Edible Orlando Highlights Local Wine Community Innovations in the Face of COVID-19

My latest column for Edible Orlando is all about the spirit of innovation Central Florida’s wine community has shown in the face of the adversity brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

From virtual tastings to webinars to mystery cases, local wine businesses have pulled out all the creative stops to continue serving their customers and keep themselves afloat.

Read the full story here.

Filling the Void: Orlando’s wine community seeks connection and cash flow through virtual events

“A wine bar is a social place,” said Matt Coltrin, owner of The Parkview in Winter Park. “Literally by definition, we’re a place to gather and drink wine.”

For the past month, COVID-19 has made it impossible for people to gather at his wine bar on Park Avenue, so on March 27, he stepped outside his comfort zone and hosted The Parkview’s first virtual happy hour via Facebook Live, with Wine Club Manager Holly Frost.

“I’m still pretty uncomfortable doing it, but … I miss tasting wine with my neighbors,” he said. “I’m dying for human interaction.”

Plus, he needs to sell wine. When local and state restrictions removed the social component from his business, he had to find new ways to get customers in the door – or at least to the curb.

“The Parkview has never really been known for retail,” he said. “These tastings have been really beneficial, since all we have right now is retail.”

Continue reading “Filling the Void: Orlando’s wine community seeks connection and cash flow through virtual events”

Orlando Wine Events Go Virtual

As Central Florida wine businesses continue to adapt to the new COVID-19 reality, some are taking tastings and events into the virtual space.

Tomorrow (Friday) at 4pm, The Parkview will be live-streaming a tasting discussion on its Facebook page. The three featured wines are for sale in advance from the Park Ave. restaurant and wine bar.

Luisa’s Cellar in Sanford will host a similar virtual happy hour tomorrow at 5pm, with wines available beforehand. Owner Yellymary Quintero-Weyer has also launched a new brand, The Vino Dame, which will hold a series of wine webinars in the weeks to come.

The Tasty Trio is planning a virtual version of their popular “Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate – Perfectly Paired” event next Wednesday, with all the elements available in pick-up packs ahead of time.

Continue reading “Orlando Wine Events Go Virtual”

Despite a few cancellations, it’s business as usual for most Orlando wine establishments

Tim’s Wine Market Orlando is suspending its wine seminar series until further notice because of concerns over COVID-19. An email to customers – headlined by the photo below- said patrons with prepaid reservations will get refunds or store credit. The store’s informal weekend samplings, however, will continue as usual.

Credit: Tim's Wine Market Orlando
Tim’s Wine Market in Orlando is suspending its wine seminar series because of COVID-19. (Credit: Tim’s Wine Market)

As we reported on Thursday, the Orlando Magic has postponed its blockbuster Orlando Wine Festival and Auction that was scheduled for this weekend.

Apart from that, most Orlando-area wine establishments appear to be operating as normal.

“We’ve been really busy lately,” said Digress Wine owner Rob Chase, “so I’m going to keep rolling with it!”

Continue reading “Despite a few cancellations, it’s business as usual for most Orlando wine establishments”

Orlando Magic’s Wine Festival Adds Wineries, Finalizes List

A few days before the end of ticket sales for the top two packages for the Magic’s second annual Orlando Wine Festival and Auction, the Magic added more than two dozen wineries to its list.

There are now more than 40 producers involved, and it’s a more geographically diverse group. Some of the new additions hail from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Provence, and Argentina.

The festival’s website provides a sampling of the participating wineries.

Today is the last day to purchase the two highest level packages, at $9,250 and $6,500. The lowest level package, priced at $2,500, is available until March 5.

Orlando Magic’s Napa-Focused Wine Festival Gains Some Wineries, Loses Others for Year Two

UPDATE: Additional wineries have since been added to the festival’s confirmed list.

The Orlando Magic is gearing up for the second iteration of its Orlando Wine Festival and Auction next month. Last year’s inaugural event raised $900,000 for the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation.

The list of participating wineries* is smaller this year, with 18 confirmed producers, compared to 26 at this time last year. Two big names are new to the festival – Tuscany’s Antinori and Australia’s Penfolds – while venerable Napa producers Heitz, Dunn, and Lail have not confirmed a return visit.

Continue reading “Orlando Magic’s Napa-Focused Wine Festival Gains Some Wineries, Loses Others for Year Two”

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.


Continue reading “Orlando’s Post-Halloween Wine Calendar Boasts Winemakers, Champagne & More”

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?

Continue reading “Bordeaux & Germany Target Orlando in Three-Year Wine Marketing Push”