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Jun 21

Guest Post: Red, Pink, and Blue 2010

Amy Storer-Scalia, a fellow Cincinnati.com blogger, runs Cincy Chic. They are hosting a charitable event (with wine!) on the Purple People Bridge on Friday.


The Purple People Bridge will soon transform into a runway for a fun, fashionable and philanthropic event!

“Red Pink and Blue” (RPB), produced by Cincy Chic and Locals on Living, is a women’s health awareness event with a fashionable twist. The “Red” represents heart health, the “Pink” represents breast health and the “Blue” represents diabetes health. The three organizations benefiting from this event are the American Heart Association, Pink Ribbon Girls and the American Diabetes Association.

RPB will take place on Friday June 25 on the Kentucky landing of the Purple People Bridge. Come out and enjoy an evening on the bridge with food, drinks, shopping and a fashion show. Also check out the St. Elizabeth Healthcare mammography van and get a complimentary blood pressure check. The event will start at 6:30p.m., the fashion show will begin at 9p.m., and the After Party kicks off at Star Lanes on the Levee at 10:30p.m.

Buy your tickets today! It’s $15 per person, and 100% of the proceeds* go to the three participating philanthropies. First 200 attendees will receive a swag bag full of goodies! Buy your tickets online – last year the event sold out, so don’t delay!

And since this is a wine aficionado blog, below is more information about the wines that’ll be featured at our event. Hope to see you there!

Best Selling Light Chilean Merlot Wine

Ruby-like, bright in color Fruit forward with red plum and varietal characteristics Medium dry, medium body and harmonious with a good finish This wine marries two of the classic Bordeaux grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon offers character, complexity and longevity, while Merlot adds softer tannins and elegance, patterned after the same classic blend that distinguishes many fine chateaux of Bordeaux.

For 20 years leading pioneer in earth friendly wine making

Valley Oaks Chardonnay is characteristically golden straw in color, with aromas of tropical fruit like mango, pineapple, banana, ripe Kiwi and honeydew melon alongside notes of cinnamon, vanilla bean, lemon grass with hints of hazel nut and cloves. The wine is crafted to be fruit-forward, medium weight, with crisp citrus and lingering melon, pear and crème fraiche flavors. The balanced mouthfeel leads to a wonderfully lingering finish. We’ll never disappoint you with our Chardonnay: it’s like saying hello to an old friend


This Cabernet Sauvignon is complex with various layers of spice and flavors. On the nose you will find enticing aromas of black cherry, blackberry, cassis and vanilla with evident spice from the oak and a hint of herbs. Tasting delivers a multi-layered wine with texture of ripe blackberry, mocha, toffee and vanilla. Medium firm tannins provide structure and balance to this medium bodied Cabernet, which will continue to evolve in the bottle.


Pale yellow in color with greenish reflections. The nose is reminiscent of acacia flowers and the delicate scent of almonds. Clean and refreshing on the palate with hints of linden and honey. Lemony nose in dry flavor with a hint of smokiness.


The nose was filled with red raspberry and cherry, along with some nice dirty earth aromas. The palate was fruity ripe strawberry, more of the raspberry, along with some subtle herb and earthy forest floor notes. This wine comes from languedoc, Ruby color, intense, fruity and soft.

– Amy Storer-Scalia

*Philanthropies will receive all proceeds collected, minus the credit card processing fees.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:01 am in Charity Benefits, Cincinnati, Guest Writers | Permalink | Comments (4)
Jun 18

Guest Post: Anchor Steam Brewery

One of my dearest friends picked up and moved to San Francisco a few years back. I hate that she’s gone, but it does mean I get to visit with her when I’m in the City by the Bay and I even get to cajole her into the occasional guest post. Jen Rizzo is a great freelance graphic artist (she did the logo and such over at the Hoperatives) and is quite the foodie. In this post, she’s filling us in on her recent tour of Anchor Steam Brewery.


I have always been a big believer in drinking locally. It’s just better. You’re supporting local businesses and decreasing your carbon footprint. Even above those two very important things, it connects you to the local flavor and allows you to explore some new options. If I’m in a new city, I always want to know what their local craft beer is like. I’m originally from Kansas City, where we have the lovely Boulevard brewery. It is probably surprising to no one that a brewery out of Kansas City specializes in wheat beer – but you can find it everywhere. The most divey of all dive bars will at least have bottles of Boulevard Wheat. When I lived in Cincinnati, I threw down Bell’s like it was candy. (The Two-Hearted and Oberon were my favorites, but I try to not discriminate.) And, of course, I had the pleasure of living in New York during the winter, so I had my share of Brooklyn Black, which is still among my favorite reasons to travel east during the holiday season.

Here in San Francisco, we are incredibly spoiled with the Anchor Steam Brewery.

