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Featured on The Taste of Oregon!

Date: Thu, May 6, 2010 Winery Blogs

Vic from The Taste of Oregon (great blog about Oregon food & wine) featured our Quinta Reserva Port-Style Pinot Noir in one of his mouthwatering recipes! This dish would also pair well with our 2007 Tualatin Estate Pinot Noiror soon-to-be-released at our Memorial Day Weekend Open House 2008 Estate Pinot Noir. Check it out:

Pan-seared Pork with Willamette Valley Vineyards Quinta Reserva Port-Style Pinot Noir Sauce

1.1 boneless pork sirloin chop per person
2.1 pint (470 ml.) heavy cream
3.1 cup (240 ml.) milk
4.1 cup (240 ml.) Willamette Valley Vineyards Quinta Reserva Port-Style Pinot Noir
5.1 sweet onion, sliced thinly
6.1 bell pepper cut into cubes
7.1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml.) of garlic seasoning (depending on how many pork chops you have)
8.2 tablespoons (30 ml.) of canola oil or other cooking oil
9.Ground black pepper to taste
10.1 stick (8 tablespoons or 120 ml.) unsalted butter


Dry the pieces of pork with paper towel and set on a plate.

Sprinkle garlic seasoning and ground black pepper on both sides of pork pieces.

In a cast iron skillet or heavy pan over high heat add the cooking oil and sear each side of the pork pieces for 3 to 4 minutes. Resist the temptation to turn the pork pieces before at least 3 minutes. You really want the pan to sear the pork so that it remains juicy.

Remove the pork to a plate, tent with foil and let rest.

Turn the flame down to medium and melt the butter in the same pan that you cooked the pork in. Add the onions and mushrooms and sauté, stirring several minutes until onions begin to turn translucent. Add the bell peppers and stir until bell peppers turn dark green.

Using a slotted spoon, remove all the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.

Deglaze the pan with the Port-style wine, stirring to dissolve all of the bits of pork and vegetables stuck to the pan.

Add cream and milk and stir rapidly, using a whisk. Lower the heat so that the sauce just simmers. Don’t let it come to a rapid boil or the sauce may separate. Reduce over low heat for about 5 minutes.

Return the pork to the pan with the sauce and let it cook for 3-4 minutes, then test with a meat thermometer to see if it’s reached 160 degrees F. Add vegetables back to pan to incorporate into the sauce and you’re ready to dish it into a serving bowl.

Note: A great side for this would be steamed jasmine rice or egg noodles.

Wine note: We enjoyed a bottle of Anne Amie 2003 Oregon Belle Rouge, a Bordeaux-style red blend, with our meal. The dark cherry and mellow tobacco flavors of the wine were wrapped around a nice minerality that stood up well to the sweet-flavored sauce from the pork dish.
Enjoy!

— Vic

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Bobby Flay Selects our Pinot Gris for his Master's Series Dinner!

Date: Thu, May 6, 2010 Winery Blogs

What do Vegas Uncork’d, Bobby Flay and Willamette Valley Vineyards have in common? On Thursday night, May 6, 2010, Bobby Flay will host a Master’s Series dinner at his MESA Grill restaurant (pictured below) at Caesars Palace. This is one of the events of Bon Appetite’s “Vegas Uncork’d,” which is happening May 6-9. Willamette Valley Vineyards, 2008 Pinot Gris has been chosen to pair with the second course of Green Chile Tamale with Lobster Sauce and Corn. Jim Bernau, Founder and CEO of Willamette Valley Vineyards stated, “Our cool climate Pinot Gris is a perfect combination for the flavors of lobster and the spices of green chile” The micro-climate and soil structure of the Willamette Valley of Oregon are perfect for growing Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.


Here’s the complete menu, and if you were thinking about attending the dinner, it’s been sold out for almost two months (sorry)!

