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The holiday season is upon us, and even if you’re still full from Thanksgiving, there’s always room for wine this month! Here are some highlights of wine events around the country. If you can't make it to one of these, consider hosting your own holiday wine tasting party!
Saturday Live at Vina Robles, Paso Robles, Calif., Dec. 1
Sample excellent wines from Vina Robles while listening to live music by Cinder Jean and Robert Thomas. A perfect way to spend a late fall afternoon. More information available here.
Live Music and Santa at Miracle Valley, Deleplane, Va., Dec. 1
Enjoy fine wine from Miracle Valley Vineyard and let the kids sit on Santa’s lap. Plus, Shenandoah Valley mainstay Durty Harry plays live music for the afternoon. More information available here.
Wine, Chocolate, and Cheese Festival, Ouray, Colo., Dec. 8
This Saturday night event features three of life’s pleasures: wine, chocolate, and cheese, from all over Colorado. Plus, dress up in a winter wonderland costume and enter to win the costume contest! More information available here.
The Big Sip, Greensboro, N.C., Dec. 8
The Greensboro Coliseum Pavilion hosts this showcase of local, regional, and national beverages. There will be wine, beer, spirits, coffee, and more at this sipper’s dream event. More information available here.
2nd Annual Holiday Show, University Heights, Ohio, Dec. 8
Come to Cedar Green to sample tons of great wines and beers. In addition to great deals on bottles, there will be holiday treats to munch. More information available here.
Say Cheese Wine Trail, Hermann, Mo., Dec. 8-9
Sample yummy cheese dishes paired with wine from seven different Hermann wineries. Tickets must be purchased in advanced, so if you love cheese and wine, do it sooner rather than later. More information available here.
Wine and Chocolate Festival, Clermont, Fla., Dec. 8-9
Enjoy wine and beer from Lakeridge Winery as well as live bands all weekend, displays from local artists, and great food. Winery tours are also offered. More information available here.
Fratty Pike in Boonville, Boonville, Calif., Dec.14-17
The Wineries of Downtown Boonville (the four tasting rooms of Foursight Wines, Londer Vineyards, Philo Ridge Vineyards, and Zina Hyde Cunningham) invite you to take a "fratty pike" the Boontling term for "wine walk" around Boonville to enjoy their open houses with appetizers and holiday specials. More information available here.
Hike the Vines, Galena, Ill., Dec. 15
Galena Cellars invites you to come for a snowshoe hike through its vineyard, then recover with wine, cheese, and crackers. Be sure to sign up in advance for this unique opportunity. More information available here.
Napa Valley Wine Trolley, Napa Valley, Calif., Dec. 22
Families and kids of all ages are invited to board the Napa Valley Holiday Wine Trolley for the Holiday Light Tour, which takes passengers through historic downtown Napa and its Victorian neighborhoods. Enjoy seasonal light displays and decorations, sing holiday carols, and although wine won’t be served you can sip hot chocolate! Proceeds from these tours benefit foster children of Napa County. More information available here.
Click here for more from the Daily Sip.
10 of the Best Foodie Events To Check Out in New York This December
If you’re into delicious food and unique menu options, New York is always going to be a prime destination, regardless of the season. But from the start of December through New Year’s Eve, the city’s dining scene reaches its zenith, with a plethora of special chef dinners and brunches, plus plenty of seasonal festivals and quite a few events dedicated to the most beloved holiday food specialties. Here, you’ll find our top picks for foodie happenings in NYC this December.
Saturday, December 2: The Great Northeast Cheese & Dairy Fest
The Great Northeast Cheese & Dairy Fest. Courtesy The Great Northeast Cheese & Dairy Fest
Cheese fanatics of New York, this one’s for you. On December 2, The Great Northeast Cheese & Dairy Fest will take over Flushing Town Hall in Queens, where they’ll be offering up over 75 different artisanal cheeses from various New England and Tri-State creameries. Plus, they’ll have plenty of booze pairings on offer, including wine, cider and locally-brewed craft beer. The Fest will also feature cheesy dishes prepared by top Queens chefs, led by Hugue Dufour of M. Wells Steakhouse. Day passes start at $60 for access to all the cheese samples, beverage pairings, and chef tastings.
Saturday, December 2-Sunday, December 3: Gato Launches Brunch (With Bobby Flay In The Kitchen!)
Gato , Bobby Flay’s Mediterranean restaurant in NoHo, doesn’t typically serve weekend brunch. However, they’re making an exception for the first weekend of December. On Saturday, December 2 and Sunday, December 3, guests can enjoy a two-course prix-fixe brunch at Gato for $40, which includes menu options of oven-roasted shrimp diavolo, eggplant with manchego, oregano and balsamic, and poached eggs with pimento hollandaise, crispy serrano ham, and olive-oil toast. And, for this limited-time brunch event, the Gato kitchen will be helmed by Flay himself. There are a few OpenTable reservations available for Saturday and Sunday, but they’re going fast, so grab ‘em while you still can!
Sunday, December 3: Dandelion Chocolate’s Chelsea Pop-Up
Dandelion Chocolate. Instagram/dandelionchocolate
The San Francisco chocolate wizards behind celebrated shop Dandelion Chocolate are popping up in Chelsea for a super-limited (and very sweet) engagement of just one week. They’ll be serving a plethora of baked goods, from s’mores to chocolate-Nutella cake single-origin brownies. But the real attraction here is Dandelion’s famous hot chocolate, steamed to-order and available in varieties like Mission hot chocolate with cayenne and cinnamon, gingerbread hot chocolate and frozen hot chocolate. The Dandelion pop-up ends its run on Sunday, December 3, but they’ll be open starting at 10am, so we advise heading over early. There’s nothing wrong with chocolate for breakfast!
