Throughout the holidays we had a ton of desserts around the winery and for some reason a lot of the main ingredients for the desserts were apple. So, we decided with so many great desserts – let’s do an apple dessert wine pairing!
The first dessert we tried was an apple fritter. The glaze over the fritter was very sweet which meant we quickly ruled out any dry wines. (As a side note it is very difficult to pair any sweet dessert with a dry wine so keep that in mind in your future pairings). We started with some fruit wines; Cranberry, Raspberry but both seemed to overpower the fritter. We finally sampled our Afterglow, a sweet Concord wine, and found that it wasn’t overpowering and added a good balance to the fritter.
Next, we moved onto the apple bearclaws. The bearclaws were covered in a sugar to add some sweetness so even though we sampled some dry wines with this dessert we could not come up with a good match. However, we moved onto the Illumination, a sweet wine that tasted like grapes off the vine. The combination of the two was outstanding!
We switched back and forth between the final two desserts – a Dutch apple pie and an apple pudding cake. My favorite non-chocolate dessert is Dutch apple pie so picking a wine that doesn’t lose the flavors from the pie is always a challenge for me. While the crust isn’t too sweet, the cinnamon filling adds a unique twist to pairing an apple dessert with wine. After much sampling and just as much eating we agreed that a spicy Gewürztraminer brought out a nutty flavor in the pie which was quite a surprise.
Finally, we ended the evening with the apple pudding cake. This moist cake with chunks of apple paired well with almost any wine we put against it. We sampled Cranberry, Raspberry, Riesling, Sangiovese and many more. We couldn’t seem to find a wine that didn’t match with this dessert. So instead we brought out a tawny port that matched the heaviness of the cake with the flavors of the cinnamon apples!

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

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