Wine Event: 9th Annual Washington D.C. International Wine & Food Festival

Hello Friends,

Dezel just wanted to remind you all about the 9th Annual Washington D.C. International Wine & Food Festival this coming weekend. This exciting event takes place at the Ronald Regan Building February 29th thru March 2nd. This is a tasting event like no other, which features over 200 international and domestic producers, pouring over 800 different wines. This is a good way to experience a number of wines from all over the world and talk to the people who produce them. A little tip from Dezel: this is the type of event where you will want to utilize your spitting talents, that is, if you truly want to enjoy it! I know spitting can sometimes being awkward and embarrassing for some, but practice common sense and use the spit buckets provided and fully enjoy this event.

Have fun; and remember, spit!!!

Select Virginia wineries will be in attendance, as well as our friends up north, the Finger Lake wineries. As a matter of fact, friend and blogger, The Weekend Wino will be working the Finger Lakes booth (Seneca Lake Wine Trail), so be sure to check out his Finger Lakes wine blog and say hello to him at the festival. There will also be a number of wine seminars, cooking demonstrations, and much more! For further event and ticket information visit the festival’s website. Have fun and hope to see some of you!

Stay tuned friends ...Cellaring and more to come !!!
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    Happy Sipping Friends - Thanks for your support and kind emails !


    Dezel's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2008. All rights reserved.


    Weekly Wine Fact: How many grapes...

    Hello Friends,

    Here is a fun wine fact that should help you appreciate every bottle of wine you consume a little more. Have you ever imagined how many grapes it takes to make your average bottle of wine?

    Well, it takes roughly 2 ½ lbs of grapes to make your average bottle of wine. That translates into 600 to 800 individual grapes. I bet that made you say, wow, right? I know I was a little shocked too. Keep in mind that wine grapes are much smaller than the plump and juicy grapes we purchase from the local grocer to consume.

    Later this year when you visit the local tasting rooms, take a stroll through the vineyards and check out how much smaller wine grapes are in comparison. You will definitely notice the difference.

    Stay tuned friends ...Cellaring and more to come !!!

      Click Here to vote VA Vine Spot as your wine favorite blog - You can vote 1x per day!

      Happy Sipping Friends - Thanks for your support and kind emails !


      Dezel's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2008. All rights reserved.


      Virginia Wine Showcase: And the winners are …

      Virginia Wine Showcase People’s Choice Awards

      Hello Friends,

      The tasting public has voted, and the People’s Choice Awards from the Virginia Wine Showcase are in. No real surprises here, as the tasting public did a very good job of picking some good wines based on the selections and categories provided. There are two selections I sort of question, however, starting with best red blend. Now, do not get me wrong, because the winner is a great bottle of wine. But, it is more of an after dinner dessert wine in my opinion; and that is how I have enjoyed this tasty and popular Loudoun County treasure in the past. Personally, I think it should have tied with, or won the red dessert wine category. One of Virginia’s strengths in winemaking is the red wine blend. A number of local wineries produce a very good Meritage, or other red wine blend, that usually sports an attractive name (ex. Hardscrabble Red, Ruby, Tre Sorélle). Sometimes these wines are the strong points of a tasting sheet, and there are many different styles to choose from. Some light, some full bodied, some using traditional Bordeaux grapes, others opting to be artfully creative. My final shrug, so to speak, would be the winner of the unique white varietal. Now this winery, and wine, are quite unique, but this is not a varietal wine as the category would suggest. This wine is not even made from grapes; instead it is made from apples and chili peppers. Don’t ask. This is a fun winery that produces a number of festive wines, and are a big attraction at summer festivals. I just don’t get the placement of identifying this offering as a varietal wine by any stretch of the palate. Well, enough of my rambling, friends. Check the winning results out here! Congrats to all the winners!!!

      Stay tuned friends ...more to come !!!

        Click Here to vote VA Vine Spot as your wine favorite blog - You can vote 1x per day!

        Happy Sipping Friends - Thanks for your support and kind emails !


