Home Columns & Editorials Notes From The Vineyard

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 plain turkey there are so many ways you can incorporate any leftover wine.

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 Mobile that specializes in breakfast.

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 this is the most popular blush wine, there are varying degrees of blush wine. 

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 quick discussion on white wine grapes versus red wine grapes. So grab a glass of your favorite white wine and continue to read…

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. Actually, I can’t believe that we are celebrating our 8th anniversary of the winery’s grand opening!

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 art and craft show all to the background beat of reggae, jazz, blues and oldies musicians. 

A couple of weeks ago we talked about how popular wineries are becoming in the state of Ohio and what a great asset they are to the older wineries. Well, did you know that wine bars are just as important and are growing just as fast in the state of Ohio? There are more than  6 wine bars within a 30 minute drive of Garrettsville! Over the next couple of weeks I’ll talk about some of the wine bars but before then, let’s talk about how a wine bar is different from a winery.

What an interesting Spring we have had – hot temperatures, frost, hot temperatures, cool temperatures, some rain, more hot temperatures – this weather certainly has been impressive this year. But 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, Wine, Art and Music Festival is almost here!

Fruity, dry, full bodied, fruit forward… I could go on and on with terms to describe wine. There are so many wine terms but what do they mean? And do they really match the wine? Well that depends on the taster. Many time we will share a bottle of wine with friends and one of us thinks it’s dry, one suggests that it’s fruity, or someone says it’s chewy. Who’s right? We all are!

That’s the great thing about wine – as everyone’s taste buds – everyone tastes something different. So when you are at your next wine tasting here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular terms to describe wine:

Dry – opposite of sweet.  A taste sensation often attributed to tannins and causing puckering sensations in the mouth.

Earthy – an odor or flavor reminiscent of damp soil.

Foxy – a term that notes the musty odor and flavor of wines made from Vitis labrusca grapes  .

Fruity  – a tasting term signifying wines that exhibit strong smells and flavors of fresh fruit.  Can also describe aromas of cooked fruit, as in “jammy”.

Full-bodied – a wine high in alcohol and flavors, often described as “big”.

Hot – wine high in alcohol is often described as producing a “hot” burning sensation in the mouth.

Spicy – a tasting term used to note odors and flavors reminiscent of various aromatic spices that are found in certain wines.

Sweet – wines with perceptible sugar contens on the nose and in the mouth.  Sweet, as a tasting sensation, is perceived on the tip of the tongue.

Vegetal – tasting term describing characteristics of fresh or cooked vegetables detected on the nose and in the flavors of the wine.  Bell peppers, grass, and asparagus are common “vegetal” descriptors.

So next time you are out at a wine tasting think of ways you would describe the wine and then how would your friends describe it – you just might come up with some new terms.

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery in Garrettsville. For more information on other wine topics, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

This weather has been amazing and to think that summer isn’t even here yet! The next couple of weeks will be filled with parties, graduations and weddings. Many people are looking for something different to serve at their parties. 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 this??? Turn to Sangria of course.

If you’ve been to a local winery recently, you may have noticed posters or advertisements for local wine festivals, wine tasting or trail events.  With so many wineries in the area though, how can you, the consumer, learn more about these events and determine where to go? This week we will discuss the difference between some of these events.

So apparently I jinxed myself in last week’s article. I mentioned how great the weather has been and how lucky we were to get a head start on the growing season. Then unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse and warnings of frost and hard freezes were running across the bottom of my tv screen. We are currently about 4 weeks ahead of the growing season and usually are not “safe” from a frost until mid-May. However if you recall the Spring of 2010 we had a mild March, a nice April and 3 feet of snow in May followed by a week of temperatures in the 20’s around May 23rd. This year is looking eerily similar to 2010 except the temperatures in March this year have been a lot higher than expected. As temperatures dipped to the low 20’s we had a lot of our customer asking what the impact has been. We won’t know the full damage until late April / early May but here is a quick reference chart that we use to estimate how much damage we should expect. Many thanks to Tom Zabadal at Michigan State University, Southwest Michigan Research & Extension Center for putting this together for wineries in frost zones. If the vines are still dormant we can survive some really cold temperatures, however if the bud is just beginning to swell, meaning the bud is brown but no other color temperatures can drop to 13 degrees before we start to see some damage. However if the bud is in full swell where the bud is starting to look pink or green once temperatures reach 26 degrees most wineries will see damage to about 50% of their vines. Right now a lot of wineries are in this swell state however a number of them have reported they have bud burst (leaves are just starting to form on the vine). If temperatures drop to 28 degrees they will see major damage. In late May 2010 we were at the stage of seeing the third leaf in almost full bloom when temperatures dropped to 21 degrees two nights in row. During that time we lost 90% of the vineyard to frost damage and lost an entire season of crop. So hopefully Mother Nature is on our side this year and quickly warms back up for a fantastic year of grape growing! Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more information on some of these events or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com or call 330.527.4118.

Wow – this weather is fantastic!! I have been enjoying it as much as I could, cleaning up the branches, opening the windows in the house to let the fresh air in, going for a jog… it has been a great feeling. Unfortunately, as much as we have been enjoying the temperatures lately, I am quite fearful that we are going to have at least one more drop in temperatures before we fully get to enjoy this for the rest of Spring and Summer. When that drop happens or how low it goes, I don’t know but I sure hope it happens soon. We have pruned the vineyard and unfortunately were already starting to see the buds swelling. If this great weather trend continues the vineyards are going to start coming out of their dormant stage and start budding way too early. Unfortunately, if the temperatures do drop below freezing, this could be detrimental to the vines. Last year we saw similar activity where we had some great days in early March, followed by a freeze in April. Thankfully, our vines escaped much damage during that timeframe but we ended up with a very late frost in early May which killed most of our vines. So what can you do to prevent this? Unfortunately there’s not a lot that you can do. If you have planted flower baskets, you can always bring the plants into a garage or a basement during the late frosts, but when you have three acres of grapes, it’s not as simple as bringing them inside. Many wineries have now invested in wind machines and sprinklers that help control the temperature of air and keeps the grapes wet enough that the water on the vines freeze but not the new buds. For smaller wineries, if we know there is a frost coming, we have the option of burying the vines with mulch; however, if the vine has already started budding, we are out of luck and decide that there’s always next year. In the meantime, I won’t worry about what kind of weather is yet to come, so I might as well enjoy the weather we have now. Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more information on some of these events or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com or call 330.527.4118.