Crostini with Smoked Tomatoes
Scorched Jalapenos, Ricotta Cheese

Green Chile Tamale with Lobster Sauce and Corn
Willamette Valley Vineyards, Pinot Gris Willamette Valley Oregon 2008

Crispy Suckling Pig, Blue Corn Crepe
Hot + Sour Nectarine Sauce, Cracklings
Muller Catoir, Gimmeldinger Mandelgarten, Riesling Spätlese Pfalz, Germany 200

Bison Tenderloin, Spiced Rubbed
Mustard - Barbecue Sauce
Chanterelle Mushroom Potato Gratin
Bodegas Muga, Rioja, Reserva, Selección Especial, MAGNUM Haro, España 2004

Toasted Coconut Layer Cake
Coconut Cream Sauce

Churros
Dusted with Cinnamon Sugar + Star Anise
Dark Chocolate Dipping Sauce

A big thank you goes out toBobby Flay for selecting our Pinot Gristo be part of your special dinner! Our Oregon Brand Manager and Cork ReHarvest Director, Patrick Spencer, will be enjoying the dinner for all of us back home.

Bobby Flayis pairing a green chile tamale with lobster sauce and corn, what would you pair? The top three creative submissions (posted below or on our facebook page) will win a gift card for a bottle of Pinot Gris in our online store!

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Eight Gold Medals at Oregon Wine Awards

Date: Wed, May 5, 2010 Winery Blogs

On March 20th and 21st Waverley Country Club in Portland, Oregon was host to the2nd annual Oregon Wine Awards featuring a prominent panel of respected wine professionals, buyers, writers and sommeliers who tasted and evaluated hundreds of Oregon wines in a single-blind format (meaning grape variety or wine style is known, but not the price nor producer) and awarded the top wines with Gold, Silver and Bronze Grand Awards of Excellence.

The results are in and we won EIGHT gold medals! The winemaking staff will be very pleased!



GOLD 2007 Willamette Valley Vineyards “Elton Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2007 Willamette Valley Vineyards “Tualatin Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2007 Willamette Valley Vineyards “Hannah Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2007 Willamette Valley Vineyards “Signature Cuvée Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2008 Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling, Willamette Valley

GOLD Willamette Valley Vineyards “Tualatin Estate Muscat,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2007 Griffin Creek Syrah, Rogue Valley
GOLD 2007 Griffin Creek Merlot, Rogue Valley

For the full results visit http://www.oregonwineawards.com/winners.html

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Love Pinot Noir? Win a Trip to Oregon Wine Country!

Date: Tue, May 4, 2010 Winery Blogs


Back by popular demand,we aregiving you the opportunity to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Oregon! We’re asking Pinot Noir lovers from around the country to tell us, in about 100 words, what they love about Oregon Pinot Noir. Our staff at the winery, from all departments, will choose their favorite entry and the winner will enjoy 4 days and 3 nights in the heart of Oregon wine country. Your trip will include great meals, great adventures, and of course, great wine.

To participate, just send your entry to contest@wvv.com or visit http://www.wvv.com/contest.

The winner will be announced July 6, 2010. We hope to see you in Oregon!

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Join Us to Stop H.R. 5034

Date: Sun, May 2, 2010 Winery Blogs

Dear Industry Colleagues,

As you may know, late last week HR 5034, also known as the Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation is certain to be debilitating to Oregon's wine industry if passed. Please see below an official opposition statement from the Oregon Winegrowers Association. This position is also being shared with interested media.

Professional members who have questions about this proposed legislation and OWA's perspective are encouraged to contact the OWA directly.

Please know that we will work tirelessly on your behalf to defeat the CARE Act and make sure it does not pass into law. However, we cannot do this alone. Only with your help can we defeat HR 5034!

Regards,

The Oregon Winegrowers Association Board of Directors

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Oregon Winegrowers Association Statement on H.R. 5034

Portland, OR, April 23, 2010 -- The Oregon Winegrowers Association, which represents Oregon's wineries and grapegrowers, strongly opposes HR 5034, the Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 15th by Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA) and co-signers. If passed, this bill would severely restrict the applicability of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution and every Act of Congress to alcohol beverage laws of the States. This legislation was initiated and promoted by the National Beer Wholesalers Association for the nominal purposes of preventing frivolous lawsuits against the states and allowing states to maintain firm control of sales and prevent alcoholism and underage drinking.