        Dezel's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2008. All rights reserved.


        Sunday Live Blogging from the Virginia Wine Showcase!!!

        Sunday - Virginia Wine Showcase 2008 !!!

        Hello Friends,

        Dezel is back at the Dulles Expo Center to enjoy the last day of the Virginia Wine Showcase. I hope to visit with more wineries and take better notes today. Yesterday I had way too much fun sipping and talking about Virginia wine. Joining me today are local bloggers and good friends, Paul and Warren of Virginia Wine Time.

        ~~ Dezel, Paul, and Warren ~~

        Before setting about to any wine booths I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Rupy, owner of Bluemont Vineyards. Along with Paul and Warren, we all had a good conversation about certain wineries not allowing picnic baskets anymore, and limousine and bus tours. During our chat, we found out that Kevin also practices law, and has started a new blog that all of you should bookmark. Kevin’s blog tackles ‘wine law’, which is a very important issue. Click hear to visit Kevin’s blog.

        My first winery visit of the day was to Corcoran Vineyards, which is one of my personal favorites along the Loudoun County Wine Trail. The winery is located in the historic and charm-filled village of Waterford. Winery owner, Lori Corcoran is on hand pouring a rose petal scented Traminette, an easy drinking off-dry Seyval Blanc, and two red wines that are very tasty, in a Malbec and Meritage blend. When you hit the Loudoun wine trail be sure to visit Corcoran Vineyards – it’s a must stop; and be sure to say hi to Corky!

        Lori Corcoran of Corcoran Vineyards

        Next stop for me, was to two of my favorite wineries, both operated by one of Virginia’s top winemakers, Chris Pearmund. If you are looking for consistency and reliability from vintage to vintage then Chris Pearmund is your guy. The Winery at La Grange is pouring a very nice full-bodied Tannat, which is very cellar worthy; and Pearmund Cellars is pouring a beautifully scented Viognier 2006 that offers a nice blend of tropical and citrus flavors. These are two grape varieties that do well here in Virginia, and Tannat is on the rise as a varietal wine. These two wineries are about 15 minutes from one another so make plans to visit both sometime soon.

        ~~ Pearmund Cellars ~~

        James River Cellars is attracting quite a crowd at their wine booth. They are located in Glen Allen, VA, and throughout the year they attend, as well as host a number of fun-filled events and festivals. No pretentious sippers here; these people know the drill! 1-2-3, down the hatch!

        James River Cellars - 1-2-3 Down the hatch!!!

        Dezel’s next stop was to Vino Curioso. I first discovered this new winery at the big festival out in Leesburg last year, and they were making quite a buzz among the festival goers. Well, it was not much of a difference this time around as everyone wanted to see what the catchy wine titles and question mark was all about. Outside of the catchy names and logo, Vino Curioso has some wines you should, well, be curious about. Try Franc the Tank, a spicy and tasty Cabernet Franc, and Isabella’s Revenge, a soft, yet enticing Merlot. Visit their web site and see why the locals are curious about Vino Curioso.

        ?? Meet the smiling faces behind Vino Curioso ??

        My next stop was to Acorn Hill Winery; a new winery in Madison, VA expected to open doors to the public this summer. Winemaker Frantz Ventre was on hand to discuss and pour his wines. I found favor in the Cabernet Franc 2006, which offered red cherry fruit flavors with touches of spice and a mild herbaciousness. The Merlot 2006 is also a pretty interesting wine for their first vintage. Judging by the Acorn Hill Winery website, this winery appears to be a special place with spectacular views. Be sure to put this winery on your calendar this summer, friends.

        Acorn Hill Winery Winemaker: Frantz Ventre

        Care to dream for a tad? How about pulling up to your favorite winery in this lovely little bright yellow sports car? You’ll be the talk of the wine trail! As much as Dezel loves this beautiful little car, you would have to agree with me, that you just cannot fit enough cases of Virginia wine in this thing, right? However, if pressed, I would still take one. But a luggage rack would be the first thing I installed! Picture me rolling with 2 cases tied to the top.