I  recently read a column about how the price of gas is increasing the cost of the wine bottle. I understand that it will cost more to ship but unfortunately the wine industry is seeing an increase in equipment and an increase in shipping. I am not alone when I say this isn’t fair but I know for the next couple of months or so I am going to have to deal with it.

One of my favorite places to visit is Orlando, Florida. While I am partial to Disney there is so much to offer there! In a recent trip to Orlando a wonderful sommelier sat down with us to review an extensive wine list from his outdoor restaurant. After explaining we love dry red wine but the 90 degree temperatures were a bit much for us to handle with red wine, he quickly stood up and ran to the cellar to retrieve a great surprise.

Upon his return he had in his hands a blush wine! Imagine our surprise to see a blush wine which is usually synonymous with sweet wines. After convincing us to try a sample I was pleasantly surprised to find this wine overflowing with strawberry and raspberry flavors but without the overpowering sweetness I expected. This blush wine, served chilled, was a wonderful compliment to the hot Florida temperatures.

Now imagine my surprise when I learned that the wine I was drinking was a Pinot Noir. To give you all the details, it was a 2006 Kenwood Estates (Russian River Valley, California) Pinot Noir Rosé. After returning to Ohio I quickly started my search for this wine to make sure I could enjoy my red wines all summer. So far I have found it retailing for $14.99 at Miles Farmers Market in Solon, Ohio (look on the shelf with the other blush wines). If you have the chance, be sure to pick up a bottle of the 2006 Kenwood Estates Pinot Noir (not Rosé) to compare the two.

I know that the weather here isn’t conducive to sitting outside and enjoying a rose but in a couple of months I promise the weather will be perfect for this wine. In the meantime I would pick up a bottle or two to have on hand for the first nice day to be outside with a bonfire and the grill going.

If you get a chance to try this wine, let me know what you think, I hope you discover this makes an excellent find for the summer.

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more information on some of these events or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com or call 330.527.4118.

I recently went out shopping for Christmas dinner and was so excited to see the displays of champagne. So now that I am in the holiday mood the best way to celebrate the season was to go out and find some champagne to recommend for your holiday parties. I selected two bottles from the label of Domaine Ste Michelle which is located in the Columbia Valley in Washington State. During this particular shopping trip I selected their Brut champagne and the Extra Dry champagne. Both retailed for $15.99.

We started our tasting with the drier of the two champagnes, the Brut. Unlike wine, smelling the champagne before drinking it does not enhance the tasting. Because the majority of the bouquet of the champagne is the CO2 escaping from just opening the bottle, you cannot smell the grape. The Brut was quite smooth for being so dry. We even had some sweet wine drinkers try this wine and found the Brut to be much sweeter than they expected.

Next we moved onto the Extra Dry champagne. This was my favorite wine but I was quite surprised to see that the others in our group did not find this champagne to be as smooth. It was definitely a bit sweeter but had a little bit of a bite at the first sip. It was quite bubbly and left a nice floral finish at the end. Both champagnes were very good and were winners with our tasters.

Once you have selected your champagne, let me give you a few pointers about opening the bottle. Now, I know this first tip will upset many of you, but my first tip is DO NOT shake the bottle before opening it (unless you are at someone else’s house and you don’t have to clean up the mess). Next take off the foil around the top of the bottle, loosen the wire cage around the neck of the bottle but do not remove it. Many people have a tendency to remove the wiring which may cause the cork to fly out prematurely.

Now the professional way is to take a cloth and place it over the top of the bottle. Place one hand on the top of the bottle and the other near the base of the bottle. Turn the bottle gently while keeping your hand over the cork in place. This will eliminate the danger of the cork flying across the room. If the champagne starts to run out of the bottle, wait until it settles for a minute before pouring it. Enjoy! And Happy New Year!

 

 

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on other winery topics, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

As I started to think about how the five senses impact a wine tasting, I was challenged to find out how touch impacts wine. You can always touch a wine and hopefully you will feel that it is wet and in some cases you may even feel a little sediment in the touch. But how boring would that be to write about how much sediment you can touch?

There are so many social networking sites now that it is amazing how people are changing something so basic and putting it on a networking site. For example, I have found sites where you are on a website attending a cooking class while in your own kitchen. Or another site where quilters are getting together using their webcams to talk, knit and never leave their house. But favorite now is how it is becoming acceptable for wine tastings to take place online.

Whether it’s through LinkedIn.com, Facebook.com or in some cases now Twitter.com people are “gathering” to have their own wine tasting party across the world. I was intrigued so I joined my first online wine party a couple of weeks ago through a group on Facebook. A week before the tasting 2 “hosts” selected a couple of wines that everyone had to purchase for the tasting. The day before, the hosts reminded us on how long to chill the wines for and to make sure we had the right foods on hand to pair the wines with.

The night of the tasting 8 of us logged onto Facebook. I had the chance to meet a couple from Temecula, California, a gentleman from Japan, a college student in Maine and a group of friends that had three computers set up in someone’s kitchen just outside of Atlanta Georgia. Our hosts walked us through each wine and while we sampled the wines we had the chance to comment on the bouquet, the color and the taste of each wine. It was amazing to see how many comments were similar and how many comments were complete opposites from the wines we were trying.

Overall it was a great experience. I had the chance to meet and drink with people that I would otherwise have never met. I did learn a lot about each wine and how different people perceive different flavors and smells. And I had the chance to try some wines that I might not have bought myself. The only downside I found to the online tasting is it can be quite expensive. Instead of each guest bringing a bottle of wine to the wine tasting, I had to supply my own wine and own food. The group in Atlanta had the right idea of still having a face to face wine tasting so the costs were down but it was still an amazing experience.

I’m thinking that maybe we should host an online wine tasting with local Ohio wines. If you are interested friend us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/CandlelightWinery) and let us know!

