on things like very valuable wine collections.

Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival, Santa Rosa (September 27)

Have you tried Olga’s Round Yellow Chicken, or the Pink Ping Pong? It’s impossible to not love the sometimes wacky names for heirloom tomatoes. But even better is eating them, with 175+ tomatoes offered for tasting, and also showcased in unique recipes. Comfortable shoes are recommended for the stroll-around party on the Kendall-Jackson winery lawns, and loose clothing, to better consume the works from 50+ notable chefs as they woo “best of event” votes for nibbles like tomato cotton candy, tomato macaroons, tomato sushi, and tomato snow cones.

Hopland Passport, Hopland (October 18-19)

First of all, where is Hopland? It’s a tiny, 756-person populated area in Mendocino, on the west bank of the Russian River about half an hour north of Cloverdale. It’s also home to plenty of excellent boutique wineries, most of which we’ve never heard of. Over a festive weekend, 17 destinations open their doors for sampling gorgeous Gewurztraminer from McFadden, Grenache from Campovida, and 100-year-old vine Zinfandel from Seebass. The cozy scale means no battling crowds, and extra-good food pairings like mouthwatering grilled steak and wild rice from McFadden Farm.

Flavor! Napa Valley, Napa (November 19-23)

This ambitious festival took Wine Country by storm when it debuted four years ago, and it just keeps getting more impressive, attracting big name local talent like Michael Chiarello, Larry Forgione, Christopher Kostow, Masaharu Morimoto, Charlie Palmer and more. Winemakers are top names, as well, in personal attendance at dinners, fun seminars, and cooking/sipping demonstrations. A real highlight is the workshop series called “Terroir to Table: Farm, Cellar Kitchen Experiences,” for hands-on joy like cheese making with Wine Country fromage guru Sheana Davis.

 

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Jul 28, 2014
Terri Judson

Great grapes in the Poconos

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In pursuit of more recognition, Pocono area wineries are putting themselves on the map.

Creation of the first Poconos Wine Trail is underway to raise awareness for tourists and locals alike of the vineyards dotting the mountainous countryside. The effort initially will consist of a brochure listing participants and highlighting offerings. It will be distributed through local hotels, restaurants and other tourist spots.

“The hope is that the Poconos will become a great wine region, so that folks don’t have to travel all the way up to the Finger Lakes,” said Linda Rice, owner of Mountainview Vineyard, Winery and Distillery in Neola. “I think word still needs to get out.”

Winery owners say tourists often find them through GPS searches on “wine.” But connecting with local residents has been more challenging.

Most winery operators nonetheless report sales have been growing, with expansions underway at many. Mountainview has just purchased an adjoining five acres, and Big Creek Vineyard in Kresgeville wants to plant an additional two acres of vines, on top of its current 16.

Meanwhile, newcomers Randy and Tiffany Detrick plan to open a winery in Saylorsburg later this summer called Blue Ridge Estate Vineyard Winery.

In all, about six or seven wineries are expected to participate in the trail.

‘Keep Tasting’

At the same time, the Pennsylvania Wine Association launched the first-ever promotion to highlight the wineries across the state with the tagline “Keep Tasting.” Visits to the PWA website have already shot up 120 percent from radio exposure, billboards and a social media campaign. And it is already planning a followup promotion for next year.

Pennsylvania ranks fifth in the nation in wine production, and seventh in wine sales. The state is home to some 200 wineries, up from only about 50 or 60 a decade ago, according to Jennifer Eckinger, executive director of the Pennsylvania Winery Association. It is said there is a winery within an hour’s drive of anywhere in the state.

Denise Gardner, enologist with the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences extension, visits wineries throughout Pennsylvania to provide guidance on winemaking. Big Creek and Franklin Hill in Bangor are among the many operators she has met with. “We do a lot of tastings — for wine makers that is an essential part in teaching wine quality and wine styles,” Gardner said.

“We have a huge amount of tourists coming through the Poconos, and they want to add something to their visit. That is where wineries fit in,” said Dominic Strohlein, owner of Big Creek. “We are a long way from being a recognized wine region, like Sonoma Valley.”

With the new Poconos Wine Trail effort, a focus will be on wine quality. “You never stop learning, and we try to hammer, hammer, hammer quality,” Strohlein said.

The right grape

Growing grapes in the Poconos can be good, “if you make the right choice,” Strohlein said. “We have planted and pulled out all 16 acres multiple times.”

