I was recently interviewed by the team at Mix + Shine Marketing + PR here in Virginia Beach and it was a killer experience.
Being your own boss is great, but it's good to face yourself head on sometimes and evaluate past decisions, good and bad so that you're always innovating, challenging others and yourself.
Big thanks to Rachael and April who forced me to rethink in ways I hadn't yet.
What's in this episode –
Listen here for the full Podcast.
For our 2019 Sensory kick-off event, we'll be visiting ski regions around the world! Join Sommeliers Tina Morey and Crystal Cameron-Schaad as we explore which wine regions sport the Après Ski mindset > skiing, warming fires, wine! No matter if you ski or not, wine and snacks are always welcome at the end of the day. Come explore some fabulous mountain wines and learn how high altitude can produce some of the world's most stunning wines paired with a variety of goodies.
As always, we'll be tasting and sniffing through our Sensory Table to reflect what's in our glasses.
Tickets $35 from Eventbrite
Date And Time
Sat, March 2, 2019
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM EST
Add to Calendar
Crystal Palate Wine & Gourmet
4500 Pretty Lake Avenue
Norfolk, VA 23518
There's always one particular association that drives the advancement of a wine region. This is where the Michigan Wine Collaborative (MWC) shines!
"MWC’s mission it to enhance the sustainability and profitability of the Michigan wine industry by supporting wineries, growers and other businesses and individuals connected to the industry – today and for future generations. We focus on bringing Michigan wines to the global wine stage and creating a more inclusive wine industry."
The Collaborative is a non-profit organization which serves the Michigan wine industry and its consumers. MWC is a member-run organization comprised of winemakers, grape growers, suppliers/vendors, educators, industry affiliates, researchers/educators, consumers, and more. Their main mission is to enhance the sustainability and profitability of the Michigan wine industry. The immediate goal is to bring exposure to the industry and make Michigan wines more understood and accessible for wine lovers.
Follow hashtag #winestudio 9-10pm ET
5 February - An introduction to Michigan Wine
Michigan Wine Collaborative Director Emily Dockery
St. Julian Winery Lake Michigan Shore AVA
Winemaker: Nancie Oxley @stjulianwinery
St. Julian Winery Lake Michigan Shore AVA
Winemaker: Nancie Oxley @stjulianwinery
As Michigan’s oldest winery, St. Julian Winery truly reflects the soul of Michigan. For nearly 100 years they have focused on achieving the highest quality and consistency in their products. Through the years they have cultivated land in the state’s most premium appellation — Lake Michigan Shore, which has lead to their unrelenting commitment to using local fruit and resources to craft their exceptional products.
Their dedication to creating the finest quality from farm to bottle, while supporting the local community, has allowed the best of our state to shine through in every bottle. Over the past 15 years, St. Julian has focused on producing a new line of single variety wines. The grapes come from the vineyards in Southwest Michigan, producing top quality wines. In 1999, Braganini Reserve Meritage was “born” establishing a small lot production of dry, single variety wines. St. Julian now has over 15 Braganini Reserve wines ranging in many different winemaking styles.
2017 Mountain Road Riesling ($19.99)
2017 Braganini Reserve Grüner Veltliner ($19.99)
Amoritas Vineyards Leelanau Peninsula AVA
Viticulturalist: Emily Goodell @AmoritasVines
Michael, Emily, and Matthew Goodell carry the torch of entrepreneurial wine industrialism, originally lit wife & mother, Mary Northcutt, into the forefront of Michigan farmers and winemakers. Along with Matthew’s wife Nora, the team has forged ahead tirelessly, pursuing a goal to craft clean, delicate, and delicious wines. Wines created from grapes planted, nurtured, and harvested by hand on Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula.
2016 Chardonnay ($21)
L. Mawby Winery Leelanau Peninsula AVA
Winemaker: Peter Laing @mibubbly
Fine, traditional method sparkling wines, classically styled, produced entirely from grapes grown on the Leelanau Peninsula. Mawby wines express the character of this special place, the care of the people tending the vines, and the purity of intent of those guiding the transformation of grape to sparkling wine.
Blanc de Blanc ($25)
Big Little Wines Leelanau Peninsula AVA
Winemaker: Peter Laing @bigLITTLEwines
Big white wines. Little Leelanau Peninsula. Big brother. Little brother. Big passion. Little ego. The goal is to make full-bodied, hand crafted wines that are expressions of both staff and parents’ ten-acre vineyard in Lake Leelanau, Michigan.