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on other winery topics, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

What an amazing Summer we had. A good mixture of temperatures, a great mix of sun and rain and a few days just hot enough to perk up the vines. Unfortunately, this Summer has flown by and we are quickly greeted by Fall! While Fall is not my favorite time of year I sure do enjoy watching the leaves change colors. Since Fall usually keeps me hopping around the vineyard and cellar, I don’t really get the chance to enjoy the season, so when I finally do have a few minutes to relax I just love to see what Mother Nature has painted in the trees each year. Sure, most people are not happy about raking the leaves every year but they are so important to the winery that I don’t mind the clean-up.
Leaves from the grapevine are very important to a great harvest. As with most leaves, grape leaves go through the photosynthesis process but what’s unique about this process is it also helps convert the starches in the vine to sugar which help ripen the grapes. If grape vines did not have leaves the grapes would never ripen.
Another important reason for the leaves on a grapevine is to help viticulturists identify the grape variety. Just as an oak leaf is different than a maple leaf, the leaves you see on a Cabernet Sauvignon vine look different than the leaf from a Concord vine. Viticulturists can study a leaf to determine the health of the vine, the amount of water a vine is getting and how well the grape clusters are doing.
Finally, one of my favorite reasons for grape leaves is, of course, serving stuffed grape leaves. Usually I make stuffed grape leaves early in the season so the leaves are tenderer but there have been times that I’ll have stuffed grape leaves later in the season. This Lebanese recipe from a friend of mine is perfect treat after putting in a good day’s work in the vineyard.

16 ounces grape leaves
2 1/4 lbs ground lamb
2 1/4 cups long grain white rice
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
12 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon mint
3 lemons

Place rice in a medium sized bowl and cover with 3 cups of cold water. Let stand for 30-60 minutes. Drain and rinse grape leaves in a colander. Cut leaves in half removing the thick center stem. Save five or six large leaves for bottom of pan- discard any extremely tough or ragged leaves. Drain all water from rice. Add lamb, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Mix by hand thoroughly. Line bottom of large kettle or dutch oven with five or six large leaves to prevent scorching. Lay a leaf flat on a plate, shiny side down. Put approximately 1 heaping teaspoon of meat mixture towards bottom of leaf. Roll in one edge to seal, then roll leaf up firmly but not too tight (you need to leave a little room for the rice to expand while cooking). Place leaves in kettle in circular fashion leaving a small circle in the center for water to circulate. When you have one full row on bottom of pan, slice two cloves of garlic over the top of the leaves. Sprinkle with a little of the mint.
Continue rolling the leaves and layering them with the garlic/ mint. You should have approximately five rows of leaves when you are done. Place a heatproof plate over the top of the leaves- large enough to hold them in place, but with a little room on the edges. Put a bowl on top of the plate filled with water to hold the plate down while cooking. Fill kettle with water over the top of the plate. Cook on top of stove on high heat until it begins to boil. Lower heat to medium so that water does not boil over and continue cooking. Total cooking time after it starts to boil is 16-19 minutes. Remove bowl. Carefully drain water from kettle. Remove plate. Arrange leaves on a platter.

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on other winery topics, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

While this summer has not been the best summer for the vines, we are still getting ready to harvest our grapes next month. Between the wet Spring we had and minimal hot, sunny days this summer our grapes are a little behind schedule. But at least there are grapes on the vines and my pruners are being sharpened for harvest season.

As we prepare for the start of harvest season, I have received a lot of questions around if or how you make an organic wine. Organic wines have really jumped in popularity now with the “Green” movement and having people become more and more earth friendly or earth conscious. While we do everything possible to be green, unfortunately we are not set up to produce organic wines. However, there are some local wineries that are making great organic wines if you are interested in learning more about the process.
But before I discuss the wineries, let me give you some background on what it means to be an organic winery. In plainest terms, to be organic, the winery does not use chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or fertilizers in the vineyard. So from the time the vines are planted to the time the grapes are harvested all natural chemicals are used to protect the vines from disease, bugs and other elements. Also, during the fermentation process, no sulfites are added to the wine and finally the bottles are rinsed with an organic cleaning solution instead of a chemical sanitizer.

As the winery relies mostly on natural fertilizers or beneficial insects to deter other bugs or birds, the manual labor of maintaining the vineyard is quite expensive. While this cost is usually passed onto the consumer, organic wines are well worth the price. I recently had a bottle of Chardonnay from Maple Ridge Vineyard in Madison, Ohio that was excellent. It was very smooth and had a wonderful butter finish. I also had the opportunity to try some of their red wine and while it wasn’t as good as the Chardonnay, I didn’t have a problem finishing the bottle.

If you are ever out in Madison, I recommend calling Maple Ridge in advance (440.829.8783) or visit their website (www.mapleridgevineyard.com) as their hours vary.  It is quite a technique and process that organic wineries go through so I am sure they would be more than willing to sit and chat with you to discuss how unique they are.

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com.

Did you know that Ohio ranks in the top 10 of wine-producing states and employs more than 4,000 people in the wine industry? Anddid you know that Ashtabula County alone is home to 20 wineries, which are visited by nearly 500,000 people annually? Even more interesting (this fact surprised me!) northeast Ohio contains over half the wine grape acreage in the state, and over 70% of the state’s 151 wineries are located in Lake, Geauga, Portage and Ashtabula counties.

So with everything that Ohio has to offer, it was really neat to hear some great news while we were at Vintage Ohio last weekend.

Representatives from Kent State University – Ashtabula Campus were on hand to make a very important announcement! Kent State has become the first university in Ohio to receive accreditation for a two year associate degree program in Enology (the study of wine and winemaking) and Viticulture (the study of vine growing and grape harvesting).

Starting this Fall, you can register to attend both online and in class courses to learn about the entire grape growing process. Through an affiliation with the Viticulture Enology Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA), these two-year programs are the first college degrees related to winemaking offered in the state of Ohio.

In a recent press release between Kent State and the Ohio Wine Producers Association, Dr. Susan Stocker, dean and chief administrative officer of Kent State Ashtabula commented “We’re very excited to provide students the opportunity to study and eventually work in this industry that is so important to our region.”

“For us it’s an economic development issue,” Stocker continued. “Having our program adjacent to the largest growing district in the state provides students with invaluable hands-on learning opportunities which will enhance their employability, both here and in wine regions across the country.”

