Dining in Maryland, Wining in Virginia

By Catherine | On Jun 28, 2015 | No Comments

Last week, I spent several delightful days with my daughter in Maryland.  As always, it involved lots of good food and wine!  Of note was our visit to a wonderful wine bar in Frederick called Vini Culture.  They feature three enomatic systems (also known as “cruvinets”) that dispense more than two dozen wines.  Customers load money onto a card and…

Urban Wineries on Treasure Island

By Catherine | On Apr 20, 2015 | No Comments

During my travels on the West Coast last month, I was introduced to Treasure Island and the growing collective of urban wineries that have made the island home.  The site of a former U.S. Naval Base, Treasure Island is a man-made isle set between San Francisco and Oakland, accessible from the Bay Bridge.  The first winery began operations in 2007…

Charleston Wine and Food Festival 2015

By Catherine | On Mar 22, 2015 | No Comments

This year I returned to the Passport to Pairings event that I found so enjoyable in 2014.  It was at the Thomas Bennett House, again, and – can you believe it – almost identical weather with overcast skies and a high temperature in the 40’s.  Not normal for early spring in Charleston!  The format was different this year in that…

How to Enjoy Wine 101

By Catherine | On Jan 24, 2015 | No Comments

It is easy to make the enjoyment of wine overcomplicated.  Remember, to a large extent, personal preference matters the most.  Following are some basic recommendations that can enhance your experience: Temperature:  Because most people don’t have the luxury of a temperature controlled wine cellar, white wines are typically served too cold and red wines too warm.  White wines almost always…

Mira Winery’s Aqua Aging Experiments Continue

By Catherine | On Dec 1, 2014 | 1 Comment

In February of 2013, I posted an article about Mira Winery and its experiment with aging wine in the ocean–which happened to be right here in Charleston Harbor.  Those first cases of Cabernet Sauvignon were retrieved in May 2013 with excellent results.  The wine tasted like it was two years into the aging process, not a mere three months.  A…

Great Wine Made in Southern Ohio?

By Catherine | On Sep 6, 2014 | No Comments

Yes, indeed!  On a recent trip to Cincinnati, I had the pleasure of dining at Abigail Street, a wonderful tapas-style restaurant.  Perusing the menu, there was a section titled “Wines on Tap” (more about that below). We asked our server about the wine of the day and learned that it was a Cabernet Franc made at a local vineyard called…

Wonderful Winderlea!

By Catherine | On Aug 6, 2014 | No Comments

The centerpiece of Friday’s agenda was a summer wine pairing luncheon at one of my favorite Oregon wineries, Winderlea, that is in the heart of the Dundee area.  On the way out of Salem, we stopped at St. Innocent, a winery I have never visited that came highly recommended.  We enjoyed one of the wine flights offered and I particularly…

Sass Winery

By Catherine | On Aug 1, 2014 | No Comments

I had the pleasure of meeting Jerry Sass, owner and winemaker for Sass Winery, about two years ago here in Charleston at a wine pairing dinner. When plans for my trip West were firming up, I emailed Jerry and asked it if would be possible to stop by, as he isn’t open to the public and I wanted to be…

Willamette Valley Vineyard

By Catherine | On Jul 31, 2014 | No Comments

Back to beautiful Oregon for the third time in four years – it is starting to feel like coming home. My friend Carrie, who recently relocated to Portland, and I headed south on July 17 for two days in Willamette Valley. Our first stop was Willamette Valley Vineyards for a private tour and tasting. We loved the comments written in…

“Que Syrah” and Ballard Canyon

By Catherine | On Jul 24, 2014 | No Comments

On the second full day of the conference, I selected a session on the terroir of Santa Barbara County. Santa Barbara County boasts one of the most diverse climates and largest number of grape varietals grown anywhere in the world.  The region is home to a topographic feature not found anywhere else in the contiguous U.S., a pair of mountain…


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