wine glass sand sculpture

Wine for a State Fair Experience

Labor Day weekend has come and gone and with it, the end of another iconic pastime in Central New York, the Great New York State Fair. We skipped it last year due to a busy schedule and lack of funds (it can be pricey to visit the fair with three kids!) so this year, the kids insisted we make the trip across Onondaga Lake. While we only spent about five hours there, the kids made memories that will last a lifetime.

Henna Tattoos

One of those memories belongs to our daughter, Maria, who had her heart set on a henna tattoo. Two years ago, she saw the booth and we told her we would head back to get one and then couldn’t find it again! So, she was determined to do it this time. We spotted the booth relatively early in our visit and stepped inside.

The artist has dozens of pre-created designs to choose from, including those ranging from intricate to extremely intricate! You can choose where to place it; Maria wanted one on her hand. She chose a simple design and sat down to wait as the artist finished up the client before her who was allowing the artist to “freestyle” on her arm. What an amazing thing to watch!

She allowed me to film Maria’s henna tattoo, offering to go a bit slower so we could capture it better. Keep that in mind as you watch. She actually went slower! Usually she whips these up much more quickly. Amazing.

Maria has carefully protected this work of art, hoping it will last until the first day of school in a few more days.

Wine Slushies

A second memorable fair activity belongs to my husband and me – wine slashes. We enjoy these masterpieces and can’t wait to try all the flavors. This year, we opted for Montezuma Winery’s concoctions, which were a lot less sweet and still excellent. I preferred the one made with the Diamond white grape, although the twist with the Fat Frog Red wine was also delicious.


There are many more fair traditions that I remember from my childhood but as I grow older, they fade into new memories made with my family. The kids can’t leave the fairgrounds without seeing all the animals, eating yummy treats and riding a few rides. They also enjoy the games although this year, we skipped those. The end of the fair means the end of summer vacation. While we’re looking forward to new routines, we’re going to miss the laid-back summer fun. Wine slushies are a nice way to celebrate the transition between seasons and a wonderful treat on a hot summer fair day.


Wine for Meeting Your Macros

It’s back-to-school season. The kids start next week and I have already finished one week of teaching at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. For me, this time of year is a reset, much like the New Year is for most. It’s a way to get back into a routine and try to recommit or commit to something new. This year, my new commitment involves trying for the 98th time to be better about my diet.

Training with Lyzabeth

I have my gym game down. I go train regularly and have been for more than two and a half years. Since May 2017, I’ve been following Lyzabeth Lopez’s Hourglass Shaper program, both her original program, as well as her app workouts. I am at the gym religiously at 5:30 a.m. every morning and have only taken a week off each of the last two years. I have made significant progress in what I can do and how much I can lift. I  feel like I do very well with the gym part of this equation but I can’t seem to get my nutrition down.

Meeting my Macros

Since starting the Train with Lyzabeth program, I have tracked my macros. For the uninitiated, this means figuring out how many calories I should be eating each day and breaking those calories down into protein, carbohydrates and fat. Basically, I use a BMR/TDEE calculator to figure out my total calories, eat a gram of protein per pound of body weight, then try to stick to 25 percent of calories as fat and the rest as carbs. I have fluctuated a bit here and there. I tried doing a higher carb diet for a while, taking in (or trying to) 300 grams a day! And I’ve gone up and down with the calories, too. I do think my current formula, which I’ve been on since March is working but my issue is making sure of two things – 1. I meet those macros daily. and 2. I eat healthy foods.

Meal Planning

The weakest link for me is making sure I plan carefully so that I can meet those macros in a healthy way. The days I plan my meals, including snacks, I am much better and feel better than the days I fly by the seat of my pants. But, life gets in the way all too often. I get busy at work, stressed out at home or just plain tired. But, I feel like if I could battle through and stick to my plan better, I would have more energy in the long run. So, this fall, I’m trying to come up with a plan to streamline this process. Find ways to easily meal prep to save time, as well as make better choices on what to eat. With the new back-to-school routine, it should provide a strong framework for me to do this. So far, I’ve done the following:

  1. Investigated freezer meal prepping – I asked my social network and browsed Pinterest to figure out if prepping a bunch of meals ahead of time for the crock pot and freezing the ingredients actually tastes good and works. Most say it does. I’m trying to create a list of the ones to try first, paying attention to how long they need to cook and whether they need to be defrosted.
  2. Purchased at least one book on meal planning – So far, I’ve reviewed on book, which was interesting because it included the macro breakdown for more than 70 meals or snacks. The drawback is the ingredients are a bit off the beaten path in some instances plus the book is only an eBook, which is challenging to use in the kitchen. I plan to look for some more, preferably in hard copy.
  3. Reviewed again – I learned about this website a while back from the TWL Group, a private community of ladies who are doing the Train with Lyzabeth program. I remembered it recently and looked at it again to see if it might help me plan better. You can customize your day, adding the total calories and macro breakdowns, as well as ingredients you want to avoid and even the total number of meals you plan to eat in a day. This might also help with my planning.
  4. Learned that I can’t fully meal prep – I know that I can’t eat the same thing day after day. Many meal prep plans have you create the meals and store them, eating the same things for each meal. I just know I won’t be able to stick to it because I need variety in my life! So, this is an important lesson for me to learn and consideration as I move forward with my new plan.

While these steps are moving me in the right direction, they are not the end game. I still need to decide what will work best for me once and for all. Will I meal prep on Sundays? What will that look like? For example, I could simply chop up ingredients and get ahead that way, then continue to use Instant Pot and other fast, healthy recipes for family family dinners. Or, I could do freezer meals. Or, I could decide to plan out breakfast or lunch for myself in a more methodical way. The possibilities are endless.

The biggest thing I need to remember is what I tell my students and staff – chunk it down. Everything looks easier when you break it into smaller steps. If I choose one or two things to focus on, I can get into the habit before adding more to the plan. I need to figure out what will be doable and achieve some small successes. Then and only then will I be able to stick to this new nutrition regimen.

What about Wine?

As far as wine? I am still only having a glass or two once during the week and then on weekends and only if it fits my macros. I don’t want to give it up and so far have not needed to, provided I keep it in moderation and don’t snack too much while I have some. Last night, we celebrated #NationalCabernetDay with 76, a bottle that we’ve had before, which is an easy drinking, simple cab. Luckily, I stayed within my macros to enjoy it!


Wine for A New Gym Review

Last evening I returned home from work to an early birthday present from my husband – a one-month trial to the new Athletic Apex gym, located in the DestiNY USA complex in Syracuse, New York. I had heard positive things about this gym, which opened in June, and with a Syracuse University discount, I had been wanting to give it a try. I now have the excuse!

I wasted no time and visited last evening for a quick tour. This morning, promptly at 5 a.m. I was in the new gym doing my usual Train With Lyzabeth workout for the day. Now, I should say that I arrived at 4:57 a.m. and the gym was already open and running! This is a far cry from the Northwest YMCA in Baldwinsville, New York, which doesn’t open until 5:30 a.m. and most mornings opens a few minutes late. I was constantly waiting outside the door. What’s more, my fears about safety in that area of DestiNY were unwarranted. There was enough activity and folks going into the gym at that hour, plus I even saw a security vehicle on patrol.

Locker Rooms and Amenities

The locker rooms are spacious and centrally located. There are showers with stall doors on them, which included shampoo, conditioner and soap in a dispenser. There are also plenty of towels for member use. While I didn’t use the showers this morning, I was pleased to see it would be no problem should I decide to in the future.

The water fountain was a bit of a challenge as it was designed for the quick drinks from a paper cup and I was filling my 20-ounce blender bottle but I made it work and made a note to myself to find the water fountain or another source tomorrow! Other amenities I noticed on my tour included a lounge with free Starbucks coffee. They also have a private free Wi-Fi for member use.

The Equipment

The gym is larger than any I have ever belonged to. I started out just outside the locker rooms in an area that had mostly machines, a Smith rack and free weights, along with an area to do warmup or ab work. What was really cool was the fact that at that hour, I was the only one in that area of the gym for about 20 minutes. I could easily set up my super sets and not have to travel far to reach equipment. Plus, no waiting! Heaven on earth for a gym-goer. Most machines exist in duplicate, too, which definitely helps the no waiting issue.

Because I was so efficient, I decided to trek back downstairs to the larger strength and turf area. I jumped on a stairclimber for 10 minutes to survey the room. I noticed lots of equipment that Lyzabeth Lopez includes in her workouts that I had never been able to use before since the Y didn’t have it, such as TRX, sleds, battle ropes and even a Booty Builder hip thruster machine. Who knew that even was a thing? I tried the TRX and the hip thruster just because I could!