Among grapes found to thrive here are the marechal foch and marquette red grapes, along with the frontenac gris, vidal blanc and white reisling white grapes.

But the recognized workhorse grape used by almost everyone is the red chambourcin. “It is very versatile; every winery in an hour radius has produced wine with this particular grape, although they are all styled differently,” said Rice of Mountainview. “You can do anything with it — a dry, sweet or blend. Whereas a concord grape will always be sweet, and a merlot will always be a dry red.”

As the Poconos Wine Trail develops it will probably look to its southern neighbor, the nationally admired Lehigh Valley Wine Trail, for ideas.

Elaine Pivinski, owner of Franklin Hill Vineyards in Bangor, has been a member of the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail for more than a decade, and plans to participate in the Poconos group, too, since she operates a store in Tannersville.

In addition to a winery map, the Lehigh Valley organization holds joint promotions and operates under a code of ethics. “We never talk badly about others’ businesses,” Pivinski said. “Our main goal is to promote Pennsylvania wines.”

Franklin Hill’s business has been growing, according to Pivinski. “General interest in farm-to-table and buying local are helping, and most of us have great green practices.”

For one, Mountain View Vineyard has installed a solar-powered fermentation tank. And Pocono Limited Winery of Stroudsburg, which uses apples rather than grapes as its wine canvas, emphasizes that its organic wines are sulfite-free and preservative-free. “You can taste the cleanliness,” owner Sal Vito said. Because the pectin makes apples harder to work with, the winery developed its own system to filter and clarify its wines.

Area wineries have also been forging partnerships with local restaurants and hotels. Bottles are sometimes given to guests as gifts and offered on menus. Shawnee Inn, The Chateau Resort, Desaki and Barley Creek are among places pouring local wines. Wineries have also been getting their names out through wine festivals and farmers markets.

Wineries provide opportunities to sample in ways that traditional retail stores don’t, noted Penn State’s Gardner, who said, “The beauty of going to tasting rooms is, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

“Wine here (in the Poconos) will never be like any other grape from any other place,” she said. “(All wines) represent the place they come from and the weather and environmental conditions the grapes grew in that year.”

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Jul 28, 2014
Terri Judson

5 Destinations For The Wine Lover

Looking for a great glass of wine to complement your exquisite vacation?  Cities for wine lovers exist all over the world in places other than Tuscany and Napa Valley. For the connoisseur wanting to tantalize the palate in a destination powered by high spirits, here are five places of guzzling fun for you.

Beaune, France

Its name alone has boozers salivating at the mouth. That’s because Beaune is Burgundy’s wine capital and it takes its love for the grape to the extreme. For one, it has a location smack-dab in the middle of France’s renowned Wine Road. The city has also situated itself next to other wine-infused villages, which means it is completely immerse in the flavors of top-notch spirits.

As it sits sandwiched between Paris and Geneva, the city cannot be ignored by connoisseurs who are not only drawn by its plethora of vineyards, but by its classic beauty as well. However, a visit to Beaune is a treat for the senses since wine is savored, sniffed, and frequently used as spa treatments here.

Ithaca, NY

Ithaca has gained much repute for being the home of the prestigious Cornell University, but many flock to the city to be educated in its fine spirits as well. That’s by exploring the Cayuga Wine Trail, the longest running in the nation and of course by sipping some tasty reds and whites in the process.

Ithaca also boasts the Six Mile Creek Vineyard, which is quite the beautiful experience with peaceful scenery blessed by lush rows of succulent grapes. Nestled in the heart of New York’s extensive wine country, even if you’re grabbing a bite to eat nothing washes your food down here than a smooth glass of wine.

Cochem, Germany

If you’re looking for wine, Cochem is the place to be. In between quaint medieval streets, acres of green come into play, quietly informing the wandering visitor that a bit of wine guzzling takes place here. It could be the reason why Cochem appears to be quite the sleepy destination. Or maybe it is the domineering presence of the castle hovering above it that keeps it grounded, giving locals and tourists alike more reason to drink and be merry. 

Cochem is undoubtedly a German gem that marvels in such a beauty that a bit of bubbly seems like the only drink that would complement its splendor.  From wine festivals to restaurants saturated in flavors like that of the luxurious Mosel, its wines are just as eloquent as the Cochem itself.

Vienna, Austria

With approximately 700 hectares dedicated to the production of its top-notch spirits, Vienna puts that special sparkle in the eyes of every lover of wine. That’s because the city is steeped with vines dripping with grapes, which have also woven themselves into Austria’s dynamic culture. 

