Account of a Wine-derful Visit from St. Nicholas

Account of a Wine-derful Visit from St. Nicholas

By Sara A. Wyen
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the cellar,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a feller;
The barrels were stacked in the basement with care.
In hopes that the Winemaker soon would be there;
The bottles were nestled, all snug in their crates.
Anxiously awaiting the addition of freights;
The juices were ready, both sweet and tart-
From the grapes of the world, a promising start.
When up in the winery was heard a great racket;
It seemed the Winemaker was missing many a packet.
Of yeast! Without which no wine could he make;
Just as bread with no flower will bake.
And what to do with so little time;
And many a variety to make of wine.
In angst, the Winemaker, a silent wish did say-
For the missing packet to return before a dawning Christmas Day;
He winced and he grimaced and he hoped really hard,
When he heard a strange sound from out in the yard-
He threw open the door and peered out to see;
A jolly good fellow chuckling with glee.
He was dressed all in red with a beard white as snow.
Perched on a sleigh his face quite aglow;
The sleigh it was drawn by eight prancing deer;
The Winemaker stumbled and gasped with fear.
‘Be not afraid,’ said the man with a look;
And from under his arm he produced a great book.
His eyes were twinkling as he opened it wide-
While the Winemaker considered running inside.
His finger it lingered over the list of deeds;
The reindeer they stomped, eager at their leads.
‘Sir Winemaker, I see here many a good act;
To make others merry, this is a fact.’
‘For Christmas I give you this one small gift;’
He reached in his sack as the sleigh it did lift-
And pulled out a package all shiny and bright;
To give to the Winemaker, now absent of fright.
The Winemaker thanked him, saw a twinkle in his eye.
And watched as the sled, away it did fly;
He rushed back inside and undid the wrapping,
Of the package before him, from which was not lacking-
The yeast he had hoped for, to find a way-
The make the wine before the break of day!
The Winemaker was jubilant, he cried with great joy-
‘Merry Christmas to every girl and boy!’
He got right to work, mixing the yeast;
Picturing in his mind a festive, next-day feast.
With wine for all – red, white and blush;
From the barrels, the wine richly did gush.
Into the bottles – green, white and blue;
Flowed all the wine; some old, some new.
On to corking the Winemaker did go;
Just as from the sky fell an early morning snow.
He corked them and capped them, each one was a prize.
The Winemaker grew weary, as the town it did rise.
Labeled and polished, the wines placed on the shelves;
The Winemaker as busy as one of Santa’s own elves.
The bottles they glimmered in the early morning light;
And the Winemaker knew he had witnessed a magic sight.
Just in time for Christmas, the wine it was there-
Bringing joy and good fortune to people everywhere!

Merry Christmas to you all!

And for more of my wine blogging adventures, please visit me at Camelot Cellars.

My Favorite Things: Winter 2012 Edition

It hasn’t felt like winter here the past few days. This weekend, it was near 70 degrees, which is usually unheard of in Columbus this time of year. Yesterday it poured most of the afternoon and cooler weather settled in, but I’m not complaining because it could have been snow! I don’t like cold weather so I would be happy if the entire winter stayed like this, but I don’t think that is going to happen – it is Ohio, after all. Still, a non-white Christmas would be just fine with me.

So, even though it may not feel like winter, welcome to the Winter 2012 Edition of my favorite things. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Old Navy Moccasin/Sherpa Lined Shoes

These were only $19.99 at Old Navy and came in a variety of colors – brown, back, glittery, neon pink, navy, sequined, etc. I love them. They are surprisingly comfortable and really warm (okay, so I kind of wish it was colder here so I could wear them). I saw similar shoes at Target too, if you don’t have an Old Navy where you are. Perfect for winter!

Spoiled Steel the Show Nail Polish by Wet n Wild

Just about the time I decided to stop biting my nails and grow them out, I also decided to work in a winery and be really hard on them. I found that keeping polish on them is the only way to keep from biting them and I also found that it is hard to find polish to stay on when I am constantly dealing with water and chemicals. I picked up a bottle of Spoiled Nail Polish at CVS for something like $2.99 because I liked the color and it has turned out to be the best nail polish I have ever owned. It rarely chips, never peels, and I can wear it for about ten days with only minor touch ups and re-application of top coat periodically. Love this – get some!

