England’s Camel Valley Vineyards Pulling Back from US Market

On a stone terrace in the county of Cornwall, overlooking rolling hills blanketed with vines and fields, Camel Valley Vineyards founder Bob Lindo beams with pride as he shows off award after award to visitors sipping on the tasty fruits of his labor.

This winery is one of England’s most decorated, at the forefront of the country’s surging wine business. Producers here are winning plenty of awards, particularly for their bubbly, which has come out ahead of Champagne on enough occasions to make a Frenchman blush.

Founder Bob Lindo welcomes guests on the terrace at Camel Valley Vineyards in Cornwall.

In 2016, the UK wine industry made a collective commitment to a tenfold increase in exports over five years, and American wine lovers are starting to reap the benefits. Just under two years ago, Camel Valley wines were part of the first full shipping container of English wine ever sent to a foreign shore; they were bound for the US.

Here in Orlando, though, you still have to look hard to find British bubbly. Wine Bar George serves a brut from producer Digby Fine English; Tim’s Wine Market Orlando has Ridgeview in stock.

But Camel Valley is not available in Florida, and sadly, that’s not likely to change. Bob Lindo says he’s pulling back from the US market.

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Chocolate, Grilled Cheese & Music – Wild Week of Wine Pairings ahead!

Looks like the summer holidays are over for the wine community here in Central Florida! Tomorrow is awash in vin-soaked Bastille Day celebrations – check out the highlights in my previous post. (LATE ADD: The PinkNIC event at Tim’s Windermere has been rescheduled. Check the Events Page for details.)

Next week’s theme is all about creative pairings.

You’ve heard of pairing wine with all kinds of food – what about wine and music pairings? Two events next week aim to engage your ears along with your nose and taste buds.

  • Thursday, Swirlery’s co-owner Damian Roman (aka, DJ Collaborator!) is pairing ten tunes with ten wines, each chosen by one of Orlando’s top Sommeliers, for a “Wine & Vinyl Top 10 Listening Tasting.”
  • Friday, Hard Rock Universal’s “Wine Riffs” series hosts BV winemaker Trevor Durling and features his wines alongside a five-course meal and a specially chosen soundtrack.

Next on the list of crazy pairings is Swirlery’s Wine & Grilled Cheese Night on Wednesday. Uncommon Catering will supply four gourmet grilled cheeses, to be paired with four wines chosen by Swirlery’s Advanced Somm Melissa McAvoy.

Finally, you can’t go wrong with a classic – Champagne and chocolate. The Vineyard Orlando is hosting winemaker Gilles Dumangin on Wednesday and pairing his Dumangin Champanges with chocolates by chef & chocolatier Luis Mendez.

If you’re not into pairings, there are many more events next week where the wine stands alone. Check them out, along with a robust list of happenings over the next few weeks, on the Event Page.

Cheers, Orlando!


Happy 4th … and 14th!

Most of our local wine establishments seem to be taking their own July 4th holiday from hosting events next week! They’ve been busy, and I don’t blame them!

But there’s a great option next Saturday, after you’ve recovered from the festivities — a dinner paired with wines from Oregon’s Domaine Serene at Norman’s.

That kicks off a week of events dominated by the national holiday of perhaps the world’s most famous wine producer – France’s Bastille Day. Orlando does love to celebrate Le Quatorze Juillet!

But before those Champagne corks start popping, keep celebrating American wines a bit longer with a late-night party at Wine Bar George on the twelfth of July, featuring Napa winemaker Michael Honig of Honig Winery and local Master Somm George Miliotes.

On the 14th itself, you can start off quite appropriately by expanding your wine knowledge. Master of Wine Jean Reilly holds the first of a two-day WSET Level One course at Tim’s Orlando that morning.

After that, you have your pick of Bastille Day festivities across the region, from Swirlery in Orlando to Luisa’s Cellar in Sanford. And while it’s a Bastille Day event per se, I’m sure Provencals would approve of the PINKnic rosé extravaganza at Tim’s Windermere.

Details of these events and many more are on the Events Page.

Cheers and Santé!


NOTE: You won’t see an events post here next week, as I’ll be in the UK, tasting a bit of British bubbly (and perhaps some still wine too)! Follow my adventures on Instagram and Facebook!