Connoisseurs of red and white flock here to savor the authentic tastes of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot noir and many others from their dinner tables, wine bars or while trailing through Vienna’s wineries. With a rich history drenched in its wines’ tasty flavors, Vienna is well worth the visit, especially for the palate.

Porto, Portugal

It is time to stop, savor and sip in Porto, Portugal, a vibrant city renowned for its Port Wine. Specific to the Douro Region, no visit to Portugal’s second largest city is complete without unwinding in the wine’s rich ingredients while the beautiful landscape of the city unfold before your eyes.

Port Wine is just as unique as the city itself, drawing tourists in with its luring aromas, sights, and tastes too good to pass up.  Why sip on anything else when you can have a glass of one of the richest wines in the world right at your fingertips?

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Jul 27, 2014
Terri Judson

Garagiste Wine Festival returning to Paso Robles

Garagiste Wine Festival returns to Paso Robles with four days of tasting events

Garagiste Wine FestivalOn the heels of a successful first-time ever Los Angeles Garagiste Wine Festival: Urban Exposure, Garagiste Events, producers of The Garagiste Festivals, recently announced details for its fourth annual and flagship festival in Paso Robles.

To be held November 6-9, this year’s Grand Tasting event has expanded to the Ponderosa Pavilion at the Paso Robles Fairgrounds, where over 50 high-quality, micro-production, Central Coast artisan winemakers will pour. Tickets go on sale on August 18th at http://www.garagistefestival.com.

In addition, the festival is bringing back some of its most popular events from previous years: Shiners, Samples and Secrets, where winemakers share barrel samples and other rarities; the Opening Round, featuring California garagiste winemakers from outside the Central Coast; two wine tasting seminars, headlined by some of the area’s top winemaking experts; the festival’s signature Rockin’ After Party and a symposium for aspiring or ‘just starting out’ winemakers. All events will be held in venues in the Paso Robles area, including the Paso Robles fairgrounds and the historic Carlton Hotel in Atascadero.

“This has been a banner year for the Garagiste Festival: a greatly expanded and sold out Solvang event; our premiere festival in Los Angeles (also sold out), and now a new and more central venue for our Paso festival, with four days of our most popular events returning,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Doug Minnick.

“We are especially excited that this year we will be in the heart of Paso Robles, which truly is the nexus of the American garagiste movement. And while we are offering wine lovers even more opportunities to taste these fantastic wines, we continue to keep our attendee to winemaker ratio low because we believe that one-on-one interaction is the best way to make new wine discoveries…and it is what our attendees expect. We will have more exciting news to announce about the Paso festival in the months to come, stay tuned… or better yet, sign up to get our free newsletter, The Dirt!”

The non-profit Garagiste Wine Festivals are the only events that exclusively showcase high-quality, cutting-edge, small-production commercial wineries that produce fewer than 1,500 cases a year, and have emerged as among the most unique and influential wine events in the US. Named one of the ‘Top Nine Incredible Epicurean Vacations’ in the world by ABC News and a ‘not to miss’ event by the LA Times, the festivals have introduced hundreds of outstanding artisan winemakers to thousands of passionate wine consumers, members of the trade and media, elevating the profiles of many of the winemakers nationally for the first time, and raising thousands of dollars for the education of future winemakers.

Garagistes (garage-east) is a term originally used in the Bordeaux region of France to denigrate renegade small-lot wine makers, sometimes working in their “garages” (anything considered not a chateau), who refused to follow the “rules,” and is now a full-fledged movement responsible for making some of the best wine in the world. The Garagiste Festivals were the first to shine a light on the American garagiste winemaker in 2011. Since then, the festival has helped consumers discover the remarkable wines of hundreds of true garagistes, who handcraft under 1,500 cases a year and pay close, hands-on attention to every wine they make.


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Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the editor and publisher of the Paso Robles Daily News.

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Jul 25, 2014
Terri Judson

Reserve a weekend for summer’s pleasures

Here are seven focused on food, wine, and beer that go particularly well with the great outdoors. They’re listed in chronological order, so check your schedule, see which weekend fits, and block it off. After all, the October rains will be here before you know it…

 

Taste: Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine

July 24 to 27, Victoria

There’s no time like the present to make some last-minute reservations for this weekend. The sixth annual Taste: Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine kicks off this Thursday (July 24) and lasts four days.

