Friday, March 24, 2017

Expanded Hamptons Restaurant Week now called 'East End'

Anyone headed to Long Island in the next week may want to take in the "East End Restaurant Week," an eight-day restaurant promotion even that will run from this Sunday through the following Sunday, April 2.

This event is a renamed and expanded version of "Hamptons Restaurant Week," which was held the previous 14 years. Its original purpose was to generate additional business for restaurants in that winery-centric section of Long Island during a traditionally slow period and as a kick start to the spring season. What began as a South Fork promotion has grown to encompass all of the East End, including the North Fork.

"We've always received a tremendous amount of support from the North Fork," says LIRHG President Steve Haweeli, "so it's time we recognize that and show our appreciation for all restaurateurs involved."

All participating restaurants will offer a three-course prix fixe meal for $28.95 all night (may be offered only until 7 p.m. The organizers have an easily searchable feature on the event website to help visitors search for possibilities by town, cuisine, or specific restaurant name.

A number of lodging facilities in the area are offering a minimum 10% discount during the period.

Technically, the East End consists of the five townships at the eastern end of Suffolk County --  namely Riverhead, Southampton (which includes Westhampton), Southold, Shelter Island, and East Hampton.

The official East End of Long Island

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Wölffer Estate Vineyard unveils renovated tasting room

Showing off a new look at Wölffer Estate. (photo provided)
Wölffer Estate Vineyard has unveiled its renovated tasting room just in time for Sunday's start to the East End Restaurant Week.

New wood floors, counter, hightop and banquette seating, a restocked wine shop and displays and dark wood ceiling accents punctuate the setting. Visitors will be able to sample wines as well as choose from items on an expanded light bites menu. Full meal service is available on the grounds from a new kitchen that was part of an overall spruce-up program.

Wölffer is located on Long Island's South Fork at 139 Sagg Road, Sagaponack, just off the Montauk Highway. Tasting room hours: Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Phone: (631)

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Niagara Wine Trail plans 2-weekend tasting

Members of the Niagara Wine Trail are planning a two-weekend "Taste of the Trail" event for April to help celebrate its 15th anniversary.

Although not every member is involved in both the April 22-23 and 29-30 weekends, most are. The self-guided event allows visitors to start at any of the venues, then go on to others as they desire. Reservations, accepted through the Thursday before each weekend, are $25 for one weekend or $40 for two. At the wineries the days of the event, prices jump to $30 and $45 per person.

The suggested plan is to explore half the trail each weekend to maximize the variety of foods sampled with suggested wine pairings from each winery's collection.

A few examples of what will be served:
810 Meadworks -- Swedish meatballs paired with Sweet Devotion black currant mead
Arrowhead Spring Vineyards -- Artisanal grilled cheese bites paired with Arrowhead Red.
Flight of Five Winery -- Citrus Salad (orange, grapefruit, pineapple) with orange poppy dressing, paired with Locktender Gruner Veltliner or Lock 69 wines
Schwenk Wine Cellars -- Chocolate butterscotch bars served with dry reds
Other participating venues include A Gust of Sun Winery Spencerport and A Gust of Sun Winery Ransomville, Freedom Run Winery, Lake Ontario Winery, Leonard Oakes Estate Winery, Salamanca Winery, Spring Lake Winery, Vizcarra Vineyards, BlackBird Cider Works, Black Willow Winery, Chateau Niagara Winery, Honeymoon Trail Winery, Long Cliff Winery & Vineyards, Midnight Run Wine Cellars, Niagara Landing Wine Cellars, The Winery at Marjim Manor, Schulze Vineyards & Winery, and Victorianbourg Wine Estate. Go here for a look at the individual offerings revealed so far.

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Keuka Lake Wine Trail greets spring with 'Tapas & Wine'

Once the leftover snow banks recede, most people are anxious to get out and travel a bit. Members of the Keuka Lake Wine Trail are counting on getting an early share of that traffic.

That will begin with a "Tapas & Wine Weekend" set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 8-9. It's a self-guided tour with visitors beginning at any point on the Trail, picking up a souvenir tasting glass and a food-and-wine sample before moving on to other venues.

