Wednesday, June 10, 2015

8 Wineries in Eccentric Buildings

Winery folks are always looking for something to make their business stand out - a special feature that makes them a little different from everyone else. These eight wineries have found the perfect thing - unusual buildings to call home that will garner comments, and customers.

Back to the Barn
Cellardoor Winery
Hobo Speak
While barns are pretty standard structures to use as tasting rooms and wineries, the barn at Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville, Maine has an advantage, it's 220+ years old, and it has a cool story. Legend has it that at the turn of the 20th century, a hobo, traveling across the country, left this decorative H-symbol carved on the barn door. The reason? Hobos left signs for each other to indicate what kind of welcome they would get at certain houses and farms. This H indicated that this was a safe stop that offered shelter, possibly food, and hospitality to those on the road. Today, Cellardoor maintains that tradition by offering visitors a warm welcome and almost three-dozen libations to enjoy.

Spelunking for Wine
Looking Out The Cave
Cave Vineyard and Winery in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri has a pretty cool set-up, literally. The tasting room is located above a natural cave, which was mined for saltpeter by the early French settlers to make gunpowder. Today, you can purchase a bottle of wine (10 varieties are available) and enjoy it with homemade biscotti at picnic tables set up inside the cave.

Just Milling Around
Old Mill Winery
In the 1860s, grain was brought to this grist mill and ground into flour for the folks of Geneva, Ohio. Today, the mill is home to the Old Mill Winery and Restaurant where semi-sweet and sweet wines are carefully crafted, and steak and ribs top the menu. The wines give a nod toward the building’s past with names like Grindstone Red, Grindstone White and Grindstone Blush.

All Aboard
San Sebastian Winery
Standard Oil founder, Henry Morrison Flagler fell in love with St. Augustine, Florida and decided to move there in the late 19th century. But Flagler soon realized that the state needed a railroad system, so he purchased short line railroads all the way to Key West. By 1912, the route had become known as the Florida East Coast Railway. Today, San Sebastian Winery is located in the original St Augustine railway station, offering you a ticket to try nine wines that have won over 500 awards in the past 20 years.

We Didn’t Start the Fire
Original Rapid City Firehouse
Firehouse Wine Cellars was only a spark in the minds of the owners of the Firehouse Brewing Company just a few years ago. But it wasn’t long before the Rapid City, South Dakota brewery decided to expand their business to include the winery concept. The building was the original location of the Rapid City Fire House, and the combination of a winery /brewery has become a smokin’ hot idea with locals and visitors in the downtown area. Take a tour, try the wines, and check out the cool fire-centric wine labels.

Lock’em Up
Entrance to The Drunk Tank Winery
Hoosier ingenuity knows no bounds: when the Park County Jail came up for sale five years ago, two local Rockville residents bought it and turned it into the Old Jail Inn. One year later they added The Old Drunk Tank Winery in the basement. This is a testament to how times have changed when you now pay to sleep in one of the cell rooms, and can imbibe in a glass of wine where once locals were forced to sleep it off …

It’s Insane
Outside Left Foot Charley
Former Traverse City Insane Asylum
The Traverse City State Hospital in Traverses City, Michigan served as an insane asylum for over 100 years, but in 1989 the hospital was closed; that’s when developers began to get ideas. Today the complex is known as The Village At Grand Traverse Commons, housing retail shops, restaurants and a winery. Left Foot Charley is the area’s first urban winery offering eight wines crafted from grapes purchased from the best grape growers in the region, and three hard apple ciders made from Michigan apples. Grab a bottle to enjoy inside or out – it would be crazy not to.

Give Me An Amen
Inside the "Church Winery"
South River Vineyard
Wineries always sing the praises of their local and regional grapes, but one Buckeye winery has taken it to the limit by crafting their wines in a former church. What was once an abandoned Methodist Episcopal Church located in rural Harpersfield Township, Ohio is now the South River Vineyard, better known to locals as “The Church Winery.” Boasting over a dozen wines, acres of vineyards, two outdoor pavilions, a huge fireplace and a wine cave, this is one winery that follows through on that reverent, peaceful vibe.


~ Joy

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

10 Tempting Summer Vinos

Summer is fast approaching, and with it a chance to indulge in some lighter wines. This is the time of year where cool and light are the watch words; where you automatically reach for a white vino. But wait, there are reds that will suffice during these long hot summer months, along with a few "blasts from the past" to consider.

The Tried and True
1) Sauvignon Blanc
This herbaceous wine is perfect with anything green: salads, herbs and veggies. Plus, it’s an excellent accompaniment with seafood and poultry. You could say it tastes like "summer in a bottle."

2) Riesling/Traminette
The perfect fruit fare wines; serve with strawberries, peaches, apricots and blueberries because these wines meld with fruit, offering their fresh, crisp and aromatic attributes to any meal – perfect for hot weather drinking.

3) Pinot Gris/Grigio
If you’re looking for a white wine that “shares the love” with summer foods, then grab a lightly chilled bottle of Pinot Gris and dig into a fresh cut watermelon, honeydew or cantaloupe, or try with lobster, crab and sushi.

For A Bolder Taste
4) Malbec
If you’re grilling bold flavors, match your wine to the main flavor profile; the meat itself, the sauce, or the marinade. If it’s a BBQ burger or a steak, you'll want a robust red. A non-oaked Malbec can make this meaty meal a delight without being too heavy.

5) Pinot Noir
If you’re grilling chicken or chops, a glass of Pinot Noir will play nicely with the food, thanks to its softer tannins. Although Pinot Noir is known for its elegance, it breaks out of its shell during the summer months and becomes the perfect “lounge around the pool” wine.
Perfect For Everyone
6) Rosé
This is the ‘one size fits all’ wine for summer. Rosé is food-friendly and can be served room temperature, or nicely chilled, and you can even try a sparkling version for that "Tiny Bubble" effect.

7) Sangria
Sangria is a fresh fruit wine cocktail; this cool, refreshing summer wine option provides those light, fruity flavors that beg to be enjoyed during the summer. Make your own using a chilled bottle of sparkling wine, or go with a bolder red wine like Cabernet or Merlot.

Old Fashioned Wines
8) Berry Wines
This is the wine our grandparents made: blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry and any variation thereof. Perfect with light nibbles like chocolate, and a variety of cheeses.

9) Stone Fruit Wines
This includes cherry, peach, apricot, nectarine and plum wines, which are usually crafted on the sweeter side. Most will pair nicely with Asian stir-fries and summer desserts like angel food cake, cookies, and cheesecake.

10) Flower Vinos

There’s a ton of flower wines that home winemakers love to make. If you’re talented enough to be make your own wine, or know of a home winemaker who will share, be sure to try a glass of dandelion, elderflower, chamomile, hibiscus, orange blossom, even marigold wine on a sultry day; each one will offer a real taste of summertime.

As Ray Bradbury wrote: “Dandelion wine. The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered.”  Enjoy the abundance of the season!

~ Joy