The real effect of this bill would be to stunt competition, reverse years of long-established judicial precedent, and severely limit consumer choice. The rights of States to regulate wine and alcohol, as granted by the 21st Amendment, have always been subject to Congressional and judicial oversight. Decisions over the last 40 years balance that state authority with important Constitutional rights, such as the Commerce Clause, Due Process and the First Amendment. The 2005 landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Granholm vs. Heald, reaffirmed state rights under the 21st Amendment to regulate wine but not discriminate and correctly ruled that these rights do not supersede other provisions of the Constitution. H.R. 5034 would fundamentally change the way discriminatory laws are challenged in court. It would essentially allow the 21st Amendment, which gave the states the right to regulate alcohol, to trump the concerns of the Commerce Clause. The burden of proof to challenge a facially neutral law that discriminates would be so narrow that litigation would wither and put interstate commerce in wine at jeopardy.

Most of Oregon's 400 wineries depend in part, and in some cases entirely, on their ability to ship the wines they produce to customers in other states. Two thirds of the States now permit those shipments under stringent public safety laws and varied requirements for tax payment. Some of these States were forced to open their borders to such shipments because of lawsuits from consumers seeking access to wines not available in their home states.

The beer wholesalers are hoping to use HB 5034 to put their businesses out of reach of nothing less than the U.S. Constitution. No other business sector has been extended this level of immunity. This legislation would be an unprecedented shift in the balance between Federal and state authority over wine and alcohol. It would have major constitutional consequences. It should be opposed by all those who care about free trade, free consumer choice, Oregon's 400 wineries and 900 vineyards.

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In the Vineyard- Leaf Sprouts

Date: Thu, Apr 29, 2010 Winery Blogs

Little leaves are emerging from the buds at our Estate Vineyard. It is so beautiful to watch the transformation!



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Fighting Climate Change: Oregon Wineries Aim for Carbon Neutrality

Date: Thu, Apr 29, 2010 Winery Blogs

April 27, 2010 - Fourteen Oregon wineries announced Tuesday their completion of a rigorous process to measure and reduce greenhouse gases as part of the “Carbon Neutral Challenge,” a joint program of the Oregon Environmental Council and the Oregon Wine Board.

The move is the latest in a series of signals from the Oregon wine industry that it aims to be viewed by the world as among the greenest.

The participating wineries — 14 finishers of an arduous process that launched with 30 wineries signed on — instituted a number of changes aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions including installing solar panels, retrofitting lighting, insulating tanks and using goats, sheep and raptors instead of lawn mowers and pesticides.

Willamette Valley Vineyards of Turner and King Estate Winery of Eugene are the largest participating wineries. Jim Bernau, Willamette Valley Vineyards founder, said even though his business has been focusing on sustainability for years, he learned a lot through the process.

“For example, I had no idea that the use of refrigeration had such a significant impact on the environment,” Bernau said. “The very detailed technical aspects of the audit were eye-opening.”

In addition to improving the technology and insulation of the winery’s refrigeration units, Bernau said he’s looking at alternative packaging for wine as well. For restaurants that sell in volume, he said, it would make better environmental sense to ship the wine in large stainless steal canisters rather than individual bottles.

Each winery participating in the program accounted for its greenhouse gas emissions and incorporated the information into a carbon inventory tool developed by Portland-based Ecos Consulting and based on the The International Wine Industry Greenhouse Gas Accounting Protocol, launched earlier this year and developed through a partnership between the Wine Institute of California, New Zealand Winegrowers, South Africa’s Integrated Production of Wine program, and the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia.

The wineries in the Oregon program also became members of The Climate Registry, a national system that sets standards for calculating, verifying and reporting greenhouse gas emissions. Six of the participants paid $2,500 each to have their carbon emissions verified by a third party and all participating wineries offset their remaining missions by investing in methane digester projects through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.

David Weigel, vice president of marketing for Ecos, said the process the wineries went through before offsets were purchased is much more than just greenwashing.

"It's a very progressive stance," Weigel said. "We coach companies to deploy real measures, to be running as lean and as powerful as you can, before you buy offsets."

Greg Jones, a professor at Southern Oregon University who has done extensive research on the impact of climate change on the wine industry, said the Carbon Neutral Challenge is significant because it involves a concerted effort by a bloc of companies within a single industry.