2017 Mixtape Field Blend
Fenn Valley Vineyards Lake Michigan Shore AVA
Fenn Valley Vineyards is a family owned and operated vineyard and winery complex established in 1973. Their goal has always been to produce world-class wines from grapes grown along the shore of Lake Michigan.
The Fenn Valley estate is a 240 acre farm located five miles from Lake Michigan just south of Holland, Michigan. The site was chosen after reviewing weather, climate, and soil survey maps. Unlike farmers who already own farm land and then begin to grow grapes, the Welsch family migrated from the Chicago area and were therefore free to select the most desirable site for viticulture based on the available data.
What does their slogan, “The Lake Effect Everyone Loves” mean?
What they call the “Lake Effect” is the moderating effect that Lake Michigan has on the climate of West Michigan, and it is what makes grape growing possible. There is a narrow band right along the shore where cold tender grape varieties can be successfully grown. Most people who live there know the Lake Effect as heavy winter snowfall. But they know the Lake Effect as milder winter temperatures leading to great Michigan wine.
Director of Marketing: Kyle Browning @ChateauChantal
The Begin family, Robert, Nadine and daughter Marie-Chantal, opened the doors of friendly hospitality in 1993 upon the completion of a French style three room B&B, winery and vineyard estates. Focusing on Michigan wines, they produce Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and other varieties.
Perhaps even more interesting than the magical story of winemaking is the history of the Chateau’s founding couple, Robert and Nadine. Their fascinating tale begins with two previous careers of service to others. As a Catholic diocesan priest for 12 years, Robert worked in his home area of Detroit until a decision was made in 1972 to begin again as a businessman heading a construction business. Nadine had taken a similar path by entering the Felician Sisters in 1950. After earning her Master’s Degree in Home Economics and teaching for 22 years, she too made a decision to seek a different life. Married in 1974, the couple followed Robert’s dream of building a European style winery chateau.
30 Year Vineyard Reserve Chardonnay ($30)
How a Tech Device Revolutionized the Wine Industry!
Coravin is a wine preservation system that allows for all of us to enjoy drinking wine by the glass without ever pulling the cork!
For our Twitter discussion, we’ll be chatting with Peter Johnson, AVA Wine Manager at Coravin Tuesday, 4 December, then Greg Lambrecht, Founder and Inventor of Coravin on Tuesday 11 December.
Our topics for the program:
As always on #winestudio, we'll have a live, frank conversation! Join us online, Twitter hashtag #winestudio Tuesdays, 4 and 11 December 9-10pmET.
Established in 1820, Acker Merrall & Condit is the oldest wine merchant in America, and has been the largest global fine and rare wine auction house spanning over a decade and one of the largest and most influential wine purveyors in the world. And yet, most folks most likely have never heard of them. So Acker Merrall is on a mission to change that.
I used to work directly within auctions, and I get it, the whole process can be daunting. I've had several phone calls with the Acker team, who you'll meet online, and I have to say, they are a bunch of crazy wine geeks who, collectively, have worked for Acker Merrall & Condit for almost forty years, and today, that says a lot.
Acker prides itself as being uniquely welcoming to all walks of wine lover – from the novice inquisitor to the well-established collector, bringing new, unique and truly extraordinary experiences to all. The Acker approach is to “combine our expertise with yours” fostering, stoking and building upon a love of wine and the wine-enhanced lifestyle – from world-class auctions, to wines for your dinner table, to daily tastings, a killer wine club, corporate services and customized, once-in-a-lifetime wine experiences. It’s all here at Acker Merrall & Condit, and we are waiting for you, glass in hand.
As always with #winestudio, wine serves as vehicle for conversation and inclusiveness. This extraordinary program is more about opening wine to showcase the diversity of offerings, affordable AND aspirational quality. Embracing that wine is experiential and part of a lively, happy, lifestyle focused on joie di vivre; deliberately taking moments, minutes and hours, to savor special times with friends and loved ones over fine food and wine, creating sensory memories that last a lifetime.
The Acker Merrall & Condit team likes to say: “all wine in all ways." Awesome.
As a thank you, Acker Merrall & Condit has given us a discount code: enter #winestudio in Special Notes at checkout for 10% off your first purchase. (Discount reflected on final invoice. Exclusions apply.)
