Thursday, January 24, 2019

Finding Common Ground Over A Glass

The differences between our members at our small Episcopal church has me thinking a lot lately. Our small church is extremely active in our community, and despite our many differences we function much like a large family.

It has dawned on me, our experiences at local wineries have likewise bought us closer to so many people of differing walks of life. You see over a glass of wine, we tend to find our similarities much more than our differences.

We met two of our very best friends at a North Carolina winery. Our partners in wine on many of our weekend winery escapades. Its easy to notice that we are very different from Will and Pam, yet every time we're together we always have the greatest of fun times. We love those guys! 

At our favorite local wineries, it's often many of the same locals hanging out. We have become friends with so many....and friendly acquaintances with others.

Some wineries will have local musicians playing and often small snacks available to enhance your experience.

The winery owners get to know their regulars, and often greet them with hugs. You see, most local wineries are small family owned businesses. They really appreciate their regular customers.

Not to mention the small batch craft wine!

All of this leads to a comfortable environment where people tend leave their differences at the door. A place where we all seem to be a little more tolerant, a little more open-minded, a little less demanding to get our own way. Where people naturally want to be social, naturally want to include and not exclude.

Just this past weekend we were visiting a favorite North Carolina winery and two young women were sitting near us by the fireplace. We struck up a conversation regarding the wine and food available and our conversations evolved including them as we all laughed the time away. 

We likewise experience this social phenomenon in our local wine bar, and at weddings, but yet not in our local coffee shop, or Wal-Mart! Our first notion is to lay it all on the wine. It must be the wine. Right?

John 2:1-11 - On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what concern of is that to you and to me? My hour is yet to come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward." So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know from where it came from ( though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guest have become drunk.But you have kept the good wine until now." Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana if Galilee, and revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him. 

I'll speak to my interpretations of the above.

1. It's a wedding, this is a celebration of life.

2. Weddings are not rare, and at these weddings the people celebrate by drinking.

3. Jesus does NOT condemn the celebration of this wedding.

4. Though not His responsibility to do so, Jesus provides for the celebration.

The environment at your local winery, we believe often tends to mimic that of a wedding reception. There is wine, music, and happy smiling faces. The wine is only one factor of the whole environment. It's a celebration of life of which in turn leads us to fellowship.

Don't just take our word for it. Give our theory a try. Find your local winery on the The VinoWine App and join in on the celebration of life! 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Farm-to-Table Wining......

Farm to Table Dining. It's all the latest rage. Every city boast chic restaurants promoting farm-to-table dining. A social movement focusing on food sourced directly from local farms. 

Sounds great right? However, as the key criteria is locally sourced, wouldn't you agree locally produced wines should also be offered? We think so. Who wouldn't want an excellent wine produced from a local vineyard paired with their farm-to-table meal? Keep it local right! 

Putting aside all romantic notions, a vineyard is every bit a farm. The larger majority of our local vineyards in the Southeast are family owned small businesses.

Josh Jones of CityScape Winery in Pelzer, South, Carolina, said that currently both Saskatoon Steakhouse and Kitchen Sync restaurants in Greenville are offering CityScape wines on their menus. We are further aware of restaurants in North Carolina offering locally produced wines. So it's not unheard of, we just need to encourage chefs to consider locally produced wines the same as they do with locally grown foods. 


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

First Degree - Wide River Winery

Our wine tonight is First Degree from Wide River Winery in Clinton, Iowa. This is our first craft wine from Iowa. We were excited to open and give a taste. 

Beautiful rosè in color.

A sweet raspberry wine. Very light and subtle nose. A burst of tartness on the tongue, lingering to a bold raspberry liqueur finish.

Would pair extremely well with cheesecake.

Winery Escapade scoring on the American Wine Society twenty point scale.

Appearance: 3 Aroma: 2.5 Taste: 4 Aftertaste: 3 Impression: 1.5

Total: 14 - Bronze Medal worthy!

Priced at $18 a bottle.

