Ready, Set … Holiday Wine!

It seems Orlando’s wine establishments are using the coming week as an opportunity to take a big, deep breath … before the holiday drinking season takes off with a vengeance.

Tim’s Wine Market in Lake Mary-Sanford should get ready for a crowd at Tuesday’s tasting with Lindsey Hoopes of Napa’s Hoopes Winery … because it’s the ONLY thing on the wine Events Calendar next week!

After that, though, it’s off to the races with Halloween, the start of November, and the beginning of the annual holiday wine-ing marathon!

Highlights for the week of October 29 include:

A cavalcade of events follows throughout the holiday season, and they will fill up fast! Check the Events Page early and often so you can fully enjoy the festivities.



Chile, Cheese & Chocolate – Cheers!

It’s a busy week on Orlando’s wine calendar, and as always, I’m excited to highlight a few upcoming events for you.

But first, I feel the need to acknowledge the sadness wine lovers everywhere are feeling about the devastation in Napa and Sonoma. Many former leading lights in Orlando’s wine scene now call that area home. Our thoughts are with them and with the winemakers and other industry professionals we’ve come to know and love.

If you’re inclined to support relief efforts, several friends in the area have recommended the Napa Valley Community Foundation as a good steward of donated funds.

Moving on … as you’ll see from the Events Page, several of this week’s events are already sold out. Orlando oenophiles are serious about planning! So remember to look ahead on the Events Page and make your reservations early.

That said, if you’re a procrastinator or a last minute kind of wine lover, never fear. There’s still plenty to do next week.

Swirlery is hosting a tasting of wines from the Spanish regions of Ribera del Duero and Rueda on Thursday. (It didn’t fit into my alliterative headline, but it should still be fun!)

The Tasty Trio’s hurricane-disrupted Wine, Cheese, & Chocolate class is rescheduled for next Friday at East End Market. There’s a happy hour beforehand to support efforts to relocate Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricane Maria.

And next Saturday, it’s part two in WineStyles Baldwin Park’s four-part series of informal but educational tastings of Chilean wines.


Finger Lakes Wine: Much More Than Riesling

Orlando has been buzzing about New York’s Finger Lakes wine country lately.

Central Florida Women for Winesense sent a hefty delegation there in July for the national organization’s “Grand Event”; fellow Central Florida blogger Melissa Radley-McConnell of Time to Unwine-d visited the area this summer too.

So when I ended up there last week, I felt a little late to the party. But it was definitely better late than never – especially since I was there during harvest!

Frank harvest
Sorting newly-harvested grapes at Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery

Whirlwind Tour

I had just one day to hit the highlights of this beautiful and prolific wine region, so I chose four wineries to visit: Dr. Konstantin Frank, Ravines, Hermann J. Wiemer, and Standing Stone.

My itinerary spanned two lakes, with stunning vistas and early fall colors around every turn, and a wide array of grape varietals and winemaking styles.

The Finger Lakes have won national and international acclaim for rieslings, and the varietal remains the regional specialty. But the area has diversified into many other varietals too; and while I’m a huge riesling fan – I even hosted a riesling tasting at my house recently – I was even more captivated by some of those other grapes.

Continue reading “Finger Lakes Wine: Much More Than Riesling”

The People Behind the Wine, Plus a Celebration Wine Dinner

It’s always fun and educational to meet the “Man (or Woman) Behind the Curtain” of your favorite wine. You’ll have three opportunities to do so in Central Florida next week.

On Tuesday, Tim’s Wine Market in Windermere hosts Bruce Neyers, owner of Neyers Vineyards in Napa, for a free tasting of his wines. I had the pleasure of meeting Bruce and his wife Barbara a couple of years ago – I was charmed by both of them and by their wines.

If you perused the Events Page early and often enough, you might’ve snagged tickets to The Wine Room‘s sold-out Grgich Hills tasting on Thursday with winery manager (and founder Mike Grgich’s daughter) Violet Grgich.

