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

Continue reading “New Events & Two New Places to Wine – The Imperial Winter Park & Eola General”

Step Outside the Champagne Box: Six Unexpected Bottles of Bubbles for NYE!

Looking for something a little different to ring in the new year? Check out this post from 2016 for some Champagne alternatives that will put a sparkle in your celebration!

Orlando Wine Blog

Not much beats Champagne on New Year’s Eve, but if you’re looking for some out-of-the-box (and easier-on-the wallet) alternatives for the big night, you’re in luck! Champagne doesn’t have a lock on quality sparkling wine anymore. All six of these bottles should delight your palate, satisfy your enological curiosity, and enhance your celebratory mood as you welcome 2017. And only one of them is even from France!

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De Toren all over town! Plus taste and learn with two Masters

What a week we have coming up in Central Florida!

First off, winemaker Albie Koch from South Africa’s celebrated De Toren winery will be in town, offering three opportunities to taste his boutique wines:

Wednesday at Swirlery

Thursday at Vintage Vino

Friday at Wine Bar George for a twelve vintage retrospective of the flagship Bordeaux blend, De Toren Fusion V.

But that’s not all!

Tuesday offers opportunities to learn from two of Central Florida’s resident wine masters:

Master Sommelier John Blazon will lead a tasting of Spire Collection wines at Bella Tuscany in Windermere.

Master of Wine Jean K. Reilly kicks off her latest WSET Level 2 certification course at Tim’s Orlando.

On top of all that, there are two Southern Italian tastings next week, as well as a tasting of New York wines led by three prominent women in that state’s growing wine industry, via Facebook Live.

Check out the Events Page for details of these events and other options for next week and beyond.

Get out and taste the wine, Orlando!

The Inquisitor Wine Company: How two Orlando friends turned a “pipe dream” into a local importer of private label South African wines

On June 18, 2016, a small group of sommeliers from some of Orlando’s swankiest dining spots sat down for an invitation-only blind tasting. Hosts Laura Fletcher, then 29, and Christie Briscoe, then 23, were good friends and colleagues at Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton, where they worked in sales and marketing. But this event was about something completely different.

They poured tastes from a few well known, high end bottles alongside samples from a largely unknown South African winemaker, Christian Kuun. His wines got good reviews, sometimes beating out the big names.

“In that moment, I was like, ok it can happen,” said Christie, whose last name is now McLeod.

“We looked at each other,” Fletcher recalls, and thought, “let’s do this.”

Continue reading “The Inquisitor Wine Company: How two Orlando friends turned a “pipe dream” into a local importer of private label South African wines”

Spotlight on South Africa, Bonny Doon is Back, Luxapalooza Tasting

If you love South African wine – or if you want to learn more about it – listen up and act fast! Over the next eleven days – including today – you’ll have the opportunity to meet and taste with five South African winemakers at two events right here in Orlando.

Tonight, South African distributor Pascal Schildt brings producers Tremayne Smith and Ginny Povall to Tim’s Orlando to pour their wines, including Black Smith, Three Foxes, Big Flower and Botanica.

A week from Monday (May 14), Swirlery hosts a South African Braai (aka barbecue) featuring Bruwer Raats from Raats Family Wines, Carl van der Merwe of DeMorgenzon, and Lars Maack from Bayten pouring their wines.

These are great opportunities to compare wines from different producers in this country that often flies under the radar and offers great values as a result, and to get invaluable insight from the people who make wine there.

Speaking of winemakers …. if, like me, you didn’t get to meet Randall Grahm of California’s Bonny Doon Vineyard when he was in town earlier this year, you’re in luck! He’s coming back to Orlando next week. He’ll be headlining a dinner at Swirlery on Wednesday, pairing his wines with five courses prepared by Orlando’s favorite chef-winemaker Jamie McFadden of Snowbirds Vintners and Cuisiniers Catering.

One more for the last minute category – tomorrow night, Vintage Vino in Kissimmee is holding a tasting it’s calling “Luxapalooza,” which is worth a mention for the clever naming alone. Napa wines from the Treasury collection are on the agenda, including bottles from BV, Sterling, and Etude.

Details for these and many more events are on the Events Page. Check it out and happy wine-ing, Orlando!

Next Week Offers a Wine-Drenched Geography Lesson

I love when the oenophilic (that’s really a word!) stars align and allow us Central Floridians to travel the globe through the magic portal of a wine glass — or rather, many wine glasses. Next week is one of those times.

  • On Tuesday, explore romantic Spain at Cavanaugh’s.
  • Get sparkly with a trip to Champagne on Wednesday, courtesy of Tim’s Orlando.
  • Thursday, come back down to earth at Swirlery with organic wines from Oregon.
  • Finally, end your week in South Africa (otherwise known as the K Restaurant garden) on Friday.

Check the Events Calendar for details on these events and many more in the weeks ahead.

Cheers and happy travels, Orlando!