Create Fireworks with July 4th Food & Wine

June 21st, 2013 by David Schmeltzle in Articles, recipes

flagWe are all familiar with the sounds of Independence Day celebrations. But this year, those “oohs” and “aahs” will be for your July 4th food and wine menu….not the fireworks. Here are some menu suggestions to brighten up your party. (more…)

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Vintner’s Circle Wine Makers Take Gold, Silver and Bronze in International Competition

June 10th, 2013 by David Schmeltzle in news, wine making

Members of the Vintner’s Circle wine making family won big at the 2012 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Making Competition, sponsored by WineMaker magazine. Andover shop wine makers Deborah and Dennis Haff took prizes in several categories and the Andover wine making team of Jacquie Pellek and Gayle Lembryk also made the judges take notice. Vintner’s Circle wine makers Steve and Lorraine Polakowski won for the second year in a row. (more…)

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“Fun-to-Fill” Father’s Day Wine Gifts

May 24th, 2013 by David Schmeltzle in Articles, wine lifestyle

Man drinking wineDads fill our lives with wonderful things all the time, so why not give them Father’s Day Wine gifts that they can fill for themselves? For instance, is there an empty space in Dad’s basement that is just crying out for a wine storage rack? Or maybe a nook of the kitchen where a wine refrigerator would fit perfectly?  If Dad has sold the riding mower and downsized his living space, there are plenty of interesting wine racks that sit efficiently on a counter or hang from a wall, and only need attention after every six bottles or so. All of these make for creative Father’s Day Wine gifts. (more…)

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Asparagus and Wine Pairing – Selective But Satisfying

April 19th, 2013 by David Schmeltzle in Articles, food pairing

asparagusSpring is here. It’s time to dig out your favorite asparagus recipes and take advantage of this seasonal specialty at the peak of its flavor and freshness. However, it is the strong and wonderfully “green” taste of this vegetable that makes asparagus and wine pairing a bit of a challenge. (more…)

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Serving Ideas for Cupcakes and Wine Pairing

January 18th, 2013 by David Schmeltzle in food pairing, recipes

Cupcakes and wine are more popular than ever – they come in many different flavors and styles. Cupcakes even have their own TV show! Serving cupcakes and wine for a party or dessert is great. Pairing those cupcakes with wine kicks it up a notch to excellent. (more…)

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Red Wine Headaches – Are Sulfites Off the Hook?

January 11th, 2013 by admin in interesting facts, wine facts

large_sulfitesSome people get headaches from wine, red in particular, and it has become a generally accepted theory that sulfites are the cause. But scientific research says differently. The headaches are real, but sulfites may not be to blame.

It just doesn’t seem right that wine should cause suffering. But it is a fact that some people do experience an unpleasant reaction to red wine. The most common complaint has even earned its own acronym – RWH – Red Wine Headaches. Most RWHers will say they are allergic to sulfites. However, research does not entirely support this. According to the medical community, sulfites can cause many other reactions, but usually not headaches. And the fact that some white wines (and a lot of our food products) contain more sulfites than red wines, indicates there may be something else at work.

Sulfites are used as a preservative in wine and many food products. (See Sulfites Purify and Preserve Wine…) They are also a natural derivative of the fermentation process. People who are allergic will most likely experience sneezing, tightness in the throat, and difficulty breathing but a direct correlation to headaches has not been found.

So what else could cause RWH? There are several theories, some are based in the physical properties of red wine and some are lifestyle issues.

– Bio-amines are formed when wine goes through malolactic fermentation, a process that converts tart-tasting malic acid into soft-tasting lactic acid. This process is mostly used in red wines and just a few whites. And it is not used when making wine from wine kits. Bio – amines such as histamine are known to cause headaches. (

– Tannins are a chemical substance that comes from the grape seeds, skins and stems that red wine is fermented on. They also can be present in oak and other types of wood used in barrels that store wine. Tannins help prevent oxidation and facilitate the aging of a red wine. Experiments show that tannins also release serotonin, which, at a high enough level, can cause headaches.

– Tyramine is produced during the aging or fermenting of food. Research indicates that it may cause dilation and contraction of blood vessels resulting in a headache.