Saturday, December 9: Julefrokost at Great Northern Food Hall
Great Northern Food Hall. Courtesy Great Northern Food Hall
In Denmark, Julefrokost (or “Christmas lunch”) is a beloved holiday tradition. In NYC, you can get in on the Danish action by heading to Great Northern Food Hall in Grand Central Terminal on Saturday, December 9, when they’re offering a family-style Julefrokost spread . For the uninformed, that includes Nordic specialties like pork loin with crispy skin and pickled red cabbage, pickled herring with curried dressing, and Danish sausage with brown mustard, anise, and creamed kale. Tickets are $50 each, with service included.
Wednesday, December 11: Dinner With Gail Simmons at Italienne
Gail Simmons. Instagram/gailsimmonseats
Counting down the days until Top Chef ’s season premiere on December 7? Then you’ll probably enjoy sharing an entire meal with an actual Top Chef judge. To celebrate the release of her new cookbook, Bringing It Home , food writer and long-time Top Chef- er Gail Simmons will host a family-style dinner at Italienne on Monday, December 11. This three-course meal features dishes inspired by the recipes in Simmons’ book, including Moroccan lentil and chickpea soup, lamb chops with roasted grapes, and chocolate banoffee pie. A $150 ticket covers the four-course meal and wine pairings, plus a signed copy of Bringing It Home .
Saturday, December 16-Sunday, December 17: FoodPornFest
When an event called ‘ FoodPornFest’ shows up in a warehouse in Bushwick, you drop everything and go. And from the looks of it, you and your Instagram followers will be very glad you did. This year’s Fest will take place at Brooklyn market venue Shwick and the team expects over 40 food vendors, hawking varied fare such as CBD-spiked candy from Chronic Candy, fried mac and cheese from House of Mac and fully-loaded arepas from Arepalicious NY. As the festival name suggests, the dishes on offer will be highly photogenic, giving you the perfect opportunity to hook some new followers. Tickets for entry cost just $3, so consider buying one for everyone in your foodie friend group.
Sunday, December 17: Holiday Cookie Takedown
Holiday Cookie Takedown. Brent Hofacker
If you’re an avid home baker, with a KitchenAid stand mixer at the ready and an arsenal of “good vanilla” locked and loaded in your cabinet, then the Holiday Cookie Takedown at Brooklyn’s Royal Palms Shuffleboard Court is offering up the chance to show off your skills. Here’s how it works: Brooklyn bakers bring in a few batches of their most-impressive holiday cookies and the enthusiastic Takedown attendees get to sample as many as they like. Once the tasting part of the program ends, a panel of judges made up of local chefs and food writers will select their favorite cookies, but the most heavily-weighted vote comes from the audience. The winner walks away with a prize and, more importantly, with massive bragging rights. Nothing like a little competition to stoke the holiday spirit!
Monday, December 18: 9th Annual Latke Festival
Latke Fest. Great Performances
For nearly a decade, top NYC chefs and restaurateurs have come together in Brooklyn on a December evening, ready to show off their most creative takes on a holiday-season classic: the potato latke. This year’s Latke Festival will take place at the Brooklyn Museum and it will feature tastings from restaurants like BAMCafé, Orwashers, R&D Foods, Veselka, and more. If you want to make a night of it, they’re also offering libations from City Winery and Tito’s Handmade Vodka. The latke maestros at the Fest get rather creative with their recipes past entries have included a potato latke with pollo asado, salsa verde, crema and cilantro and a cranberry and juniper latke with smoked duck leg confit and spicy pickled cucumber.
Monday, December 25: Peking Duck Christmas Dinner at Massoni
Christmas dinner at a restaurant can be a tricky endeavor. Some people demand a full-scale feast, while others would rather go low-key with take-out comfort food. At Massoni, the casual “Italian-ish” eatery in the Arlo NoMad Hotel, Chef Dale Talde is serving up a Christmas Day special that’s large and luxe enough for the super-festive among us, but also nicely nods to the Chinese food and a movie tradition of December 25. For one day only, Massoni guests can order a Whole Roasted Peking Duck, paired with moo shoo pancakes, steamed buns, cucumber, scallions and hoisin, all for $40 per person.
Sunday, December 31: New Year’s Eve Dinner at Ferris
The mackerel wiht ponzu from Ferris. Instagram/ferrisnewyork
There’s definitely no shortage of New Year’s Eve dinner options in NYC. Pretty much every restaurant in town has a prix-fixe menu and a never endling supply of sparkling beverages to accompany it. But if you want to give 2017 a proper send-off (not that it deserves one…), you’ll want to head to one of the year’s buzziest new spots for a luxurious multi-course feast. At Ferris , the hot seasonal American restaurant from Le Turtle and Major Food Group alums, you’ll find just the thing. Ferris’ New Year’s Eve offerings include mackerel with ponzu, egg yolk and Italian plum, blood sausage with grilled dates and carrot, wagyu with sweet potato, nasturtium soubise and gremolata, and chocolate mousse with shaved white truffle. And, of course, they’ll have plenty of sparkling pét-nat for toasting. Early birds can snag this prix-fixe menu for $135, for reservations between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. tickets for the later seating, from 8 to 11 p.m. go for $225.
An Insider’s Guide to December Events in the Hudson Valley
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. There are a ton of things to do in the Hudson Valley each month. Even though the holiday season may look different, there exist dozens upon dozens of ways to experience the best of what the region has to offer. While they might not be traditional per se (drive-through holiday light displays, anyone?), they are engaging, entertaining, and 100-percent #flattenthecurve-approved.