From Rosé to Cabernet: Diverse array of upcoming events

If you ask me, it’s always rosé season, especially in Florida, but for those of you who concentrate your rosé consumption around a certain time of year – that time is now!

Tomorrow (Saturday, June 9) is National Rosé Day, and there are a couple ways to celebrate – IF you act quickly. As of this morning, there were a few seats left for both these events:

  • Wine Bar George’s Saturday afternoon tasting of six rosés
  • Tim’s Orlando’s Rosé Open House on Wednesday, offering two dozen different rosés.

But these aren’t only the days of wine and rosés. Next week is full of events that don’t center on the pink stuff.

  • Tuesday, Tim’s Avalon hosts a wine & cheese pairing.
  • Wednesday, winemaker Dave Petterson of Oregon’s Vista Hills Winery leads a tasting for 16 people in The Vineyard Orlando’s wine cellar.
  • Thursday is “Flying Winemaker Night” at Vintage Vino, with a tasting of Mas Janeil wines from southern France’s Rousillon region.

Top off the week with cabernet with Saturday’s pre-Fathers Day Big Daddy Blind Cabernet Tasting at Tim’s Windermere.

Details for all these events, plus more later in June, are on the Events Page.

Whether or not you drink pink this weekend, have fun, be safe, and happy sipping, Orlando!

Cool Down with Hot Wines

The summer doldrums have arrived in Central Florida, and the wine calendar has slowed enough to allow all of us to move at a slightly lower pace to match the higher temperatures. But there are still plenty of notable events to keep us sipping, whether in or out of the AC.

Wednesday, meet and taste with Napa winemaker Brandon Allen at Ellen’s Wine Room in Sanford.

Thursday, sample Cesari’s Veneto wines, with food to pair, at Tim’s Windermere.

Saturday, head down to I-Drive in the afternoon for BevFly‘s monthly tasting and/or up to Lake Mary in the evening for a BBQ & Wine event at Tim’s Lake Mary.

Wherever you sip, stay cool, Orlando!

Tonight’s Last Minute Dinner Plans, Classes and Tastings, and More Winemakers!

Before I jump into next week’s events, there are a few new events this weekend you should know about.

If you don’t have dinner plans tonight, there’s still space left at a six-course pairing dinner at Highball & Harvest with winemaker Kyle Janzen of Napa’s Bacio Divino Cellars.

Also, if your plans tonight involve K’s Friday Night Flights in the garden, I’m told it will go ahead, rain or shine, with optional indoor or sheltered locations available if necessary.

Tomorrow, Vintage Vino in Kissimmee is holding the first in a series of six classes aimed at expanding students’ wine knowledge and outlining the various wine education tracks available (Court of Master Sommeliers, WSET, etc.) for those who want to take it further.

Wednesday, Tim Varan will provide a wine-soaked overview of his recent trip to Bordeaux at Tim’s Orlando, and Swirlery hosts California winemaker Anne Dashe of Dashe Cellars.

Thursday, it’s a free tasting of red blends at Tim’s Lake Mary.

All the details are on the Events Page, along with new listings running into late June. Cheers!

Wine Marathon Next Week in Orlando!

Orlando wine lovers, you’ll need some serious stamina to take advantage of all the events on offer around town in the coming week. The Events Page has all the details, but here are a few day-by-day highlights to keep you jogging along:

Tomorrow afternoon is BevFly’s May tasting, with more than 30 wines and snacks to help soak them up. In the evening, treat yourself to dinner with two Master Sommeliers at Norman’s May Wine Dinner.

Monday, party with three South African winemakers at Swirlery’s Braai (aka, BBQ).

Tuesday, check out one of the newest spots in town with a pairing dinner at Bites & Bubbles. It’s in the former home of Funky Monkey, Restaurant ASH, and Brooklyn Coffee in Mills 50.

Wednesday, Women for Winesense hosts the proprietors of Napa’s Vineyard {511} for a tasting of their wines (not yet available in Florida!).

Thursday, Tim’s Lake Mary offers a free tasting of wines from the unsung (or maybe lesser-sung) French regions of Provence and Languedoc and from the always singing Rhone Valley.

Friday, cap it all off with a five-course Orin Swift wine dinner at Capital Grille – Millenia.

Saturday, put your feet up, and maybe have a beer. After that wine marathon, you’ll deserve it. But hey, that’s one marathon I won’t mind training for!