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GrapeStone Concepts
Wine and Travel Writer, DipWSET® Diploma of Wine, Level 4 Certified, CSS Certified Spirits Specialist,Champagne Sabruese
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In the middle of Berlin (Hessische Landesvertretung = “state” of Hesse government building) vineyards. According to the sign, Riesling grape, Spätburgunder grape and Saint-Laurent grape. The “state” of Hesse is located in the center of Germany, capital Wiesbaden. Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2018 at GrapeStone Concepts
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Our newest contributor explores the iconic landmarks, museums, and cuisine of Berlin. See her latest article in LuxeGetaways Magazine. "Berlin was the capital of Prussia, the German Empire, Nazi Germany, the German Democratic Republic, before becoming the capital of Reunified Germany. Here, history is everywhere you turn. Spending a couple of days in Berlin will therefore give you only an overview of the city and its treasures. This 2-day itinerary focuses on the 20th century events that define the city today: WWII and the Cold War.....READ MORE. Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2018 at GrapeStone Concepts
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Welcome to Travel and Cuisine Writer, Anne-Sophie Blin. Anne-Sophie will be sharing some of her stories with us. Coming soon: "A Week of Ski in the French Alps" - will be a feature in Prime Magazine shortly. Here is one of the pictures we will see. Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2018 at GrapeStone Concepts
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Gin has enjoyed a colorful history. Holland is the homeland of Gin, where the term "Dutch Courage" was derived from the practice of Dutch sailors taking a sip of gin before battle. Thanks to this courage, it was often said that it was difficult to find a cabin boy sober enough to climb a mast. Gin became widely adopted in England during the time of England's King William III.... See entire article in LuxeGetaways Fall 2017 edition. https://luxegetaways.com/gin-trail-london/ Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2018 at GrapeStone Concepts
Champagne Sabering at Christmas....so festive. Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2018 at GrapeStone Concepts
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Tricia Conover, Advanced Sommelier, Champagne Sabruese, and Diploma of Wine wine writer offers a custom champagne sabering presentation for your special event. For more information, contact her assistant Maggie: Maggie@grapestoneconcepts.com Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2017 at GrapeStone Concepts
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Dry Rosé had been the darling of the wine industry for the last three years. Rosé is a refreshing, crisp light style of red wine grapes that can be drunk year-round. Most people think of Provence in Southern as the traditional, go-to region for buying world class dry rosé wines. The Texas Hill Country has been a tourist mecca for decades. There are over 350 wineries now in Texas. Remarkably Texas wine tourism has increased so much that the Hill Country is now the second fastest growing wine destination with only Napa Valley, California ahead. Continue reading in JustLuxe.com Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2017 at GrapeStone Concepts
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Willamette Valley wine country, just south of Portland, Oregon, is in its “PRiME” having now produced a second generation of winemakers. The Valley just concluded their first barrel auction, which was a smashing success. Catherine Fallis, MS, Master Sommelier, “the grape goddess” and founder of planet grape®,was in Oregon firsthand to witness the event. Catherine notes, “It wasn’t until 1965 that Willamette Valley marked its first plantings when David and Diana Lett planted their Eyrie Vineyard. Last year was the 50th anniversary of this grape growing set in a quiet, bucolic area of the state. To celebrate the milestone, an... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2016 at GrapeStone Concepts
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Well-known vintner and former US Ambassador to Austria, Kathryn Walt Hall invites us to “create memories” in Napa Valley through the myriad of experiences her Hall Wineries offer. The Halls (Kathryn and Craig) set the stage for their guests to have fun and experience wine in beautiful spaces including the extravagant chandelier-dominant tasting room at the Hall Rutherford winery with its extensive art collection. This year, Kathryn Hall and her winemaker, Steve Leveque, entertained 700 guests at the winery with a Western-themed Hall Y’All Release Party featuring the country band, Twang Ditty, celebrating the new 2012 “Kathryn Hall” Cabernet Sauvignon... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2016 at GrapeStone Concepts