Any Cons?

There were a few standard items in my routine that I had trouble locating, including foam rollers, a Bosu ball and kettle bells. A quick message to the gym helped me understand they are in favor of sand bells, which work your grip more. Still waiting for the verdict on the other two pieces of workout gear. Both should be easy additions, if enough people request them.

Overall Rating

So far, so good on this new gym. It was a quicker commute from my house at that hour and even though I was back-tracking to shower before work, it still was an efficient trip. I enjoyed the openness and appreciated the fact that I didn’t have to wait to use equipment and it was more co-located in terms of design so I didn’t waste time running back and forth to do my supersets. The staff is friendly and the place is clean and inviting. I’m looking forward to the remainder of my month trial period and perhaps my eventual permanent move to Athletic Apex!

What kind of wine celebrates a new gym experience? Anything new and slightly uncomfortable, of course! I think I’ll convince my husband to open one of the dessert wines we picked up at Langanore Wine Cellars earlier this month. Port wine is wine but not wine I normally have, which makes it different. Just like a new gym, trying a new wine can feel normal and uncomfortable all at the same time. You just have to get used to the new taste! Cheers!

frederick, maryland

Wine for a Bed and Breakfast

During this year’s family vacation, my husband and I were able to sneak away for an overnight without the kids. We chose to head to Frederick, Maryland, a location chosen for its proximity to the Maryland and Virginia wine trails. As we hadn’t been there before and we knew we wanted a quiet, relaxing place to stay, I searched for bed and breakfasts and stumbled upon Hollerstown Hill Bed and Breakfast. The reviews were wonderful and it looked like a nice place to stay. The room I booked had its own private balcony porch and everything.

We arrived a bit earlier than our check-in time but learned that the owners were actually on their own summer vacation, ironically in Delaware, where our home base was, too. So, we waited about an hour until the hostess arrived to unlock the door. Turned out we were the only guests for the night, which was a nice surprise. In fact, we had the whole giant Victorian to ourselves that night, though we didn’t realize that until the next morning.

Frederick, Maryland

Prior to checking in, we started to explore Frederick a bit, enjoying a delicious lunch at Hooch and Banter, as well as hitting some neat shops, including an olive oil emporium, unique toy and book shops and a few other small town businesses. We noticed several restaurants and decided it was a foodie’s paradise, really. One of our stops was a small wine store, Viniferous Wines, where we asked the owner for a recommendation for a red wine in the $20 to $30 dollar range. He recommended an Australian Merlot, which we had never tried. In fact, the only Merlot from Australia that I had had prior to this one was Yellow Tail! It didn’t disappoint.

We opened it after dinner that evening and enjoyed it while we played pool and chess in the game room of the bed and breakfast. The wine was a unique flavor, light but full bodied in a way. I really wish I had documented the name of that one, but we were having too much fun to be recording our wine! That chess board was super cool because it was a Civil War one, where one of us was North and one of us was South.

There also was a 60-disc CD changer in the pool room, so we decided to see what kind of music was inside. After going through about 10 to 15 Christmas CDs, we found some classical, followed by some Sarah McLachlan. It was an eclectic mix and we found ourselves wondering about the back story behind all the holiday music!

Our stay was wonderful. Very quiet, clean and unique collections of items on display throughout the large Victorian. Although we were unable to meet the owners in person, we enjoyed our hostess who was chatty and fun. Our breakfast was served promptly and it was the perfect fare in preparation for our day. While, thunderstorms prevented us from being able to use our private porch, we could see why our room was the most popular room in the b and b. Located on the back of the home, it was quiet and private. If we ever return to Frederick, we will definitely look this place up once more. Highly recommend it!

wine bottles in a rack

Wine for a “DelMarVa”cation

This summer is rapidly coming to an end in Central New York. When the New York State Fair commercials begin in earnest, that’s when you know. Or, if you ask my son, you know when the cicadas (or “summer sounds,” as he calls them) reach their fever pitch decibel levels. Whatever the sign, it’s now the latter half of August, and back to school is only weeks away.

