A visit to GenuWine Arizona, a self serve wine bar.

With all of the development in downtown Phoenix in recent years it’s hard to recognize it let alone keep track of the new business’s that have opened up. One of those business’s is GenuWine Arizona, a wine and beer bar on Roosevelt Row.  I recently found myself at GenuWine as owners Emily Rieve and Lindsey Schoenemann were finalizing plans to celebrate their first anniversary.

Emily and Lindsey are two mid-westerners who found themselves teaching together in Gilbert. They enjoyed working together on school lessons and wanted to share their passion to collaborate on something unique. The wine enthusiasts decided on a self-serve wine bar and GenuWine Arizona was born.

What’s going on at GenuWine Arizona

Focusing on mostly Arizona wines, beers and foods guests can make their way up to the wine wall for a taste, 1/2 glass or full glass of over 24 wines. I opted for 4 tastes of Arizona wines on my visit. Local craft beers are on tap and by the bottle if you’re in the mood for the suds.

The laid back atmosphere offers board games to play, couches and chairs to talk with friends and people watch along Roosevelt. A few seats at the bar allow for you to enjoy your drink while chatting with Emily and Lindsey when their not with their guests. If hungry you can build your own cheese board.

Weekly events include beer and tastings, unique classes(cheese making), live music and a comedy night. On First Friday’s you can usually count on a beer or wine tasting and food truck outside. Happy hour is Mon.-Fri. from 3-6 p.m. with $2 off full glasses of wine, draft beer and small plates.

GenuWine Arizona
Owners Emily and Lindsey

There’s plenty of room for private parties and a wine club is in the works.

For a calendar of events and lists of wine and beer they’re pouring visit their website.

GenuWine Arizona is at 888 N. 1st Ave. Suite 101 Phoenix 85003. 602-682-7494. Hours Mon. – Thurs. 3 – 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 1 -11 p.m and Sun. 1 -9 p.m.

 

A Taste of Mount Veeder coming to Scottsdale in March

We all remember our first love, first car and first winery we visited right. I remember the first two but the wine geek in me remembers visiting Hess Collection Winery on Mount Veeder in 1997. It was the first winery I had ever visited early in my wine career. Hess Collection will be one of 11 wineries pouring their wines at “A Taste of Mount Veeder” on Saturday March 2nd. The tasting will be at Troon Country Club from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

About Mount Veeder

The Mount Veeder appellation is part of the Mayacamas range on the western side of Napa Valley. It borders Sonoma County to the west and the Carneros appellation to the south. From vineyards a top the mountain on a clear day you can see San Francisco to the south as I did from Rubisow-Sargent’s vineyards on another visit to Napa Valley.

Grapes at Paratus Vineyards. All photos courtesy of Mount Veeder Appellation

In 1993 it was designated an American Viticultural Area(AVA) and covers 16,000 acres with only 1,000 acres under vine. Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 64% of grapes grown. Mount Veeder represents 1.3% of wine production in Napa Valley.

It was the first AVA to grow Petit Verdot, have all 5 Bordeaux varietals planted at one vineyard and produce a wine with all 5 Bordeaux varietals.

Wineries participating

This will be a unique opportunity to taste these wines in one place as some of the wineries are not open to the public. Participating wineries will be…..

Boich Family Cellar
Brandlin
The Hess Collection Winery
Lagier Meredith
Marketta Winery
O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery
Progeny
Random Ridge
Robert Craig Winery
Rudd Estate Winery
Sky Vineyards
Yates Family Vineyards

Find wines that you like and you’ll be able to order them for your collection. Tickets are $75 in advance and include gourmet hor d’oeuvres. Tickets will be $100 at the door. To purchase tickets visit their website or call 707-266-1296 before they sell out.

Troon Country Club is at 25000 N. Windy Walk Dr. Scottsdale 85255.

Lunch with Russ Weis, President of Silverado Vineyards

I recently sat down for lunch at Hearth ’61 with the President of Silverado Vineyards, Russ Weis, when he was in Phoenix. We tasted 3 wines while Russ told us the Silverado story, about life in Napa Valley surviving recent wildfires and about the wines.