To help scout out the best events in the Valley, we reached out to local tourism directors from Albany to Westchester for their top picks for things to do. Check out their selections, then get planning!
Discover Albany President and CEO Jill Delaney shares her top recommendations for the month.
Capital Holiday Lights in the Park / Photo courtesy of Discover Albany
Capital Holiday Lights in the Park
Washington Park, Albany
Albany gets the ultimate glow-up when Washington Park comes alive with more than 125 festive displays. Drive through the park with family and friends all December long, bumping to music curated by B95.5. This year’s special theme is hope to keep Hudson Valley nights merry and bright.
Ten Broeck Mansion Holiday House
Ten Broeck Mansion, Albany
Weekends in December
Marvel at shimmering lights, festive trees, and bright garlands in an immersive walk-through experience of Ten Broeck Mansion this holiday season. Make your reservations well in advance for safe and socially distant fun. Peruse the pop-up shop on the porch and enjoy photos with Sinterklaas on December 6 and 13 from 12-2:30 p.m.
Holidays at Pruyn House
Pruyn House, Latham
Looking for a classic setting for your next family picture? Take your holiday photos in an 1800s sleigh in front of the newly renovated and decorated Pruyn House. Seasonal crafts for kids will surely get everyone in the spirit.
Read up on Columbia County Tourism’s highlights for things to do in the Hudson Valley this month.
Samascott’s Indoor Craft Fair
Samascott’s Garden Market, Kinderhook
December 5, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Shop beautiful handmade crafts from some of the best artisans in the Hudson Valley. Wooden toys, ceramics, paintings, jewelry, and more festive offerings make for perfect gifts. Visit this free-to-enter fair located in Samascott’s gorgeous greenhouse to buy local this holiday season.
Photo courtesy of Columbia County Tourism
Festive Golf Cart Parade
Copake Country Club , Craryville
December 20, 1-7 p.m.
Who will be the holiday decorating champion in the Hudson Valley this year? If you have what it takes, deck the halls, so to speak, by tinsel-topping a golf cart at Copake Country Club for the chance to win a trip to Vermont. Families can come cheer on their friends and help select the most festive cart of the season in a parade kicking off at 4:30 p.m. Snacks and beverages will keep you warm throughout the outdoor event.
Take a peek at the team behind Dutchess Tourism, Inc.’s top picks for things to do in Dutchess County this month.
Stroll through Kevin McCurdy’s delightful holiday world. Photo courtesy of Dutchess Tourism, Inc.
Winter Wonderland Walk at Kevin McCurdy’s Holiday Spirit Festival
Bowdoin Park, Wappingers Falls
Through December 27
If you’ve never been to Kevin McCurdy’s Holiday Spirit Festival before, prepare for an over-the-top (in the best way) celebration of the wintertime season. This year’s iteration takes the party outdoors for a festive Winter Wonderland Walk. Perfect for families, t his magical holiday journey will take you through a Gingerbread Village, past a crew of marvelous misfit toys, and into a brand-new Christmas Canyon for a laser show.
Holiday Illumination Weekend at Wilcox Park
Wilcox Park, Stanfordville
December 5 and 6, 6-9 p.m.
Drive through Wilcox Park during the Go Light Your World Holiday Illumination Weekend for some of the most dazzling displays in the Hudson Valley. Local businesses, non-profit organizations, fire departments, and town representatives contribute their own displays alongside public submissions. For another spectacular light display in Dutchess County , visit ERDAJT Holiday Christmas Display — with 670,000 lights and 1,770 individually-controlled items to over 250 songs — open through December 27 .
A Hudson Valley take on Handel’s classic work | Photo courtesy of Dutchess Tourism, Inc.
Handel’s Messiah: A Virtual Sing-Along
Online through Bardavon Presents
December 19, 2 p.m.
Handel’s Messiah is a holiday classic. Join in on a glorious tradition by singing along to the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and Cappella Festiva’s renditions, all from the comfort of your home. The stream showcases shining moments from the 2019 performance, along with commentary by guest conductor Christine Howlett.
Look no further for the coolest attractions and activities in Greene County during the month.
The Lost Christmas Recipes of Gourmet—and How We Found Them
Four years ago, a colleague of mine showed up in my office holding a pile of overstuffed folders.
“The remains of Gourmet,” she said, nudging the folders toward me.
Inside the folders were printouts of recipes, photos, and a few half-written articles. Some had notes scribbled on them, but most were clean, paperclipped together, and stuck with Post-Its denoting the issues they were destined for: “Dec ‘09,” “Mar ‘10.”
To whomever was smart enough to press print—thank you.
The fact that there never was a December 2009 issue of Gourmet—much less a March 2010—gave the papers an almost mythical weight. Condé Nast (the parent company of Epicurious) shut down Gourmet in October 2009. The November issue—the Thanksgiving issue—was released, but the December issue was sacked. As far as I knew—as far as almost everybody knew—whatever unpublished material Gourmet left behind was gone for good.
So I took the folders from my coworker's hands with a little bit of ceremony, puffing out my cheeks as if to say, I accept this responsibility with honor. Then I stuck the papers into a desk drawer, locked it, and barely thought of them again.
Oh, I guess I remembered them sometimes. Once a year I’d flip through and fantasize about publishing them in some grand fashion: A microsite! A one-time magazine! An event. in space! But after a few hours of daydreaming, the files would be back in their drawer.