Each winery will prepare savory and sweet bites with suggested pairings. Twenty-eight wine samples and more than a dozen food samples will be offered. A few examples:
Keuka Spring -- Crostini with beef tenderloin, red peppers, and cilantro pesto mayonnaise; Manchego cheese, marinated mushrooms, and garlic stuffed olives.

McGregor Vineyard -- Spanish tortilla filled with caramelized onions and roasted garlic, crusty French bread, cinnamon-sugar churro.

Point of the Bluff -- Smoked sausage tartlet.

Vineyard View -- Bacon-wrapped figs and chorizo and garbanzo puree with grilled flatbread.
Other participating wineries are Heron Hill, Hunt Country, and Ravines.

Ticket options, including for designated drivers, range from $14 to $25 and are available online.
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Hunt Country Vineyards introduces a new winemaker

Craig Hosbach at work. (photo provided)
In spring, wineries usually are looking to new things. At Hunt Country Vineyards, the newest "thing" is a new winemaker.

Owners Art and Joyce Hunt today announced the appointment of Craig Hosbach to that role. He has been making wine for more than a decade, mostly in northern New York State, and is vice president of the Northern New York Grape Growers Association.

In 2008, Hosbach joined Thousand Islands Winery in Alexandria Bay where he refined his skills working with regional grapes as well as with classic vinifera varieties. Then, in 2012, he became head winemaker at Tug Hill Vineyards in Lowville. His wines have won more than 200 various awards.

Hosbach also is involved in the teaching of winemaking, having created an educational winemaking facility for students from Jefferson Community College’s winery marketing and management program.

Hunt Country Vineyards, which includes the farm, vineyard, winery and cafe, is located at 4021 Italy Hill Road in Branchport, Yates County. Phone: (800) 946-3289 or (315) 595-2812.

Art and Joyce Hunt took over the family farm in 1973, gradually but steadily expanding the scope of the business and starting a small farm winery in 1981 that has become one of the Finger Lakes' premier facilities.
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Bellangelo opening two 'branded' satellite tasting rooms

In the Bellangelo cellar. (photo provided)
The Seneca Lake winery Villa Bellangelo is planning a two-venue grand opening bash on March 31.

Both venues are branded satellite tasting rooms called Branch by Bellangelo. One is in the former clubhouse of the Seneca Lake Country Club in Geneva, the other opposite the Cheesecake Factory in Syracuse's Destiny USA shopping complex. Wine tastings, the release of 2016 rosés, live music and other entertainments are planned for the grand openings.

The Branch in Geneva, located at 226 Turk Road, has a full cafe offering wine tastings and pairings from the Bellangelo winery and other New York State producers, as well weekend brunches. The Branch in Syracuse offers a range of Bellangelo and other New York State wines as well as selling local farm-produced food, craft and fashion items, as well as tasting sessions.

The concept is part of an ambitious expansion program by the Missick family who purchased
the 220-acre golf course in 2016, and plans to transforming the property into a resort destination.

Villa Bellangelo originally was known as Squaw Point Winery. The location has been producing wine commercially since 1986. The Missick family bought the property in 2011. It is located at 150 Poplar Point Road in Dundee, Yates County, just west of the lake. Phone: (607) 243-8602.
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Celebri-Quotes: Pope Francis

This occasional featured tidbit usually deals with things said by people in the drinks industry, the arts, entertainment, maybe even politics. But, Pope Francis keeps surprising people with his observations on a variety of topics not usually addressed by the head of the Roman Catholic Church. This week, in delivering his weekly Angelus address, he interpreted the passage in the Gospel of St. John describing the wedding feast of Cana at which it is written that Jesus turned water into wine.

• “How is it possible to celebrate the wedding and have a party if you lack what the prophets indicated was a typical element of the messianic banquet?”

• “Water is necessary to live, but wine expresses the abundance of the banquet and the joy of the feast.”

• “A wedding feast lacking wine embarrasses the newlyweds. Imagine finishing the wedding feast drinking tea! It would be shameful!”
He then concluded, “Wine is necessary for the celebration.” 
Click here to visit my archive of Celebri-Quotes on drinking.

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