Russ was practically born into the wine business as the son of grape growers in Madera, California. Russ started his career in Napa Valley in 1987 at Christian Brothers Winery then went on to Robert Mondavi Winery in 1993. He joined Silverado Vineyards in 2004.

The Silverado Vineyards story

Silverado Vineyards was started in 1981 by Diane Disney and her husband, former football player and movie producer Ron Miller. The 6 historic vineyards owned by the winery date back to the 1800s and are located throughout Napa Valley. The winery is currently owned by Ron and his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, with plans to keep it in the family for several more generations.

The wines are made by winemaker Jon Emmerich and associate winemaker Elena Franceschi. All wines are “Grown, Produced and Bottled by” the winery, one of a few Napa Valley wineries that can say that. A small portion of grapes are sold to other wineries.

With over 300 acres of vineyards the wines express the differing terroirs, giving each wine its unique complexity and character. The winery and home vineyard are in the Stags Leap District along the Silverado Trail.

Tasting the wines

During our lunch we tasted the 2016 Carneros Chardonnay and proprietary Cabernet Sauvignons GEO and SOLO from the 2014 vintage.

The chardonnay comes from the Vineburg and Firetree vineyards in the cooler southern part of Napa Valley. The wine is aged in French oak barrels with some in new oak. The wine is clean and well-balanced with oak and acidity. Bright fruit that the Carneros region is known for makes this a great wine to drink by itself or paired with food. It made a nice complement to our shrimp cocktail. The chardonnay is the winery’s second largest produced wine, at just under 10,000 cases.

The GEO Cabernet Sauvignon uses grapes grown on the Mt. George vineyard in Coombsville. The Millers bought the vineyard in 1987 and was the first vineyard planted to grapes in the Coombsville AVA. A splash of Petit Verdot is blended before the wine was aged for almost 2 years in mostly French oak. The wine was soft and enjoyable with good tannins giving you the typical Cabernet mouthfeel taste of blackberries and cocoa and drinks well. Only 2,200 cases are made.

The SOLO Cabernet Sauvignon was the last of the 3 wines we tasted. Made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine is named for the fact it’s made from a single clone. The Silverado- Disney Heritage clone was given “Heritage” status by UC Davis because the new clone was carefully observed and had adapted to the unique soil of the Stags Leap District. It’s one of only 3 Cabernets with this status and the only one from Stags Leap District.

The bold fruit comes from the Silverado Vineyard and offers currants, cassis and plum nuances. It’s aged in 100% French oak with 38% new oak. The wine pairs well with grilled red meats and roasts. 2,400 cases were produced.

Visiting the winery

Silverado Vineyards is open daily by appointment. The winery is at 6121 Silverado Trail, Napa CA. 94458. For reservations call 707-257-1770 or visit their website.

Mountain Shadows offers Wine, Spirits & Beer seminars

Your never to old to learn about wine, beer and spirits and the staff at Mountain Shadows resort and Hearth ’61 teaches us about all three. The Paradise Valley resort is offering an every other week seminar about wine, spirits and beer called Spirited Sipping Seminars. The 30-45 minute seminar is taught by resort Food & Beverage director Jim Gallen and bartender Travis. Guests will taste each of the three beverages discussed and be able to ask questions.

As the wine, spirits and beer world continue evolve learning the history, making of and trends of cocktails, wine and beer becomes more interesting. During the cocktail seminars you will learn how to make cocktails and receive the recipes.

Spirits
Photo courtesy of Mountain Shadows

Wine, Beer & Spirits seminar schedule

Saturday afternoon classes start at 3 p.m. and are $30 per class. The following classes are scheduled through December.

Oct. 20- Brews & (Taste) Buds. USA vs Europe.

Nov. 3- Craft of the Cocktail Gin: The Misunderstood Spirit

Nov. 17- Weekend Wine Sessions Wine for Thanksgiving

Dec. 1- Craft of the Cocktail Holiday Cocktails

Dec. 15- Brews & (Taste) Buds- Ales vs Lagers: Finding your style

Dec. 29- Weekend Wine Sessions A Bit of Bubbly USA vs France

2018 AZ Central Wine & Food experience welcomes Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez

Over 60 Arizona restaurants and their chefs return November 3rd & 4th for the 4th annual AZ Central Wine & Food Experience. The 2018 experience moves up the road to Monterra at Westworld and includes celebrity chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez.