Courses are offered both online and in the classroom, covering topics such as sensory evaluation, winery equipment operation, geography of wine and regional vineyard management. The program is designed to be convenient for both traditional and non-traditional students to earn a degree or take a few classes. Plus, students will participate in hands-on training at local wineries and vineyards, of which there are many. This is a great opportunity for Ohio and I am looking forward to checking out some of their classes.

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more information on winery dogs or the winery’s anniversary, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

Recently the Boston Globe did a story titled “Mommy Juice: Pushing alcohol on stressed parents” that has started a bit of controversy. The US wine markets are starting to see an increase in new wine labels that explicitly call out “mommy” on the label. For example, I recently had the opportunity to try a California wine called MommyJuice. While the wine was quite refreshing (I tasted the Chardonnay) and was very convenient to drink (it was a screw cap), I am not sure I would buy this in the store to have at home. Sure it’s a great gift for your favorite wine and mom connoisseur, but as the article in the Boston Globe suggested, are labels such as MommyJuice going too far?I had the chance to join three other moms and sit down with a journalist from WKYC Channel 3 to discuss this new marketing approach and it was interesting to see how the terms “Mommy Juice” will impact the market. Does it promote excessive drinking? Does it encourage kids to think that wine (or other alcohol) is okay since mommy is drinking it? Obviously, in our family, drinking wine is almost a daily occurrence. Our daughters can be found at the winery working next to us, helping us and learning about the wine industry. However, they also know the negatives of drinking and how it can impact you and your loved ones. Sure, when they saw the label, they laughed at how funny it was then asked why there wasn’t a label called “Daddy’s Juice” or “Grandma’s Juice”. From talking to the other moms, I don’t see how a label that calls out moms is any different than putting a cute penguin or dog on the label and marketing to all wine drinkers. So as the battle continues over the popularity or lack of popularity with mom’s wine, I will continue to drink in moderation and drink the wines that I like – regardless of the label or suggestions from the label.
Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more information on winery dogs or the winery’s anniversary, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

We get a lot of guests that mention they suffer from bad headaches from drinking wine. And, no, I am not talking about the headache you get from drinking too much wine, but some people will get a headache a couple of hours later after drinking just a glass of wine. There are proven studies that some wines may cause headaches, however there are numerous sources that may be the cause.There is a medical syndrome called Red Wine Headaches (RWH) which a lot of people suffer from. Many people automatically assume that the headaches are caused from sulfites which are added to the wine for preservation. Unfortunately recent studies found that less than 1% of the American population is allergic to sulfites and since sulfites also exist in most white wines, sulfites are usually not the main culprit.Since sulfites do not seem to be a big issue anymore, researchers started researching other factors. In a large study of wine drinkers, researchers found that many people had headaches from drinking red wine. Research was narrowed down to focus on the tannins in red wine. Tannins are the compounds in red grape skins and seeds. However, the idea pointing to tannins was dismissed when other foods such as soy, tea and chocolate (which all contain tannins) were also studied and most people did not report getting a headache.So as the research continued, histamines were evaluated. Many older wines, wines made in the1960’s) had a higher level of histamines in the wine, however with recent technology advances, histamines levels are much lower in the wines. Some people believe that wines which  have aged for a while don’t give them headaches while others believe the younger wines are safer to drink.As researchers continue to look at different causes of the headaches they suggest you continue to try different wines to see if you can identify wines that don’t give you a headache. If you know that you are allergic to sulfites, then you know that wines that contain sulfites are not for you. However, if you do not have any known allergies, I recommend that you try a half glass of wine. If you don’t notice the start of a headache in 15 – 20 minutes, then that wine is usually safe for you to drink.
Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on events or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com or call 330.527.4118.

Red? White? Dry? Sweet? Sparkling? Fruit? Have you ever been to a wine tasting and faced with all of these choices and not know where to start? Well before you head out to your next wine tasting, let me provide some guidance.

Depending on which wine magazine you read, which web site you look up, and which winery you visit, you may hear a variety of “proper” ways to taste wine. I don’t recall ever seeing the “official” order of tasting wine so here is my “preferred” way of tasting wine:

White (start with the driest wine you like and work towards the sweeter white wine)

Red (again start with the driest working your way to the sweetest)

Blush (if you are offered multiple blush wines be sure to ask which of the wines is drier)

Fruit (start with a white fruit wine such as Peach before trying a red wine such as Cherry)

Sparkling/Champagne (many people prefer to start with a Sparkling wine but I love to enjoy sparkling wine at the end of a tasting)

If you are not a fan of one of the wine categories, feel free to skip that portion of the wine tasting. However, I highly encourage you to at least sample a few to see how your taste buds change throughout the tasting.

Now you may be asking why do you taste in this order? The main reason is so you don’t overwhelm your tastebuds with the sweetness and eventually “tainting” the drier wines. Have you ever walked into your favorite restaurant and ordered dessert first, then tried the baked potato and finally the steak? While it may be a lot of fun to eat that way, by the time you get to the steak, it just doesn’t taste the same. Your taste buds have gone into sensory overload.

If you are not sure how dry or sweet the wine is, don’t hesitate to ask, it’s an important question to know the answer.  Also, please note that if you are tasting wines at an Ohio winery or wine retailer, it is state law that you pay for the samples so call ahead and find out what the sampling fee is.

Now that you know how to sample wines, be sure to check out some of the wineries in the area and local wine festivals to put your new knowledge to work!

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on events or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com or call 330.527.4118.