Ships: Most States via VinoShipper

I searched but could not locate ABV listed on the label. Shows moderate legs.

Thanks to our friends Mike and Danette Myers for gifting us this bottle. Overall, it's a nice drinking sweet wine.

View more at WineryEscapades.Com

Wide River Winery

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Francis Coppola - 2016 Claret

Our wine tonight is the Francis Coppola Diamond Collection 2016 Black Label Claret. A California red blend dominate of Cabernet Sauvignon also featuring Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Franc.

Drinking fine now, may age moderately. Needs to breath, open up for 60 minutes. 

Nose of cherry, mocha, and vanilla

Nicely balanced, medium bodied.

Complex flavor notes of oak, molasses, smoke, tobacco, and pepper opening up to hints of blackberry, raspberry, currant, and spice fading to a lingering finish of vanilla. 

Winery Escapade scoring on the American Wine Society twenty point scale.

Appearance: 3 Aroma: 2.5 Taste: 4.5 Aftertaste: 3 Impression: 1.5

Total: 14.5 - Bronze Medal worthy!

14.5% ABV

Priced at $17 a bottle.

Ships: All 50 States

Quick Reminiscing of 2018 and Looking Forward To 2019

2018 brought us many new experiences and of course several challenges. We rung in 2018 downtown Greenville, South Carolina....Yeah That Greenville! Attachment.png

The first few weekends took us to Morgan Ridge Vineyard and Brewhouse, Misty Creek Vineyard, Parker-Binns, and Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyard. Attachment_1.png

Valentines weekend took us to Charleston and Savannah. We enjoyed a visit to view the 400+ year old Angel Tree before making our way to Deep Water Vineyard. Attachment_2.png

March brought our anniversary and a visit to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This trip offered us the opportunity to visit Sanctuary Vineyards in Jarvisburg plus a viewing of the oldest cultivated grape vine in the United States. The "MotherVine" located in Manteo is known to be 500+ years old. This scuppernong still produces grape today. Attachment_3.png

In May we hosted the inaugural Palmetto Wine Competition at the historic Belmont Inn in Abbeville. We're proud of the event and thankful for the opportunity to promote the South Carolina wine industry. Attachment_4.png

The summer months brought visits to the Yadkin Valley, Upper Hiwassee Highlands, Eastern Tennessee, and to many of our local favorites. Attachment_5.png

October we were blessed with a visit to Highlands, North Carolina and a stay at The Old Edwards Inn. We were lucky to have the Sommelier give us a tour of the wine cellars.


Christmas brought us another opportunity to visit Charleston where we experienced a gorgeous Christmas Eve sunset on the beach at Isle of Palms! Attachment_7.png

Yes, this post skips right by so many fun times and visits to so many awesome places. Our resolution is to better promote all of the amazing small businesses and destinations for which we are fortunate to visit. We remain thankful for our family and friends, and for your continued support of our blogs Winery Escapades and Our Wine Tonight.

Here's to a healthy, prosperous, and happy 2019.


Jenni and Dennis

Friday, August 3, 2018

2018 Weekends 12 & 13

A couple of weeks we ended up just staying super local because of everything we had going on so we didn't do a blog post about those.

Weekend 12 was anniversary weekend for us! I'm amazed that it has already been a year!

So we started our vacation out by just getting a few errands done on Thursday (3/23). After all that was complete we decided to ride up to Parker Binns for a little bit. Those guys are so super fun! We had a nice visit with Karen, Bob, Kelly and Lulu. We met a very nice young man at the winery, Scout McCormick, who is the manager of Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery. Dennis & I cannot wait to go for a visit! While at Parker-Binns, we were treated to a taste of the new Chardonnay and a taste of the hard apple cider they now have. We enjoyed both very much and the art for the label for the Chardonnay is gorgeous! We enjoyed a bottle of the Rosé during our visit.