Also on Thursday, you can visit with Orlando’s own chef-winemaker Jamie McFadden of Snowbirds Vintners Thursday when he hosts one of Swirlery Wine Bar’s Somm Sessions. Jamie is also the owner of Cuisiniers Catering and an all-around good guy. I wrote about his fun and juicy rosé earlier this summer.

One more thing – if you can’t make it to Norman’s 14th Anniversary on Saturday, there’s another anniversary dinner on the horizon. The Ravenous Pig turns 10 this year, and they’re celebrating next Sunday (Oct. 8) with a five-course dinner prepared by an all-star cast of area chefs, with wine pairings by Master Somm George Miliotes.

Take a look at the Events Page for details on these and many other Orlando-area wine events. (Pro Tip: Check back often, and look beyond the current week – many of these events sell out quickly.)

Happy sipping (and noshing), Orlando!

Wine Events for Every Budget

I’ve been thinking a lot about money and wine lately. Do you have to be wealthy to be a “true” oenophile? I sure hope not!

Perhaps there will be a philosophical post about this in the future, but a quick look at this week’s Orlando-area wine events proves you don’t have to be a big spender to participate in Central Florida’s vibrant wine scene.

The Tim’s Wine Market family is offering two FREE tastings next week – Bordeaux and Rhone reds on Thursday in Lake Mary-Sanford and Davis Bynum Winery selections in Windermere on Friday.

At a slightly higher but still affordable $25 price point, Swirlery Wine Bar is hosting “A Night in Greece”on Thursday with local collector, blogger, and Greek wine enthusiast Keith Edwards.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with splashing out on a pricey wine event once in awhile, and Norman’s gala 14th Anniversary event next Saturday wouldn’t be a bad way to do it. With food by five area chefs and wines chosen and poured by seven Master Sommeliers and one Master of Wine, it might be just the place to drop the $190 that’s been burning a hole in your pocket. (Last I heard, there were a few spots left, but best to grab them quick if you’re interested.)

Check the Events Page for details on these and more upcoming Orlando-area wine happenings. And whatever your budget, the most important thing is learning about wine and enjoying it with the people you love.

Cheers to that, Orlando!

Post-Irma party & a Spanish-themed week of wine in Orlando

By the time you read this, I hope your power is back on, your yard is cleaned up, and you’re well on your way to repairing any damage you may have suffered at the hands of our dear friend Irma.

Whether or not that’s the case – and especially if it’s not – we all deserve a wine outing after the week we’ve been through here in Central Florida!

Swirlery Wine Bar has you covered on Saturday with its two-year anniversary party, featuring a grand tasting of Old World wines and a lot more.

Next week, a wealth of wine events makes up for this week’s closures and cancellations. And if you’re into Spanish wine, you’re in luck, because several of them have a distinct Spanish flavor.
Continue reading “Post-Irma party & a Spanish-themed week of wine in Orlando”

Storm Relief! Next Week’s Orlando Wine Events

UPDATE: Capa’s Chocolate Day dessert and wine party has been cancelled. Refunds will be issued to ticket holders.

As all of us in the Orlando area await Irma’s arrival, let’s remember there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Assuming businesses are able to open by midweek, there are several great wine events coming up to relieve our collective cabin fever.

Nothing says comfort like chocolate! Capa is celebrating National Chocolate Day on Wednesday with a dessert buffet and specialty wine pairings by Master Sommelier George Miliotes.

Thursday, Tim’s Wine Market Lake Mary – Sanford offers a free tasting of South American wines.

And on Saturday, Swirlery Wine Bar is going all out for its second anniversary with a grand tasting of Old World wines and sour beers.

Check the Events Page for details of these and many other upcoming wine happenings. Take a break from your storm cleanup and have a glass or three. You’ll deserve it.

In the meantime, check out my Instagram and Facebook feeds to follow what wines I’m drinking as Irma moves through.

Cheers and good luck tonight Central Florida – we’ll all drink a toast on the other side!