“It’s a peer group,” Jones said. “It will only make the Oregon wine industry more catalyzed around the climate change issue.”

In addition to an actual reduction in carbon output — something that Jones said wine-growing regions desperately need to avoid impact on their businesses — the value in the challenge is in the message it sends to other wineries and other businesses.

Other participating wineries include A to Z wineworks, Abaclea, Adelsheim, Chehalem, Cooper Mountain Vineyards, Left Coast Cellars, Lemelson Vineyards, Mahonia Vineyards and Nursery, Sokol Blosser Winery, Soter Vineyards, Stoller Vineyards and Winderlea Wine Co."

For another great sources of information, check out the Wine Spectator video on Oregon's Carbon Neutral wineries with interviews by Alison Sokol Blosser and Tony Soter by clicking here, or visit the Carbon Neutral Challenge website here.

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Deep in the Cellar at IACP

Date: Tue, Apr 27, 2010 Winery Blogs

As Bryon Beck of Eater PDX described, "Willamette Valley Vineyards hosted an extremely well-stocked late night party featuring rare sips of their best stuff deep in the bowels of the Hotel Vintage Plaza." Indeed we did!

This year the International Association of Culinary Professionals convened in Portland for their annual conference consisting of four days of food, wine, and seminars galore. What an honor to host such talented people from around the world! On Friday, we invited the special guests of IACP for an evening of wine (new releases and some library favorites), food, and lots of laughs in the intimate cellar of the Hotel Vintage Plaza.

Erik McLaughlin, our National Sales Director, pouring 2000 Estate Pinot Noir to guests.


Our winemaker, Don Crank, and Cork ReHarvest Director, Patrick Spencer, enjoyed the yet-to-be-released, yet everyone is raving about, 2008 Estate Pinot Noir. It will make its debut at our Memorial Day Open House.



Guests enjoyed wine, food, and the coziness of the wine cellar:



I would also like to congratulate fellow Portlander, Lisa Schroeder, of Mother's Bistro & Bar and Mama Mia's Trattoria for being named IACP's Chef/Restaurateur of the year!

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Capturing Life as it Happens in Oregon's Beautiful Wine Country

Date: Fri, Apr 23, 2010 Winery Blogs

Today is one of those days that I wish I wasn't working in the office. Adventuring around the winery, walking among the vines, or chatting with visitors sounds way more fun. So to get my fix of beautiful scenry I went on over to CWK Photography and caught up on the Oregon wine collections Carolyn has shot.Carolyn Wells-Kramerhas stunning collections of bud break, harvest, winemaking activities and Oregon wine events on her website. I encourage you to take a peek. It will definitely get you out of that Friday afternoon slump!



Carolyn also took pictures of our Willamette Valley Vineyards Wine Center and many of her photographs are featured on the large wall display (including the two above).



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Love Riesling? Then Rendezvous!

Date: Thu, Apr 22, 2010 Winery Blogs

If you love Riesling, or want to learn more about these amazing wines, this is the place to be- Riesling Rendezvous! This event brings together leading experts and producers to explore the versatility of Rieslings from around the world.


Check out this amazing worldwide list of producers who will be featured at the Riesling Rendezvous 2010 Grand Tasting at Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, Sunday, July 11 from 5:00-8:00 pm.

The seven Oregon wineries selectedto pour areBridgeview Vineyards, Brooks Wines, Chehalem Holloran Vineyard Wines, Montinore Estate, Troon Vineyard, Viento and of course, us!


For tickets or more information about the event visit: http://www.ste-michelle.com/winery/rieslingRendezvous

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Happy Earth Day! Enjoy with Oregon Certified Sustainable Wine

Date: Thu, Apr 22, 2010 Winery Blogs

Something has changed. There are new consumers out there. New connoisseurs. People who are no longer content just to drink great-tasting wines. They want to know how the wines were made. They want to be assured that the grower and winemaker treated the land and the process respectfully.

That's where Oregon Certified Sustainable Wine (OCSW) comes in.