Friday morning we left early and headed for the Outer Banks. It's a rather long drive so we decided to break it up a tad and stop at Gregory Winery They are predominately a muscadine vineyard with some fruit wine combinations as well as 4 fortified wines. Tasha our server and she was so fun! You can tell she really enjoys what she is doing. Lane (the owner) came in as we were doing our tasting and spent a good deal of time with us. Since we still had several hours on the road, we only did the tasting, but bought a bottle of the peach blend and 2 bottles of the fortified wines. Got to Kill Devil Hills in the Outer Banks, checked in to our hotel and found dinner.

Saturday morning we walked on the beach a little, went to Kitty Hawk and toured the Wright Brothers National Memorial. As windy as it was, we see why they chose that area to do their testing. Then we drove over to see the Mother Vine. It's amazing! Later in the day we went to Sanctuary Vineyards. Since we had already met our limit of wine purchases we set for ourselves before we left, we just did the tasting here. Even though this vineyard is in a sandy / beachy environment, they are producing varietals other than just muscadine. Dennis had wanted to visit here because we knew that they had a double barrel red blend that won Best in Show at the second annual awards gala of the NC Fine Wines Society. Elton was super busy but managed to share a few jokes with all of us and told us all about the wines. We met some really fun couples and a few ladies that were celebrating their friend who is getting married soon. Look forward to another visit when we can purchase some of their wines.

Sunday afternoon we went to Vineyard on the Scuppernog. The lovely lady that did out tasting was so gracious to us. She really took pride in telling us all about the wines, the name origins and even the art on the labels. I managed to twist Dennis' arm and we bought a bottle of the strawberry wine, Girls of Summer. That one did not make it back to Boiling Springs! We did some other sight seeing, shopping and then headed to Duck Island for our anniversary dinner.

Monday morning we headed to Myrtle Beach. Got checked in and then went to dinner. After dinner we headed over to Carolina Vineyards Winery. The gentleman that did our tasting, Ben, had only been there for 4 days. He did a super job with our tasting. We each got a glass and then walked around the shops for a little bit. The plus about being at the beach when we were is that is was not crowded.

Our vacation came to a close with a visit to La Belle Amie. Boy did we have fun there! The ladies that were doing the tasting were tons of fun!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Mountain Brook Dinner and Wine Paring

Monday night Dennis and I were privileged to get to attend Mountain Brook Vineyards' first wine dinner with the new owners, Vickie and Jonathan Redgrave. They selected Luna Del Sol in Lake Lure as the restaurant venue. This is the most quaint and fun hidden gem I believe in Lake Lure. We were supposed to start out on the beautiful patio that they have but Mother Nature had other plans so the pre-appetizers were moved inside to their oh so cute bar area along with the lovely song styling of Bren Sams. They have some of the funniest signs all over the bar area. Below is a picture of just one of my favorites.

We enjoyed a wonderful peach sangria that Vickie made and then a sampling of their Pinot Griego with some Bruschetta.  There was also a lovely salmon with capers but alas I am not a salmon fan so I did not try that. Others that had it said it was very good.

We moved into the main dining room that is simply gorgeous. We started out with a prawns over fettuccine with lemon, garlic, butter, Chardonnay appetizer paired with the winery's Oaked Chardonnay. I am generally not a Chardonnay fan, but I enjoyed this combination very much.

We moved onto the main course which was a perfectly cooked filet mignon with Cabernet demi glaze reduction, yukon gold potato, parsnip mash and haricot verts which was paired with their amazing Cabernet Sauvignon. Dessert was a yummy chocolate ganache with raspberry coulie paired with their port style wine. Regretfully I was too busy eating to take pictures of the plates. Just know that not only was it divine, it was also gorgeously presented.

All of these wines are made and bottled at Mountain Brook Vineyards in Tryon. The very talented winemaker, Liz Pickett, does a fantastic job with all aspects of wine making.

Finding Common Ground Over A Glass

The differences between our members at our small Episcopal church has me thinking a lot lately. Our small church is extremely active in our ...