Schmitz 24 BRIX Wines and Barrel Cellar Tasting Room

Schmitz 24 BRIX Wines Tasting Room is relatively new to the Shenandoah Valley. All their wines are highly rated with the Winemaker's Blend the most popular.

24 BRIX is a relatively new kid in the Shenandoah Valley. We watched over a period of weeks this past year as the old antique store on Highway 49 in Plymouth was transformed into the Schmitz 24 BRIX Barrel Cellar Tasting Room. When the Vineyard Vixens visited, we got a warm welcome from the owner and winemaker himself, Paul Schmitz. The 24 BRIX Vineyards I love learning new things about wine and winemaking when I go wine tasting. The name of the winery comes from the fact that they harvest their grapes when the sugar content is at or close to 24 brix (brix is a measure of the sugar content of an aqueous solution). They feel this natural sugar level is the optimal ripeness for the fruit and dramatically influences the quality and taste. 24 BRIX wines have no commercial yeast added. The grapes are fermented using naturally occurring vineyard yeast. The…

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It’s All In My Head! – Food, Wine and Travel

A preview of what's coming on the blog in food, wine and travel - a field trip to Allspicery, some wine tasting and a couple of terrific recipes.

It seems I’ve been on a bit of an unintended hiatus from the blog. I’ve been so busy doing research, photograpy and coming up with ideas for content that I haven’t had (taken) the time to write it down. Now I have so many things in my head it is almost overwhelming but I will start getting it written! Here are some of the things I’m working on in food, wine and travel that you can expect to see on the blog in the next few weeks. When I wrote about my Wine Lovers Vino de Mocha Fudge, I promised an easy, microwave version. I’ve made several batches, including one I took to Thanksgiving dinner, and am very happy with the results. I’m also making a batch of it to add to a gift basket for the Motherlode Newcomers’ Christmas luncheon coming up on December 1st. Every month at our luncheon, the Newcomers raffle off baskets or other…

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The Vixens Play at Bray: Bray Vineyards

Earlier in September, the Vineyard Vixens toasted another year of wine tasting adventures, beginning with Bray Vineyards.

The Vineyard Vixens, the wine tasting group of the Mother Lode Newcomers, goes on hiatus for the summer. Earlier in September, we toasted another year of tasting adventures, beginning with Bray Vineyards. Some members of our group had been before but most had not, including me. We started our day with lunch at Villa Toscano as we often do. The buffet included a pasta dish that we all fell in love with. I asked Executive Chef Tim Benham for the recipe so he came out to our table and explained how he made it. It was so delicious and relatively easy. He didn’t give us any specific amounts of each ingredient so I will be working on replicating that recipe to include on the blog at a later date. After a leisurely lunch filled with laughter, food and a little Toscano wine, we headed for our tasting at Bray Vineyards.…

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Best Amador County October Activities

With summer activities winding down, there is still so much to do that it is hard to choose. Here's my list of best Amador County October Activities.

With fall just around the corner, one week from today in fact, outdoor summer activities are starting to wind down in Amador County. Even the weather has given us a taste of fall the past few days, but just because summer is winding down doesn’t mean there will be any shortage of things to do! There will still be plenty of theater productions, festivals and fairs, art and craft shows, comedy nights, fundraisers, parties, parades, mine and cavern tours, and of course wine tasting. Some weekends it is difficult to choose what to do. Here are my thoughts on the best Amador County October activities. The Big Crush Harvest Festival The 45 member wineries of the Amador Vintners’ Association host two group events every year. The first weekend in March is Behind the Cellar Door. Coming up the first weekend in October is The Big Crush, the annual harvest festival. This is a very…

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Amador Flower Farm Daylilies

Amador Flower Farm daylilies come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and bloom cycles. They are easy to grow and are just about the perfect perennial.

I’ve said it before, but I just have to say it again. I’m discovering that plants from bulbs have the most spectacular blooms. I guess this is becoming more apparent to me as I have more time to explore places like Amador Flower Farm, where the daylily reigns supreme. Although I think irises are my favorite bulbs, daylilies are right up there at the top of my list of flowers. Did you know that there are more than 35,000 daylily cultivars? Amador Flower Farm daylilies are stunning. With over 1200 of the most popular varieties available, you are sure to find something you love. Daylilies are said to be very easy to grow. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes and bloom cycles, so you can have flowers all season long. They are easy to plant, drought tolerant, relatively pest-free and deer resistant, except perhaps in some places in the fall…

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Start on Steiner Spring Fling Wine Tasting

Start on Steiner is an association of nine wineries located on Steiner Road in the Shenandoah Valley. The group holds three annual Start on Steiner events.

Start on Steiner is an association of the nine wineries located on Steiner Road in the Shenandoah Valley in California’s gold country. As a group, these nine wineries hold three annual Start on Steiner events: Spring Fling in April, Summer Faire in August and Holiday Celebration in December. These events historically include complimentary tastings at each winery along with lite bites and wine specials. You can Start on Steiner at any of the wineries but, wherever you start at future events, be sure to pick up a passport. Once it is stamped by 5 of the 9 wineries, you can drop it off and be entered in the drawing for some great prizes. Sadly, none of us won anything. Members of our wine-loving Vineyard Vixens, a special interest group of Mother Lode Newcomers, recently attended the Spring Fling. Eight of us carpooled from Jackson to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley outside of Plymouth, about a 25 minute…

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