Every summer we go on a family vacation. Most of the time we head south to Delaware to visit family. While there, we try to do a few other sightseeing activities, picking different things to do each year. This past year, the husband and I escaped for an overnight in Frederick, Maryland, a location chosen for its close proximity to Maryland and Virginia wine country.

The Frederick Wine Trail includes about a dozen or so wineries nestled among horse farms and countryside. We visited on a Wednesday and quickly realized that in Maryland, many vineyards are closed for tastings during the week. We did manage to make two stops, however, and they were both well worth the time.

Elk Run Vineyard and Winery

Elk Run was our first stop, mainly because it was the first one we came to along the route. Thankfully, they were open! It was a casual, friendly atmosphere. Someone was actually replacing ceiling tiles and someone also was doing office work at a table just near the tasting bar. I got the impression the winery didn’t get many weekday visitors, particularly on a hot summer day in early August! Carol Wilson was a wonderful hostess pouring wines, explaining how they were derived and patiently answering our questions. She even provided us with a wine trail map and a few suggestions for other places to visit. Her friendly dog laid at our feet the whole time.

We enjoyed a couple of the wines we tried and were pleased to hear that the vineyard can ship to New York State. But, we did purchase a few bottles to take home. Among our selections: Annapolis Sunset, a sweet, off dry white wine perfect for easy drinking on the back deck at sunset. In fact, we purchased two bottles of that and have already enjoyed one with friends. At nearly $15, the price point is reasonable and well worth it for the taste. We also purchased a Chardonnay, as well as

Linganore Winecellars

Travel five more minutes down a couple of old country backroads and you land in the driveway of Linganore Winecellars, another vineyard open for tasting during the week. We were immediately greeted at the door and brought to the tasting bar where we tried some excellent wines and learned of a few wonderful places to eat in Frederick, too. One of the winery’s staff members spent time in the Finger Lakes at a vineyard we knew well so we were curious to try the wines here to see if any reflected the New York style.

In fact, there was a Cayuga White blend that we tried to see if it tasted like the wines we know and love in Central New York. We definitely could taste the Cayuga grape but the tell-tale green apple taste and smell was missing. It always fascinates me how different soils and weather environments can completely reimagine how a grape tastes and how the wine will turn out. Their reds were very good, which surprised me a bit. I tend not to like red wines from the east coast, at least so far in my travels. But, these were really yummy and interesting. Among our selections: Seventh, Retriever Red, Revolution and a port/dessert wine, Abisso.

America’s Oldest Vineyards

Since we were in Frederick, only about 30 minutes from the Virginia wine country, we decided to try to venture over and hit a few wineries there before heading back to Delaware. We probably could have spent a week there, there were so many vineyards. We ended up taking a few tips from our bed and breakfast hostess, as well as the first winery we visited and jumped around to hit three vineyards, all with unique wines and styles. In Virginia, wineries are organized into clusters by geographic area. Each has its own “personality” and growing characteristics. We strategically hit a vineyard from three of the six.

Otium Cellars

horses on a farm in Virginia

On the recommendation of our bed and breakfast hostess, we started our next day’s adventure at Otium Cellars in Purcellville, Virginia, part of the Snickers Gap Wine Cluster. What a great vineyard and winery! Tucked back with a horse farm adjacent to the tasting room, it was a beautiful place with a knowledgable hostess at the tasting bar. We t

ried many different wines made in the German tradition, which is one with which I am familiar. We purchased a few of our favorites, including: Dornfelder and Merlot, and we left with a pair of glasses, too, which have become our go to for our evening wine selections.

8 Chains North

Next up was 8 Chains North, along the Waterford Cluster, and another recommendation from both Otium Cellars and our bed and breakfast hostess. This one didn’t disappoint either, however I felt it was challenging trying to learn more about the wines, their background and origin. In fact, the wine that was listed as the most “famous” from this vineyard was not included on the tasting list. Luckily, when I mentioned it, we were allowed to try it. We ended up purchasing two bottles! This vineyard was interesting in that it was importing grapes from Washington State and making wine that otherwise would not be available from a Virginia vineyard. We left with: Loco Vino and Pink Link Rose. Another interesting fact about this winery? Every year, members of the wine club come together to create a unique blended wine. They try a bunch of different wines and then make a collective suggestion to the winemaker, who then creates the wine exclusively for the club. Very cool!

