Orlando’s Post-Halloween Wine Calendar Boasts Winemakers, Champagne & More

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

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Bordeaux & Germany Target Orlando in Three-Year Wine Marketing Push

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?

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Orlando Wine Blog to Host Geeky Gary Farrell Tasting

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.

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Busy Orlando Wine Week Features Italy, South America, and a Winemaker

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

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Hidden Wine Country: RYME Cellars Turns Eclectic Grapes into Some of the Most Exciting California Wine You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

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.

Forestville Cat
Forestville cat welcoming me to town

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.

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Hidden Wine Country: Napa’ School House Vineyard Keeps Things Quietly Classic

All photos by Steve Mort

Napa and Sonoma, the two counties at the heart of California wine country, are famous for lavish tasting rooms, Michelin star restaurants, and deluxe accommodations. Drive even a few hundred yards along Napa’s main thoroughfare, Highway 29, and you’re likely to pass five or six big name wineries ready to put on an impressive, pricey, and often thoroughly enjoyable show for you.

But hidden behind them, there’s another world — a place that’s more about passion than money, more about soil than manipulation, more about history than trends, and more about experimentation than safe bets. You have to look a little harder for this hidden Wine Country, drive a little farther to get there, and pay a little more attention when you arrive. But it’s well worth the effort.

Part 1 of this series takes us to School House Vineyard, a Napa stalwart making elegant wines that remain largely unknown, even to many of the Valley’s most ardent fans.

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