        This is my type of Yellow!

        Click on the short video below to see what these 3 people think about Virginia Wine.

        From dreams, let’s talk a little reality, or like Senator McCain says, “Straight Talk”. This indoor event was the first of its kind in the state and was well organized and attended. I heard a lot of positive things from those on both sides of the table (wineries / showcase attendees). That said; I drew the conclusion that some attendees were expecting this showcase to be more festival like, which translates into more festive. Live rocking music, blankets on the lawn, and several open bottles of wine being poured under sunny skies. These are a few things that come to mind when thinking Virginia Wine Festival, right? This was different, and by design was more relaxed, upscale, and like the title suggests, a showcase of Virginia wines. Personally, I thought it to be a pleasant change of pace. The difference in my opinion between festival and showcase; is one is more conducive to the sale of open bottles of wine (oodles of open bottles), and the latter is not. I’m sure a number of wineries did very well, however, I did not notice as many people seated around tables enjoying friendly conversation, laughter, and a bottle or two of Virginia wine. If I could put anything into the suggestion box for next year, I would recommend extra seating and tables in every empty corner of the venue. Just my 2 cents from what I witnessed, especially on Saturday. Other than that, I had a great time, and look forward to this event again next year, and would like to thank the organizers for setting up the bloggers corner – We enjoyed it!

        Next is price, yes price, the thing Dezel tries to avoid when talking Virginia wine, but it to is a reality. From conversing with attendees there was a lot of chatter about, you guessed it, price! Wine prices on the east coast in general are slightly higher than what a lot of educated wine consumers expect; especially based on the (QPR) quality to price ratio in the global market. I spoke with a number of people today who were pleased with some winery prices based on QPR, yet taken aback by others. There indeed were some good wines poured today at reasonable prices. For example, take Kluge Estate’s Simply Red 2004 Bordeaux styled blend, specially priced at $12. For that matter, Kluge, Pearmund Cellars, Winery at La Grange, Corcoran Vineyards, Williamsburg Winery, Rappahannock Cellars, Chrysalis Vineyards, Horton Vineyards, Hillsborough, Fabbioli Cellars, and Breaux Vineyards are some of the producers in attendance who I thought had some great pours. Prices vary among these producers, but one thing they share is their ability to produce solid offerings.

        I myself made it a point to visit with a number of the new producers at the show and sample their introductory offerings. New wineries are popping up like wild flowers here in Virginia, and coming out to these events are great ways to promote their product. A number of these wines were in my opinion, softly flavored, not overly interesting, flaccid, pizza sort of wines. Let me add, that these young wines are very drinkable, just not demanding of their advertised sticker price based on the QPR for similar styled wines. There were however, a small number of new producers who are coming out strong and I appluad their efforts. The next time you attend an event or festival, try all the Cabernet Franc or Chardonnay wines for example, and note the differences; the results can be quite telling.

        The Red Rocker Candy (is dandy !!!)

        Now let’s end on a sweet note, and I’m not talking dessert wine. Dezel is talking the Red Rocker Candy! Sue Charney specializes in handmade toffees and brittles and can be found at just about every local festival. The brittles are excellent, and once you open a bag, it is hard to seal it again. If you cannot make it to a festival and find the Red Rocker Candy booth, then visit their web site and satisfy your sweet tooth! BTW, that is not Sue pictured, I think that is Sue's hubby. All this Sue talk sort of reminds me of an old Johnny Cash song; anybody out there know the name?

        • Stay tuned friends ...more to come !!!

        Click Here to vote VA Vine Spot as your wine favorite blog - You can vote 1x per day!

        Happy Sipping Friends - Thanks for your support and kind emails !


        Dezel's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2008. All rights reserved.


        Saturday Live Blogging from the Virginia Wine Showcase!!!

        2008 Virginia Wine Showcase Bloggers Corner

        Hello Friends,

        I am here at the first Annual Virginia Wine Showcase 2008 with fellow blogger Todd Godbout, of Wine Compass blog. There is a very large crowd of Virginia wine lovers on hand today to enjoy fine wine, tasty foods, and much more!!! Read on and follow the days exciting activities as we blog away!!!

