Wine: Girl Scout Cookies and Wine Pairing Tasting

It’s that time of year…the Girl Scout cookies have arrived and those adorable girls are soon to be everywhere with their boxes of deliciousness! So what do these cookies and ONEHOPE Wine have in common? The no-brainer answer to that is that they are both oh so good! Did you know that you can put cookies and wine together as a pairing to bring out the flavors in both?! We are going to do just that!

So besides both being great tasting, what else do the Girl Scout cookies and ONEHOPE wine have in common? They both do GOOD! We are raising money for a specific troop in San Jose. These do-gooders are in turn giving their profits to our local hospital to support their cancer patients. ONEHOPE donates 50% of profits and sales during this event will also benefit this Girl Scout Troop with an additional 10% of sales going to them! 

Let me know if you’d like to join us for this fun and tasty event! Interested in learning more about ONEHOPE, hosting a wine tasting or fundraiser or looking for a fun side hustle? Send me a message

Wine Wednesday: Wine Tasting Party

Last weekend we opened up our home to have a wine tasting with small bites. We had such a wonderful time with friends tasting wines and working together to create an impact…while taking advantage of ONEHOPE’s Black Friday special! 

For the wines we had Sparkling Brut, Demi-Sec Pomegranate (sparkling), Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, Pinot Noir, and Red Blend. This represents only a handful of all of the wines that ONEHOPE has to offer, but it also gave a lot of variety so that there was definitely something for everyone. 

In addition to a regular wine and cheese pairing, I put out cashews and small chocolate truffles. I’m one who likes to ensure there’s always enough food and wine, so I also made Spicy-Sweet Cranberry Meatballs, Cranberry, Pecan and Goat Cheese Sweet Potato Bites and Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus with a Garlic Cheese Spread. 

This is the perfect time of year to host your own wine tasting party. It’s fun for everyone and is a great opportunity to give back!

Cranberry, Pecan and Goat Cheese Sweet Potato bites
Yields 24
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb sweet potatoes, about 2 inches in diameter, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  2. 2 1/2 tsp EVOO
  3. 4 oz softened goat cheese
  4. 2 T milk
  5. 1 t rosemary, finely chopped
  6. 1/4 c toasted pecans
  7. 1/2 c dried cranberries
  8. honey to drizzle
Instructions
  1. Arrange rack in middle of oven; preheat to 425 degrees. Toss sweet potatoes with EVOO. Arrange in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes on each side, or until tender.
  2. Using a whisk or a mixer with a whisk attachment, whip goat cheese, milk and rosemary until smooth and fluffy. Spoon approximately 1/2 t goat cheese mixture onto each sweet potato round. Top with toasted pecans and cranberries. Drizzle with honey. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Spicy-Sweet Cranberry Balls
Yields 36
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb ground beef
  2. 1 lb ground pork
  3. 1/2 c dried cranberries, minced
  4. 1/4 panko bread crumbs
  5. 1 t fresh ginger, grated
  6. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  8. 2 T canola oil
  9. Sauce
  10. whole cranberry sauce
  11. 2 T balsamic vinegar
  12. 1/2 c water
  13. 1/4 hoisin sauce
  14. 1/4 c ketchup
  15. 1 T brown sugar
  16. 2 T soy sauce
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine ground beer, pork, cranberries, panko bread crumbs, ginger, garlic and legs. Roll into 36 golf-ball-sized meatballs. Heat canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding, cook meatballs 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove meatballs from pan; pour off excess fat. Return pan to medium high heat. Add sauce ingredients, stirring to combine; bring to a simmer. Add meatballs, stirring gently to coat with sauce. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook 30 minutes or until meatballs are done, stirring occasionally. Serve with toothpicks.
Notes
  1. I made these earlier in the day and kept them warm in my slow cooker.
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Tasting Tuesday: How to Host a Wine Tasting

In the past week I’ve hosted 3 Wine Tastings, both in my home and at outside venues. Have you hosted one? Are you scared about what it would take? I’m here to tell you it’s super simple and I can help you…I’ll even come over to do the tasting for you and do the setup!

My tastings are with ONEHOPE Wine and normally 6 to 12 bottles per tasting. They can be all white, all red, a combination of them…it’s totally up to you and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. On Friday I hosted a tasting in my home featuring our Rosés which benefit breast cancer clinical trials. I created a gorgeous tablescape using my favorite purple petal taffeta linens topped with a few gold circular placemats I picked up at Target for $3. Light some candles and have your tasting glasses ready! I frame some wording about each wine as well…the tasting notes, type of wine and the cause impact it has from ONEHOPE (meaning what cause benefits from the purchase of the bottle). 

Friends come over and I explain ONEHOPE, the wine, the cause impact it provides and then we’ll chat about the tasting notes. I prefer to taste the wine before reading the winemaker’s notes so that I can define what I taste in the wine. It’s truly as simple as that. Add some cheese to go with each wine or special food pairings to jazz things up. I can help you with that too! 

If you’re in the Bay Area and would like to host a tasting with me, I’d love to work with you on planning one! I have extra special pricing for the wine for your tasting and 10% of whatever is sold during your event will go to a nonprofit of YOUR choice! It’s called drinking for a cause and making an impact…where else can you do that and have so much fun while doing it?! Swirl, smell and sip!