The Anchor Brewing Company first opened its doors in 1896, and was purchased by Fritz Maytag in 1965. He learned west coast beer from the ground up, and eventually settled on the brews we have today. Recently, Fritz sold the brewery to a holding company a few miles north of San Francisco (owned by two former Skyy vodka representatives), which sent our beer world into a little bit of a panic. Fritz Maytag is greatly respected for his accomplishments in craft brewing, and a lot of us are on the edge of our seats anticipating what comes next. When a friend told me she had an extra ticket to an Anchor tour, I jumped at the chance. The Bay Area Beer Socials group takes this specially-organized after-hours tour once a year, but the organizer fears that this may be the last year for it due to the brewery changing hands.

Anchor produces both seasonal and year-round beers. Anchor Steam is their flagship beer. It’s rich and a little hoppy – a classic west coast beer. (When I was still living in Cincinnati, Northside Tavern kept it on draft, but I’d have to defer to the Hoperatives as to who has it now.)

“Steam” beer was originally a term used to describe west coast brews, but is now a trademark of the Anchor Brewing Company. There are many stories about where the name “steam beer” came from. My favorite is that around the turn of the century, there was no way to effectively chill the beer after boiling, so San Francisco breweries had large, shallow, open-top tanks on the roof to allow the climate to cool it naturally. When beer was being brewed, clouds of steam rose off the top of the buildings – hence, steam beer!

Today, Anchor replicates the process by using these open-top tanks inside:

The beer sits in these tanks for three days, at which point it’s nearly flat. It’s combined later at about an 85/15 ratio with beer that’s only sat there for one day and isn’t quite done, so it balances out in the end.

Liberty Ale is like Anchor Steam’s big brother. A little hoppier, a little richer, a little higher in alcohol content. (6%, compared to Anchor Steam’s 4.9%.) Its name honors Paul Revere’s bicentennial ride, but the recipe stems from older variations of Our Special Ale, their winter seasonal. Anchor Porter is their darkest offering. Dark, rich and roasty with a hoppy back to it, it’s one of my favorite porters. Not too malty, not too smoky. Old Foghorn is a barleywine-style ale. A little lower in alcohol content than most barleywines, at 8-10% (Anchor claims it varies), it’s still the heftiest of the Anchor brews. A little sweet, incredibly rich, and a little bubbly. On draft, it’s particularly lovely, but it holds up pretty well in its bottled version. If the Liberty Ale is Anchor Steam‘s big brother, Anchor Small Beer is Old Foghorn’s little brother. At a teeny tiny 3.3%, it’s created from a second running of the mash used to make Old Foghorn. Even though they come from the same place, they couldn’t taste more different. Small Beer is light, but rich, and takes on a much more bitter flavor than any of Anchor’s other beers.

Anchor makes four seasonals – Our Special Ale, their winter offering, Anchor Bock, for spring, Anchor Summer, and the newest addition, Anchor Humming. Humming Ale was originally created last year to honor the 30th anniversary of the current location. Bars in San Francisco snatched up what they could, since it was intended to be a limited run. About the time that everyone was running out of it, Anchor announced that they would be bottling it as their new autumn seasonal.

Brewery tours are available by reservation during the week.  If you’re in the San Francisco area anytime soon, it’s a wonderful piece of history. Plus, the tour wraps up with a tasting, so you can choose your favorites! (While you’re in the area, do what we did and trek up the hill a couple blocks to Goat Hill Pizza, where you can get a pitcher of Anchor Steam as well as sourdough-crust pizzas. Thank me later.)

– Jen Rizzo
Photos © Jen Rizzo, 2010

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Posted by Michelle at 8:01 am in Beer, Beer-Guy.net, Guest Writers, Travel | Permalink | Comments (1)
Jun 17

Guest Post: Meet Louisville (and Loueyville!)

Melissa, er, Lou blogs over at My Loueyville and I just love her. Cincinnati is a wonderful city, but we’ve also got two other wonderful cities – Louisville and Lexington – around or under 2 hours drive south. I have ties to Louisville, I admit, as my brother-in-law just graduated from UofL, I went to school at Kentucky Wesleyan (where I swear everyone was from Louisville), and I don’t know if I’ve ever missed a Kentucky Derby in my life. I’m thrilled that Lou decided to guest post for me here at Wine-Girl!


I’ve been a proud Louisvillager and self-proclaimed cheerleader for the city for almost four years now.  And one of the many, many things I love about this city is its proximity to Cincinnati.  I relish my quarterly weekend trips to Cincy to avail myself of some of the luxuries that my corner of the midwest doesn’t possess.  I’m an IKEA fiend, but I go as much for the meatballs as for the home decor.  I’m a recent convert to Trader Joe’s– as a single person, I am bonkers for their frozen food entrees.  And if there’s a prettier bar in the entire region than the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, I haven’t seen it.