        I'm Dezel - Let’s have some fun!!!

        There are about 35 wineries here today pouring some of the Commonwealth’s finest hand-crafted wines. Before I could hit a wine booth I bumped into my pal Frank Britt of Virginia Wine Lover Magazine. This magazine will be a glossy, lifestyles publication, with Virginia wine at the forefront. Visit the VA Wine Lover Magazine website for further details and to subscribe. You are going to love thise magazine, friends!

        Frank is the gent with the big SMILE and wine glass !!!

        First winery I paid a visit to was Bluemont Vineyards. Bluemont is a new full service winery located in Loudoun County, and their current offerings consists of Virginia’s own Norton, Viognier, a blush styled wine, and an off-dry Vidal Blanc. Bluemont has one of the most stunning views in all of Virginia wine country, so if picturesque settings is your thing, be sure to pay a visit to Bluemont Vineyards in the near future.

        Bluemont Vineyards

        Question time! Morgan and Christine are true Virginia wine lovers, and when asked to name their 3 top Virginia wineries, and the top wine tasted today, here is how they responded:

        • Ingleside Vineyards
        • Bluemont Vineyards
        • Chateau Morrisette
        • TOP WINE TASTED TODAY: Chateau Morrisette Liberty (dry red wine blend)

        Morgan and Christine - True Virginia Wine Lovers !!!

        Okay, I have been to several wineries tasting, and I knew at some point I would do more tasting and talking than blogging. After all, my nickname is “Chatty Cathy!” That point is near! There are some great wines being poured, and everyone has had wonderful things to say about how this event is organized, as well as the wines being poured. I will say, however, that a few of the lines are long, but that is expected with a countless number of Virginia wine lovers gathering under one roof, right? Other than that, everything has went down as smooth as this tasty Cooper Vineyards Petit Verdot I'm sipping on right now!

        Cooper Vineyard Petit Verdot 2006 - Yummy!

        Today, we have 3 bloggers in attendance, and we all took time from blogging, sipping and chatting to take this nice little group photo. I have already introduced you to Todd; the lovely lady in the middle is April Fulton, of The Food Scribe blog. Check her blog out for great gourmet food recipes and wine pairing tips!

        Local Wine Bloggers !!!

        Question time again! Meet Matt; Matt is like a number of Virginia wine lovers I visited with today that thoroughly enjoyed the showcase and left with several cases of tasty VA wine. When asked about his three top wineries of the day and top wine tasted; here is how Matt responded:

        • Pearmund Cellars
        • Winery at La Grange
        • Chrysalis
        • TOP WINE TASTED TODAY: Cooper Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2006

        Matt - A True Virginia Wine Lover!!!

        Often times, I receive email about winery tours, and for all those questions received, Dezel has one answer for you. The answer is, Virginia Wine Adventures! Virginia Wine Adventures is an all inclusive and intimate winery tour that takes you to some of Loudoun Valley and Northern Virginia top wineries. Are you ready to be pampered? Virginia Wine Adventures will pick you up from your residence, hotel, B&B, etc, and provide you with a satisfying and memorable wine tasting experience. They offer luxuries that the others do not. Visit their website and treat yourself to “The Grape Life!” You deserve it.

        Deidra Stevens of Virginia Wine Adventures

        Click on the short video below to see what these 3 people think about Virginia Wine.

        Stay tuned friends ...


        Check it out: Blogging from the Virginia Wine Showcase !!!

        Virginia Wine Showcase 2008 !!!

        Hello Friends,

        Tune in tomorrow, as several local bloggers, including myself, will blog in near real time from the 1st Annual Virginia Wine Showcase. This will be an elegant, upscale, indoor wine event featuring over 300 of Virginia’s award-winning wines, local arts and crafts, live entertainment, delicious foods, and educational seminars.

        Blogging live from the VA Wine Showcase !!!

