The list of participating wineries* is smaller this year, with 18 confirmed producers, compared to 26 at this time last year. Two big names are new to the festival – Tuscany’s Antinori and Australia’s Penfolds – while venerable Napa producers Heitz, Dunn, and Lail have not confirmed a return visit.
With Thanksgiving and Black Friday behind us, the sprint toward Christmas has begun.
This year’s truncated season means there’s a lot to pack into just three short weeks, so strategic planning is a must. Without further ado, here’s your guide to …
ORLANDO’S HOLIDAY SEASON IN WINE!
You may have noticed the OWB (Orlando Wine Blog) events post has been on a bit of a hiatus lately. Hey, life happens, and it’s unpredictable … just like the coming week of Orlando wine events! There’s lots going on, without much rhyme or reason or theme. So stop raiding your kid’s Halloween candy stash, and get out there and enjoy the vin-tastic mayhem. Here are some highlights to whet your appetite.
ORLANDO’S WEEK IN WINE
A savvy observer of Orlando’s wine scene might notice a preponderance of tastings this month and next featuring wines from Germany and Bordeaux – at least thirteen events at twelve Central Florida restaurants and wine bars, to be exact.
Germany and Bordeaux don’t exactly leap to mind as natural partners – they’re no Spain and Portugal or Germany and Austria. So how did independent establishments like Swirlery, Tim’s Wine Market Avalon Park, Luisa’s Cellar, and The Parkview decide to feature them together?
My first encounter with Sonoma’s Gary Farrell Winery happened on my front porch in Orlando. My cousin had brought me back a bottle from her visit to the winery, and as we drank it together over cheese and laughter, it changed the way I thought about California chardonnay. Elegant and balanced rather than overwhelmed by oak and butter, this was a wine I could get behind.
Since then, I’ve visited the winery several times and have grown to love the equally elegant pinot noirs that, like the chardonnays, reflect the land on which they’re grown.
I’ve also been thrilled to discover winemaker Theresa Heredia’s “Inspiration Series.” These experimental wines (single clones, concrete aging, skin contact, etc.) are made in extremely limited quantities and are rarely available outside the winery. Thanks to a special connection between Gary Farrell and Orlando, I’m thrilled to be able to offer my readers and followers the chance to taste some of these wines – and other Gary Farrell gems – right here in Central Florida. And it’s just a few weeks away.
It seems the summer lull is well and truly over for Orlando’s wine community. Next week’s calendar is brimming with tastings and classes competing for your time, attention, palate, and wallet.
It’s so busy, in fact, that I’m re-invoking my two daily events rule. I’ll highlight a maximum of two events per day here, but you can always find the full listing on the Wine Events Calendar page.
Without further ado, let’s get to the highlights of …
ORLANDO’S WEEK IN WINE
Photos by Steve Mort
When you imagine California wine country, you probably don’t picture the Sonoma County town of Forestville.
It’s less than half an hour west of bustling Santa Rosa and the same distance south of upscale Healdsburg, but Forestville feels a world apart. Its downtown main street is only about three blocks long, hosting a handful of casual restaurants, a strip mall with a coffee shop and a laundromat, a county park with a friendly cat, a hardware store, a pharmacy, and a gas station.
There are also a few tasting rooms on Forestville’s main drag, but RYME Cellars is not one of them.
In this installment of Hidden Wine Country, I venture off the main street to a simple tasting room at the terminus of a dead-end road. I step inside what used to be RYME’s production facility (scroll down for a photo) and discover surprising wines made by a husband and wife team who aren’t afraid to go beyond the usual grape suspects.