Archive for July, 2013

Winery Visit – Water2Wine-Centennial

Its the old question of “how does one buy a winery?” The joke is if you want to make $1 million operating a winery you start with $2 million!” In the case of the Sample family, they were purchasing bottles of wine thinking that their favorite winery was about to close its doors. After enjoying a few glasses of wine one of the family members came up with the idea of buying the winery themselves, and well, the rest is history. The family is comprised of Chip and Deb (mom and dad), their four children (Melissa, Jessica, Scott and Elizabeth) and their significant others (Kevin, Jason and Josh). Everyone helps out including a few grandkids, but its Josh that acts as general manager and Chip is there full-time. Having taken over Water2Wine-Centennial, the family couldn’t be happier!

Water2Wine is a franchised operation that acts as an independent corporation. Their grapes are sourced from 14 different countries and 2 USA states – California and Washington.  The “grapes” come as grape juice and Water2Wine then begins the fermentation process in 6 gallon batches. After 1.5 months and a variety of steps the wine is ready for bottling. The wines are processed to be drunk within 3 years because only a minimal amount of sulfites is added to the wine. Water2Wine boasts lower sulfites in their wine as well as no histamines. Currently they offer ~90 different wines and soon are hoping to have that number closer to 100. Their wines include whites, reds, regular and flavored port-style wines and ice-style wines.

One of the cool things about Water2Wine is that you can make your own wine there! Spouses, families, organizations and about-to-be-marrieds find this a great idea as they can make their own custom label for their own wine, plus be able to learn the entire process of making wine. From your own 6 gallon carboy you get 28 bottles, and the cost ranges from $240-$480 total. You can also just make your own custom label and place it on one of Water2Wine’s bottles (or a case!). This is another great idea for gifts, weddings and for businesses to give to their clients.

In addition to the winery, the tasting room is available for special events. During regular business hours there is no charge to use the facility for your meetings, events, etc. For after hours events there is a small charge. Water2Wine also has several regularly scheduled and special events. “Grapes and Graffiti” involves drinking wine while painting on canvas or a wine glass. Executive sommelier Lauryn offers wine and food pairing classes and 1 Wednesday per month is their “Uncork & Unwine” event.  They are currently toying with the idea of a “Dance Night” with instructional dancing and wine sampling.

Water2Wine is a great place to stop on by for wine tasting or one of their events!


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Wine and Food Pairing – Part 5

The final segment in my 5 Part series on Food/Wine Pairing is all about SPICE! Think about the last time you had a spicy Mexican dish or an Oriental dish with lots of red chili peppers. You certainly wouldn’t think about pairing those dishes with a full-bodied, high tannin red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon. So why not??? Its because alcohol intensifies spice and makes the dish seem even hotter on your palate. So Rule #5 is….alcohol intensifies spice.

So what is a good wine to pair with a spicy dish??  A good rule of thumb is use a wine that is lower in alcohol, such as a Gewurztraminer, Riesling or a Moscato. Normally these wines range in alcohol from 8-10%, but not always, so you need to check the label. Most wines produced in the USA average 12-14% alcohol, so that lower percentage of alcohol can help reduce your mouth’s perception of the spiciness in your dish.  A fruit wine (a wine made from fruit not grapes) tends to be lower in alcohol as well and would be a good choice to pair with a spicy dish.

Another good rule of thumb is to use a wine that tends towards the sweeter side. The sweetness in the wine can help decrease your palate’s sensitivity to the spices in your meal. Again, Gewurztraminer or a Riesling works well, although remember that these wines can be made in both sweet and dry styles. A light-bodied Rosé works well too if you are leaning towards a red wine accompaniment or a red fruit wine, like cherry can be a good pairing. And don’t forget about France’s Beaujolais Noveau (Gamay), which is very light-bodied and produced to drink young.

I hope you have enjoyed and learned something from my Wine/Food Pairing series and have been using and practicing the rules to create delicious meals paired with just the right wine. Salute!

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Wine and Food Pairing – Part 4

I’ve just returned from my high school reunion in Niagara Falls, NY where the ethnic majority is Italian (being German I was definitely a minority). So its somewhat  ironic that Rule #4 is Think Regionally!!  Growing up in Niagara Falls, red table wine seemed a staple at all the Italian restaurants and pizza places, and being young and “wine inexperienced” I had no idea what a correct wine/food pairing the restaurants were offering. Being German my father would pick dandelions and then make his own wine from them, pairing it with pork chops and sauerkraut. I must admit the Italians’ red wine was WAY better!!

How the “Think Regionally” concept originated is actually quite simple….Wine was produced in the area to complement the food that was grown/prepared there or food/dishes were created to complement the wine/grapes of the region. As examples, when we think of Italy we think of pasta and Sangiovese (remember Chianti is a region not a grape), or in Germany we think of Riesling with a pork dish, or in the USA we think of Oregon’s Pinot Noir with fresh salmon from the area.

When you are planning your next wine / food pairing dinner, think about where the food originates from / what the ethnicity of the dish is, and purchase either a wine from that region/country or a grape that is grown in that area. Enjoy!!!

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