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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Cheers to 2018!

It’s been a great year of wine in Central Florida!

Before the big NYE parties, you’ll have a couple of chances to pre-celebrate tomorrow with tastings that are sure to give 2017 a big send-off.

Cavanaugh’s is popping more than a few corks in the courtyard with a bubbly event starting at 4pm.

Later in the evening, Quantum Leap Winery hosts the “Tasty Trio” for its final Wine, Cheese, & Chocolate event of the year.

Check out details of these events and January’s full schedule of tastings, classes, and dinners on the Events Page.

Then, let’s all raise a glass to another great year of sipping, tasting, and learning about wine.

Cheers!

Back Vintages, Christmas Cookies, and MORE Holiday Bubbles!

Don’t let your foot off the holiday gas pedal, Central Florida! The coming week has plenty more opportunities to celebrate the festive season through wine.

Tonight, taste and learn about some great Champagnes and sparkling wines when Vintage Vino in Kissimmee hosts local wine power couple Billy and Kelly Hendriksen.

Thursday, don’t miss the opportunity to try some older vintage wines when Cavanaugh’s pulls out some gems from the cellar for a special holiday tasting. They’ll be opening wines ranging in age from nine to 24 years!

Friday, put your baker’s hat on and bring your best holiday cookies to share at Tim’s Wine Market Lake Mary‘s Christmas Cookie Exchange. They’ve picked out some wines to pair with cookies – no easy feat!

Details for these and many other upcoming wine events are on the Events Page. Cheers!

Bubbles & Blending & Swapping (Oh my!)

Orlando’s holiday wine season continues apace in the coming week, with an abundance of eclectic events sure to delight anyone on your holiday “nice” list.

This weekend, there’s BevFly’s Bubbles Bash on Saturday and the annual Women for Winesense holiday bottle swap on Sunday.

Next week, become a winemaker for an evening at a blending seminar with cabernets from Napa’s Quintessa winery at Tim’s in Windermere on Thursday.

Then on Friday, travel to Italy with K Restaurant’s Friday Night Flights.

There’s something for everyone this week! As always, details are on the Events Calendar, so it’s easy to keep enjoying the festive season.

Talk of Terroir in California Wine Country

“I think people make too much fuss over winemakers,” said Christophe Paubert, standing in front of an elegant fireplace at Napa’s Stags’ Leap Winery on a recent fall evening.

Some might find his words counterintuitive, given his vocation. Paubert is Stags’ Leap’s winemaker.

He’s not the only one of his kind who advocated for minimalist techniques during a recent visit to Napa and Sonoma. It was a refreshing refrain in a region where heavy-handedness was once the name of the game.

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