The OCSW logo guarantees that the wine in that bottle was made using responsible agriculture and responsible winemaking practices; and that the wine was certified by an independent third party. To meet the agricultural requirements 97% of fruit must be certified by LIVE (Low Input Viticulture Enology), USDA Organic, Demeter Biodynamic or Food Alliance and also be Salmon Safe. To meet the winery requirements the facility had to be certified by one of the previous programs.

Currently, 18 Oregon wineries, including us, have wines with OCSW certification, totaling 1.75 million bottles.

Our 2008 Dijon Clone Chardonnay is available now and our2008 Estate and Elton Vineyard Pinot Noirs will be released on Memorial Day Weekend at our Open House. Our 2008 Pinot Noir, Signature Cuvée Pinot Noir, Tualatin Vineyard Pinot Noir, Hannah Vineyard Pinot Noir, Bernau Block Pinot Noir, Fuller Pinot Noir, O'Brien Pinot Noir, and Estate Chardonnaywill all carry the logo.

Lets celebrate Earth Day and make sustainability a movement not a buzz word!

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Astoria Warrenton Crab, Seafood and Wine Festival

Date: Tue, Apr 20, 2010 Winery Blogs

Come visit the Willamette Valley Vineyards booth this weekend, April 23-25, at the Astoria Warrenton Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival.Sarah Kammerer and the crewwill be pouring our delicious and sustainable wines (our Pinot Noir and Pinot Grisare perfect pairing for seafood dishes). The festival will feature a vast spread of Northwest cuisine, a selection of Oregon and Washington’s finest wineries, arts and crafts, and musical entertainment.
The festival is located at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds at 92937 Walluski Loop, Astoria. For hours and admission information please visit their website.

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Panoramic Pinot Gris Celebration, April 22nd!

Date: Thu, Apr 15, 2010 Winery Blogs

Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 22nd at 6 p.m. as Salty's on the Columbia presents the Panoramic Pinot Gris Celebration!

Situated on the banks of the mighty Columbia River, Salty’s will present 14 local Pinot Gris producers, fresh Northwest seafood and other backyard ingredients at the first Panoramic Pinot Gris Celebration. On this special night only, significant wine purchase discounts will be offered to attendees, and a panoramic view of the Columbia River will serve as the backdrop to a lovely evening of sipping, noshing, and mingling.

In addition to pouring tastes of their exceptional Pinot Gris wines, the 14 participating producers will be eager to talk about the process, passion and perfection of Oregon Pinot Gris, along with Salty’s on the Columbia’s sommelier, Matthew Carter.

To complement the wines being poured, Salty’s Executive Chef Dana Cress will prepare hors d’oeuvres—such as Dungeness crab, smoked duck, trout, and more—that pair well with Pinot Gris.
Salty’s is located in Portland at 3839 NE Marine Drive. Reservations are highly recommended, and can be made by calling 503-288-4444. Cost is $29 per person for the event.

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Finds from the Field: with Mandie

Date: Thu, Apr 15, 2010 Winery Blogs

Our National Sales Team are BUSY people traveling the country (and world) experiencing some very special food and drink treasures. This blog series highlights some of their favorite restaurants, people, places from the field. To read the first post, featuring Erik McLaughlin's recommendations, click here.

Mandie Silver is the newest member of our National Sales Team,managing the eastern part of the United States, no easy task! Here are her picks:

CONNECTICUT- Stop at Stew Leonard’s during a visit to Connecticut (55 Westport Avenue Norwalk, CT) for a specialty grocery experience like no other – enjoy singing banana ripening displays, rice cake poppers, a milk bottling line compete with pasteurization, a talking moo-cow, and across the street their own fabulous fine wine cellar and spectacular everyday wine selection featuring Willamette Valley Vineyards wines! http://www.stewleonards.com/


DELAWARE- The Buttery (102 2nd St, Lewes) One who has attended culinary education knows that all good things are prepared with real butter, or at least rich flavor, and what better than a restaurant which focuses on such richness! With a rich, warm and inviting atmosphere your tastebuds tingle with flavor in an atmosphere of "accessible elegance." Enjoy an exquisite outdoor meal at The Veranda within this Mid-Atlantic Garden of Eden. Or perhaps a bottle of Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir by the fireside at dinner. Famous dishes include Buttery Seafood Chowder-Rich and Creamy with Fresh Cod, Shrimp and Clams or the Duo of Duck Confit and Grilled Duck Breast-Tart Cherry Honey Glaze, Braised Red Cabbage, Organic Golden Quinoa & Spiced Compound Butter. http://www.butteryrestaurant.com/