I am so excited that we have had a few days of sunshine and are finally starting to see the vineyard dry out. And I am even more excited that the official start to summer is right around the corner – and that means one thing to me! The Annual Summer Solstice, Wine, Art and Blues Festival is almost here!Sarah’s Vineyard Winery and Art Gallery in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio will be hosting the 9th Annual Summer Solstice, Wine, Art and Blues Festival from June 17 – 19th. Located directly across from Blossom Music Center at 1204 W. Steels Corners Road, nestled in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park , Sarah’s Winery offers a relaxing atmosphere and for this festival, there’s a great selection of wine, artists, food and music. Admission is only $8/person each day which gives you a Sarah’s Vineyard wine glass and the opportunity to browse and shop with artists who will be displaying jewelry, pottery, prints, handmade tiles, handmade soaps, stained glass, metal working, wine accessories, watercolors, candles, soaps, wood carvings, fiber artists, nursery plants, floral wreaths and photography (wine and food are not included). If you come out for the wine sampling, you will be able to enjoy some great Ohio wines including: Breitenbach Winery, Candlelight Winery, Klingshirn Winery, Viking Vineyards & Winery, Maize Valley Winery, The Winery at Wolf Creek, Troutman Vineyards, Mastropietro Winery, Red Horse Winery, Stoney Ridge Winery and Sarah’s Vineyard. If you are looking for something fun to do for Father’s Day Weekend, here is the full festival schedule.Friday, June 17th (4 pm – 10 pm): Admission includes a Sarah’s Vineyard Crystal Wine Glass and Music by The Jeff Poulis Blues Revue (4pm-6pm) and The Howard Street Band (7-10pm).Saturday, June 18th (12 pm – 10pm): Admission includes a Sarah’s Vineyard Crystal Wine Glass, and Music by The Steve Cipriano Band (12pm-2pm), The Mike Lenz Band (3pm – 6pm) and The Bluestones Band (7pm-10pm).Sunday, June 19th (12pm-6pm): Admission includes a Sarah’s Vineyard wine glass and Music by Alan Greene Band (11am-2pm), and Frankie Starr (3pm-6pm).This is a great festival and every year we have a great time so be sure to stop at our booth to say hi!
Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on events or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com or call 330.527.4118.

I know I have said this in past articles this Spring, but this rain really needs to stop. While some rain is good for new vines, it is definitely not healthy for mature vines. Unfortunately this much rain is not good for any age vine. As most farmers will tell you, they have learned to deal with Mother Nature’s wrath and we will bounce back from this weather, we just don’t know when. But after looking through our past weather tracking documents we are starting to see some similarities between Spring 2011 and Spring 2008.The Spring and Summer of 2007 was amazing! Warm temperatures, little rain and lots of sunshine, very similar to Summer of 2010. Unfortunately Spring of 2008 was filled with cooler temperatures, increase in rain fall and the amount of rain we received in some of the spring storms really caused some challenges for the 2008 production. Amazing how much that sounds like Spring of 2011 already!Grapes grow the best when they are slightly stressed searching for water and cooler temperatures. The amount of sunlight allows the grapes to produce higher levels of sugar in the grape clusters. So, given the limited amount of sunlight and the excessive rain we have experienced, we are at a greater risk for disease in the grapevines.  I wrote about dealing with Black Rot a couple of weeks ago and how to prevent it, so if you are seeing some problems with your vines, let me know and I will be happy to share that article with you again. We have been combating this problem with a spray program that has been more frequent than last year due to current conditions. While I do not mind the cooler temperatures, it has been perfect weather for the bugs to come out and weeds to grow around the base of the vines.  We’ve already sprayed for ants who like to eat the baby grapes currently growing on the vines. The next pest we expect to see are the Japanese beetles who love to eat grape leaves.  We have also started spraying for diseases that love high humidity, such as powdery mildew, in preparation for a hotter summer.  Also another threat we are starting to watch is the invasion of the Asian lady beetles (similar to the ladybug), but they will not make an appearance till later in the year. While we followed this program in 2008, we also saw a very hot end to the summer of that year and ended up with an amazing harvest. So as we continue to spray for diseases, bugs and weeds, we are monitoring the vineyard to maintain great quality grapes and look forward to find out what the 2011 harvest will bring us.
Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on events or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com or call 330.527.4118.

“Rain, rain, go away…”  If only a simple song could get rid of this rain, my job would be so much easier.  Unfortunately, the vineyard is starting to see some problems with all of this rain.

As I mentioned in last week’s article we are getting ready to plant more grapevines at the winery. The posts are in, the trellis is in place and the grow tubes have all been put together. Due to the amount of rain we’ve had, digging a hole for the vines has proven to be very difficult. If I were digging holes to make mud pies, I would have a very successful business this year!

As for the vines that have been in the ground for a while now, they are surviving the rain for now. By now, we are usually starting to see bud break and some growth in the vineyard. But for that to happen, we need some sunshine to offset the amount of rain. This delay in bud break isn’t too harmful to the vine but the longer we go without bud break, the greater the risk is for a shorter growing season.

Also, another concern we will start to monitor once the rain stops is the chance for diseases to hit the winery. A common disease that will hit most of the wineries this year will be Black Rot, which will infect the leaves, young canes and the grapes. Any standing water around the base of the vines can accumulate a number of molds and diseases which can either slow any growth down, impact the taste of the wines or, in severe cases, could kill a vine.

Identifying the possibility of black rot is key in preventing it from attacking the vineyard. A combination of a fungicide and pesticide spray schedule will minimize the spread of black rot and other diseases. However, we will also be walking through the vineyard a number of times a week to see if any of the young canes are impacted. If a cane does become diseased we will remove that cane to stop the spread through the rest of the vine.

So while we are very busy around the vineyard dealing with the rain, I guess it could have been worse – this could have been snow!

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more gift ideas or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com.

 

The month of March certainly has made statement so far – snow, ice, rain, sun; the weather sure has been difficult to handle. However now that Spring is here, I am hopeful that the worst is behind us. Unfortunately, some of us have already had to deal with some difficult times and from talking to a few guests at the winery, it sounds like some of your wine cellars are having a tough month too.
In the recent weeks I have taken a number of calls and sat with a number of guests that were saddened when their basements flooded earlier this month. I can sympathize with their turmoil during the flood… A number of years ago when we were living in Cuyahoga Falls, our basement (and first wine making lab) was victim to a flood. The water was about 3 feet deep in the basement and we had many cases of wine sitting in the basement when the flood hit. We tried to get as much of the wine as possible out of the basement as the flood was hitting but it came in so quickly that there was only so much we could grab.
As soon as we were able to get to the wine we immediately separated the bottles that were sealed with corks from the ones that were sealed with a screwcap. Wine that has been sealed with a screwcap is fine and is completely drinkable. This is one of the few advantages to a screwcap closure in my opinion. Any wine that has been sealed with a cork will need some extra care.
Once you have the bottles with the corks set aside, immediately remove the foil seal and turn them upside down to prevent water from being trapped in on the cork. Then rinse all bottles in a weak antiseptic solution, rinse and dry. The wine inside will be drinkable.
Unfortunately, during the flood many of our labels came off which left us guessing what wine we were drinking. Instead of dumping the wine we took it as an opportunity to do a blind tasting with the wine and had fun guessing what wine it might have been.
Keep in mind that wines that have been trapped in a flood are  not the worst thing – there have been many bottles of wine that have been recovered from sunken ships from the late 1700’s and early 1800’s that were completely drinkable. Hopefully, a little water damage to your wine doesn’t ruin the fun of drinking it!