Marcus Samuelsson
All photos courtesy of FleurCom Group

The Martha Stewart Experience returns

AZWFE welcomes back The Martha Stewart Experience with a Celebrating with Martha theme for guests to get creative just in time for the holidays. You’ll be able to check out Martha’s newest line of kitchen gear and utensils from Macy’s and QVC.

New to this years event is the The Grateful House where guests can make their own salsa and wine charms. Their will be Master Demo lead by a Grateful Influencer to 40 people on a first come first serve basis.

Join Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez

On Saturday award-winning chef Marcus Samuelesson will join the festivities along with local chefs. Sunday welcomes chef and Food Network judge Aaron Sanchez who will mix and mingle with guest and more local chefs.

Chefs from across the valley including Juan Zamora of Chula Seafood, Jennifer Russo of The Market by Jennifer Restaurant and Bar and MATCH Restaurant and Lounge chef Alex Stratta will prepare tastes of food.

Get your tickets

Tickets for the two day event are available at their website.

  • Grand Tasting.  $65 limited time offer in advance. Sample delicious bites from Arizona’s most coveted dining establishments. Meet chefs, taste their creations; see cooking demonstrations.  Plus enjoy fine wine, craft beer and distinctive spirits sampling. GT entry at 1pm Sat. and Sun.
  • VIP Grand Tasting. $120 in advance.  For guests who seek all the benefits of the Grand Tasting, they’ll also enjoy private tastings from wineries and distillers, early entry, a VIP Lounge and VIP restrooms. VIP Entry at noon.
  • Chef’s Package Experience with Marcus Samulesson & Aarón Sánchez.  $180 in advance. Enjoy all the benefits of the VIP Grand Tasting, PLUS private meet and greet and book-signing with Marcus Samuelsson Nov. 3 & Aarón Sánchez Nov. 4 [Advance purchase recommended. Tickets subject to sellout.] Chef’s Package begins at 11:30am. Subscribers are eligible for $15 off tickets, available only through azcentral.com/insider.

 

The Downtown Donut Festival is happening and its about time

It was only a matter of time before one of America’s favorite treats, the donut, got its own festival.  The first Downtown Donut Festival is from the folks that bring us the Phoenix Pizza Festival the day before making for a great foodie weekend. The donut festival will be on Sunday November 18th at Margaret T. Hance Park in downtown Phoenix from 11 a.m. -3 p.m.

Downtown Donut Festival

Donuts and more

Over 15 donut makers from around Phoenix will be frying up the dough and to a crowd expected to reach 2,000 people. Donuts will be sold for $1 per along with donut holes, donut samples and other donut creations in a multitude of flavors.

Enjoy the donuts then have fun at a Mimosa Bar, craft beer garden, wine tasting, lawn games and live music. The festival is for the whole family and their will be a craft zone for the kids.

There will also be a vendor marketplace for festival goers can get a head start on the holiday shopping season.

Downtown Donut Festival tickets

Tickets for the festival are available on-line at  https://www.downtowndonutfest.com/ for $8. Part of the proceeds will be donated to Downtown Phoenix Inc. which promotes downtown Phoenix by supporting local business’s and events.

Zuzu releases dates for Monday Night Chef’s Table for coming months

Zuzu and executive chef Russell LaCasce  know how to pull off exciting off menu dinner events. Diners and wine geeks should be excited for their continued success as the next four months of their monthly Monday Night Chef’s Table is set.

The signature restaurant at Scottsdale’s Hotel Valley Ho will offer guests a 4-course dinner paired with wines from prestigious wineries. A guest from the winery will be on hand to speak about the wines and pairings. Although all the menus are not finalized the wineries are and dates are as follows….

August 27th Frog’s Leap Winery– Guests can expect a menu of cabbage cured salmon, charred jumbo asparagus with prosciutto and lobster, dry aged pork chop, and chocolate pot de crème with almond crumble.