Then, in October of this year, I passed the power of the papers to Epi’s food editor, Anna Stockwell. We’d been tossing around ideas for our annual holiday menu, so I suggested Anna cook through the Christmas menu in the stack. ”Just once,” I said. “Just to see what happens.” If the recipes didn’t work, or we didn’t like them, I’d walk away from the papers for good.
But of course they worked, and of course we liked them. “We went to a lot of trouble to test the recipes, taste the recipes, blind-taste the recipes,” Lillian Chou, a former food editor at Gourmet, told me. I had tracked Chou down in Los Angeles, where she was on set for a food styling gig. I told her we were about to publish her Christmas menu from the never-published December 2009 issue—not that I expected her to even remember it.
“I remember it very well,” she said. It was the last menu she developed before leaving the magazine in early 2009, a few months before the magazine closed. “I knew I was leaving the country for China. I knew from that point on I was going to go into Asian food for the rest of my life. But I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself.”
So for her last Gourmet menu, she went deeply American. Chou’s Christmas menu centers around a grand, garlicky prime rib roast. It’s surrounded by some simple sides like lemony haricot verts and a watercress-persimmon salad, and some slightly more complicated ones (porcini popovers, her answer to Yorkshire pudding). There’s a big bowl of punch, two desserts (three if you count the candied kumquats), and a potato-leek gratin that Chou says she makes all the time. It’s a pricey menu that would require a little sourcing (hello, black truffle butter). And it’s big: twelve recipes total.
Lillian Chou's Porcini Popovers, one of the lost Christmas recipes of Gourmet magazine.
Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Prop Styling by Beatrice Chastka, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell
In other words, it’s about as Gourmet as a menu can get. And the editors knew it.
“Doing the whole big menu every issue was kind of controversial those last few years,” John Willoughby, the magazine’s last executive editor, told me. “The question was, do people really make it? Is it too old-fashioned to have this big fancy menu? Do we really need to do that anymore? But we’d get these responses from readers constantly that they made the whole menu, beginning to end. Which was not something that any of us were doing. We didn’t really cook that way anymore.”
Maybe if Gourmet had lived on, the menus would have ceased completely, or become a little smaller. The magazine was already tucking 10-minute recipes into its pages, and devoting space to food politics, such as the writings of Barry Estabrook. Each issue was a conversation between the old Gourmet and Ruth Reichl’s new Gourmet, which even in her tenth year continued to evolve. It’s possible that if Gourmet were still around, it would have eventually tried to compete with the 30-second cooking videos on Instagram or the Oreo hacks on Pinterest. But I choose to believe that it would have been the respite from all that, just like it was when it was still around.
I admit that I miss it. I think that one reason I kept the last recipes—the lost recipes—of Gourmet in my desk drawer for four years was because I didn’t know how to do them justice. I wanted to do something special, something over the top (see my space idea above). It wasn’t until I tasted this menu that I decided that simply releasing the recipes into the world would be special enough. It's true that people don’t cook 12-course Christmas menus anymore. But maybe that’s because Gourmet isn’t here to give us the menus to cook.
Join us for an exclusive members-only tasting event. Seated at your own private table, you’ll enjoy a flight of the newest releases included in your September wine club allocation (and a bonus wine or two).
The Best Virtual Wine Tastings of 2021
- Best Overall:Wine.com
- Best Value:Seneca Lake Wine Trail
- Most Customizable:Priority Wine Pass
- Best for Natural Wines:Orange Glou
- Most Philanthropic:Far Niente Winery
- Best on Social Media:Wine With Chas
- Best for Sparkling Wines:Chandon
Best Overall : Wine.com
Wine.com is home to an ongoing calendar of free wine tasting events. All you need to do is buy the wine corresponding to your tasting of choice ahead of time, register for the free event via the website, and you’ll receive instructions and login information for the virtual tasting, which is held webinar-style via Zoom.
And, if something happens to come up (since we’re all so busy these days) and you can’t make the live tasting after you’ve signed up and purchased the wines, don’t fret: You can watch the whole tasting afterward on YouTube.
Wine.com’s past events have highlighted interesting themes and people, including biodynamic wines with revered French winemakers and sustainability trailblazers Gérard Bertrand and Michel Chapoutier, a Mother’s Day weekend special hosted by Lisa Vanderpump and daughter Pandora Vanderpump Sabo (the duo showcased their own wines), Antinori’s World of Wines, rosés with John Legend and wine entrepreneur Jean-Charles Boisset, and even a deep dive into Invivo X, hosted by owner and actress Sarah Jessica Parker. The events page is updated regularly, so check it out to stay in the loop.
Again, the tastings themselves are free, but the cost of the accompanying wines depends on them (for example, the two SJP wines for the Invivo X tasting cost around $39, plus shipping and tax).
Best Value : Seneca Lake Wine Trail
With Seneca Lake Wine Trail’s wine tasting events, you can embark on a scenic road trip of the Finger Lakes wine country from the comfort of your home (without having to enlist the help of a designated driver).
The region’s calendar is a robust one, featuring many different events like traditional virtual tastings, Facebook Live concerts (with wine, of course), interviews with winemakers, wine vlogs, happy hours, and more. Through these digital gatherings, guests will discover local producers and their areas of expertise, like Rieslings, special edition beers, and more.
If you’re looking to support small businesses (and have fun with a side of education in the process), this is a great route to take. There’s a good chance you’ll be inspired to plan a future road trip along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail after your virtual tasting or event, so keep your notebook handy.
There’s usually no cost for the event itself, but if you want to buy the wines ahead of time to taste along, just follow the link provided on the site's event listing.
