Orlando Wine Events Go Virtual

As Central Florida wine businesses continue to adapt to the new COVID-19 reality, some are taking tastings and events into the virtual space.

Tomorrow (Friday) at 4pm, The Parkview will be live-streaming a tasting discussion on its Facebook page. The three featured wines are for sale in advance from the Park Ave. restaurant and wine bar.

Luisa’s Cellar in Sanford will host a similar virtual happy hour tomorrow at 5pm, with wines available beforehand. Owner Yellymary Quintero-Weyer has also launched a new brand, The Vino Dame, which will hold a series of wine webinars in the weeks to come.

The Tasty Trio is planning a virtual version of their popular “Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate – Perfectly Paired” event next Wednesday, with all the elements available in pick-up packs ahead of time.

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Wine shops can keep operating under Orange County stay-at-home rules

Swirlery Wine Bar co-owner Melissa McAvoy, pictured here with her partner Damian Roman, scoured Tuesday’s executive order from Orange County Mayor Jerry Demmings, desperately searching for the relief wine shops and other local alcohol retailers sought.

“I read it over and over again,” she said.

Liquor and wine stores are absent from the extensive list of essential businesses exempt from the order, which mandates a two-week closure of many of the county’s commercial enterprises starting Thursday night.

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Orlando Magic’s Wine Festival Adds Wineries, Finalizes List

A few days before the end of ticket sales for the top two packages for the Magic’s second annual Orlando Wine Festival and Auction, the Magic added more than two dozen wineries to its list.

There are now more than 40 producers involved, and it’s a more geographically diverse group. Some of the new additions hail from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Provence, and Argentina.

The festival’s website provides a sampling of the participating wineries.

Today is the last day to purchase the two highest level packages, at $9,250 and $6,500. The lowest level package, priced at $2,500, is available until March 5.

This Week: A Whole Lotta Oregon, a Bit of Australia, a Dash of Greece

Orlando wine lovers have a busy week coming up, with opportunities to taste and learn about wine from the Beaver State (seriously, that’s Oregon’s nickname), the Land Down Under, and one of the world’s oldest winemaking regions. Plus, plenty of other classes and tastings.

Read on for highlights of …

Orlando’s Week in Wine

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BREAKING NEWS: The Wine Barn in Winter Park Gets New Owners

UPDATED Feb. 20 with information on the new owners.

The Wine Barn on Fairbanks Ave. in Winter Park has been sold, but contrary to rumors, the bottle shop and pizza parlor is not closing its doors.

Former owner Andres Montoya says the new owners, Ramón & Veronica Llado, plan to keep the name and continue with the same concept, including the wood-fired pizzas and the rest of the food menu.

He says they’ve retained him as wine buyer and asked him to revamp the inventory.

“Expect in the next few weeks to find a re-energized wine selection, solid values and low prices,” he said in an email last night.

The Llados are a husband and wife team. Ramón hails from Catalunya, Spain and Veronica is from Ecuador, according to Montoya. He says this is their first restaurant venture in this country.

“While new to running a wine and food operation in the US, they have many years of experience in the building and construction industry,” Montoya said.

“As for me,” he went on, “I will forever remain committed to the wine industry, and look forward to … exploring, learning, buying and selling the beverage that we, as wine lovers, could never leave behind.”

More details will follow as they become available.

 

Orlando’s Parade of Winemakers Continues

UPDATE: Thursday’s tasting with Daniel Cohn of Bellacosa Winery at Tim’s Lake Mary has been cancelled. 

‘Tis the season for winemakers and other visitors from wineries around the world to show off the fruits of their labors to Florida’s wine lovers. Franco Massolino (pictured above) visited from Barolo a couple of weeks ago and presented his lovely wines at Digress in College Park.

Last week, we had three more winery visitors at events around town; this week we’ll have six! And they’ll have competition from a plethora of other wine events on tap too.

Once again, you have some tough decisions to make, so pour yourself a glass of Sunday Champagne (they say it’s good for your brain), put your thinking cap on, and feast your eyes on the smorgasbord that is …

ORLANDO’S WEEK IN WINE!

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Aromatized Wines: Where wine and cocktails meet

You may have never heard of “aromatized wines,” but if you’ve ever had a martini or a Negroni, you’ve enjoyed them. You’ve also experienced this ancient beverage category if you’ve ever ordered a craft cocktail with “Cardamaro” or “Cocchi Americano” buried in its long list of ingredients.

By definition, aromatized wines are fortified wines (think Port and Sherry) flavored with herbs, spices, bark, flowers, or just about anything else you can find in a forest.

Cardamaro and Cocchi Americano are both aromatized wines, as are the vermouth in your martini and the Campari in your Negroni. (Campari is a brand of amaro, which falls within the broader aromatized wine family.) Seriously, this stuff is like science class … but studying it is a lot more fun!

Orlando’s Master of Wine Jean K. Reilly, who runs Slate Wine & Spirits Academy, hosted a class on aromatized wines last week at Norman’s at the Ritz Carlton. The presenter, Rob McCaughey, is a jovial Brit now based in Charleston, SC, who works on the spirits side of the WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust).

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