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Articles by Amanda Conkol

Amanda Conkol

Amanda Conkol and her husband Chris are the owners of Candlelight Winery in Garrettsville, Ohio. Amanda’s passion for wine is evident in her weekly column “Notes From The Vineyard”, but that’s not all Amanda is passionate about. She maintains a full schedule raising twin daughters, working a day job consulting as an IT Project Manager and is the Girl Troop Leader for her daughters’ troop. When time allows Amanda loves to travel (especially to Disney World) and go for runs throughout Nelson Township.

Notes from the vineyard

| Published on April 9, 2014

I know many of you are sick and tired of seeing the snow, the gray clouds and having to deal with the colder temperatures. But as I mentioned in last week’s column there are some sure signs that Spring is around the corner.
Need some fun events to bring you out …

Wine & Cookies

| Published on April 3, 2014

By now you probably have seen the Girl Scout Cookie booths at your favorite grocery stores, banks, malls and Wal-Marts so if you didn’t pre-order your cookies, make sure you pick them up while you are at the winery as cookie booth season is over!
As the proud sponsor of Girl …


| Published on March 27, 2014

Like many of you, our family and employees are saddened by the loss our town suffered this past weekend. We have grown to know many of the business owners and their families over the years and are working with the fundraising groups in Garrettsville to host a number of events. …

“Can you taste the difference between an expensive and inexpensive wine?”

| Published on March 21, 2014

One of the most frequently asked questions I get at the winery is “Can you taste the difference between an expensive and inexpensive wine?” This is always a tough question to answer but usually I can tell the difference between the two wines. However there are some inexpensive wines that …


| Published on March 14, 2014

If you are an avid reader of this column, you know that I love getting together with friends and pairing different foods and wines together. We’ve paired Halloween candy, BBQ sauces, pizzas, Girl Scout cookies and desserts. This past weekend we had a fantastic time sitting with Chef Gary from …


| Published on March 9, 2014

As the cold stabilization stage starts to wind down this year, I had the chance to sample some of the new wines we are going to release this year. Sampling some of the wines before they are finished is one of my favorite jobs around the winery. This sort of …

Game Nights

| Published on February 26, 2014

One thing I have learned over the years is that wine tastes the best when shared with friends with some friendly competition. On any given Sunday night you can find us hanging out with the owners of Sharon James Cellars (11303 Kinsman Road, Novelty, Ohio – www.sharonjamescellars.com) enjoying some wine …

Open That Bottle Night

| Published on February 19, 2014

Thankfully, this month is flying by! Sure we made it through Groundhogs Day, Valentine’s Day, some more rough Cleveland winter days but when I looked at the calendar today I realized that I almost missed my favorite thing about February – Open That Bottle Night (OTBN).

Pruning Shears

| Published on February 12, 2014

While many of us are still hoping to get through the cold Cleveland weather, the vineyards around northeast Ohio have another focus – the months of warmer temperatures that will be here soon. (Yes, I promise warmer weather will be here at some point…)

Notes from the vineyard

| Published on February 6, 2014

The Super Bowl is over and now my ultimate favorite sporting event is about to begin! I love watching the Olympics – especially the Winter Olympics. Sure, there are the normal favorites of skiing, ice skating and hockey. But I really like watching some of the other sports,  my favorite …

See, Swirl, Smell, Sip.

| Published on January 22, 2014

January is always a great month for us at the winery. Since it is typically our quietest month of the year we get to take some time to prepare for the rest of the year. In past years we have worked on the addition at the winery, focused on new …

Try Something New in 2014

| Published on January 8, 2014

How often do you tell your children to try something new? Whether it be a new sport, a new food or a new game – they should try it because they just might like it! Growing up, I heard that over and over again from my parents. As much as …

Notes from the vineyard

| Published on December 4, 2013

By now you probably have had your share of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberries and desserts! But if your family is like mine, you also have enough leftovers from dinner to have a second Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you are serving turkey sandwiches, turkey chili, turkey soup, turkey frittatas or just …

Light Shows

| Published on November 27, 2013

It’s hard to believe that six years ago we put together a small animated light show for families to enjoy during the summer. With only 10,000 lights synchronized to music it was something that left an impression on anyone who saw the show. Then the years continued and the Summer …