The Acker Merrall & Condit team on #winestudio:
Samantha has been a member of the Acker Merrall & Condit team for over a decade. She earned her undergraduate degree from Bucknell University and shortly after college, in pursuit of her passions for food, wine, and travel, she studied with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust in New York City, earning her Advanced Certification with Distinction. She joined Acker Merrall & Condit in 2006, contributing to more than 350 live and online auctions in New York, Chicago, Europe and Hong Kong. She assisted in the coordination and execution of the Tsar’s Treasure auction in the Aland Islands, where a new world record for the world’s oldest and most expensive bottle of champagne was auctioned in 2011. She currently serves as auctioneer and Director of Operations.
Lily Mirabelle Freedman
Lily grew up in the New York City restaurant business which fostered her love of collecting and learning about fine and rare wine. While pursuing a degree at the University of Chicago, she worked in the kitchens of Daniel Boulud and Missy Robbins to learn the intricacies of the restaurant world. After college, she worked as a recipe developer at Bon Appetit Magazine and on several cookbooks. Lily spent a year as the client relations specialist at WineCredit, a specialty lender in the wine space, becoming an expert on the global wine market and cellar liquidation. She has served as the sommelier for Acker Merrall & Condit since 2014 and is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. As a Junior Partner in their Wine Workshop program, Lily orchestrates tastings of the world’s rarest wines and works with winemakers and wine critics to create the ultimate wine experience for novices and experts alike.
Cliff began his career at Acker Merrall & Condit in Sales and Management in the fall of 1996 upon completion of his undergraduate studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. In his over 22 years at Acker, Cliff has run Sales, served as Wine Buyer, managed the Retail Store operation, and now heads the Business Development Department. In addition to his years of work at Acker, Cliff also ran a retail shop and wine list for a major restaurant in Santa Barbara called the Montecito Wine Bistro, and started his own winery in 2008 called ‘No Limit Wines’, which focuses on Rhone varieties in the Central Coast of California. Cliff is an avid NY Mets and Rangers fan, and a native New Yorker.
#winestudio Tuesdays November 9-10pm EST @AckerMerrall
Week 1: Tuesday, November 6 - Building a Killer Wine Collection: Demystifying Wine Auctions
Acker Merrall & Condit will be celebrating its 200th anniversary! We'll discus how the company earned its reputation by having the best customer service in the industry and has provided expert wine services for nearly two centuries. Acker Merrall offers a vast array of services including a deep inventory of fine & rare wine, recommendations on new releases, first class wine education amenities, in-store tastings and their business foundation: fine & rare wine auctions.
Whilst discussing the above, we'll be sipping on these beauties:
2000 JJ Christoffel Riesling Spatlese Erdener Treppchen
2006 Palomita Syrah Hamilton Vineyard
2000 Chateau Latour Carnet
Week 2: Tuesday, November 13 - Badass Holiday Wines & Building Your Wine Cellar
The holiday season is upon us and that means even more reasons to rely on the experts at Acker Merrall. Wine and spirits make excellent holiday gifts (in various bottle sizes) for everyone on your list! We'll discuss holiday gatherings with family, friends and co-workers and how a well-chosen bottle makes a perfect gift that the recipient will always remember – especially if consumed together!
Whilst discussing the above, we'll be sipping on these bottles:
Orin Swift, 2017 8 Years in the Desert
Week 3: Tuesday, November 20 - “More Than a Wine Merchant” – The Accessible Luxury Lifestyle & Redefining Wine Culture
Acker Merrall, with 200 years of experience in the wine industry, is the ideal resource for anyone who loves wine, whether you’re just a beginner or an established collector. From their super easy auctions, to fine and rare retail, corporate resources, in-store tastings and of course education, Acker Merrall is redefining what wine culture is today.
Week 4: Tuesday, November 27 - “A Case in Point”: The Acker Wine Club
So what makes the Acker Merrall Wine Club different than other wine clubs? Tune in and find out with the Acker team!
We'll be enjoying this lovely:
Reserve Club selection: Frank Family Vineyards, 2015 Zinfandel Napa Valley
San Diego has everything! Perfect weather, mountains, beach and deserts all within an hour, a powerful military presence, killer food scene, a fanatical beer contingent and robust tourism. What it lacks is a dedicated wine culture. Which is interesting because San Diego is the oldest wine region in California and also the youngest.
There are about 200 AVAs (American Viticultural Area) in the U.S. And three of them reside within San Diego County, which is the size of the combined states of Rhode Island and Delaware. The largest of these AVAs - South Coast, stretches from Malibu down to the Mexican border which includes San Diego. Contained within is the San Pasqual Valley AVA, established in 1981, and covers 9,000 acres on the banks of the San Dieguito River near Escondido. And the other is the Ramona Valley AVA, established in 2006, covering 89,000 acres surrounding the town of Ramona.
