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Aug 21

Wanna pour some wine?

Your help is needed! I got a call today from one of the organizers of the Covington Farmer’s Fair. I’ll do a bigger post on Farmer’s Fair next week, but for now, just know it’s a really neat (and big) event promoting sustainable living and eating / buying local.

It takes place next Saturday, Aug 28, from 10 am to 10 pm. There’s one small local winery that would really like to be there, but because of harvest, has to pull out unless they can find folks to pour for them. You’d have to sell the wine (take money), so we need you to be trust worthy, and you can probably get up to speed pretty fast.

Kevin and I will be pouring for them in morning through mid-afternoon, I think. However, we have plans for that evening. Is there anyone out there that might want to pour from roughly 3 or 5 pm until 10 pm? If there are enough folks, maybe we can split into more shifts. This is a fun local winery, based over in Alexandria (hint, hint), and I’d really like to have them at the Fair.

As a bonus, the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars will be playing from 5-10 pm, so you’ll get a free concert while you’re pouring.

Let me know ASAP in the comments or via email.

Thanks!

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Posted by Michelle at 11:06 am in Charity Benefits, Cincinnati, Local, Local Wineries | Permalink | Comments (3)
Aug 20

Disney’s Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2010

Back in 2005, I went to a Learning-themed conference (as I’m a training & development professional) held at a convention center on the Walt Disney World property. I was excited to begin with, as I’m quite the Disney aficionado. Kevin flew down with me and we spent an extended weekend after the conference exploring the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. We loved it! At the time, the F&W offered a bunch of free seminars with park admission, which is how we discovered super-cool Master Sommelier /Master of Wine Doug Frost and were introduced to Greek wine.

2009 Wine and Food Festival

Since then, we’ve been back in 2006 and 2009, and we just made our reservations for 2010. We really do enjoy it and for those of you who are kid-free like us, well, let’s just say that Epcot is filled with more adults than kids during F&W Fest weekends. The F&W Fest has changed a bit since 2005, but a lot of the great things have stayed the same.

Every country in the World Pavilion has its own special booth setup where you can get tapas size bites from that region, as well as a beer or wine. For instance, France usually has some sort of eclair, a quiche, and champagne. (This is aside from the specific Champagne booth that is set up.) In addition to the regular countries, booths are added for new countries so that you can have food from Australia, Spain, Belgium, India, and more. It tends to grow and change every year. Australia also has a special wine walk in which you can participate for a small fee. America usually offers an included Samuel Adams beer tasting that is a lot of fun.

2009 Samuel Adams Beer Tasting

There’s also a Festival headquarters, where you can partake in those seminars I mentioned. These now cost ~$8 per person. Last year we took a class from a rum maker from Bacardi and listened to a winemaker from a small winery speak. I haven’t yet looked at this year’s list of seminars, but it is available for download. You can also sign up for special dinners, parties and tastings. These, of course, have a much higher fee and generally require registration several months in advance. In fact, on July 20, they announced all of the special events and opened the registration lines. Last year we enjoyed a Tequila tasting in the new Tequila bar in Mexico. This year we’re participating in a Grand Marnier Tasting and Cocktail event in France. Cost? $45 per person.

2009 Tequila Tasting in Epcot Mexico

In 2006 we participated in two expensive but amazing events. We took a day-long class with Doug Frost that introduced us to Spanish wine. It was amazing, and I learned a lot – in fact, since that class I’ve had a real passion for Spanish wines. (Thank you Doug!) We also went to the Party of the Senses. At the time, I think it cost $110/pp (and is now up to $135/pp). It was worth it. I had mixed emotions about it at the time. Due to a combination of my nut allergy and my pickiness, there wasn’t all that much I would eat. There was an amazing amount of excellent wine though. The Party of the Senses is a giant room, decorated so beautifully it’s almost over-stimulating, filled with various chefs, sous chefs, and their food. All of the food is paired with wine as well, so you get to try things you wouldn’t find either out in the park or here at home. Adding to all of this is Cirque du Soleil, who perform periodically in the great room, but also offer face painting and juggling off to the side. I haven’t made up my mind on the Party of the Senses this year. It’s a big expense for two people, but it’s also incredibly memorable.

2006 Party of the Senses

Last year we discovered the best way to control your spending during the F&W festival. You can buy the equivalent of Gift Cards, branded with the F&W Festival, at the F&W Fest headquarters. Just grab one of those and fill it up with cash at the beginning of each day. It’s easier than dealing with cash as you hit each food booth and does give you a bit of a budget. Just be careful. They give you a wristband to which you can attach the card. Last year, my card fell off the band. I’m going to probably use a lanyard of some sort this year.

Last year, Friday was a great day at Epcot, without a lot of people until evening. Saturday was packed and we flew out Sunday. As far as we can tell, locals actually come to Epcot during the F&W Festival, as there is some sort of special F&W Fest pass you can get if you live in the area. And why not? What a great chance to try a lot of different food, wine, and beer? For us, staying on park property is the best bet. We can drink and eat as much as we want and rely 100% on Disney’s excellent transportation system to get us from the park to our hotel – no driving necessary.

The Epcot wine and food festival runs daily from Oct 1 – Nov 14. You can view information from our last few years of Disney adventures in the Disney category or just visit the F&W Fest official site. I also highly recommend the disney food blog, which is one of the few blogs I actually read on a daily basis.

