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.

EVENTS: Glasses, Classes & Oregon Wines

As usual, there are plenty of events to keep you sipping this week in Central Florida.

  • Ever wonder whether the rumors about the shape of a glass affecting the aroma and flavor of a wine are for real or a bunch of marketing hooey? Judge for yourself tomorrow at Tim’s Wine Market – Lake Mary’s casual event, “Does the Glass Make a Difference?”
  • On Wednesday, try the famous Willamette Valley wines of Patricia Green Cellars at Tim’s Orlando.
  • Expand your intellect and your wine knowledge on Saturday at a one-day WSET Level 1 certification class taught by Master of Wine Jean K. Reilly.

Get details for these and many, many more wine happenings on the events page!

 

Parkview Pushes Boundaries with New Flights

For the past three years, The Parkview has been pushing the bounds of oenophilic (that’s really a word!) creativity.

In 2014, Matt Coltrin took over the classy Park Ave. wine bar that was once the Winter Park outpost of downtown’s Eola Wine Company. He has since created a wine list that gently but persistently nudges patrons outside their comfort zones – and in a very smart way.

The Parkview continued Eola Wine Co’s popular program of flights, but Coltrin began sneaking a few lesser-known varietals into the lineups. A Uruguayan tannat could appear next to a Chilean cabernet and an Argentinian malbec. A picpoul de pinet might show up alongside a sauvignon blanc and a pinot grigio.

The strategy meant customers could gamble on a new wine without having to commit to a full glass.

After three years of training, The Parkview must now believe its patrons’ palates have significantly matured – because it’s just debuted two whole flights of some seriously unusual wines.

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