And the weather that most cite as near to perfect? It is, especially for grapes! San Diego boasts a mild mediterranean climate, little rainfall, wind (desert), fog, (ocean) elevation (mountains) including deep, granitic soils and chaparral vegetation. Which means, many vines can be grown sustainably, without reliance on pesticides and can capture ambient yeasts to provide distinct flavour profiles.
And the best part about San Diego wine? It remains a smallish community of winemakers and wine lovers who work tirelessly to preserve and educate about the gem that is San Diego.
There are many people who have worked tirelessly to place San Diego on the world wine map. But none has done so with such coolness and ease as Tami Wong CS. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Tami in the past and I recently caught up with her during her 2nd Annual NatDiego Festival. Read more about Tami here. She’ll be our guide throughout #winestudio October.
What I’ve learned about the people behind San Diego wine is a willingness to experiment and explore, so perhaps not having a yet dedicated wine culture is exactly the kind of culture that breeds innovation and exploration. It’s that freedom that comes with a re-burgeoning of a wine region that’s ripe with excitement--the wild west!
Twitter hashtag #winestudio 9-10pmET
2 October @Stehleon @VesperVineyards
Stehleon Vineyards 2015 Grenache Blanc Sunrise Ranch, San Diego County | SRP: $23
Vesper Vineyards 2013 Carignan McCormick Ranch, San Diego County | SRP: $25
9 October @DomaineArtefact @AltipianoWinery
Domaine Artefact 2017 Les Printemps Grenache Rosé, San Diego County | SRP: $30
Domaine Artefact 2016 Estate Rincon del Diablo, Paso Robles | SRP: $45
Altipiano Vineyard & Winery NV Estate Barbera, San Diego County | SRP: $58
Altipiano Vineyard & Winery 2016 Estate Sangiovese Reserve, San Diego County | SRP: $65
16 October @CharlieEchoWine
Charlie & Echo 2017 Viognier, Warner Springs, San Diego County | SRP: $23.00
Charlie & Echo 2017 Darkstar, Warner Springs, San Diego County (47% Syrah 53% Zinfandel | SRP: $21-26
23 October @KoiZenCellars
Koi Zen Cellars 2016 Paso Syrah | SRP: $33
For more information, click here.
On the heels of the Global Garnacha Summit held in Napa Valley recently, we'll be exploring Cariñena - the birthplace from which Garnacha / Grenache has been cultivated around the world.
We all know Grenache, and we know Garnacha - same grape, grown in different parts of the world. What’s particularly special about this grape, is its ability to reflect the soil where it’s grown, adapt to climatic changes and moreso lends itself to a winemaker’s interpretation for the finished wine.
D.O.P. Cariñena is located in the heart of the Ebro Valley in Spain’s northeast region of Aragón, bordered by the Pyrenees and France to the north, and Catalunya to the east. The region’s prominent strategic situation as a gateway to the rest of Europe has long defined centuries of winemaking history, dating back to the Roman era. Planted at high altitude, the vineyards descend into dramatic windswept plains that benefit from extreme day-to-night temperature differences, ideal conditions for rich, expressive wines crafted from layers of rock, mineral, and earth.
We’re joined by Lyn Farmer, James Beard Award-winning wine and food writer and WSET Instructor, who’ll guide us through the many facets of Garnacha, including the ins and outs of D.O.P Cariñena. @FizzFan
The Global Garnacha Summit, which took place at CIA at Copia in Napa in April, was an innovative and immersive experience for attendees passionate about Garnacha/Grenache. Space was limited for the event during this first edition but have no fear – highlights from the experience can be found right here in a video showcasing seminars, panelists’ insights and more.
Twitter hashtag #winestudio 9-10pmET @VinosCarinena
Week 1 September 11 - Winemaker’s Choice within DOP Cariñena - Style, Expectations, Labels
Grandes Vinos has the distinction of working with vineyards in each of the 14 growing areas of D.O.P. Cariñena. The result is a depth of product that is a perfect complement to the spirit of creativity and innovation that has defined the company since it was founded in 1997.
El Circo Garnacha 2017
Monasterio Old Vine Garnacha 2016
Week 2 September 18 - Garnacha > The Giving Grape: terroir friendly, best practices, vine age, new plantings
Founded in 1953, Bodegas Paniza is named for the village where the winery is located, and where growers have cared for their vineyards for generations. The winery is situated in the highest elevation area of D.O.P. Cariñena to the south, at the rise of the Sistema Ibérico Mountain range, which brings cooling influences even in the peak of summer.