The Retro Metro Tote by Thirty One Gifts

I may have found the perfect tote (which kind of turned into an everyday bag for me because I lug around so much stuff). I have the Patchwork Paisley and I love it. It is loaded with pockets inside and out, making it an ideal bag to carry everything you need – laptop, books, notebooks or you could even use it as a gym bag. With Thirty One, you can also get it personalized. I really like this bag when I need to carry more than a few things and can’t wait to see what the new spring colors are. It is $62 and Thirty One offers regular specials and discounts so find your local consultant to learn more.

AwesomeNote Lite iPhone App

I go back and forth between using an electronic/online calendar and a paper planner. I love to write things down and sometimes carry multiple notebooks (and pens) with me at one time, however, I also love the convenience of having everything in my iPhone since I use it all the time anyway for communicating, social media and blogging. With my iChameleons case, I can literally grab my phone and my keys and have everything I need, especially now that I downloaded the free AwesomeNote app. It has everything and so far, I have been using it instead of a paper calendar. It syncs with your Gmail or iPhone calendar and has a quick note place where you can type or use your finger to write a quick note, which appeals to my note-taking side. You can also create folders and different note layouts to keep in the app. I can keep track of appointments quickly directly from my email with the quick calendar feature too. So far, so good!

Homemade Cinnamon & Sugar Pumpkin Seeds

While I am not supposed to be overdoing it with seeds, these have been a nice treat this fall. My mother-in-law made them. They are lightly spiced so the Cinnamon is not overpowering, but just enough to put a smile on your face. 🙂 The recipe is pretty simple-

Homemade Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds

  • Take the seeds out of the pumpkin and let dry overnight. Remove any leftover pumpkin skins.
  • Put Cinnamon and Sugar to taste in a large (gallon-size) Ziploc bag to your tastes and shake the desired amount of seeds in the mixture.
  • Add about 1/4 cup melted butter to the mixture and shake well to coat.
  • Put the coated seeds on a baking sheet in one layer.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Let cool and enjoy!

Camelot Cellars Hot Mulled Wine

A large number of holiday wine drinks in this country stem from the spiced wine tradition of northern Europe. Mulled wine is a term used to describe wine, usually of a red variety, infused with spices and served warm. Serving mulled wine is prominent throughout Europe and has been served there and elsewhere during the winter for centuries. It is traditionally sold by street vendors during cold weather and also during holiday celebrations. It was made popular by author Charles Dickens in his short story A Christmas Carol and was infamously referenced in the holiday cinema classic It’s A Wonderful Life. A traditional favorite in colder locations, mulled wine goes well with the various celebrations that come around the end of the year. The mulled wine we are serving at Camelot is specially made with Australian Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz blend and simmered with fruits and spices –such as citrus and cinnamon –to create a delicate balance of warm and spicy flavors that many proclaim is the best they have tasted. The wine is a deep red in color and delivers a savory aroma from the moment you enter the winery. Mulled wine has become a favorite during the winter months because of its warming qualities and if you have the opportunity to try some – make sure you do!

Surprise Care Packages that feature Key West Green with Envy Jalapeno Key Line Hot Sauce

Send me hot sauce and we are friends for life! 😉 I’m only joking (kind-of). The wonderful Stephanie over at Kitchen Kilometers sent me a surprise care package with some goodies that meet all of my dietary restrictions. Thank you, Stephanie – it made my week and you are so kind to do so! The Jalapeno Key Lime Hot Sauce is fantastic and would go perfectly with any Mexican dish. I can’t wait to try it on eggs. It is hot, but also savory because of the jalapenos, which are not overpowered by the hotness. So. Good. If you don’t read Steph’s blog, you should. She is a constant source of inspiration to me!

What are your favorite things right now? Is there anything you can’t live without? Have you tried any of these products for yourself? Let me know in the comments!

Until the next mile marker,

Will Run for? Wine!

