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Oct 22

Road Trip! Wines, Vines, and Farms

You should take a road trip this Saturday. Where to? Well, try Georgetown, OH. I know, I hadn’t heard of it either, but it’s only about an hour away from downtown Cincinnati.

Think about it – the trees will be beautiful. And short of heading to upstate New York, where else are you going to get the chance to be a "leaf peeper" and have some wine at the end of it all? Wine? Of course. I wouldn’t tell you to take a road trip unless there was some wine involved.

The Wines, Vines, and Farms event is a wine festival to benefit the Southern Ohio Farmland Preservation Association (SOFPA). SOFPA is a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization that works with local farmers and landowners to discuss their options for conserving their land.  One hundred percent of the ticket proceeds will go to the charity.

For only $10, you can sample Harmony Hill, Henke, Kinkead Ridge, Lakeside Vineyards, Meranda-Nixon, Renascent Vineyards, and Woodstone Creek. Your $10 gets you a souvenir glass and 7 tasting tickets. It’s a great chance to try locally grown (for the most part) wines and chat with the winemakers.

The event is happening from 11 am to 4 pm on Saturday, 10/25, on Courthouse Square in Georgetown. There’s also live music happening throughout the festival and a silent auction to benefit the charity. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a Quilt Barn and Covered Bridges tour happening nearby. Personally, I’d pass on the quilts, but I can’t get enough of covered bridges.

It’s an hour out. Take a slow lazy Saturday and enjoy the weather and the wine!

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Posted by Michelle at 8:38 am in Local, Local Wineries, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments ()
Oct 21

Wine Bloggers Conference & Ohio Wines

Tomorrow we take off for sunny California. Of course, I’ll be on the northern end, where the weather is comparable to here, so it should be lovely.

Kevin and I are spending a day in my favorite city, San Francisco, before heading to Sonoma. We’re specifically heading to Santa Rosa to the Wine Blogger’s Conference. It looks like a great time. We’ll have access to free wireless the entire time we’re at the conference, which includes at least one live-blogging event. It’s a great opportunity for us to try all sorts of Sonoma wines we’ve never encountered, and meet our wine blogging cohorts from across the country.


I’m also counting on some unofficial tastings happening. Tonight I shipped out a case of local libations. I didn’t write down what I shipped, but I’m reasonably sure our case included the following:

  • Henke Cin Zin dessert wine
  • Henke Norton, Limited Edition
  • Harmony Hill Rubato (chambourcin)
  • Harmony Hill Concerto (vidal blanc)
  • Harmony Hill Ovation (traminette & cayuga)
  • Kinkead Ridge Revelation
  • Kinkead Ridge Cabernet Franc (2)
  • Kinkead Ridge Viognier-Roussanne
  • Kinkead Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon (2)
  • Willett Bourbon 12-year (representing Kentucky’s finest)

In my suitcase, I’ll also be stuffing a bottle of Henke’s Seyval Blanc. Why so much Kinkead Ridge? Wine bloggers requested it, so I’m bringing it!

We’ll be back the middle of next week. In the meantime, watch for the occasional post from the conference, as well as a couple of posts I’ve scheduled to appear while we’re gone.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:11 am in Travel, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments ()
Oct 20

Harvest Photos: Wine is a Grape, part 2

Yesterday we had the opportunity to harvest the reds – chambourcin and cabernet franc – out at Harmony Hill. I have no idea how many pounds of red grapes we clipped. There were around 22 of us, and we all worked hard. Although tiring, and hard on the back, it was also a lot of fun. I love being around Bill and Patti at Harmony Hill, and I often wonder if my head can hold all the vineyard knowledge that Bill shares. It’s a fantastic learning experience. We’ll definitely do this again next year.

I also had some fun snapping photos of the wonderful vineyard dogs, of which there are four. You can view the slideshow below or view the entire photoset on Flickr

You might notice that the crush process looks different than in previous photos. The reds won’t go through filtration or to the bladder press for several weeks. They stay on the skins (sur lies), which gives red wines that lovely garnet hue.

Things like this, well, that’s why the blog is called "My Wine Education."