Viñas Viejas de Paniza Garnacha 2012
Artigazo Edicion Limitada 2014
40% Garnacha, 30% Syrah, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon
Week 3 September 25 - The First Global Garnacha Summit - What We Learned > the Bright Future of Garnacha
Bodegas San Valero
A leading winery since 1944, Bodegas San Valero (Grupo BSV) has the longest history in Cariñena and has benefitted from access to some of the most prominent vineyards in the region for over 70 years.
Particular Garnacha 2017
Particular Old Vine Garnacha 2015
A no-alc & low-alc Beverage Class Incorporating Garden Greens and Herbs
Presented by Tina Morey, Certified Sommelier, Pastry Chef & Host of #winestudio
#winestudio - understanding our world through drink and our part in that world.
If you’re someone who thinks about any of the following, then this class is for you!:
Last year, I created the first class in the area focusing solely on bringing your garden into your glasses mixed with a little-known non-alcohol spirit called Seedlip. It was a sold-out event! And today, Seedlip is sold all over the world!
For this class, I wanted to focus on the concept that no-alc and low-alc beverages can coexist with the commonality being our gardens. So here we are!
Bring: whatever garden herb, veggie, spice or tincture you like! Or just your cool self.
Included: all products for beverages, recipes and bar snacks.
Takeaways from the class:
August: Terra Sancta Trading Co. > Tasting Ancient
September: The Cariñena Garnacha Road Tour
October: The San Diego Wine Trail
November: Acker Merrall & Condit - Since 1820
December: Creatives II and Holiday Social!
More collaboration with Katarina Andersson direct from Italy!
And, introducing: The Importer Series! Taste wines not in the country yet alongside perspective importers!
“No-doubt everyone has their own perception of the Middle East; but politics aside, through Terra Sancta I not only want to introduce the products to the U.S., but also help people understand the importance of the Levant [Eastern Mediterranean] today. Not a lot of people realize this is where wine originally came from. It’s where beer came from. The role this part of the world has played in shaping the beverage industry as we know it today is grossly underestimated.” Jason Bajalia, Terra Sancta
Food and wine unite people because it’s normal. Let me say that again: eating and drinking is a normal past-time of all peoples, regardless of political machinations.
This particular program is not about politics, although I would be remiss if I didn’t state that politics can and do play roles in our daily lives, not just in our food and wine choices. But this program is not about politics, it’s about reintroducing an ancient area of winemaking--quite possibly the original regions for winemaking on the planet! And why it is so important to understand it.
The Levant is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean. The term is used to refer to modern events or states in the region immediately bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea: Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria.
Largest cities: Damascus; Amman; Aleppo; Baghdad; Beirut; Gaza; Jerusalem; Tel Aviv
Languages: Levantine Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic, Armenian, Circassian, Greek, Kurdish, Ladino, Turkish, Domari
Commonalities in the Levant
Regardless of many differences, the people living in this region have many similarities that unite them culturally as a part of the Eastern Mediterranean. Visit any household or restaurant and you will assuredly find mezze (appetizers on small plates), indigenous spirits, strong, dark coffee and wine. Long before the vine reached Europe, grapes were cultivated here. In fact, winemaking was ingrained in the history, religion, folklore of this ancient region--it was THE lifestyle.
Through close relationships the Bajalia brothers maintain with their suppliers, they continue to invest countless hours speaking with growers and businesses in the Eastern Mediterranean, and shaping the strategic growth of Terra Sancta in the U.S.
The Levant is a fascinating wine region with a perfect climate, elevations, terroir, indigenous varieties and modern technology in vineyards and wineries. The wine industry compares New World and Old World wines. This region represents the Ancient World.
Twitter hashtag #winestudio 9-10pmET
Week 1 - August 7 - Terra Sancta and Jason Bajalia @TerraSanctaCo
Week 2 - August 14 - Introduction to Cremisan Winery and the Idea of Origin
Tasting: Cremisan Wine Estate 2016 West Bank Dabouki
Week 3 - August 21 - Leading the Ancient Indigenous Movement
Tasting: Cremisan Wine Estate 2014 West Bank Baladi
Week 4 - August 28 - Ancient Terroir
Tasting: Cremisan Wine Estate West Bank 2016 Hamdani /Jandali