At press time, a handful of tickets remained for the opening evening’s signature winetasting event, which features more than 100 B.C. wines, local chefs, and local cuisine. On Saturday (July 26), a whole suckling pig will be roasted on the patio at the Hotel Grand Pacific for the Swine and Vine party, which pairs pork with wine, tea, and cider as well as live bluegrass music. On Sunday (July 27), the Everything’s Better With Bacon dinner serves up a three-course long-table meal featuring the cult meat and Red Rooster wines.

There are other events in between; see the Victoria Taste website for info and tickets.

 

Wanderlust Whistler

July 31 to August 4, Whistler

Returning this year for a five-day run, Wanderlust focuses on yoga, spiritual renewal, mindfulness, outdoor activities, and inspirational music. The main draw is yoga headliners like Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, and Eoin Finn, as well as speakers like meditation educator Padma Shyam.

And of course, adding some good food and beverages to the mix also nourishes the soul. An August 1 event highlights wines from local, organic, and biodynamic vineyards, while an August 2 evening features B.C. craft beer and a separate farm-to-table dinner.

The Canadian National BBQ Championships (below) coincide with the Wanderlust weekend, and there’s no reason you can’t hit both while you’re up in Whistler—or carpool with a friend who’s going to one or the other. See the Wanderlust website for more details.

 

Canadian National BBQ Championships

August 1 to 3, Whistler

The highlight of the Pacific Northwest barbecue circuit takes place Creekside at Dusty’s Bar BBQ with competitions in pork butt, beef brisket, ribs, and chicken. Watch the action on the afternoons of August 2 and 3 and enjoy samples by donation.

For more serious meat eaters, August 1 features an all-you-can-eat rib dinner followed by a Led Zeppelin tribute band; on Saturday night, there’s a “bottomless” barbecue buffet. Secure tickets in advance at the Whistler Blackcomb website.

 

Slow Food cycles

August 2, 3, and 17 in Agassiz, Chilliwack, and Pemberton, respectively

These daylong, self-guided bicycle tours wind through farmland and offer opportunities to meet the farmers and artisanal food producers. Consider spending the weekend in the Fraser Valley to take in both the Agassiz and Chilliwack rides; local tourism boards will even shuttle your purchases back to each starting point so you can stock up on fresh produce, handmade cheese, honey, and more over the course of your journey. Sign up at Fraser Valley Slow Food Cycle Tours  and Tourism Pemberton.

 

Silver Star Summer Wine Food Festival

August 8 to 10, near Vernon

and

Viva Las Pride

August 14, Kelowna

If you’re up for a drive to the Okanagan for a little winery-hopping, time your visit to coincide with these events.

The first runs over three days at Silver Star Mountain Resort and features a Mile High tasting with more than 30 wineries showcasing new varietals, an evening with chef David Hawks­worth, and activities such as cooking classes and guided alpine-flower hikes.

The Viva Las Pride event is organized by the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society as part of Okanagan Pride week (August 9 to 16, visist the Okanagan Pride website). It features a Vegas-themed winetasting evening with 24 Okanagan wineries.

 

Whistler Village Beer Festival

September 11 to 14

While it’s true that September is not technically summer, the weather tends to hold for the first few weeks, so get out there and store up some sunshine. The festival’s signature tasting event takes place outdoors at Whistler Olympic Plaza on September 13 and offers a chance to sample more than 150 beers from 53 B.C., Canadian, and international breweries. Those in attendance include Red Racer (winner of the 2013 best in fest award), Whistler Brewery, Deep Cove Brewers, Phillips, Granville Island, Deschutes, Gigantic, Four Winds, Parallel 49, and more.

This year’s festival has expanded to four days and includes cask nights, parties, and brunches. There are also educational seminars such as Beer 101, Craft Beer Revolution, and History of Beer. For tickets, see the Whistler Village Beer Festival website.

 

Feast Portland

September 18 to 21, Portland

This four-day celebration of Oregon’s bounty boasts some big-name chefs not just from Oregon but from all over the U.S., including Pok Pok’s Andy Ricker and Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi. Notable events include a sandwich invitational, a “dessert for dinner” meal that features sweet treats, and a brunch village in Pioneer Courthouse Square.

On the beverage front, tasting panels will highlight tiki drinks, Negronis, the best new lagers, and more.

Some events, such as a dinner that celebrates Bon Appétit magazine’s best new restaurants in America, are already sold-out. Although there are plenty more to choose from, you’d best jump on those tickets now; see the Feast Portland website.

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