That being said, I sure hope you Cincinnatians take advantage of your proximity to my fair city.  There’s no better time to make your way upriver to our neck of the woods than summer.  And some of the best reasons to visit are free or cheap as heck.

Image by Fleur-Design Photography under a CC license

I’m a 4th generation Red Sox fan, but now that I’ve moved here, I’ve embraced your Reds as my secondary team.  And if you have even a passing love of the Reds, you need to get down here to a Louisville Bats game to see some of your future stars at work.  Last year, Homer Bailey was my favorite “boy of summer,” and now he’s pitching down your way almost full time.  This year, the star to watch is Aroldis Chapman… you may want to watch him because, at least right now, the Reds’ $30M man seems to be falling apart a bit. But the best reason to hit Slugger Field to see a Bats game is that it is, hands down, the cheapest fun this city has to offer.  As little as $7 gets you inside (watch for deals, like a AAA discount) — I rarely ever sit in an actual seat as the park features abundant picnic tables with great views. Beer is about $4.50, but again, keep your eye open for deals — happy hours can reduce that down to $1-$3. And there’s more than hot dogs and nachos for food.  The stand under the Jumbotron sells pork chop and ribeye sandwiches as well as really excellent grilled corn on the cob. Slugger Field is also a gorgeous place to watch a sunset over the river.

If you’re lucky like I am and enjoy summers off, the best free fun the city has to offer during the summer is Waterfront Wednesdays, the last Wednesday of every month from April-September.  Waterfront Wednesdays is a free concert at Waterfront Park sponsored by public radio station WFPK. Every WW features three acts, most of them nationally known — this month (June 30) features Carney (fronted by Reeve Carney, who will next appear in the Julie Taymor-directed Spiderman musical on Broadway), Sonos, and Joshua James.  Feel free to bring a picnic, but no outside alcohol is allowed.  That’s no big deal because the WW stands feature great beers and a full bar at reasonable prices.  It’s spitting distance from Slugger Field, so in addition to good beer and great music, you’re treated to the same gorgeous riverfront sunset.  Waterfront Wednesdays are like my birthday and Christmas rolled into one, six times a year.

Big news recently in the ‘Ville is that our own 21c Hotel has announced intentions to expand to 15 more cities, starting with Bentonville, Arkansas — home of Walmart HQ.  (Weird, I know.) Cincinnati is going to get one too.  While it isn’t cheap to either stay at or eat at our most beautiful and interesting hotel (but it is so-o-o-o worth it!), it is absolutely free to check out 21c’s contemporary art museumConde Nast Traveller’s #1 US hotel is way at the top of the list of things that make me proud to be a Louisvillager.  If it’s possible to have a crush on a business, I have a raging crush on 21c. (Check out my blog post about my 21c love.)

Image by ellenm1 via a CC license

We are an art-loving city, and this year we landed the Glass Arts Society annual conference, and so lots of our downtown galleries and museums feature some really beautiful and groundbreaking glass arts.  The conference is June 10-12, but most of the exhibits will last all summer long.  And the best time to take advantage of all those exhibits is on the first Friday of every month, during our First Friday Gallery Hop.  This art show/street fair is totally free, including parking and trolley transportation during the event. The Gallery Hop goes from 5pm-11pm, and most of the participating galleries and museums offer snacks and drinks — some even offer wine and beer tastings.

This just scratches the surface of all the fabulous things that Louisville has to offer this summer.  I like to believe that whenever I fill my cooler at Trader Joe’s, another Cincinnatian gets his/her wings to fly to Louisville.  Of course for more goings-on in Louisville, you can check out my blog, Loueyville.  Other stellar Louisville blogs include, Consuming Louisville, and for music lovers, Backseat Sandbar.
Hope to see y’all downriver soon!

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Posted by Michelle at 8:00 am in Guest Writers, Travel | Permalink | Comments (3)
Jun 16

Guest Post Op-Ed: A Little Bit of Legislature

This guest post is from Nancy Bentley, co-owner of Kinkead Ridge Winery in Ripley, OH.

An editorial note: I try very hard as a blogger to stay apolitical. However, I do not require this of my guest bloggers. Nancy’s post expresses her personal feelings about some legislative issues affecting agriculture in Ohio and is a legitimate Opinion piece. I invite you to express your own feelings about the legislature in the comments or by contacting Nancy.

– M

It makes me laugh how the Wall Street Journal continually posts ads from the state of Ohio suggesting what a great state Ohio is to start a business. In 1999, we relocated from a highly successful vineyard operation in Oregon, in order to prove that great wines could be made in southern Ohio and to revitalize the area with new wineries for agritourism. We personally mentored at least five new wineries, and continue to help more.