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Most people who take cruises featuring wine and cuisine consider destinations like the Caribbean, Alaska, Mediterranean and perhaps the Greek Islands. Surprisingly, a country like Japan is a perfect multi-island destination for a cruise. During a recent Diamond Princess cruise we sailed to all four islands of Japan and Busan, South Korea. Sake and Sushi tastings were the highlight of the cruise adventure. This cruise featured a specially prepared Sushi and Sake tasting in the Kai Sushi specialty restaurant onboard the ship, Diamond Princess. The Sushi chef artfully prepared our food pairings. Thai Reznich, Head Waiter and Sommelier, and Takahiro... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2016 at GrapeStone Concepts
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I am so pleased that the Society of Wine Educators awarded me the Certification of CSS, Certified Spirits Specialist. I fell in love with the category after researching The Renaissance of Gin for FWT Magazine. On to Bourbon and Whiskey now! Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2016 at GrapeStone Concepts
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Dr. Liz Thach is a shining example of the achievements of Women in Wine in the last two decades. Liz is a professor at Sonoma State University. She is an author of wine non-fiction business books, children’s fiction, and wine travel mysteries fiction (Pseudonym, Kathleen Tosh). Liz is also a researcher, a wine judge, and mother. She was the first woman in California to become an MW, Master of Wine. I hesitate to ask Liz what she does in her spare time. Chardonnay Chalice: A Lia Jordan Wine Travel Mystery This spring, Liz and I met at the “Women of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2016 at GrapeStone Concepts
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JustLuxe.com - a Luxury Travel Magazine just published my article on "La Reserve" by Oceania, and experience we loved on two separate transAtlantic cruises on their ship, Riviera. Each table has a SOMM who explains the food and wine pairing. Check it out! Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2015 at GrapeStone Concepts
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Athens has long been known for its history and gastronomic expertise, but the emerging importance of the local wine industry adds an exciting new dimension. Vintners are rediscovering indigenous grapes (Assyritiko, Moschofilero, Savatiano and Xinomavro), meaning that discerning wine connoisseurs are getting a whole lot more to sip than the unusual international staples of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. See My entire Article on JustLuxe.com in the LuxeEpicure Section. Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2015 at GrapeStone Concepts
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Check out my article: Dry Rosé Resurgence – Top 8 Recommendations - at PRiME Magazine featuring Brad and Angelina's Chateau Miraval (see Estate pictured below). Noteworthy that Kathie Lee Gifford just launched her Dry Rosé as a house wine for Carnival Cruise Lines. Love the variety of colors, flavors, and grape blends that make up this "Summer in a Glass" wine. Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2015 at GrapeStone Concepts
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You have to be at the top of your game to be the first woman Master Sommelier in Texas and one of only 23 female MS’s in North America. Barbara Werley MS, Wine Director for Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Dallas, oversees one of Wine Spectator’s Grand Award winning wine programs. Pappas Bros. has consistently won this award for several years both at their Dallas and Houston Restaurants. Barbara oversees an inventory of more than 33,000 bottles of wine and 3000 selections. I met with Barbara Werley, MS this summer for a lively Q&A session. See the entire article in PRiME Magazine... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2015 at GrapeStone Concepts
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Greek wines have grabbed the imagination of wine drinkers worldwide. The indigenous Greece grapes can make spectacular wines that have bracing liveliness and interesting spicy aromas. The legendary island of Paros offers both a unique travel experience, and some truly exotic wines. Visit this island paradise and discover the wine, food, and sporting adventures that drew the original settlers to Paros. I am privileged to travel with other International wine and travel writers IWFTWA this fall to Paros (and Milos, Ios, and Alonissos) to sample first-hand the Greek wine and travel renaissance. I intend to give our PRiME Magazine readers... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2015 at GrapeStone Concepts
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The Wine Cellar at the historic Mansion on Turtle Creek Hotel and Restaurant, Dallas, Texas, was originally part of the private mansion's fur and silver storage room. Tennessee Williams and Franklin Roosevelt stayed at the Mansion during its private home days. I had the privilege of interviewing Jennifer Eby, Wine Director, who took over the reins of the Mansion's wine program this past year. The full article can be found in PRiME Magazine http://bit.ly/1QrtBip. Jennifer talks about her journey as a Sommelier, her time at the Biltmore in Phoenix and at the Wynn in Las Vegas. She discusses the current... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2015 at GrapeStone Concepts