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 8:47 am in Disney, Travel | Permalink | Comments (2)
Aug 19

Maynard James Keenan’s Wine Club

There are folks I know who are positively obsessed with Maynard James Keenan. Me? I’m not all that familiar with this music, but I do appreciate his wine. I’ve also interviewed him and can tell you, he’s as passionate about the wine as he is about the music. Now the guy behind Arizona Stronghold, Caduceus Cellars, and Merkin Vineyard is announcing a wine club called the Velvet Slippers Club.

The Velvet Slippers Club will  feature three tiers of membership ranging from the vineyard’s more well known varietals to an elite package featuring small production runs, features quarterly shipments of three bottles and exclusive merchandise from the boutique winery.  Membership also includes exclusive invitations and complimentary tastings at Caduceus’ Jerome, Ariz. tasting room.

A one-time membership fee of $75 nets you a Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyard corkscrew as well as (hold on to your hats, girls) an autographed poster. The low-end tier averages $70-$150 per shipment; the middle tier runs $120-$200 per shipment; the high-end costs $200-$250 per shipment. Those prices do not include tax and shipping. You’ll receive four shipments each year, weather permitting arriving mid-month every February, May, September, and November. Each package will contain three bottles of the winemaker’s selections, winemaker’s notes, and their seasonal newsletter.

The Velvet Slippers Club is a critical step towards establishing and sustaining our small family owned and operated estate winery,” says Keenan. “Along with maintaining the integrity of our established wines, it will allow us to spend time with single barrel offerings of blends, block specific varietals, and happy accidents by providing an appreciative audience. We couldn’t have come this far without your support. This is our way of saying thank you.”

It’s expensive, but I’m considering signing up for the low or middle tier. We’ve purchased his wine before and it was excellent. The wine club can, indeed, ship to Ohio, so count your blessings. Other lucky states include Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri,Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Not on the list are Kentucky and Indiana. Time to find an Ohio shipping address, I guess. In my experience, shipping costs vary by state, and Ohio’s wine shipping costs can be obnoxious. Be prepared.

Additionally, the excellent documentary Blood Into Wine will be released on DVD on Sept 6, if you’re interested in seeing exactly how a winery comes together in Arizona.

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 8:30 am in News, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (5)
Aug 18

Harmony Hill Comes Downtown

This is one of the strangest combinations I’ve come across. Harmony Hill Vineyards is coming to the Mainstay Rock Bar downtown. I know Harmony Hill does the music thing, but hmm …. Regardless of how strange I think the combination, I’m certainly going to be there. After all, the most important thing about this event is that the wine from out in Bethel will be exposed to folks in downtown Cincinnati. I’m all for that!

The event costs $20 and includes a wine tasting (flight I assume) from Harmony Hill and a chance to meet and greet with the winemaker, Bill Skvarla. Bill is an absolute hoot, and explains the science behind wine better than anyone I’ve met. So take this closer-to-home chance to meet him. Your $20 also gets you a selection of paired appetizers prepared by Mainstay.

Come to the party on Thursday, September 16, from 6-8 pm. Mainstay is located on the corner of 5th and Plum, at 301 West 5th Street. Tickets are available at the door.

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Posted by Michelle at 2:38 pm in Local, Local Wineries, Meet the Winemaker, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments (2)
Aug 16

Mad Men Monday: Cocktail Culture iPhone App

The folks at Mad Men are making it hard for me to write this weekly column. I blame the marketing folks who have turned Don from a bourbon and rye drinker into a Canadian Club drinker this season. It does seem to be the drink of choice in his office.

I do realize that Pete ordered a Dewar’s on the rocks, but do you really want me to struggle through scotch again? Instead, I noticed an ad go by for the Mad Men Cocktail Couture iPhone app. Well, I don’t have an iPhone, but I have an iPad, so I downloaded it and started to play.

The app is restricted by age, so keep that in mind. Can’t have the kiddies downloading the cocktail guide, you know. It is a cocktail guide, but it’s also a game.

You get one “drink” for free – Betty’s vodka gimlet.  The point of the game is to mix the drinks, including shaking your iDevice and pouring, using the correct amount of each ingredients. The novice level pretty much tells you what goes into the drink and then you just need to remember. The expert level expects you to know. (So, Molly and Josh, you guys better rock at Expert level of this game.)

I like that the game tells you where or who to associate the drink with in the show. For instance, Betty has had a vodka gimlet when out with Don and when she went to pick up a guy in a bar.

In order to score points you have to use the accelerometer in the phone to pour the exact amount of vodka, which is fun. If a shaker is required, you have to shake the phone, and so on.

At the end of it all, assuming you have made a successful cocktail, you can tip your iDevice and “drink” your creation.

The game really is fun and it does include recipes, which could be useful on the spot, but off the top you can only access the vodka gimlet. To view and play the 20 other cocktails (including a Manhattan, Tom Collins, and Old Fashioned), you need to pay $1.99. I have mixed emotions about this. In essence, you’re paying AMC and iTunes $1.99 to be marketed to. On the other hand, if Don Draper were working for Ogilvie or BBDO in 2010, he’d probably think that was a great idea. It does sort of work with the show.

As far as the show last night, I’m rooting for Peggy. I rather like that she’s stumbling into 60s era “fun” New York and is seeing a little more of what’s out there beyond a husband, kids, and house in the suburbs. Allison? Well, she should have known better than to even assume there was a chance with Don. Let’s just cross our fingers that she isn’t pregnant. Why can’t all of the office girls be as in control of themselves as Joan? Finally, I sort of miss Betty. There’s a certain brand of evil that she has mastered and I miss seeing it. Based on next week’s show, she may be back in the picture a bit. What did you think of last night’s episode?

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Posted by Michelle at 11:53 am in Cocktails, Entertainment, Games, Mad Men Monday, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (13)

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