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more gift ideas or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com.

Valentine’s Day has come and gone and while we celebrated with wine we still have some special bottles to open. Thankfully, there is still one more holiday in February that will force us to open our special bottles.
I am really looking forward to my favorite holiday this month…Open That Bottle Night (OTBN). The concept behind OTBN is exactly why I like to celebrate this holiday – why wonder what the future holds when this holiday celebrates what the past has given us? So what is OTBN you ask? Over ten years ago the wine editors from The Wall Street Journal wrote an article stating that they receive too many letters about what to do when that special bottle has gone bad when they finally opened the bottle. Unfortunately the answer is usually the same – dump it down the drain. After hearing about too many good wines being dumped, a holiday was started.
While the writers at The Wall Street Journal had been writing about OTBN for a number of years, OTBN was officially deemed a holiday in 2006. OTBN is celebrated on the last Saturday in February, so this year be ready to celebrate on February 26th. How many of you have a bottle of wine that you bought on a vacation hoping to catch a memory? Or how many of you received a special bottle of wine for a birthday, wedding or anniversary gift and thought it was too precious to drink on any regular night? Why wait for that special moment to open it? What if that special moment comes and the wine has taken a turn for the worse?
I highly recommend opening that bottle on February 26, 2011. Gather a group of friends around, grab a couple of glasses and share the stories about why the wine is special. Once the wine is gone, rinse out the bottle and place it back in that special spot on the shelf again. Now you have another great memory of that wine.

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more gift ideas or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com.

As you may have seen, we host and attend many wine-related dinners throughout the year. And, as you might imagine, plenty of wine is consumed. Many participants attend, and throughout the night, it becomes apparent there is some liability inherent in having people consume wine at a social function in your winery and then drive away. Thankfully, there are some great insurance policies that protect us, however, the same situation is true in your home. You should share my concern not only for your friends’ safety but for your financial security should something go awry and a tree jump out in front of your impaired pal’s automobile.

So the next time you are hosting a wine dinner, please keep in mind these three simple rules to make sure your guests have a good time but are also being responsible.

Rule number # One is fairly well known, but bears repeating:

Always serve plenty of food with wine. A stomach with something in it tempers the rate with which alcohol enters the bloodstream and avoids the one-glass-staggering-about-the-room syndrome. If you have ever attended an event at our winery, you will notice that cheese and crackers are prominent at each table.

But Rule # Two is less well known and, I think, much more effective, particularly at dinner parties where several wines and food is to be served. Have plenty of water available and keep everyone’s water glass filled. As people talk and eat and talk, you will find that if water is available, they will drink it, in great gulps, between taking, one hopes, smaller amounts of wine with food bites and between contributing sound bites.

There are several benefits to this strategy. People will consume water, which will dilute the alcohol level in their system with water and not become as tipsy. Wine, especially red wine, acts as a diuretic, and causes dehydration and thirst. By hydrating (with water instead of wine), your guests will avoid the drugged feeling that comes with dehydration and will also feel less of the effects drinking wine causes some people the next morning.

Rule #3 is one of my most important rules. If you know that you will be attending a wine-related dinner, please have a designated driver. The only times we do not have a designated driver is if we are staying at the same hotel that is hosting the dinner and therefore no driving is required. Your safety and the safety of your guests is really the most important part of enjoying any dinner..

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more gift ideas or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com.

January is one of my favorite times of the year at the winery. 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. We are doing the usual work in the cellar, checking the wine from this past fall, monitoring the juice to make sure it stays at a stable temperature, cleaning up the bottling line to get ready for our next bottling session and completing our year end inventory.

But the fun in January doesn’t end there for us. We are taking the time to finish all of the plans for 2011. Our live music schedule will return just in time for Valentine’s Day on February 12th, we’ll celebrate our annual Pug Day in August and of course we are looking forward to some great wine festivals this year.

But we’ll also have some new events for you this year. Plans are underway for a special Valentine’s Day Dinner. Some new features and songs are being added to our light shows in the summer and later this year I’ll have more information about a winter light show coming to the winery in November!

In order to kick off all of these great events we have our biggest event of the year coming up on January 29th! WKYC’s Mark Nolan will be joining at the winery for the annual Nolan Night party benefitting Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. We will be releasing the first new wine of 2011 – Mark Nolan’s Racing Red – a sweeter wine with a fierce grape bite to it.

This event is a great way to get you out of the doldrums of winter and enjoy a night out! Your ticket includes a full dessert buffet, live music, a logo’d Mark Nolan glass and the chance to win some great door prizes!

Tickets are $20 / person and will go on sale on Wednesday, January 19th by calling the winery. Or watch WKYC’s Morning Show for your chance to win a pair of tickets!

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more gift ideas or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com.

2011… wow – I can’t believe it! Where did 2010 go? Oh well… now that 2011 is here, it is time for me to get started on all of my exciting plans for this year and not dwell on last year. I know that 2011 is going to fly by just as fast so I am ready to start planning my first goal.

A couple of months ago I wrote about trying a rice wine from South Korea that was excellent. After some additional research I am anxious to try other rice wines. I’ve learned that depending on where the rice wine is from it may be called sake, takju or cheongju. So one of my goals this year is to go to a rice wine tasting or host one myself.

During my research I learned that if you are hosting a rice wine tasting, the wine should be stored in dark, dry places, similar to how you store wine. You can also purchase sparkling rice wines which are very similar to champagnes. Since rice wine is usually bottled in smaller bottles, you will want to make sure you purchase enough bottles for your party (for a tasting count on 2 ounces of each wine per person).

Glassware is quite different for a traditional rice wine tasting. Instead of wine glasses, a traditional way to serve the wine is in a small wooden box made from hinoki. Since most people do not have this style of container, ceramic cups can be used.

