Digress Wine flouts wine conventions with new concept in former Cavanaugh’s; Food service planned for later this year

Forget worrying about what wine pairs with fish or steak. Digress Wine in College Park is asking deeper questions:

What wine pairs with … a hard day at work?

A quiet evening by yourself?

Catching up with old friends?

A geek-out session with your wine buddies?

A first date – or a fifth? 

Former wine sales reps Brian Kerney and Rob Chase are in the process of transitioning the store, which they purchased last fall, into a combination wine bar and retail shop with a concept they hope will change the way Orlando thinks about wine.

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Vintages Wine Bar Open in Former WineStyles Baldwin Park Space

It still says “WineStyles” on the sign above the door, but the space on New Broad Street in the center of Baldwin Park has re-launched as Vintages, an independent wine bar and shop. The store dropped its affiliation with the Iowa-based wine bar chain at the end of last year.

There’s a new owner, but manager Robby Burroughs is staying on as wine-guy-in-chief. He plans to transition the space into a serious wine establishment that reflects Orlando wine consumers’ evolving tastes and growing sophistication.

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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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Cavanaugh’s new owner plans name change; First tasting next week to feature Schramsberg Vineyards president

Earlier this month, we broke the news that Jay Smith, longtime owner of Cavanaugh’s Wines, had sold his College Park wine shop and bar after nearly twenty years.

We can now tell you that the venue will be getting a new name … and that its first event under new ownership is coming up next week.

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Successful test run for Jordan Winery’s new caviar & wine tasting

Jordan Vineyard & Winery occupies a rambling French-style “chateau” in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. Since its founding in 1972, the operation has been almost as much about food and hospitality as it has been about its French-inspired wines. Each tasting experience at Jordan involves wine and food pairings, and the estate even has its own executive chef.

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Wine Country faces long recovery, but fire damage largely hidden from tourists’ view

“If you didn’t know,” Patsy McGaughy with Napa Valley Vintners told a group of wine writers last week, “you wouldn’t know.”

She was addressing the tenth annual Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa, a place many called ground zero for last month’s wildfires.

“The valley floor is just as beautiful as ever.”

She’s right.

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Orlando Wine Venues Plan for Irma

If you’re planning to stick it out in the Orlando area for Hurricane Irma, you might want a last minute wine outing to celebrate finishing your preparations … or you might want one more bottle to add to your supply cache. Here’s what we know so far about openings and closings in Orlando’s wine world. I’ll update this post as I get new info and as long as I have power and internet. Good luck, and stay safe everyone!

Swirlery Wine Bar
Normal hours Friday and Saturday

The Parkview
Normal hours Friday, open for brunch on Saturday, possibly longer depending on the storm

WineStyles Baldwin Park
Normal hours Friday. Saturday probably closing at 4pm or 6pm.

The Wine Room on Park Ave.
Open til 5pm Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Tim’s Wine Market Lake Mary – Sanford
Open Friday until 8pm. Open Saturday 11-5. Closed Sunday & Monday.
“Sabering Saturday” class is CANCELLED. It will be rescheduled after the storm.

Tim’s Wine Market Windermere
Open Friday until 7:30. Open Saturday 10-4pm. Closed Monday.

ABC Stores
Normal hours Friday. Closing at 3pm Saturday.