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.

Grapeless Wines

This afternoon we took our annual journey to Behlings Apple Orchard to pick apples. It’s a fall tradition only this year, it was about 82 degrees and sunny! This year’s apple crop wasn’t as good as previous years, probably because of the lack of rain in Central New York this past summer. Still, we managed to fill a couple of bags with Macintosh apples with which to eat, bake and make applesauce.

Our trip would not have been complete without a quick wine tasting. Behlings has wines from Ashley Lynn Winery on hand to try and buy. Most of the wines are not made with grapes but rather with other types of fruit that grow well in this region. We tried Elderberry Mist and Pomegranate Passion, a pomegranate/apple wine, and bought a bottle of each.

It made me wonder about the origin of fruit wine – wine made with fruits other than grapes, that is. According to Lisa Shea’s Wine Intro blog, fruit wines have been around for centuries. In the Far East, they used plums, for example.

For me, fruit wines are a bit too sweet, particularly those made with raspberries and strawberries and the like. The ones we chose were not as sweet but still tasted better made into wine slushies at home, which we enjoyed as a pre-dinner beverage.

In these waning days of summer, the fruity goodness of a wine slushie is a nice way to enjoy the gorgeous weather just one more time!



An Upstate New York Tradition


Ask anyone who lives in the greater Syracuse area what they do during the last week of summer leading up to Labor Day and their answers may be the same – why, visit the New York State Fair, of course! That’s what we did the other night and we hit all the usual spots, including a stop for a wine slushie (or three or four).

Wine slushies are a staple at the fair but a quick Google search will show they’re not unique to New York state. Still, they are a once-a-year treat for me. This year, I tried one from Goose Watch Winery, Ashley Lynn Winery and Montezuma Winery. I mostly enjoy the red wine slushies but my husband tried a Moscato one from Goose Watch that was delish! The best ones are more winepony-ride than slush but beggars can’t be choosers!

Wine slushies are the perfect companions to watching the kids have a blast on rides and seeing animals and all the sites the fair has to offer, including a pony ride, Christopher’s first.

How did we spend the rest of our Labor Day weekend? I made some homemade salsa with our Roma tomatoes from the garden and we enjoyed some other delicious wines, including a new Italian red, 2013 Cozzo Mario Madonna delle Grazie, Dolcetto di Dogliani DOCG, from our favorite local wine shop, Vinomania. Happy end of summer, everyone!