As with a normal wine tasting, there is an order in which to try the rice wines. Starting with a pure rice wine, one that does not have added distilled alcohols, will allow you to taste the purest form of rice wine. Then you can move on to trying rice wines that have additional alcohol or flavoring added to them. If you purchase a wine that still contains rice sediment, you should save this for your third tasting as it will overpower some rice wines.

To finish your tasting you should end with either a sparkling rice wine or a sweet dessert style rice wine. Both will pair nicely with fruit or chocolates for dessert.

So after all of my research, I am out to find some more rice wines to try. When I do, I will be sure to let you know which ones to try.

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more gift ideas or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com.

All of this talk about Champagne last week really put me into the holiday mood and the best way to celebrate the season was to go out and find some champagne to recommend for your holiday parties. I selected two bottles from the label of Domaine Ste Michelle which is located in the Columbia Valley in Washington State. During this particular shopping trip I selected their Brut champagne and the Extra Dry champagne. Both retailed for $15.99.
We started our tasting with the drier of the two champagnes, the Brut. Unlike wine, smelling champagne before drinking it does not enhance the tasting as the majority of the bouquet of the wine will be the CO2 escaping from just opening the bottle. The Brut was quite smooth for being so dry. We even had some sweet wine drinkers try this wine and found the Brut to be much sweeter than they expected.
Next we moved onto the Extra Dry champagne. This was my favorite wine but I was quite surprised to see that the others did not find this champagne to be as smooth. It was definitely a bit sweeter but had a little bit of a bite at the first sip. It was quite bubbly and left a nice floral finish at the end. Both champagnes were very good and were winners with our tasters.
Once you have selected your champagne, let me give you a few pointers about opening the bottle. Now, I know this first tip will upset many of you, but my first tip is DO NOT shake the bottle before opening it, unless you are at someone else’s house and you don’t have to clean up the mess. Next take off the foil around the top of the bottle, loosen the wire cage around the neck of the bottle but do not remove it. Many people have a tendency to remove the wiring which may cause the cork to fly out prematurely.
Now the professional way is to take a cloth and place it over the top of the bottle. Place one hand on the top of the bottle and the other near the base of the bottle. Turn the bottle gently while keeping your hand over the cork in place. This will stop the cork from flying across the room. If the champagne starts to run out of the bottle, wait until it settles for a minute before pouring it.
Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more gift ideas or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com.

Well, 2010 is almost in the history books and 2011 is just around the corner. Between getting together for holiday parties, making holiday treats and, of course, dealing with the snow, I recommend taking this week to pick up your champagne for New Year’s Eve. But how do you know which champagne you should buy? And what if you don’t like champagne but still want to celebrate with everyone else? Here is a rundown of the different kinds of champagne as well as some sparkling wines.

First, did you know that 50% of champagne sales are made each year before Thanksgiving? Twenty-five percent of the sales are made between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day and another 25% of champagne sales are made in the week between Christmas and New Years Eve.

Now you see why I recommend buying the champagne soon – the demand for champagne will be high in the next few days. When you go to select the champagne, know that there are four main types of Champagne – Brut, Extra Dry, Dec and Semi-Dec. Depending on how much sugar is added before the second fermentation determines how sweet the champagne is thus determining the type of champagne.

Brut champagne is the most popular type. This is the driest of the champagnes and goes well with most foods served during the holidays. Extra Dry champagne is a little bit sweeter than the brut and tends to have more of a floral flavor to the taste. Dec and Semi-Dec champagnes become much sweeter and usually are best served as an after dessert drink. If you are a fan of sweet wines, I recommend having a bottle of a Semi-Dec champagne on hand.

However if you are not a fan of champagne, you may want to look into a sparkling wine. I have mentioned sparkling wines in a couple of articles and really like sparkling wines, as they tend to have a wider range of flavors and sweetness. Plus, the different colors from sparkling wines really make for a festive table centerpiece.

If you have some champagne left over, make sure you have either orange juice or fruit punch to make your own mimosas to ring in the new year.

Happy holidays to you and yours,

The Candlelight Winery Family

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more gift ideas or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com.

It’s been a good year, actually, let me rephrase that – it’s been a GREAT year! Sure, this year has definitely put up a good fight for us… we’ve survived some bad economic times, we’ve dealt with a loss of crop from a late freeze last year, we’ve dealt with losses of loved ones this year but as I take a look back at the entire year, we have been truly blessed.

I have met some great new wine fanatics, had the chance to visit a number of local wineries this year and — the best part — I have had the chance to spend more time with my kids. But before 2010 quietly slips out the door, we want to celebrate one last party with you!

We will be hosting an early New Year’s Eve Dinner at the winery on December 31st from 6-9pm. We are really excited about this event as we are keeping everything local for you. A full dinner buffet with chicken, pasta, crab cakes, vegetables and dessert is being catered by The Garden Bistro. As you and your family and friends sit down for dinner, local singing sensation, Steve Vanderink, will be entertaining you with all of your favorites.

But before you leave our place and head to watch the ball drop with friends, family or in the comfort of your own home, we will be sampling our new Ice Style Wine. We will be releasing this wine in 2011 but would like to help you end 2010 with this great sweet wine. Made from Vidal grapes, we froze the grapes and crushed them to get the highest sugar concentrate from the grapes before they thawed. If you have never tried an ice style wine, this is a great opportunity.

Tickets are $69.99/couple or $38.99/single, not including tax and gratuity.  A full menu is available on our website (www.candlelightwinery.com). Reservations are required with a $30 non refundable deposit and will be accepted until December 24th.  Just call us at the winery or stop by to make your reservation.

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more information on the winery feel free to call us at 330.527.4118 or please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

As is my yearly tradition, my husband and I were one of the insane that went shopping on Black Friday. For us, it’s not about getting the hottest deal or the newest electronic gadget; for us, it’s about getting all of our Christmas shopping done. We have a pact with each other that we cannot come home until we have bought all of our Christmas gifts. While it’s a long day, it sure is nice to know that I do not need to set foot in another store this holiday season for a gift!

But I know there are many of you reading this article right now still deciding what to buy for the friends and family on your list. Well if you have any wine lovers on your list – keep reading because here are my top 5 gifts for wine lovers this year:

5) If you have seen the TV show CougarTown then you know they are wine fanatics. On the show the main character has a wine glass that holds 52 oz (2 bottles) of wine that she has named “Big Joe”. While I do not recommend drinking a glass of wine that size, it is a great centerpiece for any wine lover.