Hillsborough Vineyards

Hillsborough Vineyards, part of the Loudoun Heights Wine Cluster, was not on our original list but its website said it offered light fare and as it was after noon, we were starving. Alas, when we arrived, we were told that the food is only offered on weekends. Still, as long as we were there, we tried their wines. Many of the reds were a bit too much for me but my husband really enjoyed them. We did end up purchasing a few here so it wasn’t a wasted stop, despite the lack of food! Many of their wines are named after gemstones. Among our selections: Opal, Bloodstone, Moonstone and a White Merlot that I felt rivaled those from California. We also received a set of glasses, which was a nice touch.

Although we were not able to truly delve into all that Virginia wine country has to offer, we learned a lot from the ones we were able to visit. For example, most, if not all, vineyards in Virginia do not distribute their wines beyond their region, preferring instead to make just enough for the annual visitors who venture through the wine clusters. In Maryland, we learned that while those vineyards don’t tend to distribute to retailers outside the area, they are able to ship their wines and New York is one of the states to which they are allowed to ship, which is a bonus for us!

If you ever find yourself in this part of the country, I encourage you to visit a few of the vineyards. The wines are delicious; the drive is gorgeous and the hospitality can’t be beat. Cheers!


Wine for a Workout Video

Last month I had the pleasure of being asked to create a video to illustrate my workout supplement regimen. Lyzabeth Lopez, an internationally known trainer who created the Hourglass Workout, asked if I would please explain all the vitamins and supplements I use to help build curves. As a “hard gainer,” it’s long been a struggle for me to put on muscle and weight and I have finally gotten the formula right, thanks to her guidance.

So, I set up my countertop and propped up my iPhone 7 to create the selfie video. I don’t do videos and so I was pretty certain it was going to come out awful! But, I did five takes and the first one ended up being chosen! Who knew I was a one take wonder? There are some things I would have done differently. Perhaps, I would have moved my husband’s nearly empty Diet Coke bottle off the table, for example. But, overall I’m not totally embarrassed by the performance! Lopez used the video in a blog post all about curve building supplements and I’m happy to be able to help other women find their perfect formulas, too.

If you’re interested in watching the video, I’ve inserted it below. You also can read more about my journey. As for the wine supplement? Well, as you know, I enjoy a glass or two most evenings although when I’m in a building phase, as I am now, I limit to only on Wednesdays (it’s #WineWednesday every week!) and weekends. I believe I enjoyed a lovely Prosecco after I filmed this video as a treat to myself for having the courage to do it in the first place! Cheers!

crock pot and instant pot side by side

Wine for When Dinner Cooks Itself

Faithful readers know I have an Instant Pot, a Christmas gift that keeps on giving. I’ve used it multiple times a week for the last six months and have enjoyed 80 percent of the recipes I’ve tried, returning to many multiple times. Instant Pots are great because they cook dinner quickly and allow you to make things that normally would take two or three times as long, such as roast chicken.

Thanks to my co-worker, who found a great recipe for rotisserie style chicken in the Instant Pot, we had lovely roast chicken, roasted beets and garden cucumbers for dinner last night. The best part? The chicken cooked in the Instant Pot and the beets cooked in the crock pot. I had dueling pots on the counter doing all the work! The other benefit is that while things are cooking in the pots, you can clean up and get ahead on the dinner prep dishes or even start lunches for the next day. It’s a huge time saver. Not to mention while the chicken and beets are resting, I can clean up the pots! Easy peasy!

Review of Ruché

Roast chicken had been on my list of upcoming recipes mainly due to the fact that we purchased a unique wine from Decker’s Wine and Spirits in Fayetteville, New York a few weeks ago. Having never visited Decker’s, we had a rare day off and decided to make the nearly 25 minute trip out to the east side of town. The owner recommended what he called “the most unique wine in the store,” a Ruché from Italy.

The best way for me to describe it is much the way he did – light bodied, a bit like Chianti, dry and fruit forward but with floral hints to the nose and taste. It was delightful! He suggested pairing it with something lighter, such as roast chicken, to really allow the wine to sing on its own and he was right. It was absolutely delicious!

What is Ruche?

Ruché wine next to a glass with red wine in itPronounced ROO-kay, the grape is from the Piedmont region of Italy and is one of the lowest production varietal wines in Italy. Some say it actually came from France, and has been adapted over the years but others say it’s indigenous to the hills just northeast of Asti. Our bottle cost just under $20 and for the price, it’s a steal. Just a wonderful wine, exploding with unique nuances and flavor.