Wine Wednesday: Riverbench Winery Chardonnay

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This week I got a special treat with an impromptu wine tasting at Riverbench Winery’s tasting room in Santa Barbara. Downtown Santa Barbara has an area known as the Funk Zone where there are vintage shops and 16 tasting rooms….all within walking distance of my hotel! Yippee! I wanted to find a good Chardonnay to take back to my hotel and put my trust in Google to point me in the right direction. Riverbench Winery came up with a review of a Chardonnay that will make anyone fall in love with the variety. 

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I wasn’t alone when I ventured into the tasting room, so I wasn’t sure if I’d be welcome. My husband was with me, but so were Toddler D and Baby K. We were greeted warmly and told to bring the kids right on in. Another couple from Tucson were enjoying the Bubbly tasting menu with their adorable dog, Molly, who more than enjoyed having Toddler D as a playmate for a bit. I went for the Chardonnay tasting and each taste was better than the last. I started with the Rose of Pinot Noir and then had the Reserve Chardonnay, Chapel View Chardonnay, Estate Chardonnay, and the Bedrock Chardonnay. I ended up buying a bottle of the Chapel View which to me had the perfect slightly buttery taste and had me craving more. 

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The tasting room is beautiful with a long L-shaped couch and quarter wine barrels that have steel tops, which coincidentally make for perfect drums if you are a toddler. I can’t wait to go back and try their Pinot Noir and Sparkling Wines!

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Wine Wednesday: Livermore Wineries

The weekend is upon us and if you’re in the Bay Area looking for something to do, I think it’ll be a perfect weekend for wine tasting! I know it’s not “Wine Wednesday”, but there should never just be one day dedicated to wine…it should be every day!

It’s hard to believe but one thing I haven’t done much of is go wine tasting. My husband and I are vowing to change that, especially since there are countless vineyards so close to us. A few weekends ago we ventured to Livermore and met up with our nephew and his family to try out 3 wineries; 3 Steves Winery, Garre Winery, and Wente Vineyards. We’ve tasted Wente wines before, but the other two were going to be brand new experiences. I reached out to the 3 wineries to let them know we would be visiting and they were all welcoming to us, our kids and the dogs!

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We packed a picnic, all the kids, the dog, the stroller and headed out for the quick 45 minute drive to Livermore. Our first stop was 3 Steves where we were greeted by Steve Burman…one of the “Steves”! He was extremely welcoming and ready for us to start tasting. We had a large round table outside where the breeze was perfectly blowing and the sun was shining. There was an area for the kids and dogs to play and the view was gorgeous. We tasted 8 different varieties and every single one was memorable and noteworthy. 

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We started with the Brut Sparkling Wine, fermented in the bottle and not in the tank, which is the traditional Methode Champenoise style. This was a perfect and welcoming start. Next up was the Sauvignon Blanc which won the Livermore gold medal. This was so delicious! I came home with a bottle and am hoarding it for the perfect warm afternoon to relax with. We tried their club Chardonnay which is currently sold out. It was buttery but with a distinct crispness. Next up and so impressive was the 2013 Interino Chilean Blend. An incredible blend of Chilean Cab, Carmenere, Malbec, and Syrah. Each grape is hand de-stemmed by women in the local village which not only provides a softness to your palette…you bet I now have a bottle of this at home! We enjoyed the Three Cabs Blend and Cienega Valley Younger Vine Zinfandel which comes from 45 year old vines. Next was the Cienega Valley Ancient Vine Zinfandel  whose vines were planted in 1906! I thoroughly enjoyed the Small Lot Cab and also came home with a bottle of that. If you are in the area, please stop by 3 Steves. We are looking forward to going back very shortly not just for the fabulous wine but also for the friendly and welcoming atmosphere. 

Garre Winery
Garre Winery

Our next stop was Garre Winery which unfortunately didn’t blow our minds like 3 Steves did. We were greeted and asked about outside seating for the kids and the dogs and were shown where the outdoor patio was. That was the extent of our interaction with anyone at the winery. We got our own tastings to bring back outside and the wines were ok. They started us with their Sangiovese Rose which they refer to as their “patio wine” followed by 5 other reds. All of their bottles are under $20.

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Our last stop was Wente Vineyards. Wente is a great wine which I’ve boasted about being able to find for really great prices at Costco. Their property is large with multiple areas to taste and have events. Their tasting menu offers two options so we went with the Winemaker’s Flight. As soon as you step onto the property you are offered a “welcome wine” which happened to be a Sauvignon Blanc and was a perfect welcome! We had two great tasting room employees who tag teamed our group. We tried the Small Lot Pinot Noir Rose, Nth Degree Chardonnay, Sonata, Duetto and Small Lot Petite Sirah. Every single wine was great. The Nth degree Chardonnay was crisp with a buttery aftertaste which I enjoyed. 

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Some fun facts for you…90% of the country’s wine is grown in California…only 4% of which is in Napa and the first Chardonnay grape was planted by Wente in 1912.