I was talking about a wine book and then the holidays rolled around and that was that for a while. Then I thought The Grape Belt needed a new look, and that’s dragged its own silly behind for way too long. Now I’m at the point where we – the entire TGB staff — all need to get back to work despite the redesign still underway. We’re just gonna have to cut a hole in the fence and let you watch the construction in real time. The Grape Belt can’t afford to be offline anymore. Way too much to do, appearances be damned. What you see today is the beginning of The Grape Belt 2.0
So what’s in store for the weeks and months ahead? Well, we’ve got some excitement to share about some delicious, affordable wines coming out of New Zealand, and the wineries behind these impressive labels. Also, with the weather warming, readers need to learn more about assyrtiko from Greece and furmint from Hungary, and how those wines can play a major role in your dining and entertainment plans this summer. And, speaking of summer, there’s good news for wine lovers who want or need alternative packaging. I’ll confess to a long-standing bias against boxed wine, but I’ve promised a number of readers that I’d give them an honest tasting. Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so before I can get into the boxes and bags of Cardboardeaux, I’d like to see what’s happening with wines now being sold in cans. For no good reason other than I like the look and idea of wine in cans, I’m somewhat optimistic. Other features will include book reviews, tasting notes (the sample pile has officially taken on a life of its own and needs to be culled), and some ideas on travel and dining, as well as close-ups on several of Napa and Sonoma’s more popular wineries.
Two new offerings from The Grape Belt worth noting are consulting services on wine country touring, and private lessons in the fundamentals of wine. If you or people you know need help planning a getaway to wine country, here or abroad, help is available. Perhaps you’re not traveling but you still want to boost your own wine knowledge, I’m also available for small group lessons on everything from how to use a corkscrew to the basics of the globe’s most important wine regions. I’m happy, too, to help you with any party planning, wine pairing for group events, and how to set up your own tasting for family and friends. If you need help with just anything wine-related, you’ve come to the right place.
Top photo: concord grapes growing a mile or so off the shore of Lake Erie in Dunkirk, New York. The heart of The Grape Belt.