Sunday, November 30, 2008

Call it Green Friday at Sugarloaf Mountain

Black Friday figures to become Be Back Friday at Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard in Dickerson, Md., off how well they did with discounting their case sales this past Friday. Partner Jim McKenna said sales went “very, very well,” proving that not everyone was out at Best Buy and Target on what’s considered the year’s busiest shopping day. Sugarloaf was one of several wineries across the region marking down case sales as a lure to draw in customers. “We’ll definitely do that again next year,” McKenna said.

McKenna said the Cabernet Franc was one of the big sellers, and added that they’ve run out of Pinot Grigio except for cases they’re holding back for
The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Two of Sugarloaf’s wine are sold at the center’s Roof Terrace Restaurant and at the wine bar during performances. It’s the only winery in Maryland that currently has that arrangement with the landmark performing arts center.

Sugarloaf’s schedule over the next few months includes a barrel tasting on Sunday, Dec. 7, where you can try some of the wines that aren’t quite ready for prime time yet. That will include food and cost $18, although free for case club members. Reservations are required. Their case club Christmas party will run from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 12.

With so much happening nearby in D.C, in mid-January, when Barack Obama takes office, the winery is planning its own inaugural weekend on Jan. 17-18 when it officially unveils its tasting room. Expect to find wine tastings and discounts, tours, entertainment and complimentary hors d'oeuvres. Do NOT expect to find the winery giving away tickets to the inaugural. One of the state newest wineries, they’re ahead of most regional wineries in coming up with special events to attract new customers. But free tickets --- hmmmmm, that's an enticement even out of their reach.

Crossing Vineyards plans December events

With wineries comes events and activities of all kinds, including this one at Crossing Vineyards & Winery.

A concert by candlelight influenced by Charles Dickens and a night of Christmas Jazz will put the holidays front and center Dec. 11 and 18 at Crossing Vineyards and Winery in Washington Crossing, Pa.

Kate and Dennis Varley and Friends will offer “From Carols to Classics,” Thursday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m. at the winery, 1853 Wrightstown Road. Dressed in Victorian finery, the group will sing a capella in four-part harmony, presenting traditional carols and holiday favorites.
Guests, treated to champagne and dessert in a candlelight setting, will be encouraged to participate with a number of sing-alongs.

The Varleys, a husband and wife team, and their “Friends” are making a return engagement to the winery after wowing an audience at Crossings’ “Summer Under the Stars” concert series with a night of Irish music and step-dancing in August.

On Dec. 18, another popular entertainer at Crossing, Eric Mintel, will bring his jazz quartet for an evening of Christmas favorites and original holiday music beginning at 7:30. Mintel performed at the White House at the request of President Bill Clinton and has played 10 concerts at the Kennedy Center. The evening will include champagne and dessert.

The cost of each event is $45; seating is limited. Reservations may be made by calling the winery at 215-493-6500, ext. 19, or tickets may be purchased on line at

Fall Tour: Buckingham Valley Vineyards

Jerry Forest of Buckingham Valley Vineyards in Buckingham, Pa., was off in one of the rooms at the winery on Sunday, squeezing in some more tasks while folks ducked in out of the rain for a tasting or purchase.

Any news there, he was asked by phone? The former newspaperman didn’t skip a beat. Couple of things, he said. One was the release last week of the winery’s nouvelle and nouveau, each selling for $8. The white nouvelle is 100 percent Cayuga grape, “fresh and fruity, with some nose of Riesling,” he said. The red nouveau is 100 percent Chambourcin, and more and more is becoming a staple with the holiday meal.

Forest said they bottled enough to sell early into the new year. It’s meant to be consumed into January, he noted. Some people lay it away, but you run the risk of it losing its freshness and, more often, its color.

As for what’s ahead in December, Forest noted the
Bucks County Wine Trail will hold its holiday celebration the weekend of Dec. 13-14. at Buckingham Valley, that means some food and wine for anyone who wanders into one of the state’s oldest wineries, founded in 1966.