September 17th- Wagner Family of Wines

October 22nd– ZD Wines

November 12th– Willakenzie Estate

Each of the dinners start at 6:30 p.m. and cost $75 ++ per person and reservations can be made at http://www.hotelvalleyho.com/ or by calling 480-376-2600. Zuzu is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251.

 

 

LDV Winery celebrates 10th anniversary re-locating Wine Gallery to SouthBridge

Reaching a 10 year anniversary for a small business is a big accomplishment. Business’s that make it that long celebrate in several different ways some big, some small. Kurt & Peggy co-owners of LDV Winery is celebrating in a big way as the-re-locate their popular Scottsdale Wine Gallery to SouthBridge on Stetson Dr.

Moving to nearby Southbridge on the canal, LDV will be able to attract new customers from the large amount of foot traffic from nearby restaurants and shopping.

“We are thrilled to bring even better wine experiences, tastings and purchase offerings to our members and guests through our new location,” says co-owner Peggy Fiandaca. “It’s our pleasure and distinct honor to share our love and knowledge of Arizona wines with other local wine enthusiasts and visitors to the area that are unaware of our region’s amazing wine growing abilities.”

Events at SouthBridge

With the E. 1st St. location closing on July 27th all August and September events are cancelled until they open in October. Its business as usual until the 27th with daily happy hour and WineDown Wednesday.  Once they Kurt and Peggy re-open at their new location they will continue their exciting events focused around their wines made at their winery in southern Arizona.

Purchases of wine are 30% off when you buy 6 until they close at 8 p.m. on July 27th. To purchase wines or get more information reach out to 602-320-1485, info@ldvwinegallery.com or https://ldvwinery.com/

Here is the schedule of events for October, November and December.

OCTOBER

LDV Winery Sky Islander Wine Club Pick-up Party

Sunday, October 14th -1:00 p.m. -5:00 p.m.

Sky Islander Wine Club members can pick up their wine club packages and taste through the new wines. Guests are welcome; regular tasting fees apply. Wine club packages will be charged to credit card on file the beginning of October. Call Peggy 602-320-1485 to update any club member information.

Wine Glass Painting with Alexandria Reilly

Saturday, October 20th -10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.

Guest can enjoy this Wine glass painting class with assistance from the artist. All art supplies and nibbles by Chef Jennifer of Witnessing Nature in Food will be provided. LDV wines available for purchase to enjoy during the class. Cost: $35.00; registration: https://www.paintandcreateaz.com/book-online

 LDV Harvest Festival

Saturday, October 27th 2018 -11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

All are welcome to join in the celebration of the 2018 Harvest Completion with LDV Winery, enjoying great wine, a Le Nez du Vin (Nose of the Wine) competition, grape stomping photo opportunities, and music on the patio. Free to attend and enjoy wine by the glass discounts and nibbles such as artisan cheese, sausage and other noshes.

NOVEMBER

LDV 10th Year Celebration – Special Wine Release

Saturday, November 10th -During regular hours

Guests are invited to celebrate the LDV winemaker’s 60th birthday and the release of the LDV 10th Year Celebration limited edition wine. Celebration includes a tasting of the special 10th Year Celebration Wine and birthday cake. Admission is free.

Wine Glass Painting with Alexandria Reilly

Saturday, November 17th- 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.

Guest can enjoy this Wine glass painting class with assistance from the artist. All art supplies and nibbles by Chef Jennifer of Witnessing Nature in Food will be provided. LDV wines available for purchase to enjoy during the class. Cost: $35.00; registration: https://www.paintandcreateaz.com/book-online

Paint Your Pet with Tawny

Wednesday, November 28-6:00 p.m. -8:00 p.m.

During this pet-centric Wine Down Wednesday, artist Tawny will assist guests in painting pictures of their pets on a 9×12” pre-sketched canvas. Cost is $35.00, including all supplies, and LDV wines by the glass are available at happy hour prices. Registration: www.artedelamor.com

DECEMBER

During this holiday month, guests that bring in a toy for Toys for Tots will receive a 10 percent discount.