Most Customizable : Priority Wine Pass
Napa-based wine club Priority Wine Pass has joined forces with a number of wineries throughout California, Oregon, and Virginia to bring a variety of tasting experiences to members’ homes.
These tastings are an excellent option if you’re looking for something personalized and private, either as a date night, a get-together with friends, or a remote team-building activity with colleagues or clients.
Simply head to the website to choose from a menu of participating wineries (most of which offer a variety of different themed packages), and from there, you’ll be placed directly in the winemaker’s hands to get your tasting set up.
The Priority Wine Pass virtual tasting roster includes Prime Solum, Expression 38°, Tetra, Brigitte, and Courtesan in Napa Valley, Boeschen Vineyards in St. Helena, J. Cage Cellars in Sonoma, Brandborg Vineyard & Winery in Oregon, Horton Vineyards in Virginia, and more.
One of the main perks of Priority Wine Pass is consistent discounts, so you’ll be paying less than retail price no matter which package you choose. These tastings start around $60 and increase from there.
Best for Natural Wines : Orange Glou
New York-based sommelier extraordinaire Doreen Winkler is on a mission to bring her love of orange wines to the masses. Thanks to her, one of the most exciting wine subscriptions out there is entirely dedicated to the category.
Winkler offers several Zoom wine tastings experiences for small or large groups, for which you purchase the bottles of wine and glasses when signing up for the tasting. With Orange Wine 101, you learn about the history of orange wine, how it is made, and taste three different orange wines for $135 per box (minimum five boxes).
If you’re curious about joining, but want to learn a bit more about the concept and orange wines in general, you can always tune into Winkler’s past videos via the club’s Instagram (these are posted to the feed after the live sessions). Orange Glou memberships start at around $105 per month, and you can always purchase one-off boxes on the website, either for yourself or as a gift.
Most Philanthropic : Far Niente Winery
Far Niente, a Napa Valley fine winery founded in 1885, offers a variety of custom online tastings to accompany its standout wines (the brand is perhaps best known for its Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon).
To book a virtual wine tasting reservation for between one and 20 guests, you can make a reservation online, and from there, you’ll receive word on your corresponding wine order and shipping details. (If more than one household is involved, the wines will be delivered to each doorstep).
These tastings are guided by one of Far Niente’s wine educators. During the sessions, you’ll learn about the specific wines you’re enjoying, and you’ll also have the opportunity to ask any and all questions, leaving you with a more robust knowledge of the subject than you had before.
The virtual tasting is complimentary with the cost of the wines pricing will be confirmed upon your reservation booking, but for perspective, a red and white wine tasting for two guests with three bottles is roughly $179.
Best on Social Media : Wine With Chas
On a biweekly basis, Chicago-based wine journalist Chasity Cooper takes to IGTV and her blog to share her love and knowledge of wines with viewers everywhere.
So far, her relatable, at-home tasting videos have covered great wines for movie night, budget-friendly sparkling wines, a variety of fun Italian wines, a selection of noteworthy bottles from Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and more. This format is a bit different from the others on this list in the sense that Cooper is, in a way, trying before you buy.
She’ll take you through a tasting and let you know where to get the wines for yourself afterward, if you’re so inclined, and will set you up for success in conducting your own tasting once you receive them. Plus, you can always queue up her video again if you’d like to taste alongside her.
This is a laidback series of approachable tastings, featuring a fun selection of wines with a dash of great personality. You can head to Cooper’s Instagram or her blog to check out past episodes and wait for new ones to go live. Cooper’s videos are free, but of course, prices vary if you wish to purchase any wines.
Best for Sparkling Wines : Chandon
Sparkling wine enthusiasts rejoice: Chandon has launched a series of virtual tastings available to both club members and non-members alike, focusing on wines from the brand's shipment of the month (which you can purchase individually for tastings available to non-members).
Chandon’s April tasting, which you can access publicly now via its website and watch while sipping the Virtual Wine Tasting Volume 1 pack, features Head Winemaker Pauline Lhote covering her and the brand's backstory. Meanwhile, she'll take you through the winemaking process and a dive into three wines: Chandon Brut and a duo of winery exclusives (Reserve Blanc de Blancs and the Vintage Yountville Brut 2015).
Virtual wine tastings showcase wines featured that month. You can sign up for Chandon’s email list on the brand's website (you’ll receive a Zoom meeting invite and information on the wines), or you can join via Facebook Live.
The publicly available tastings carry no cost, but in terms of bottle pricing, you can purchase them individually or buy the full set featured in the tasting (all of the Volume 1 bottles cost about $110, plus shipping). Club members pay $130 per wine shipment (six deliveries a year), and they receive discounts on bottle purchases.
What Is a Virtual Wine Tasting?
A virtual wine tasting is a guided wine tasting to be enjoyed in the comfort and safety of your own home. Some are hosted by wineries themselves, while others are hosted by wine regions, retailers, wine clubs or influential figures (usually in partnership with a producer). Most of these tastings will provide you with the information to purchase your wines and any other supplies ahead of time.
How Much Do Virtual Wine Tastings Cost?
Some virtual wine tastings are completely free, though the cost of the wines themselves is, of course, a factor. Depending on the tasting, you can expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $200 or more, depending on the quality of the wine and any added fees or shipping costs.
Can I Book a Wine Tasting for Multiple People at the Same Time?
A virtual wine tasting can make a great group activity, especially if it’s pre-recorded or hosted via Zoom. Some hosts limit the amount of guests per tasting, but the attendees can join from anywhere—meaning you don’t all have to be physically together in the same space, a feature that contributed to the virtual wine tasting boom. If you’re thinking of gifting a virtual wine tasting to someone else, you can easily do so, whether it’s for a friend or loved one, or something for the two of you to enjoy together.