Tucked away down a little road off the main drag in Fayetteville, Decker’s Wine and Spirits is family-run, offering estate-bottled wines from around the world. A quick walk through the store indicated lots of French and Italian wines, but really any region is present. What I liked most about it was how quiet and peaceful it was to just browse and review all the different wines. Plus, the owner is knowledgable and willing to offer suggestions. We purchased four bottles, one of which was the Ruché. And if the Ruché is any indication, we’ll be having a great time with the other three! Cheers!

runners posing before the course

Wine for Hope

Just more than 10 days ago, my daughters and I joined our pastor, Father Joe O’Connor in his “Run for Hope,” a challenge he issued to help drive donations to the annual Hope Appeal for the Syracuse Diocese. Each year, parishes are given a fundraising goal, which they are expected to meet by year end. This year, Fr. Joe decided he wanted to meet the goal sooner rather than later. That’s when he issued the challenge – if our parish met the goal by June 30, he would run the perimeter of the parish boundaries – a total of 11.3 miles.

It sounds nuts but as an Ironman alum, he was up to the task. What he didn’t expect was the more than 100-degree temperatures that awaited him July 1. Still, he pressed on. Parishioners manned water stops and sprayed him with water balloons and super soakers. Some even joined him for a mile or 11! My daughters and I decided we’d do the first mile. We joined Father along with three men, all three of whom continued through the entire course. My husband followed in the “pace minivan” with some tunes appropriate for the occasion.

It was hot on the course. We took every opportunity to run on the grass or in the shade rather than on the hot pavement. My younger daughter jumped in the cool minivan at around 3/4 of a mile. My older daughter made it just shy of the first mile. I stopped shortly after that in solidarity with the girls! Father kept on going! He and a few men (I joked they were like his disciples!) ran the distance through neighborhoods in the Clay and Baldwinsville, New York areas. They stopped for water at various locations and visited with parishioners. For the last bit of the course, jet skis were arranged to take them across the Seneca River, but they ended up swimming it instead. The cold water was refreshing after running in all that heat!

I’m glad I convinced the girls to go with me. They were proud of themselves for doing it and as it turned out they were the only children to run with Father. After running in such heat, wine is not such a great idea. I had loaded up on Gatorade and water prior to the run, following it with more water and a cold beer! But, later in the evening, as we relaxed on the couch as is our evening custom, we enjoyed a nice bottle. We’re blessed to have air conditioning at home so the cool air and yummy wine was a nice end to a busy day/weekend!

maria, lucia and christopher in the swimming pool

Wine for Hot Summer Days

It’s been a hot last few days in Central New York, much hotter than we are used to. The thermometer rarely goes above 90 during a normal summer but so far, we’ve hit and/or surpassed it a few times and it’s only July 3! Typically when it’s this hot, I avoid drinking too much alcohol due to dehydration and just because it makes me feel like garbage when it’s so hot. But, this past weekend, I had some fun loading up the coolers for a graduation party to celebrate my husband’s graduate degree.

The first stop was Harbor View Wines and Liquors where I purchased a case of 12 bottles at a 20 percent discount. I chose wines from all over the world, including Germany, New Zealand, Portugal, Argentina and Italy. In addition, my picks included a couple from the Finger Lakes Region of New York State, as well as Washington and California. I tried to vary the types of wines, choosing six reds and six whites, as well as different grapes. I figured it would be fun to have a hodgepodge available to guests or for us after the party ends!

I did the same thing with the beer selection. I chose a Mexican sampler, Saranac Summer Series, Blue Moon, Labatt Blue Light and some White Claw sparklers. Of course, there was plenty of water and sparkling water for guests, too. The most popular beers were the Mexican ones, followed closely by Saranac and Labatt Blue Light. We had one Saranac left and a few Blue Moons. As for wine? I enjoyed Goose Watch Vineyard’s Diamond white, which is made with the Diamond white grape, one of the originals grown in Upstate New York.

I think it’s fun to try a whole bunch of different types of wines and beers. There are so many in this world and I probably will never try them all. That’s why, when I have an opportunity to purchase a lot, I take it; your guests will have their choice and you’ll hopefully have something for everyone’s taste.

