Cavanaugh’s new owner plans name change; First tasting next week to feature Schramsberg Vineyards president

Earlier this month, we broke the news that Jay Smith, longtime owner of Cavanaugh’s Wines, had sold his College Park wine shop and bar after nearly twenty years.

We can now tell you that the venue will be getting a new name … and that its first event under new ownership is coming up next week.

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Who needs Black Friday when you can have dark chocolate?

It seems Orlando’s wine purveyors think we could all use a little chocolate therapy after yesterday’s turkey, pumpkin pie, and possibly a few family feuds. Next week features, not one, but two chocolate-and-wine themed events:

Get details for these events on the Events Calendar. And if you’re ready to look ahead, you’ll notice the theme becoming decidedly bubbly as December gets underway.

Cheers to the festive season, Central Florida!

Successful test run for Jordan Winery’s new caviar & wine tasting

Jordan Vineyard & Winery occupies a rambling French-style “chateau” in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. Since its founding in 1972, the operation has been almost as much about food and hospitality as it has been about its French-inspired wines. Each tasting experience at Jordan involves wine and food pairings, and the estate even has its own executive chef.

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Pre Thanksgiving Wine-ing

Central Florida’s wine scene is taking a break next week for Thanksgiving, but there are a couple of fun events this weekend if you feel like a few glasses before the family descends on you for the big day.

Tonight, K Restaurant hosts its monthly “Wine Flight Fridays.” This month’s theme is French wines.

Tomorrow, The Wine Barn celebrates its tenth anniversary with a huge holiday tasting and sale.

Get details on these events, and see what’s coming up after the holiday, on the Events Page!

Wine Country faces long recovery, but fire damage largely hidden from tourists’ view

“If you didn’t know,” Patsy McGaughy with Napa Valley Vintners told a group of wine writers last week, “you wouldn’t know.”

She was addressing the tenth annual Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa, a place many called ground zero for last month’s wildfires.

“The valley floor is just as beautiful as ever.”

She’s right.

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Orlando Celebrates the REAL Beaujolais

This coming Thursday is Beaujolais Nouveau Day – the first day the new vintage of light fruity red wine from the Beaujolais region can be released, according to French law.

This young, easy drinking wine made from the gamay grape has enjoyed immense popularity in the U.S.. That would be fine, except that it’s done to the reputation of Beaujolais what white zinfandel did to dry rosé. When people think of Beaujolais, they think of a simple wine to be gulped at holiday parties but not to be taken seriously.

What many people don’t realize is that there are high-quality producers making serious – and seriously good – Beaujolais in ten distinct Cru villages in the region. This is wine that’s meant to be savored and appreciated – and aged more than a few months.

Tim Varan of Central Florida’s Tim’s Wine Market chain says comparing Beaujolais Nouveau to cru Beaujolais is “as fair a comparison as Iberico jamon is to deli ham.”

Cru Beaujolais happens to be one of my favorite types of wine, and it’s been making a resurgence in recent years. It will be an uphill climb, just as it was when dry rosé began its comeback as a respected wine category.

But I think it’s a good sign that no fewer than three Orlando-area wine establishments are using Beaujolais Nouveau Day as an opportunity to showcase serious Beaujolais. Details are on the Events Calendar for November 16.

If you’ve never tried cru Beaujolais, do yourself a favor and swing by Swirlery or Tim’s in Orlando or Lake Mary Thursday. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

So much wine, so little time

Next week’s wine calendar is overflowing with dinners, tastings, and classes all over Central Florida.

Kick things off with a bang on Monday in Mount Dora, with a four-course pairing dinner at 1921 by Norman Van Aken, featuring Jean-Nicolas Meo of Burgundy’s Domaine Meo-Camuzet and Jay Boberg of Willamette’s Domaine Nicolas-Jay.

On Thursday, delve into the world of port when Master of Wine Jean K. Reilly leads a class and tasting at Swirlery in Orlando.

Saturday, head to Deland for a mid-day class at Cress focusing on sparkling wines and light reds for the holidays.

Those are just a few highlights from next week’s offerings. Many more new events have been added to the calendar stretching all the way into December, so remember to plan ahead for stress-free sipping!