Best Wine Pairings for Vegetarian Food + Recipes (Video)
What an amazing tasting of wines paired with delicious vegetarian recipes from Food & Drink magazine created by editors Victoria Walsh and Eric Vellend!
The turnout was HUGE and the chat stream so lively (see comments further below).
3 Tips for Veggie Sips
• Consider the types of veggies in the dish: flavour, weight and texture?
• Light or bold? Crisp or creamy? Mild or spicy?
Tip #2: Can You Take the Heat?
• Are the veggies raw or cooked?
• If cooked, is it: light (steamed), heavy (braised), rich (fried)?
• Are there spices, sauces, oils or cream in the dish?
• How about bridging ingredients like nuts, cheese, lentils or grains?
Recipes and Wines:
The smoky aromas of toasted nuts and coffee are a great match for the smoked cheddar in this beer, which is a cross between an English Brown Ale and German Smoked Lager.
Whenever a dish traditionally pairs well with beer, I think sparkling wine can do the job as well, especially with its frothy bubbles and cleansing acidity that’ll cut through the fat of the cheese and is a lively counterpoint to the Brussels sprouts.
The buttery notes of this Chardonnay also pair well with the richness of the cheese, squash and corn flavours of the nacho chips.
The smoky notes of the cheddar are a terrific complement to the smoky aromas of the Baco Noir.
This terrific, off-dry Riesling has the natural medium sweetness to match the beets and the vibrancy to cut through the richness of the gnocchi.
This off-dry cider also works for the same reasons, plus its apple notes are a wonderful contrast to the earthiness of this dish.
The zesty acidity of this wine will cut through the lovely, mouth-coating texture of the dip.
This smooth red wine also has the acidity for the dip, plus its peppery notes will mingle nicely with the chili flakes.
This zingy rose brightens and lifts the richness of the buttered mushrooms and has the acidity to handle the herbal pea flavours.
This smooth, full-bodied Cab Franc has the weight to match the bold flavours of this dish without the furry-moth tannins to clash with it. It’s herbal notes also handle the peas beautifully.
The caramel aromas in this medium-bodied, creamy beer are a great pairing with the buttery notes in the dish.
Mushroom dishes often pair well with Pinot Noir, given the wine’s natural, earthy aromas. The bonus is that Pinot Noir is packed with bright berry flavours that aren’t heavy or jammy.
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot works well with the umami of the parmesan and mushrooms that give this dish deep, savoury goodness. The Merlot in the blend is smooth and acts as a bridging grape for fans of big reds and vegetarian cuisine.
Here’s an apples to apples comparison and match of flavours. The honeycrisp apples in this lively cider dance beside this dessert.
The peachy, apricot loveliness of this Icewine plays so nicely alongside the apple crisp.
Roy SmithWill this event be recorded and available later?
LCBOYes, this event will be recorded and available for watching and re-watching! The 7:30 event start time is to watch live and engage with the event. 🙂
Welcome to live chat! Remember to guard your privacy and abide by our community guidelines.
Alexander InglisCheers from Toronto’s Cabbagetown!
LCBOHappy #MeatlessMonday everyone!
Suzin WillsonHI Natalie, so excited to being involved with this.
jolly jollyCheers from Mississauga!
Bonnie LymerCheers from Saskatoon!
Deborah PikeHi from Gabriola – Gulf Island!
LCBOAnyone from the national capital region like our host Natalie?
AndreaTuning in from Ottawa, here
Don Morris-JonesHello from Arlington VA
[email protected] Hello 613 crowd!
Dorothy MazzarellaHi from New York!
Darryn VareyEvening Nat! Evening, fellow GWSers )
Psoriasis ChannelI’m nearly meatless..
Mark LaiHi Natalie! Looking forward to this.
Tara MaharajFrom Newmarket, ON
Rosemary PellHi everyone – great topic
Paula BernardinoHello from Montreal
Karen Mitchellso excited for this one as I eat alot of vegetarian dishes.
LCBOHello, friends from outside Ontario!
Guyanne DesforgesHi Natalie, enjoying this new concept
LCBOOur Holiday Food & Drink issue hits stores on November 12th, so mark your calendars, folks!
Irene WilliamsonHi from Crysler.
LCBOFor those of you outside Ontario, you can read our digital magazine at foodanddrink.ca
kellie johnsenAloha from Hawaii
Christine ArcherHi from Mississauga, Ontario
Karen MitchellI’m having teriyaki eggplant over cauliflower rice tonight.
[email protected] Mitchell Sounds delicious!
[email protected] johnsen Aloha! We aren’t jealous, not at all.
Sil MiorThese are excellent tips, are they included in the magazine?
[email protected] Mior The tips aren’t necessarily featured in the magazine, but this video will be available for watching and re-watching on our channel so that you can reference it.
Mark LaiLove Food & Drink magazine. Such a great value add from LCBO
Sil MiorPerfect. Thank you.
LCBOWe’ve linked to all of the recipes in our video description, but you can read the full issue online.
Christine ArcherI still have food and drink magazines going back to early 80’s.
Khairun KanjiTHank You for Hosting this event … what a wonderful Idea for connecting with your fans … and Hoping more such events will be offered online …. so people across the country can participate
Karen MitchellI almost made these tonight
Elaine BruceHi all, from Calgary :)
Alexander InglisWhat about Harvest Nachos swapping out the dairy with vegan chedder?
