BREAKING NEWS: Uvaggio in Coral Gables is Closed for Good

One of South Florida’s best wine bars has closed its doors.

When I tried to visit Uvaggio on Coral Gables’ Miracle Mile last Wednesday, I found the doors closed (see the photo above) and the interior dark and empty. Managing Partner and sommelier Heath Porter confirmed to me today that it was gone for good.

“Sometimes it’s just business,” he said in an email.

Porter was also Managing Partner of No Name Chinese in South Miami, which closed in May.

He says he now plans to focus full time on his wine travel venture Heathen Wine Tours, which he launched last year.

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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 128, 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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Albarino in my Bordeaux? Climate Change Forces One of France’s Oldest Wine Regions to Consider New Grapes

When it comes to wine, it doesn’t get much more traditional than Bordeaux.

The region has been making wine since Roman times. It’s been favored by European royalty for centuries, and Thomas Jefferson was a big fan.

Bordeaux has been highly regulated and tightly controlled since the Classification of 1855, when the region’s producers were sorted by quality into First through Fifth “Growths.” For more than eight decades, the appellation has allowed only ten grapes to be used in wines bearing its name.

But that may be about to change.

The reason? Climate change.

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This Month in Edible Orlando: Six Orlando Wine Bars to Quench Your Thirst for Knowledge

Photo credit: AaronVan

My latest Edible Orlando wine column shines a spotlight on six locally-owned wine bars across the Orlando metro area that are dedicated to educating consumers, creating community, and raising the bar for Central Florida’s wine scene.

These are places I’ve written about individually, that feature regularly on the Calendar Page and in weekly events posts, and that are listed on the Orlando Wine Bar Guide page … but until now, I haven’t brought them all together in a feature post.

Edible Orlando‘s “Drinks Issue” gave me the excuse, not only to bring them together in print, but also to bring most of their proprietors together for a crazy, fun photo shoot. The results are this article and the great photo above, taken by local food photographer AaronVan.

With one exception, all of these wine bars are under five years old – a testament to just how much our wine scene has exploded in recent years. I expect a few more standouts to join them by this time next year.

Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list of wine establishments in Central Florida. Many more are included on the Wine Bar Guide, so be sure to check that out too. But if you’re visiting Orlando, new to the area, or just starting out on your wine journey, I promise you will not go wrong by starting with these six.

Cheers, Orlando!

Ashes & Diamonds: Napa Wines That Bring Back the Joy

Like many people who get bitten by the wine bug, my journey into the world of wine has taken me in many different directions. The more serious I’ve become about my wine education, the more I’ve learned to appreciate the nuances wine has to offer … and yet, sometimes I fear that path may take me away from the joy that inspired me to start the journey.

That’s why I appreciate all the more those times that bring back the joy – the times when I’m reminded that wine is about more than acid and tannin, more than determining whether the nose has aromas of roses or violets, more than whether a wine is aged in French or American oak or whether it’s filtered or fined.

Wine is about community. It’s about good food, good music, good friends old and new. It’s about a day that starts out gray and ends up sunny – literally, figuratively, or both.

Today, Florida-based Progress Wine Group hosted a trade lunch to introduce Orlando’s wine professionals to Kashy Khaledi and his wines from Napa’s Ashes & Diamonds Winery.

For me, everything came together at this event to bring back all the joy.

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Magic Hosts First Orlando Wine Festival; Lots of Events Coming Up This Week

This weekend was a big one for Orlando’s wine scene, with the inaugural Orlando Wine Festival on Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes. The Orlando Magic organized the event and invited me to attend the al fresco grand tasting.

It featured mostly Napa wines, and while those big reds were a little challenging to drink outside on a warm day, it was worth it to taste some of the classic wines on hand – Dunn and Heitz were among the biggest names. I also enjoyed making a few new discoveries, including one of Argentina’s first GSM Rhone-style blends from Corazon del Sol, a project of Napa’s Revana Family Vineyard. All the winery representatives were lovely and informative too.

My only regret is that the festival’s high price tag (the cheapest package was $2500 per couple) kept many members of Orlando’s robust and active community of wine lovers away. Of course, the Magic sees the event primarily as a fundraiser for its Youth Foundation, but it would be nice if the team could find a way to make it more accessible to Orlando oenophiles who regularly support local wine establishments.

There are plenty of wine events coming up this week with significantly lower barriers to entry, though. Read on for the highlights.

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New Events & Two New Places to Wine – The Imperial Winter Park & Eola General

It’s a great time to be a wine lover in the City Beautiful!

The number of wine-focused and wine-aware establishments just keeps growing (details on two brand new ones are below), as does the number of wine events popping up on the calendar. Because of this embarrassment of riches, you may notice a slight change in the level of detail on these regular posts. From now on, I’ll highlight a maximum of two events per day – but I’ll always let you know when there are more, and you can always find the full listing on the Wine Events page.

Without further ado, let’s get right to the highlights of …

ORLANDO’S WEEK IN WINE

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