Summer is ending and fall weather is rapidly approaching. The best way for me to transition, is to think about all the good things that come with fall: the leaves changing, a new school year, Penn State football, and putting on a nice warm sweater. Fall is also harvesting season for many grapes. This is a great time to fall for wine.
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• Take a Tour. Harvesting season is a great time to visit wineries that offer tours. Not only do you get to learn about the wine making process, but you may get to see some of it in action. Afterwards, make sure to visit the tasting room to taste the fruits of their labor. Check online or call ahead for details and to schedule a tour.
• Wine Festivals. There are numerous wine festivals in the fall. This is a chance for you to taste some different brands and styles of wine in one stop. Many local wineries participate in festivals as well. Don’t be intimidated, festivals are set up for first timers and the experienced. Grab a newspaper or browse online to find a festival near you.
• Spice it Up! Mulling wine can be a warm change from your typical glass of wine. Mulling spices consist of cardamom, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon (some recipes call for orange peels or slices). You can warm these spices with some sherry, port, apple, or cranberry wines. Put the burner or slow cooker to the lowest (or warm) settings to heat. Mulled wine will also make your house smell incredible.
• Get Educated. Numerous specialty stores, restaurants, and wineries offer wine classes. They range from making wine, pairing, tasting, and cooking with wine. Visit the information desks or check the websites for class details and schedules.
• Make a Hearty Dinner. Squash and pumpkin dinners are a trademark of fall and taste great with a white wine. If you want something meatier, homemade chili, soups, and roasts are a great way to cook into the fall season. Pair the chili with something sweeter if the chili is spicy and grab a hearty red for a roast.
• Throw a Dinner Party. Get out the fondue pot, a red and a white wine, and have some friends over for a full tasting experience. Try some fantastic cheese and broth fondue recipes and don’t forget the chocolate fondue for dessert! This is a great way to interact with friends.
On a family note, check out the selection of grapes available at this time of the year. I am already seeing numerous grape varieties in my local stores. Your family will be sure to enjoy them too.
Enjoy your fall into wine.