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 a major event – even in college my husband would take me to the nearest card section, pick out a card, let me read it, say, “Happy Valentine’s Day” then place the card back on the shelf – it still deserves a little something special!

So even though Valentine’s Day isn’t a big holiday for us we have turned it around to be a time when we cook up something new to try. So in honor of this holiday I thought I would share a couple of our favorite recipes for you to try. If you’ve been reading my column for a while you know that I love dry red wine, but even more so I love champagne! So when I found this recipe a couple of years ago it was truly love at first sip!

Pour a bottle of Sangiovese from Candlelight Winery into a decanter (if you do not have a decanter a regular pitcher works too). Add 5 tsp of lemon juice, 5 tsp of sugar and 1 can of soda water. Gently stir and serve! You get the hint of the red wine but with the effervescence of champagne.

Along with wine I am quite the chocoholic. I love all chocolates, dark, milk, white, truffles, I could go on and on. So when I came across a chocolate cake that had red wine as a key ingredient I was in heaven.


2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups Chambourcin from Candlelight Winery

Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Whipped cream, for serving


Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. In a bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat for 2 minutes longer. Working in two batches, alternately fold in the dry ingredients and the wine, until just incorporated. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack; let cool completely. Dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar and serve with whipped cream.


No matter how you celebrate this season I hope you fall in love with some new wine recipes.


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

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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.