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Posted by Michelle at 8:10 am in Cincinnati, Knowledge, Local, Local Wineries, Wineries | Permalink | Comments (1)
Oct 16

Your Drinking Habit Helped Charity

The Cincinnati International Wine Festival has released their 2008 Report to the Community. This report details all sorts of things, such as how successful the 2008 festival was and their plans for 2009.


This year the Festival raised $250,000 split between 26 different charities. (If anyone knows how I can get them to help out my charity, let me know!) As the Wine Festival describes it, "We are an event based, non profit organization, that happens to host one of the largest parties in the Midwest which raises funds and distributes grants in our area."

Some numbers from the report:

  • Over 6,000 people attended the festival
  • Since 1991, the Festival has raised over $2.75 million for charity (that’s fantastic!)
  • 65% of attendees are 35-59 years of age; 28% are under 35 years of age.
  • Median income of attendees is $90,000.

Okay, that last one made me blink. A couple extra times. Most attendees are below 59 years of age with a median income of $90,000? I knew writing was a poor choice for a profession.

The Honorary Chairs for the 2009 festival are festival favorites Molly and Charles Meeker, of Meeker Vineyard in Sonoma. I loved chatting with Molly at the 2008 event, and I’m always impressed with their wines across the board, including the distinctively bottled "Handprint" Merlot.

One thing I don’t like is that "back by popular demand" is the Special Tasting Room. There are all sorts of reasons I don’t care for this – I find it slightly devalues the experience for people who, unless they want to pay extra, won’t be able to taste some remarkable wines, and I selfishly hate that the Special Tasting Room isn’t open for the trade tasting.

That said, mark your calendars for next year’s festival weekend, Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14. Winery Dinners will occur on Thursday, March 12 at area restaurants.

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Posted by Michelle at 1:09 pm in Charity Benefits, Cincinnati, Local, News, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments ()
Oct 13

Trusting Yourself & Blind Tastings


  Photo by Flickr user Timmy Corkery under Creative Commons.

I always say that Kevin has the more sensitive palate between the two of us. But I don’t know if that’s true anymore. I think, perhaps, he’s better able to dispel preconceived notions about a wine, and he’s not worried about what people might think.

Generally, when we taste wine together, I look to him to set the tone of what we might taste in the wine. Berries? Okay. Oily? Well, maybe. But I let him take the lead. He’s always able to find something when I’m often shy about it, coming up with "grapey." If I know the wine is a shiraz from Australia, I might say, "Is it high alcohol?" A cabernet from California leads me to say something along the lines of "fruit forward, lots of big berries." Why? Because this is what I expect from these wines. I let my preconceived notions get in my way.

Tim & I have been worrying a little about a Sonoma blind tasting in which we’ll be participating at the Wine Bloggers Conference. We’ll be asked to identify appellations, vintages, and so on. Tim was probably worrying about that type of thing. Me? I was worrying that I’d sound like an idiot. I was discussing this, after a fashion, with Mike on Saturday. And that’s when I had my epiphany. I’m fine if I taste blind.

Kevin and I have served as wine judges several times this year. It’s a great gig – I can’t believe people pay us for this. But my favorite time was also the one I was the most nervous about – the time I judged without Kevin. I couldn’t rely on his sensitive palate and had to trust my own. I knew only that a wine was "cabernet" but I knew no other specifics about the wine, including vintage and vineyard. It was fantastic. It took me a little time to get comfortable in my own skin, er, palate, but I did it. In fact, Ron Barrett from Kinkead Ridge actually complimented me on my palate, which surprised me. I trust his judgement, so I considered that a rather high compliment.

But it comes down to a couple things: Trust yourself. You don’t have to understand everything about the wine world to know if you taste a strawberry or a barnyard. So go with what you’re feeling, and go with your initial impressions. It’s also okay to revise. The wine in your glass is changing every minute it’s open. That strawberry might lead to a blueberry.

And host a blind tasting. Whether its you and some friends or a great big party, do it. Have everyone bring some wine, put it into paper bags with numbers, and have everyone write down what they think of the wine. I bet, like me, you’ll discover that your palate is more sensitive than you thought. Blind tastings bring an anonymity to the wine that removes those preconceived notions.


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Posted by Michelle at 2:20 pm in Knowledge, Tastings | Permalink | Comments (2)

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