Corks, Crafts and Wine

Saturday, December 1st -10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Guests can bring in their glue guns and sticks to create wine-cork crafts such as wreaths, cork trees and ornaments in this fun and social environment while sipping wine and nibbling on snacks. Cost: $15, including a glass of wine. Registration: 602-320-1485

Wine Glass Painting with Alexandria Reilly

Saturday, December 8th- 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.

Guest can enjoy this Wine glass painting class with assistance from the artist. All art supplies and nibbles by Chef Jennifer of Witnessing Nature in Food will be provided. LDV wines available for purchase to enjoy during the class. Cost: $35.00; registration: https://www.paintandcreateaz.com/book-online

Paint Your Pet with Tawny

Wednesday, December 12th -6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

During this pet-centric Wine Down Wednesday, artist Tawny will assist guests in painting pictures of their pets on a 9×12” pre-sketched canvas. Cost is $35.00, including all supplies, and LDV wines by the glass are available at happy hour prices. Registration: www.artedelamor.com

Scottsdazzle – Scottsdale Wine Trail Santa Wine Around

Saturday, December 15th -6:00 p.m. -9:00 p.m.

Guests can get into the spirit of the season by decking themselves in their Santa or Mrs. Claus attire for a fun “Santa Wine Around” throughout downtown Scottsdale. With stops at four local wineries, each with wine specials and activities to celebrate the holidays, the entire downtown Scottsdale area will also be alive with holiday merriment and activities! Registration not required; all Scottsdazzle events can be viewed at www.scottsdazzle.com.

 

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Aridus Wine Company winemaker Lisa Strid is ready for 2018 harvest.

The summer months are a busy time of year for wineries and their winemakers and Arizona’s Aridus Wine Company is no different. With the growing season in full bloom winemakers and employees will be getting ready in the next few months to pick the grapes to make wine. At Aridus there is great anticipation for this years harvest as winemaker Lisa Strid spent the “off-season” in Australia working harvest in the Clare Valley.

Lisa has always been interested in Australian wine making so when the opportunity presented itself she jumped at the opportunity to spend 3 months learning techniques down under.

Lisa’s time in Australia

With Australia being in the southern hemisphere they have the opposite growing season and harvest than we do in Arizona. It’s not un-common for winemakers from up north to travel below the equator to work harvest and learn something new and build new relationships. Upon her return from Australia, Lisa answered questions about her trip and what she learned.

Why were you intrigued to go do a harvest in Australia?

I mostly wanted to learn.  The more you expose yourself to different ways of doing things, at different wineries in different regions, the more you learn.  Since I jumped right into full-time, year-round winemaking right out of school, I never had the experience of a harvest-hopping endless summer.  I’d definitely been itching to make it to the southern hemisphere for a harvest, but the timing hadn’t been right until this year.

What are Kirrihill’s specialties?

Kirrihill is the second largest winery in the Clare Valley, so they produce a whole range of wines, but they’re mostly focused on Riesling (which the region is known for), Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.  They do make a few small batch wines – my favorite amongst them being a Nero D’Avola made from fruit sourced from McLaren Vale.  Their Peacemaker Shiraz is very nice as well.

What practices were different?

Simply being at a larger scale in a region that’s well established meant that there were a lot of differences to how things are done in Arizona.  Nearly all of the grapes brought in were machine harvested.  So that means no whole cluster pressing of whites, and no stem inclusion on red fermentation.

They had a number of different cap management strategies for the reds – both open and closed top fermenters with automatic pumpovers that could be very easily adjusted and customized on the fly, fermenters with pulsed air systems and rotary fermenters.  Because of the sheer volume moving through the winery, it was necessary to get things through fermentation and stabilized as soon as possible, so there weren’t many cold soaks or extended macerations.

By the time I left, the regional Riesling we’d made early in the harvest season was ready for bottling. Also, everything’s measured in a different scale there – not just metric, but also sugars were measured in Baume rather than Brix. So I was doing a lot of mental conversion, especially at first.

What was the most fun while you were there?

I liked getting to know everyone.  It was a crew from all corners of the globe, and everyone had such great attitudes.

Do they have harvest customs food-wise?