I don’t consume a lot of alcohol. Actually, I rarely drink a lot of anything besides water (and even that, I don’t always drink enough of – I noticed just the other night I have kind of fallen off the wagon with that lately). However, if I am going to enjoy a glass of spirits, I usually choose wine. I like that wine can be basically whatever you want it to be – you can serve it to match an occasion, a meal, a feeling or a season. One of my favorite times to enjoy wine is the fall and subsequently the holidays. I love that one of my favorite races, The Flying Feather 4 Miler, awards each finisher a bottle of wine on Thanksgiving Day. It’s perfect – and we always serve our “race wine” at dinner that evening.

Wine anyone?

Mom, Mollie & Me Flying Feather 2010

Mollie & Me, Flying Feather 2011

And yes, I should probably invest in this shirt-

Until recently, I never gave much thought to a winery either. Wine is wine right? You can get it pretty much anywhere, right? If it’s &7.99 at the grocery store and I see it on the way to the self-checkout that’s as good as any, right? I might be wrong.

Tonight I visited Camelot Cellars, an Urban Boutique Winery in an upscale, trendy neighborhood not far from downtown Columbus. Under new ownership by Janine Aquino, Camelot has been radically transformed back to the essence of an authentic winery – and it is a really unique place to visit. The interior reflects a vintage modern feel with Tuscan & French accents and expresses the Camelot’s foundation that ‘wine is art ‘.  This expression is reflected by way of showcasing local artists throughout and using local craftsman for elements such as custom made reclaimed wood tables using Ohio lumber, the newly expanded wood wine bar and the impressive triple framing of the Wine Wall. The wine wall, and accompanying Tuscan table, is by far my favorite part too.

The warm décor, paired with friendly staff, is part of what makes you feel welcome the moment you walk into the door at Camelot – even if you are like me and have never set foot in a winery before (and might, in fact feel slight intimidated). When people ask me what kind of wine I want, I typically don’t know what to say – I like red and white wines, but don’t know the names of them. I don’t really know what foods truly go with what wines so I rely heavily on menus and websites to tell me what to order when.

So, naturally, when Janine asked me on my visit to Camelot what kind of wine I wanted, I got a blank stare on my face, shrugged my shoulders and said, “Something for fall?” Brilliant, Sara. Janine asked if I wanted red and I said yes, something with spice to it – hoping in the back of my mind the wine didn’t have some sort of weird aftertaste or harsh bitterness with it like some do.

Janine brought me – Lodi Old Vines Zinfandel (or what I call Freakin’ Fantastic), made from juice right from Lodi, California to ensure a quality wine is made.

It has blackberry, raspberry and black pepper notes and flavors which suit cold weather foods very well. It is also perfect on it’s own and it will even warm you up because contains a lot of natural grape sugars. You can read more about this wine and other cold weather wines HERE. This wine is smooth, warm and leaves absolutely no aftertaste. It’s not bitter at all. I find it delightfully spicy and I can feel it’s warmth the moment I take a sip.

Janine is well-known for her gift of being able to help others get exactly the wine they are searching for. She grew up on a vineyard, worked at several Hudson Valley wineries excelling in bringing local wines into local restaurants, studied food and wine pairings at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and did all her college work on wines, wine making and the workings of a boutique winery. She has made wine from grapes, raspberries and strawberries.

At Camelot you can also visit the wine bar, handcraft and bottle your own wine, partake in wine tastings, order a cheese, fruit or meat plate to go with your wine or join in on one of the local special events, like the Freaky Fur Day Wine testing. Bring your pup and for $5 sample three of Camelot Cellars’ award winning, locally crafted wines in the company of other dog-lovers. Three Dog Bakery, also a local shop, has their locally baked dog treats on hand along with puppy beverages. I’m so coming back with the girls for this.

The wine bar is nice because it is quiet – but not restrained – and you can hear yourself think. With WiFi, it is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine while getting caught up on some work, chat with some friends, a quiet date before or after dinner or just relax after work. It is classy, but not too formal and everywhere you look are groups of friends laughing, chatting and learning about Camelots selection of wines. And, I had several conversations with perfect strangers, which was refreshing.

What about you? Do you have a favorite wine? Do you run for wine? Have you ever visited a winery and what did you think of it?

Find out more about Camelot Cellars on their website and be sure to like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter!

Until the next mile marker,