Jane StaplesHi from Ottawa
[email protected] Kanji We host virtual events on a near-weekly basis! Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook @LCBO to stay in the loop!
[email protected] Inglis Vegan cheese would be a great and tasty alternative!
Lori KilmartinHi Natalie! Love sparkling with natcho’s. Great choice!
Alana KLThanks Natalie for adding Reds as well Great recommendations!
LCBOWho thought this recipe photo was meat? We did a double-take!
Jane StaplesThanks for the tip to use beet greens!
Craig HThanks for the sparkling wine recommendation Nathalie
Elaine BruceLove beets ! I use the stalks as well, chop and cook, use instead of chickpeas for a gorgeous hummus
Lori KilmartinI want this recipe!! The Beet Gnocchi sounds delicious!
Karen Mitchell30 bench winemakers Riesling is one of my favourites
Rosemary PellYes, I was wondering about a red with the beet gnocchi
Lori KilmartinBeets with Pinot Noir too?
Alana KLLove that – thanks! We prefer reds but are always more challenged pairing them with veggie dishes!
Kim from Stevestonhello from BC …. sorry we don’t get many if any of the Ontario wines !! These recipes look delish ….
Karen Mitchellamen, perplexed vegetable and red wine lover here
AndreaLove this Carrot Hummus! Can’t wait to try
Suzin Willsonit all looks so delicious
[email protected] from Steveston Hello our friend from the west! If you can’t get these Ontario wines, there are some amazing pacific northwest and BC wines that you could substitute!
Maggie GattescoGreat tip for broccoli
Tim RobertsI made the carrot hummus for a thanksgiving appetizer and it was amazing. I actually liked it when it was warm and thought it could make a nice side dish.
Cam AlexsonThe beet Gnocchi pairing with the off dry Riesling sounds good how would a Gamay noir play with this dish
Lori KilmartinLove the Sauv. Blanc tip with the hummus!
Paula Bernardinoabsolutely! great advice! “Drink what you like!!
Alana KLOur motto @Paula Bernardino
Odile McDevittI found this channel by pure chance and wow I’m in love
Lori [email protected] I may have “several” back issues too!
Craig HThese pairings sound superb
Odile McDevittwhile they creep me out (for reasons I don’t understand) my twin sister loves mushrooms, I’ll have to send this to her
[email protected] Kilmartin Nice! The recipes never get old! We maybe can’t say the same for those s advertisements, though!
Odile McDevittt study the 80s but they’re still super useful to historians ike me
Odile McDevitt(also oops, I hit enter before I meant to)
Suzin Willsonnever knew there was a mushroom brush! I’m getting one too
Paula BernardinoLadybug: my favourite rosé!
Suzin Willsongot to try lady bug
[email protected] Bernardino One of ours too! We also have a video from a past virtual event featuring Ontario Sparkling Wines, hosted by the Sparkling Winos and Shiraz Mottiar – winemaker at Malivoire!
Rosemary Pell”acidity is to wine what salt is to food” – wonderful & helpful way to understand this element
Lori KilmartinI love mushrooms. @LCBO – I was late to the party. Where do we find these recipes??
Kim from StevestonWHY is it so difficult to get Ontario wines here (and likely BC wines for you guys ….)?? Its ridiculous ….
[email protected] Kilmartin The recipes are in the video description, and can also be found in our Autumn 2020 issue of Food & Drink.
Suzin Willsonunder neath where it says show more
Lorna PalmerFeatherstone Cab Franc is delicious like the pairing suggested
[email protected] from Steveston Guess you’ll have to pay us a visit soon
AndreaLooks delicious! I absolutely love Pinot Noir with mushrooms, too.
Lori KilmartinAgree @natalie – Mushrooms and Pinot are my fav pairing! Thanks for the wine recommendation!
Kim from StevestonGet your covid numbers down …. and I am there .
Kim from StevestonVery much look forward to hitting your beautiful province again…..
Guyanne DesforgesGreat dishes and love the suggested pairings in all I found my favorite wines such as the Lady Bug, Baco Noir of Henry of P. , Trius, Gamay .. merci
LCBOAnother shout out to Ottawa!
Lori KilmartinOhhhh – love the idea of the topping on the bottom! I will definitely try this recipe!
Kim from StevestonGREAT idea …. topping on the bottom
Lori [email protected] – I wouldn’t have thought of an apple cider pairing. Great idea.
LCBOMmm, Icewine and apple crisp. We can hardly think of anything better to finish a meal.
Craig HThanks for the cider pairing idea
Lori KilmartinWhat’s your favourite vegetarian dish and wine pairing @Natalie
Linda VargasHow can I access the digital food and drink magazine? I do receive the Lino emails
[email protected] Vargas You can find digital issues online at foodanddrink.ca
Ann Marie Leis[message retracted]
Alana KLNatalie, any thoughts on wine pairings for dishes with lots of lemon (piccata sauce, pasta with lemon and pepper sauce, fish with lemon, etc.) – always challenged when there
Alexander InglisThank you so much for offering vegan options.
LCBOWe have also linked to the Autumn 2020 digital issue in the video description.
Ann Marie LeisTere Eric! will you be doing an Estonian themed recipe mix soon?
Ann Marie LeisTere Eric! will you be doing an Estonian themed recipe mix soon?
R TietzJust love the idea of a chocolate board and the pairings,
LCBOMmm, mushroom risotto with an aged Nebbiolo
Alana KLBrilliant – thanks Natalie!
Lorna HindsGreat ideas and tips
Christine Archerthanks Natalie see u Wednesday
Craig HThanks for all these tips, Natalie.