        Can you believe all this and more takes place under one roof? Well it does, and I hope to see you there. Be sure to check back for updates. The good folks who organized this event was kind enough to set up a blogger’s corner so we can bring our laptops and do what we do best – blog!!! (And sip!!!)

        Location: Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, VA
        Tickets: $25.00/in advance, $35.00/at the gate, $15.00/ non-tasting
        Time: 11 p.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday / Sunday
        Information: http://www.vawineshowcase.com/

        Happy Sipping!!!



        Dezel’s Top 10 List: Wine Events & Festivals

        Hello Friends,

        I’m often asked about festival and wine event suggestions; therefore, since the season is near, and there is an exciting winery event next week at the Dulles Expo Center, I have compiled a list of 10 of my top tips to help you make the most of your visit. Now, this is in no particular order, but my # 1 should be your #1 also. Let's go!

        10) Before setting about on your wine adventure, Dezel strongly recommends eating something solid before you start tasting. You certainly do not want to be tipsy while traipsing from wine booth to wine booth! You just may tip over. Would you agree?

        9) When attending a wine event or a wine festival, purchase your tickets in advance. Virginia winery events are very popular, so why stand in line when you can be indoors or outdoor enjoying the fun? Besides, tickets are usually $5 - $10 cheaper if you purchase them ahead of time.

        Look at your wine

        8) Be sure to pack a few bottles of water. If you can, drink just as much of that water as you do wine! If you find yourself swirling and sniffing the water, drink more water and less wine.

        7) Speaking of swirling, be sure to swirl each wine you encounter. There is a great deal that can be discerned about a wine just from sniffing it. Really! A youngish wine will have developing aromas; while an aged wine will have a more mature and congealed bouquet. Sniffing a wine is just as important, if not more, than sipping. I know a lot of wine lovers will debate me on that one.

        Swirl the wine !!!

        6) Prior to the two-step swirl and sniff ritual, you have to study the color too. Color is just as important as sniffing a wine, and can give you an indication of the wine’s age, maturity, and health, amongst other things. For example, did you know that as white wines age they darken, while this is the exact opposite for red wines? A wine with an attractive and brilliant color is a good indication that that swirl, sniff, and sip will be just as pleasing.

        5) Bring a camera! Some of the Virginia wine festivals and events are held in areas with open fields, green rolling hills, and vista views. If you are from the city, these picturesque settings can truly be appreciated. Additionally, at a wine festival you may get some good blackmail pictures!

        Sniff the wine !!!

        4) When tasting, be courteous and step aside and allow others to taste also. I have seen very long lines because someone wanted to ask questions about malolactic fermentation or chaptalization. Save that for the winery, or grab a book; the people behind you want to swirl, sniff, and sip!

        3) Go early and avoid the crowds. Also, bring a notepad or wine journal and jot down which producers you enjoyed the best and the wines that pleased your palate. I have had some great wines in the past that I did not remember a week later. Some wines are deserving of a second date, so get the wines information and put it in your Blackberry!

        Time to taste!!!

        2) This is an all important one; have a designated driver with you. While I enjoy having friends that enjoy wine, I also enjoy having at least one friend that does not enjoy wine. This friend’s nickname will be “Designated Driver.” Buy this friend a ticket to the event and let them enjoy the live entertainment, tasty food, and arts and crafts. These tickets are usually priced $10 lower than tasting tickets, and for the safety of yourself and others it is worth every penny. A designated driver is a true friend, so be nice to this person; especially when the seasonal warmth starts to creep in.

        1) This one is simple friends; promise Dezel that you are going to enjoy yourself and have a good time sipping Virginia wine and meeting other Virginia wine lovers like yourself – be safe, sniff every wine you are poured, and have one heck of a fun-filled time!

        Hope these little tid-bits help!!! Stay tuned ...more to come !!!

          Click Here to vote VA Vine Spot as your wine favorite blog - You can vote 1x per day!

          Happy Sipping Friends - Thanks for your support and kind emails !


          Dezel's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2008. All rights reserved.

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