4) Now that it is getting cold outside I normally do not drink much white wine. However when I just need a nice Chardonnay or Riesling I do not want to wait 3 hours for it to be chilled. So I am hoping this holiday, I get the single bottle wine chiller which chills your wine in under 4 minutes

3)  If you have a wine connoisseur on your list that is always comparing wines, I would suggest you purchase a wine flight set for them. This set includes a board that holds 4 wine glasses, a place to list which wines you are sampling and a wine notebook so your wine connoisseur can reference their favorites another time.

2) When it’s nice outside, we love to take a bottle of wine to the parks and beaches. However remembering to take glasses, the corkscrew, the wine, the wine chiller and water (for drinking or rinsing out glasses) can be a task at times. So last year we received a wine tote bag. It holds a blanket, two wine glasses, a corkscrew, a bottle of wine (simply place the wine in the chiller before you place it in the tote bag), a place for napkins and two water bottles.

1) Finally – still not sure what to get the wine lover on your list? I recommend visiting the six wineries within 30 minutes of Garrettsville and purchase a bottle from each winery as a local wine set. Start with Mastropietro, Myrddin in Berlin Center, head on over to Maize Valley in Hartville, Thorn Creek in Aurora, swing up to Laleure  in Parkman, and of course, stop for a bottle from Candlelight in Garrettsville!

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more information on the winery feel free to call us at 330.527.4118 or please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

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 plain turkey there are so many ways you can incorporate any leftover wine.

If you served a sparkling wine during your get-together and have some left, you only have about a day until the wine will go flat. So as you make turkey and egg sandwiches or turkey frittatas, be sure to make yourself a nice mimosa. Simply pour 1?2 glass of orange juice and 1?4 glass of your sparkling wine into a glass and enjoy!

Or if you had some red wine left over, this is a great way to spice up a turkey chili dish. I usually allow 2 cups of red wine to simmer on the stove as I add pieces of turkey to the pan to be marinated in the wine. Let it sit for about 10 minutes then start adding your beans, vegetables, seasonings and a little water to the pan. If you are using a leftover Syrah, your turkey will have a slight ground pepper taste to it.

I usually have a lot of white wine left over at our house and always have a problem pairing it with left overs from dinner. Unless I am just drinking a glass with a turkey sandwich, the white wine usually is sent home with family for them to enjoy the next day. However, last year I came across a recipe that has been a great addition to my leftover recipe book. I have started making a turkey stew bake:

Heat oven to 350°. Add 1 cup of white wine to the pan. Place leftover turkey and vegetables in pan. Cover with leftover mashed potatos. Bake uncovered at 350° for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add 1 cup of shredded cheese on top of potatoes, Garnish with parsley.

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more information on the winery feel free to call us at 330.527.4118 or please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

In last week’s article I mention how I sampled a South Korean black raspberry rice wine. I had a number of people ask me why I called it rice wine and not sake. Many people assume that all sake wines are rice wines but after some research I found out that sake is quiet different than the South Korean rice wine that I sampled.

First, I learned that South Korean rice wine is known as takju or cheongju. The traditional way of making takju is to wash the rice numerous times before starting the fermentation process. Then they ferment rice with nuruk (a blend of fungi and yeast that breaks down the starches in the rice into sugar.

Takju also has wheat flour and other grains added to the juice during the fermentation process. After the first time takju is racked (transferred to another tank), more rice is added to boost the alcohol content and flavors.

Sake is done a little differently where the rice is polished until it is about half of its original size. Many people feel that this process gives sake a sweeter taste than takju. However it’s the process of making sake that gives it a sweeter flavor. Traditional sake is made more along the lines of how you would make beer than how you make wine.

Also sake is traditionally higher in alcohol content compared to takju. After sake is done fermenting the alcohol content ranges from 20 – 22% but is diluted to about 15% before being bottled. Takju is fermented around 13% which is closer to a grape wine’s alcohol content.

It was quite interesting in my research on how the different areas in Asia make rice wine and what they call it. So I am on a mission to find a number of different rice wines to compare how each one tastes. If you have had a rice wine that you enjoyed, please let us know!

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more information on the winery feel free to call us at 330.527.4118 or please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

I recently had the chance to go back to Walt Disney World to check out the Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT. I have read many reviews and blogs discussing the festival but I never expected so much!

If you ever get the chance to attend this festival, I highly recommend stopping at the Welcome Center as your first stop. The only downside to the Welcome Center is that it is not attached to the actual festival so you will probably make a few detours to stop at the Welcome Center over and over again. Inside the Welcome Center though you will be able to sign up for special wine tastings, have the chance to meet the winemakers, listen to famous wine sommeliers and sample a few wines. There is also a great souvenir shop that has any wine accessory (with the Disney logo of course) that you can imagine.

Be sure to pick up your passport too, before you leave the Welcome Center. Not only is this a fun way to keep track of which countries you sampled food or wine from, it’s a great planning guide so you can plan your day out. After you have your passport, head back to the World Showcase area of EPCOT. There are usually 11 countries that make up the World Showcase. Each country has a selection of food, wines, beers and sometimes some specialty drinks which can be enjoyed during any visit to the park.

However, during the Food and Wine Festival, anywhere from 10 – 15 additional countries are added to the Showcase for your tasting experience. We were able to sample wines from Chile, Ireland, Brazil and even South Korea. Since the weather was so warm in Florida, we stuck mostly with white wines, however, I did find an amazing Carmenere, which is a dry red with a spicy finish.

The best part about this festival though, was the chance to try wines that I would normally not try, like a Black Raspberry Rice Wine from South Korea. I didn’t know what to expect but the bartender told me I would be pleasantly surprised, being a red wine drinker. It was a little lighter in color and served chilled but was a nice semi-dry wine with a lot of fruit flavor.

As we left the festival each time, we made sure to stop back at the Welcome Center and purchase our favorite wines from that day to enjoy when we were back in Ohio. If you are wine (or food) lover, this is a festival you must attend!

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more information on the winery feel free to call us at 330.527.4118 or please visit www.candlelightwinery.com