– Too much or too little – The last theory has to do with how we drink wine. Regardless of wine color, amount of sulfites, tannins, etc., and potential allergies, drinking too much wine will give you a headache. In line with this, some claim that the reason Europeans or Americans traveling in Europe don’t get RWH is that they drink their wine slowly over the course of a hearty delicious meal, minimizing or eliminating the adverse affects of drinking red wine too fast and with too little food in your stomach.

There is a wealth of information regarding sulfites and wine headaches on the Internet. You also can do some experimenting yourself with different wines. If you do have reactions, it may not be to all wine and there are plenty of different varieties and options. Find the ones that work for you and stick with them or take your cue from the Europeans and linger over a great glass of red wine and a good healthy meal. Who, knows? You may be able to say arrivederci, au revoir and good riddance to your RWH.

Check out these sites to learn more:

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Tailgating Parties – Pairing Wine with Fun Times

January 8th, 2013 by eileen in wine lifestyle

Tailgaters have been known to “reach across the aisle” to fraternize with rival fans during pre-game parking lot festivities. It makes sense, then, that wine should join together with beer as a perfect pairing for burgers, brats and all of the other tasty tailgating food.

Tailgating has long been a tradition for sports fan gearing up to cheer on their favorite teams or players. What’s changed in recent years are the size and sophistication of the party. The menu has exploded beyond burgers and potato salad to include steaks and seafood and even seasonal and regional specialties, like grilled salmon and boiled lobster. Based on this development, it’s only natural that wine should suit up and get in the game.

So what wines fit the bill for tailgating foods?

Let’s start with the basics. Burgers. There are several great reds that pair nicely such as Syrah/Shiraz, Malbec, Dolcetto or Pinot Noir. If you are topping off with a strong cheese like Bleu, a Zinfandel might be a good choice. You can do Cabernet as well, but you might want to save that for your big juicy steak. By the way, Portabello mushrooms are a great vegetarian way to enjoy a “burger” and would pair well with Merlot.

If you are breaking out the barbecue sauce, by all means, uncork some Cab, Merlot, Syrah or, better yet, a blend of two or more of the above.

Spicy foods are popular tailgating fare. Wings, chili and even brats and hot dogs with spicy mustard fall into this category. Depending on the hotness and ingredients of your chili, you could go with Shiraz, Zinfandel or Grenache. As for brats and dogs, according to one tailgating aficianado on the web, a Riesling really brings out their spiciness. But others recommend sticking with a Malbec or Grenache.

Grilled shrimp, salmon, lobster – that’s tailgating and then some! For those special tailgating treats, you may want to make room in the cooler for a Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

While there is no shortage of beverage-related accessories for tailgating parties including everything from beer belts and backpack drink dispensers to portable bars, there does seem to be a lack of wine-themed gadgets and gizmos specifically made for the pre-sport sport. No worries, though. Any group that can inspire the need for bottle opener baseball caps and iPod ready radio coolers is bound to think of something.

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Greco di Tufo is a Complex and Delightful Match for Great Italian Dishes

January 4th, 2013 by eileen in recipes, wine varieties and styles

greco di tufo grapesAs old as ancient Greece, yet as fresh and new as spring day, Greco di Tufo is an Italian white wine from the Compania region of Italy with a long history and a lasting impression. It is perfectly matched to some of the best Italian specialties that share its geography, including tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and seafood. (more…)

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Vintner’s Circle Franchising Holds 4th Annual Conference

August 4th, 2012 by eileen in news

group-all-2Vintner’s Circle Franchising (VCF) LLC held its fourth Annual Conference bringing together franchise owners and employees from the company’s growing expanse of winemaking shops throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania and, most recently, Massachusetts and Arizona. The conference took place August 18 and 19 in Lambertville, New Jersey. (more…)

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Vintner’s Circle in Dickson City Hosts “Taste the Experience” Dinner

July 15th, 2012 by eileen in news, wine lifestyle

The recent “Taste the Experience” gourmet dinner and wine pairing hosted by Vintner’s Circle in Dickson City, PA was a great success. Sixty people gathered at Rossi’s Ristorante in Archbald on July 12, 2012 to enjoy a delicious five-course dinner paired with Vintner’s Circle handcrafted wines. (more…)

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