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As Steve and I, Mark and Becky Perrings, and many of us know, the Venetian in Las Vegas has a wonderful indoor area called the Majestic Grand Canal where visitors can wander either on foot or by gondola (complete with a singing gondolier), but the sensation of being in Venice isn’t complete until you’ve enjoyed the culinary delights of Zeffirino’s. Enter through the little side entrance to this family owned restaurant, the longest running in the Venetian, to be escorted by a delightful hostess to the second floor where the restaurant boasts views of the canal. There is an elevator... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2015 at GrapeStone Concepts
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This is a beautiful view of the Andes from Catena Zapata taken by Courtney Quinn, co-author of our new article in PRiME Magazine: "South America Wines at Great Prices" South America is a place to find great quality wines at lower prices. With less labor and land expenses, Chile and Argentina are the main wine-making countries in South America. In the world they rank as two of the top 10 countries for wine production. Those of us adventurous wine drinkers in United States and the UK can also find wines from Uruguay and Brazil. When we think of South America,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2015 at GrapeStone Concepts
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I had more fun creating this article for PRiME Magazine, "Valentines Day Aphrodisiac Food and Wine Pairings: Ultimate Menu." Searching for ideas through A Diary of Aphrodisiacs, finding Grilled Oyster recipes from Emeril Lagasse, and sourcing wines that match some of this luxurious, stimulating food. The Chocolate Decadence cake recipe is worth the read. Hope you enjoy my tongue-in-cheek approach! Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2015 at GrapeStone Concepts
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New from the Women in Wine Series, I interviewed Celia Welch, celebrated consulting winemaker for Scarecrow wines as well as her own Corra Wines. At the Napa Premiere Auction last February, the Scarecrow set a new record for highest price at auction $4333/bottle. Her journey as a winemaker to this point is documented in my article in PRiME Magazine. In 2008 she won Food & Wine Magazine's, WineMaker of the Year and many other awards. See entire article: http://bit.ly/1EQq5Ve Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2015 at GrapeStone Concepts
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Holiday parties are upon us. Nothing sets the stage more perfectly than walking in a party, pulling a glass of bubbles from an ornate silver tray, and drinking the heady sparkler. I receive more emails requesting sparkler and Champagne suggestions in December more than at any other time of the year. People are confused about how to select a type or style of a sparkling wine. Special occasions also call for a personal Champagne toast. A few guidelines. Spontaneous toasts only look that way. Select the right words and practice them. A touch of humor is rarely out of place.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2014 at GrapeStone Concepts
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Is Merlot Live and Kicking? 10 Year anniversary of "Sideways" movie See my article in PRIME Magazine: http://bit.ly/11TjZ9e October marked the 10-year anniversary of the premiere of Sideways, the movie that belittled Merlot and starred Pinot Noir. This Oscar-nominated movie–a pre-wedding buddy trip gone wrong—features Miles, the main character starring Paul Giamatti. Miles, who utters a notorious line, “No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any [expletive] Merlot.” During the next year Merlot sales dropped and Pinot Noir sales soared...... WWW.primewomen.com And the beautiful Fess Parker Winery in Santa Ynez/Santa Barbara wine country....or the infamous "Frass... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2014 at GrapeStone Concepts
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See my interview with George Miliotes and the entire article in PRIME Magazine. Today's post-recession restaurant customer demands a significant Wines-by-the Glass (WBTG) program. A truly inspired wine list drives curiosity, welcomes exploration, and invites sampling. Properly priced WBTG programs can motivate guests to sample specialized selections within affordable ranges. Finding such an inspired wine program in fine dining and casual chain restaurants can be challenging, but examples of excellence exist. Below are details of several multi-location, specialty restaurant, and Locavore restaurants that offer distinct wine-by-the-glass programs. Master Sommelier, George Miliotes is the Wine and Beverage director of the 42-location... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2014 at GrapeStone Concepts