Summer Wine Choices

Overall in the summer, I enjoy white and rose wine over a red, simply because they are more refreshing to me. I typically have them at a slightly cooler temperature than I would a red so that may be one reason why. I don’t like an overly sweet wine. You’ll see me drinking a Sauvignon Blanc or a Cayuga White. Riesling is a popular choice, as well, especially with company, and White Merlot is a great standby, particularly with barbecue. Below are some of the ones I chose for our outdoor party.

Goose Watch Winery
Finger Lakes, New York

Clean Slate
Mosel, Germany

Sauvignon Blanc
The Crossings
New Zealand

White Merlot
Napa Valley, California

Bread and Butter Wines

I’ll add to this list, as I try more delicious summer wines. Please share your favorites below!


newspapers stacked on a table

Wine for Changing Times

Over the past 24 hours there have been two things that have made me pause to think about how much has changed with the world in my lifetime. Things that never changed for my grandparents for decades have changed within years for me.

For example, yesterday Sears announced it would close 72 stores, including one that anchored a suburban shopping mall near where I live. As the director of media relations for Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management, of course I facilitated interviews for local media with one of our professors who is expert in the field of supply chain and retail. As he explained Sears’ demise, he harkened back to the way it used to be. Sears was “the Amazon of its time,” he said in one interview. Wow. The Amazon of its time? But, yeah, think about it.

People ordered EVERYTHING from their Sears catalogs starting in the 1800s. Houses, cars, tools, farm supplies, clothing, you name it. Kind of like how we interact with the Amazon giant today. But, even when I was a kid, I remember Sears being the place my parents bought so many things from appliances to clothing to tools. We were in there all the time. We even used to have our cars repaired there or tires put on. So many things from just that one store.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I have a refrigerator and stove from Sears and possibly our washer/dryer, too, although they were a housewarming gift. What’s more? I actually visited a Sears store a few weeks ago to purchase a First Communion dress for my daughter. In fact, I am a big fan of Sears for children’s dress clothes. It’s the only place I’ve ever been able to find a suit that fits Christopher well and looks appropriate for Easter Mass.

This morning, on the way home from the gym, Big D and Bubba, a country radio show, based in Nashville, Tennessee, discussed another thing of the past – paper boys. One of the DJ’s explained that his teenaged son was up early and saw a car driving very slowly, then stopping, then driving then stopping. He was concerned and asked what the car could possibly be doing. His father, said, “Delivering the newspaper.” The son had NO idea that was a “thing.”

It was a “thing.” I remember receiving two newspapers a day – one in the morning, the Post-Standard, and one in the evening, the Herald-Journal. The Herald-American came on Sundays. We got them all at my house and I read them religiously. It’s where we got all our news. There was no internet (yes, I was alive when there was no internet).

What’s more, there was a newspaper delivery person, usually a boy but it could also be a girl, who delivered the newspapers to special plastic boxes hanging under mailboxes, because you couldn’t put the newspaper in the mailbox. It used to be the job of one of the kids in my house to go “get the paper.” The delivery person, who we called the “paper boy,” since it was always a boy in my experience, also came weekly to collect payment for the papers. He’d ring the doorbell and say “Collecting!” It was a huge treat as a kid to be able to give him the money and get the tiny stamp-like receipt in return.

Nowadays the paper still comes, but only a few times a week, plus Sundays. And you pay online, not in person at your front door. In my lifetime, I’m watching print newspapers all but disappear. But in my grandparent’s lifetime, all they knew was newspapers. Imagine that pace of change exponentially accelerating as the years go by.

Anyway, it made me nostalgic for the way things used to be. I mean, there was an extra side job for a kid, delivering papers, that doesn’t exist anymore. They even got tipped when they came to collect! The responsibility that bred in young people was so valuable to them. Nowadays, I find it difficult to find a teenaged babysitter who is willing to and responsible enough for the job. What we had as responsibilities as teens in the 1980s is so different from what the teens have now.

It’s fascinating to see change happen before your eyes and valuable to look back and think about the past. Wine is a great way to sit back and ruminate on days gone by. I think a good choice is what we enjoyed on Memorial Day, Clean Slate Riesling. It’s an old standby and a traditional Riesling, but it allows you to start again or think anew. Best of both worlds.

What do you remember from your past? Comment below and cheers!