Vintages Wine Bar Open in Former WineStyles Baldwin Park Space

It still says “WineStyles” on the sign above the door, but the space on New Broad Street in the center of Baldwin Park has re-launched as Vintages, an independent wine bar and shop. The store dropped its affiliation with the Iowa-based wine bar chain at the end of last year.

There’s a new owner, but manager Robby Burroughs is staying on as wine-guy-in-chief. He plans to transition the space into a serious wine establishment that reflects Orlando wine consumers’ evolving tastes and growing sophistication.

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From Dali to the Moon: Next Week’s Wine Events are Out of this World

What do Salvador Dali, Australia, and the “Super Blue Blood Moon” have in common? That’s right, wine! Each item on that list provides the theme for one of this week’s events on Orlando’s ever-more-creative wine calendar.

On Wednesday, Swirlery is having a “Blue Moon Fizz” party, which has nothing to do with Blue Moon beer and everything to do with the cosmic event that’s happening that night. They’ll be toasting the blue moon with sparkling wines known as pet-nats, short for Pétillant Naturel. These unique wines are made using an ancient method that’s gained new popularity in recent years.

If you don’t feel like going to the moon on Wednesday, you can go to Australia, which is almost as far away. It’s already tomorrow there, after all. Tim’s Wine Market Orlando is offering a class that will reintroduce you to Australian wines, which have rebounded nicely from their recent moments of mass-production madness.

Finally, leave it to the new kids on the block at Cavanaugh’s to let us know about Salvador Dali’s connection to wine. Turns out, the surrealist artist co-created a book in 1977 called “Wines of Gala.” If you’ve seen any of Dali’s work, you won’t be surprised that the book presents an unconventional way of categorizing wines – not by grape or region or even by characteristic, but by the “sensations they create in our very depths.” Next Saturday, Cavanaugh’s will offer a casual tasting of eight wines purported to induce joy. Skeptical? You’ll never know until you try!

Details for these and many, many more Central Florida wine events are on the Events Page.

Cheers to creativity, Orlando!

Wine Events All Over the Map!

There’s no rhyme or reason to the coming week in Orlando-area wine events. That’s not great for bloggers looking for a theme, but it is great for wine lovers because it means there’s something for everyone!

This weekend has a Spanish flavor, with events at K Restaurant and Vintage Vino.

Next week, kick things off on Monday with the national president of Women for Winesense, an organization founded over a quarter century ago to support women in the wine industry (men can come too!) …

… and finish things up on Friday with a free Champagne tasting (yes, you read that right) at Urbain 40.

In between, travel to Italy with Tim Varan, enjoy a decadent Sonoma wine dinner at 1921, and learn the basics of wine at Tim’s in Lake Mary-Sanford.

Check out the Calendar Page for details on these and many more upcoming wine events around Central Florida.

Whatever your fancy, you’ll find something to indulge in this week. Happy exploring!

A Traffic Jam of Wine Events

After a three-week holiday lull, Orlando’s wine scene will roar back to life in the coming days. There are more than a dozen high quality tastings, classes, and dinners to choose from in the coming week, including several that feature winemakers or winery owners.

Unfortunately, you can’t go to all or even most of these events. That’s because more than a third of them are happening at exactly the same time.

Now, I know nobody needs to go to a dozen wine events in one week, and I know some overlap is unavoidable, and I know the winemaker events have to capitalize on the headliners’ existing schedules. But I do sometimes wish for a bit more coordination.

Central Florida’s wine scene is vibrant and passionate, but we’re not New York or San Francisco. We count our quality wine establishments in tens, not hundreds. Many area wine enthusiasts are eager to support as many of those establishments as our calendars, wallets, and livers will allow. That’s tough to do when schedules collide as often as they do.

Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now and move on to what you really want to know about – the highlights of this crazy week!

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Get out of Your Wine Grape Rut with “Grapes 101 – A Grape Society”

Orlando’s wine community is slowly emerging from its post-holiday lull. To borrow a euphamism from one of our region’s wine luminaries (who shall remain nameless), a few of us got a little more “festive” than perhaps we should have over the past few weeks!

But never fear, we will rally as 2018 gets underway – and what better way to kick off our year in wine than by expanding our horizons and exploring a few new grapes?

Most wine drinkers never get beyond a standard group of around a dozen grape varietals, but there are thousands of fascinating wine grapes out there. Ever heard of valdiguie? How about listan negro, nerello mascalese, rkatsiteli, saperavi, xinomavro, malagousia, or plavac mali?

Some of my most exciting wine experiences happen when I get to discover new grapes. Next week, Tim’s Wine Market in Windermere is offering a fun way to break out of your wine grape rut, with the launch of “Grapes 101 – A Grape Society.”

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Where to Go in Sonoma: The Blockbusters

Note: The wineries in this post followed the common industry practice of waiving tasting fees for bloggers and other media. 

Is a trip to wine country on your list of resolutions for 2018? If so, Sonoma County should be on your agenda.

Sonoma is sometimes an afterthought – nothing more than a quick stopover between San Francisco and Napa. But this diverse county is a worthy wine destination unto itself, offering everything from stunning tasting rooms with breathtaking views to flip-flop-casual samplings in out-of-the-way vineyards. Most importantly, though, Sonoma offers plenty of good wine.

In this post, we’ll explore three blockbuster wineries that hosted me for tastings on a visit to Sonoma last fall. Next time, I’ll unveil a few of the region’s hidden gems.

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