I would like to describe several current situations regarding the Ohio Department of Agriculture and wineries, and then two other situations that reflect how they are hurting small farmers. To put finances in perspective: The Ohio wine and grape industry released its 2008 economic impact report, which finds that Ohio’s grape and wine industry has a significant impact of more than $580 million on the state’s economy.
Highlights of the report include:

  • In 2008, the Ohio wine and grape industry had an economic impact of $582.8 million.
  • The Ohio grape and wine industry employed more than 4,000 people in 2008, providing a payroll of $124.2 million.
  • The Ohio grape and wine industry contributed an estimated $62 million back in state, local and federal tax revenue.

Situation #1: Given the fact that the Ohio wine industry contributes so much money to the economy, we are appalled at the latest overreach by the Ohio Department of Agriculture bureaucracy. There is a law on the books that allows them to inspect wineries as food production facilities, something that neither California, Oregon or other huge wine producing states do. Only wineries that wholesale their wine are subject to this annual inspection, which wineries will be charged an annual fee for, ranging from $50 to $300. Wineries that only sell retail will not be inspected. I have actually been in a winery in Ohio that only sold at retail that had dog turds on the floor. Wholesale warehouses that store wine may not be inspected (follow the distributor lobby money).

Nothing harmful to humans can live in wine. We actually had an ODA person suggest that we wash the grapes to eliminate insects, a laughable comment. There was a suggestion to use bleach to clean up black mold, a product that is well known to cause TCA taint in wine. Our only avenue for change is to change the law to exempt wineries. In the meantime, inadequately trained, probably highly paid registered sanitarians will be hitting the road and generating travel expenses to make sure that wineries have hairnets in the building. The maximum amount of money these fees could generate for the state would be $30,000, and it will be much less than that.

The claim is to protect the public, but there are no plans to take samples of wines for testing of any kind, and wineries are already highly regulated by the federal government (TTB) and local health organizations. This is just bureaucratic bloat and a waste of taxpayer money.

We cannot get a straight answer as to what part of the regulatory code will be enforced. On a conference call, I was basically told that wineries could be inspected with different criteria. And imagine if your winery is inspected in January, when everything is cleaned up, or at crush, when bees, fruit flies, etc. fill the winery.

Situation #2. We have been making Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Viognier/Roussanne and Petit Verdot for 10 years. In general these wines are in the 12%-13% alcohol range. A fine vintage from 2008 pushed them all over 14% alcohol. The federal government approves all wine labels. For free. The state of Ohio rubber stamps such labels, at an initial fee of $50 per label. Because these wines went over 14%, I was required to submit “New Label Registrations” and write a check for $250 to the state.

Situation #3: It goes beyond wineries. Last year, Harmony Hill Vineyards had a wonderful farmers market. The Ohio Department of Agriculture has now said that if you want to sell your eggs or meat at a Farmers Market, a cooler with blue ice is no longer good enough to store your food for a couple of hours. “Mechanical refrigeration” is required. So that means you load up a refrigeration, hope you can plug it in somewhere, transfer your food in the cooler, load it in the fridge, and reverse for the trip home.

We use farm fresh eggs in fining, and needed 6 dozen eggs from a small egg producer in Ripley. She is NOT allowed to deliver the eggs to us, a few miles away. We had to pick them up.

Situation #4: The Fizzleville Fair in Adams County has made home made ice cream for over 30 years. Apparently that will no longer be allowed.

So, in summary, this is a bureaucracy out of control. We need new leaders who will get out of the way and let Ohio small business do what they do best without excessive and stupid regulations. Ohio is hurting and driving small business out of Ohio, not encouraging it.

– Nancy Bentley

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Posted by Michelle at 2:30 am in Current Affairs, Guest Writers, Legislation, Wine Misc | Permalink | Comments (2)
Jun 14

Be Our Guest

By the time you read this, I’ll be on my way to San Diego … then Pennsylvania … then DC … then Walla Walla and Seattle. Hopefully while we’re in Seattle and Walla Walla, we’ll get some posts in from the Wine Bloggers Conference. No promises though.

However, so that you still get information on a regular basis, I’ve lined up a group of guest bloggers. They’ve already given me their posts (so that I don’t have any surprises) and they are scheduled and ready to go. For the times Kevin and I are gone, you’ll be hearing from our friends and colleagues, both locally and in other exciting cities.

I hope you enjoy their insight! They’ll be bringing you different perspectives based on their locations, jobs, and interests.

You’ll be hearing from

Kevin will also be chiming in while I’m on the business portion of the trips.

Thanks, and “see” you in July!


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Posted by Michelle at 8:00 am in Guest Writers, Travel | Permalink | Comments (2)

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