Special Event

| Published on November 21, 2013

For those of you that have followed my articles for the past six years you may already know that I love dry red wine and anything chocolate! So anytime I get the opportunity to enjoy the two I jump on it!
But this time I am going to share my excitement …

Shrimp Boil

| Published on October 9, 2013

My kids recently had to come up with a list of what makes this season feel like Fall. It was fun to think of this – leaves changing, cooler nights, watching football games, picking apples, carving pumpkins and, of course, going to as many clambakes that we can! We started …

Notes From The Vineyard

| Published on September 23, 2013

I love art festivals! I love walking around looking at some of the most interesting sculptures, still life drawing and “recycled” art. The last theme is one of my favorites. I will never understand how someone can take what I would consider garbage (old milk jugs, tires and plastic bags) …


| Published on September 11, 2013

If you ever walked into a wine bar or wine shop you may notice a variety of bottle shapes and sizes. Some bottles may even be in shapes such as a fish or a trombone, some bottles are made so they intertwine and some bottles are made to look like …

Notes from the vineyard

| Published on August 21, 2013

We recently celebrated our 9th anniversary at the winery! Time sure flies when you are having fun and boy did we have fun celebrating this year. Over 200 dogs joined us for our annual Pug Day and we loved visiting with each dog and their owner. 

Notes from the vineyard

| Published on August 14, 2013

The season of wine festivals is upon us and people all over the greater Cleveland area are celebrating. But during a recent festival, some new wine drinkers had some great questions that I have always taken for granted. So after thinking about their question, I figured of few of you …


| Published on August 7, 2013

I have attended so many wine and cheese parties since opening the winery that it has been very difficult to keep track of which cheeses I have tried and which wine I have tried. When I first started to attend these parties I would try to remember which wines and …

Notes from the vineyard

| Published on August 5, 2013

I am amazed at  how quickly time flies when you’re having fun! So I am more amazed on how much fun we have had in the past 9 years! From the day we opened our doors on August 13, 2004,  every moment of having the winery has been exciting. Sure …

Notes from the vineyard

| Published on July 29, 2013

What a great summer this has been! Most of the days have been hot and most of the nights have been cool, I couldn’t ask for a better summer so far! What has been making this summer great though is all of the time I have been able to spend …

Light Show

| Published on July 12, 2013

It’s funny to take a few minutes to read past articles of mine. For example, I found the original article from 2008 when I first announced the Candlelight Cove Light Show. I boasted that with about 10,000 lights, we had synchronized them to a couple of songs and had a …


| Published on July 1, 2013

We are finally into summer and with July 4th rapidly approaching many people are looking for something different to serve at their holiday picnics. They love wine but after a busy (and extremely hot) summer, sometimes wine just doesn’t cut it. What does one do in an extreme case like …

Mother Nature

| Published on June 24, 2013

It’s no secret that the quality of wine is really up to Mother Nature every year so it’s no surprise how many times I have been asked how the grapes are doing this year. In past years we were spoiled with hot temperatures and little rain but unfortunately last year …

“Single Champagne Bottle Worth $1.8 Million”

| Published on June 17, 2013

“Single Champagne Bottle Worth $1.8 Million”… that was the headline that caught my attention last week. After imagining what I would do with $1.8 Million I started thinking about what makes a bottle of wine or in this case, champagne, worth $1.8 million?

Wine Events

| Published on June 9, 2013

2013 is certainly flying by! I’m not sure if it’s Spring, Summer or Fall any more so it’s hard to believe it’s already June! The good news is the official start to summer is right around the corner – and that means one thing to me! The Annual Summer Solstice, …

Notes from the vineyard

| Published on May 29, 2013

As I mentioned last week, what a month May has been; warm temperature, cool temperatures, hot days and some really cold nights. After I mentioned that we lost most of our vines to the frost some of you noticed that are few vines looked like they were coming back. We …

Notes from the vineyard

| Published on May 29, 2013

About a year ago I wrote an article about how Mother Nature gave us a run for our money by May. And while this year’s winter was more of your typical Cleveland winter and spring, we sure have had a number of changes in the weather. While the weather held …

Why are oak barrels toasted?