Irene WilliamsonGreat night. Thank you all.
Deborah PikeAs a vegetarian, I salute your commitment to these gorgeous pairings!
Suzin Willsonthank you so much this was very helpful. Happy cooking and sampling!
Lori KilmartinThank you so much! Fun session!
LCBOThanks everyone for sharing your #MeatlessMonday with us! And thanks to all of our friends from out of province for joining in as well!
Guyanne DesforgesThank you, merci cheers to all over
Jacqui DenommeThis was fun, thanks!
Irene MatysWonderful live everyone! Cheers
LCBOTo stay in the loop on our virtual event series, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter @LCBO
Mark LaiThanks all, that was fun.
Em WillsCheers everyone, until next time!
Kim from StevestonThanks Natelie and Eric and Victoria . I have been enjoying a Grey Monk Pinot Gris while listening !!
LCBO We have events just about every week!
Thanks so much for your wonderful participation this evening everyone!
11 Alcohol Advent Calendars&mdashLiquor, Wine, or Beer&mdashThat'll Ensure a Spirited December
It's going to be a weird holiday season. Plan your drinking accordingly.
Do not let this balmy October fool you: The holidays are drawing near. And in the spirit of planning ahead, now is as good a time as any to prep for the glorious 24 days (or 12 days) of December drinking that an alcohol advent calendar can bestow upon you&mdashor someone you like, as a spirited (sorry) gift. Every day, a surprise. Every day, a reason to knock off work early and make the long leap from couch to kitchen, where some untasted beverage from some exotic locale awaits. And you thought children would be the only ones able to conjure up holiday wonderment this year.
From whiskey to wine to beer, there are a handful of booze-laden advent calendars to end 2020 in high spirits (sorry). And if high spirits are wildly outside the realm of possibility for your end of year, then at least you can aim for middling-to-moderate spirits when there's an alcohol advent calendar ticking down the days to Christmas nearby. To get one, you can drop by an Aldi after November 4 to take your pick of beer, wine, and, ho boy, hard seltzer advent calendars. You can also buy one of the following 11 options online in the States. Should you crack yours open early&mdashfor instance, next week&mdashwe certainly won't blame you.
Flaviar, a spirits subscription club that is quite fantastic, has a Whiskies of the World advent calendar available to order. Pretty self-explanatory stuff. Just sign up and get 24 days of whisky from around the world. Each vial comes with a piece of artwork and notes on tasting, to culture yourself as you imbibe.
This advent calendar likewise gives you a 24-day whisky tour of the world, and what better world tour could there be? Offerings include Swedish single malt, Tennessee bourbon, and 18-year-old scotch.
As the Celebration of Lights kicks off this weekend, order in festive, Israeli-inspired eats including latkes (potato pancakes), sufganiyot (Israeli doughnuts), and shakshuka (poached eggs in tomato garlic sauce) delivered straight to your door. Customers can access the complete Hanukkah menu via mktakeaways.com, and orders can be placed online or via phone. In addition to the Hanukkah menu, MK Takeaways' regular menu will also be available for purchase. Place an order via mktakeaways.com or 954-669-1366.
Bark 'n' Brunch is back at Brimstone Doral. This Saturday, enjoy brunch dishes and bottomless mimosas while the pups chow down on a selection of specialty bowls and "puptails" (puppy cocktails) made from Brimstone's house-made bone broth. A limited dog-friendly food menu will also be available, featuring the Who Let the Hams Out bowl made with roasted ham, sweet potatoes, and asparagus Pawshed Potatoes and Turkey, with turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry and Chicken and Woofles. 11:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, December 12, at Brimstone Woodfire Grill, 8300 NW 36 St., Doral 786-837-8960 brimstonewoodfiregrill.com. Admission is free brunch is pay as you go.EXPAND
Carrabba’s specialty wine dinners
Back in March, Carrabba’s hosted the world’s largest wine dinner. It was to unveil their new selections from the restaurant’s wine list, which features 42 distinctive wines curated by Carrabba’s sommelier Brittany Deloach. The evening featured a four-course meal paired with wines from Carrabba’s collection. It took place simultaneously at all 244 Carrabba’s restaurants around the country.
But there’s good news. Even if you missed out on this, you can still take part in lovely wine pairing dinners at Carrabba’s as the restaurant has them monthly.
Sample unique wines at Carrabbas’s wine dinners
While the World’s Largest Wine Dinner was the official launch of the new wine menu, Carrabba ’s will continue to introduce its new wine offering through a limited-time collection of Food &
- Interesting Gems – New, seasonal selections that allow guests to experience new and notable wines, some of which are exclusive to Carrabba ’s the first edition features Pieropan Soave (Italy) and CasaSmith Barbera (Washington).
- Festival of Wine Flights – This wine-tasting experience allows guests to explore wines from around the world paired with a small plate. Guests choose from three flights.
- Signature Pairings – A special menu section that provides wine-pairing recommendations for Carrabba ’s made-from-scratch entrées.
I don’t enjoy white wine very much but I loved the Soave (pronounced “swah-vay”) that was paired with out salad. I even had two glasses, which is a pretty good amount for me. I loved the reds too and the veal marsala was yummy. Plus, they weren’t stingy with the pours and do offer refills.
$40 dinners include four courses with wine pairings
Overall, a four-course meal with wine pairings (and yes, the wines were unique and not something you easily find) for $40 is a pretty incredible deal. The next wine dinner is happening on May 23. The menu is delectable: Grilled Asparagus with Prosciutto, Tuscan Strawberry Salad, Short Rib Pappardelle, Gelato with Berries.
About the author
Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!