Not really, but The Sevenhill Pub did a harvest worker special every Wednesday evening – burger and a pint for $20.  That’s about $14 USD.

What would Americans be surprised to learn from your ‘immersion’ there?

I didn’t even realize how great the rodeos are here in the US until I went to one there.  The Aussies have us beat hands down in things like education, public safety, health care, and quality of life, but our rodeos are way better.

There are also a ton of vehicles with massive bullbars on them, and at first I thought it was because Aussies are all just really into looking like bad asses, but it’s actually functional. It’s so common for kangaroos to jump out into the road, seemingly from nowhere, that it helps to have a bullbar so as not to destroy your car if you can’t avoid hitting one.

Did you have a favorite food?

Fresh passionfruit.

Were there kangaroos on the crush pad?!

Not on the crush pad, but pretty much everywhere else!  I’m an insect collector, and there were tons of giant rain moths – Trictena atripalpis – in the cellar starting in about mid-February.

What are you eager to try as a new technique at Aridus Wine Company?

I’ll be judiciously incorporating pulsed air into our protocols.

What did the Aussies ask you about life & winemaking in Arizona?

They were curious about the soils and the weather in the region, and wanted to know what varieties did well.  I think I forced them to be curious about Mexican food because I talked about it so much.

Did you develop an accent?!

No, but I did ask a co-worker here, “How are you going?” when I got back without even thinking about it.

2018 harvest at  Aridus Wine Company

When harvest begins in mid-July this will be the second year Aridus will be making wine from grapes grown on their own vineyards. Sauvignon Blanc and other white varietals will be the first to be picked. The winery in the Wilcox appellation of southeastern Arizona owns 40 acres of estate vineyard. The vineyard is split in to the “North Side” and the “South Side” with Turkey Creek as the dividing line.

“This estate vineyard defines a unique mix of mountain and desert fine wine grape growing,” explains winery owner Scott Dahmer. The winery also purchases grapes from other vineyards in Arizona and New Mexico.

The Aridus Wine Company winery is at 1126 North Haskell Avenue in Willcox. The winery’s tasting room is nearby, at 145 North Railview Avenue and is open Friday – Saturday from noon until 5:00 p.m.; appointments are not necessary. More info: 520/766-9463

Aridus Wine Company also has a  tasting room in the old town neighborhood of Scottsdale, at 7173 East Main Street. This tasting room is open Monday – Saturday 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm. The tasting room stays open until 9:00 p.m. on Thursdays. More info at 520/954-2676 or at their website.

 

 

Quiesscence at the Farm offers “Locals Only” dining experiences

Those of us that stick it out through the long hot summer deserve an award and  Quiessence at the Farm is doing that, kind of. The award-winning farm to table restaurant is bringing back two popular dining experiences for locals before they take time off.

Locals dining experiences

Before chef Dustin Christofolo and staff shut down the restaurant from July 1st – August 9th they will be offering a limited seat dinner “Taste of Quiessence”. Tuesday-Thursday’s June 12th, 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 26th, 27th and 28th will offer 12 guests per night the opportunity to taste seasonal vegetables and more on a nightly changing Tasting menu. QuiessenceThe first come, first serve dinners will offer guests seasonal ingredients from the farm and from other Arizona vendor as part of the 3-course dinner.

The Taste of Quiessence dinners are $45++ per person with a wine pairing option for an additional $20 per person.

Thursday Wine Flight

When the restaurant re-opens in August after a research and development hiatus guests can join them for Thursday Wine Flights with a trio of tapas. Level 2 sommelier Alison Sponberg will select wines to pair with chef Christolofo’s special menu for the evening.

The three-week themes will be…

August 16 – “Southwest is Best”                                                                                  August 23 – “Farmers, Friends, and Friuli”                                                             August 30 – “Summer in the South of France”

Cost for the wine and food pairing experience is $40 per person++.

Guests can make reservations for both experiences by calling 602-276-0601 and can make reservations for August’s Thursday Wine Flights during the July hiatus. Be sure to mention the wine flights to receive the special menu and price.

Quiessence at The Farm is at 6106 S. 32nd Street Phoenix, AZ 85042. Visit their website for more information.