Start Wine-ing

     If everything you know about wine comes from watching Lucille Ball stomping grapes, or from the ‘80s TV series Falcon Crest, then put down your can of Bud Light!  The United States is in the midst of a wine boom. 

     Delightful, interesting and award-winning wines are being made not just in the rolling hills of Tuscany, or California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys, but right here in New England.  And the time is ripe (pun intended) to learn more. 

     Oenophiles will enjoy the Boston Wine Expo (February 8th -10th at the Seaport World Trade Center, Boston) and the 19th Annual Boston Wine Festival at the Boston Harbor Hotel.  The Wine Festival is the nation’s longest-running wine and food pairing series and showcases wines from California, Oregon, Washington and Italy.  It also features several popular theme dinners.  You can peruse the Event Calendar and purchase tickets online at www.BostonWineFestival.net. 

     Novices will be more at ease sampling wines at the unpretentious The Vine in downtown Plymouth or The Plymouth Winery in the Village Landing Marketplace. 

     The Plymouth Winery specializes in unique fruit wines that are made right on the premises.  Before you crinkle up your nose, give them a chance.  There is more here than just dessert wines; and with most bottles in the $10 range, they make a terrific hostess gift or something different for your own dinner table. 

     We asked Plymouth Winery owner Linda Shumway what wines she recommends for Valentine’s Day.  She suggested the Bug Light Red ($9.99/bottle) which is similar to a Syrah, or their Gold Medal winning Raspberry Wine ($10.99/bottle) – a great alternative to champagne.  Both these wines are particularly good with chocolate.  Their Beach Rose Late Harvest (ice wine) is a little more expensive ($22/bottle), but especially yummy with a hint of strawberry overtones.  Even folks who aren’t familiar with, or don’t care for, dessert wines are likely to enjoy this special treat.  Linda’s happy to let you sample these fruit wines free of charge.  The Plymouth Winery is open Tuesdays – Saturdays from 11am – 5pm this winter. 

     Just a ways up the road, Plymouth Colony Winery is located in the heart of cranberry country, off Route 44.  New England’s original cranberry winery produces delightful cranberry and cranberry-blended wines.  Enjoy a free tasting in the winery building — a renovated screening house, circa 1890, surrounded by nine acres of picturesque cranberry bogs.  Closed in January, the winery opens to the public again on weekends in February and March (Saturdays 10am – 4pm; Sundays noon – 4pm). 

     Archeological data indicates that the earliest wine production came from sites in the countries of Georgia and Iran dating as far back as 6000 – 5000 B.C.  Today, wine is quickly becoming the drink of choice – surpassing beer as one of America’s favorite beverages.  The California-based Wine Institute reports that in 2005 U.S. wine sales increased 115% from 1995, to a record $26 billion.  That’s 14 bottles per person!  So regardless of whether you prefer your wine made from grapes, cranberries or even raspberries – get out there and start wine-ing!

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