| Published on May 15, 2013

If you’ve been reading my column you know that I am big fan of dry red wines. I especially enjoy a red wine that has been sitting in an oak barrel for a while. The oak gives the wine so much more body than if the wine was sitting in …


| Published on May 7, 2013

I am always on the lookout for a unique wine, unique label, unique bottle or unique wine accessory. So last week we had the opportunity to pour our wine at WineStyles in Howland. They have a monthly wine tasting where you can sample 5 sweet wines or 5 dry wines …

Notes From The Vineyard

| Published on April 26, 2013

It is an exciting time for us in the vineyard! We are starting to see some swelling in the vines which means that we should be seeing bud break in the next couple of weeks! The next couple of weeks are a perfect time to start planting a vineyard if …

Notes From the Vineyard

| Published on April 1, 2013

How many of you have thought to yourself that owning a winery or a vineyard would be an awesome opportunity? I know I thought that! But when we first started talking about owning a winery or growing grapes we really had no idea where to start. Sure, we loved making …

Notes From The Vineyard

| Published on March 23, 2013

Is anyone else sick and tired of winter yet? Spring officially sprang this week but unfortunately I think the Cleveland area missed that memo, so here we are surviving with cold temperatures and potentially more snow. The cold temperatures and extra moisture has lead to a very popular topic amongst …

Notes from the vineyard

| Published on March 8, 2013

I know many of you are sick and tired of seeing the snow, the gray clouds and having to deal with the colder temperatures. But as I mentioned in last week’s column there are some sure signs that Spring is around the corner.
First, aside from it being pancake breakfast season …

Notes from the vineyard

| Published on February 6, 2013

It’s the season of flowers, fancy dinners and, of course, lots of hearts. Although if your Valentine’s Day is anything like ours the night is filled with homework, a quick dinner and running out the door to the next sports practice or dance lesson. While Valentine’s Day has never been …

Nolan Night is Around the Corner

| Published on January 16, 2013

Even though January brings in our “winter hours” (Friday and Saturdays from 3pm – 9pm) we are quite busy working behind the scenes at the winery. Besides the usual work in the cellar (checking the wine from harvest, monitoring the juice to make sure it stays at a stable temperature, …

Ice Wines

| Published on January 9, 2013

Happy 2013! Tis the season for making new promises and new goals for the new year. Along with my regular New Year’s resolutions (losing weight, winning the lottery, etc) I am also adding a new resolution this year – broaden my horizons on wine. I like this resolution because it …

Wine Gift Ideas

| Published on December 13, 2012

Last week I gave you 5 of my favorite wine gifts for this year. And while I could probably have this list go on until next Christmas, I will just keep it to the final five! Items four and five can be found at Bed, Bath and Beyond or I’ve …

Holiday Leftovers

| Published on November 28, 2012

By now you probably have had your share of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberries and desserts! But if your family is like mine you also have enough leftovers from dinner to have a second Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you are serving turkey sandwiches, turkey chili, turkey soup, turkey frittatas or just …

Food & Wine

| Published on October 22, 2012

I’ve mentioned a couple of times how I love the local food trucks… from Hodge Podge (who helped put the Cleveland Food Trucks on the map in Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race) to Sweet! The Mobile Cupcakery (yes, they only sell some of the greatest cupcakes) to Cracked …

Blush Wines

| Published on September 1, 2012

Now that we have talked about red wine and white wine, let’s get into the topic of blushes or rosé wines. When someone mentions a blush wine (usually this wine is a lighter red to pink color) you may start to think about the sweeter taste of White Zinfandel. While …

White Wine Grapes vs. Red Wine Grapes

| Published on August 9, 2012

As I have mentioned in previous columns, this summer has been the best – hot temperatures, plenty of sun, lots of parties, and of course, lots of wine! As harvest season is right around the corner, I thought I would take the next couple of weeks to give you a …


| Published on August 5, 2012

Any anniversary is a milestone. Whether it is an anniversary for a happy occasion or a sad occasion, every year that passes brings so many more memories. So looking back to 8 years ago when the winery opened, I cannot believe the number of memories and milestones we have celebrated. …

Vintage Ohio

| Published on July 26, 2012

Save the date – Vintage Ohio is August 3rd and 4th this year. What is Vintage Ohio you ask? It is Ohio’s largest wine festival held at Lake FarmPark in Kirtland, Ohio. Enjoy the day sampling wines from over 25 Ohio wineries, see over 30 over vendors in the fine …