FLORIDA- Valentino’s (1145 Federal Hwy Ft. Lauderdale) is a family owned and operated spectacular twist on traditional Italian ingredients with true culinary flair by Chef Giovanni Rocchio. Experience features like grilled calamari with artichokes and sautéed tomatoes or perhaps a super ravioli homemade pasta pocket filled with a soft boiled egg and Italian ham bursting with flavor! http://www.valentinoscucinaitaliana.com/


GEORGIA- Check out Hinton’s Wine Shoppe-(8455 Holcomb Bridge Rd, Alpharetta). The owner, Chris Hinton is a retired NFL Colts, Falcons, and Vikings player, 7 time all pro defensive lineman. This eclectic shop is a wine lover’s dream to find their favorite bottle selection along with a wine tasting bar adjacent to the store called Hinton’s Wine Bar 75 to enjoy a cru-vinet held wine by the glass or host your next suare. http://www.thewinestoreinc.com/


MAINE- Talk about sustainable! Fore Street (288 Fore Street Portland) with their philosophy that “good food travels the shortest possible distance between the farm and the table,” is founded upon the very best raw materials from a community of Maine farmers, fishermen, foragers, and cheesemakers. Most of the restaurant’s Maine foods are organically grown or harvested wild, each brought to Fore Street at the peak of its season. Their cooks are constantly inspired and excited by the variety and taste of these local ingredients. The restaurant also focuses on specialty and exclusive wine selections and an ever changing by the glass selection. http://www.forestreet.biz/


MARYLAND- For those hoping to taste a bit of the South in the North you will not be disappointed at Langermann's(2400 Boston Street Baltimore, MD)with such specialties as Fried Green Tomatoes with Chow Chow and Shrimp and Grits with shallots, tomatoes and andouille sausage in a buttery clam broth you are right at home!www.langermanns.com


MASSACHUSETTS- The Student Prince (8 Fort Street, Springfield) is a downtown Springfield institution and must dine restaurant. The Student Prince features traditional German food since 1935, taking its name, as the restaurant's helpful place mats explain, from a lighthearted opera about student life in Old Heidelberg. Who could go wrong with Fried Camembert Cheese, Clams Casino and every kind of Schnitzel imaginable?! http://www.studentprince.com/


NEW HAMPSHIRE- At The Centennial (96 Pleasant Street ,Concord) you will experience “New American” style cooking. Chef Matt Lee focuses on local NH ingredients tossed with Caribbean, Pacific Rim and Latino pizzazz. The Centennial is a landmark lodging alternative, modern, urban-contemporary with nuances of Queen Anne Victorian decor, and all nowaday comforts with the building’s original architectural charm. http://www.graniterestaurant.com/



NEW JERSEY- Rat's Restaurant (16 Fairgrounds Road Hamilton) is reminiscent of a classic Renaissance village and is the beautiful replication of impressionist Claude Monet's own hometown of Giverny. Within 35 acre grounds of sculpture is a gorgeous picnicking park or enjoy a fabulous lunch or dinner at Rat’s Restaurant named for the Kenneth Grahame's classic, The Wind in the Willows, with the character Ratty who in the story was known as the ultimate host. http://www.groundsforsculpture.org/


NEW YORK- Saratoga Springs-If you’re planning a special event you will want to check out The Olde Bryan Inn (123 Maple Avenue, Saratoga Springs). It’s charming facility and façade of a small neighborhood complete with outdoor fountains and mingling reception areas and beautiful guestrooms make for a memorable fiesta! Check this out early as they are the numero uno destination for wedding weekends in Upstate NY! www.oldebryaninn.com


NORTH CAROLINA- Don't miss the newest craze- MEZ (210 E.Trade St. Epicentre E 290, Charlotte)- the slogan “EAT. STAY. PLAY.” really says it all with eclectic fusion cuisine, three full bar floor levels complete with night life, music, and a full scale movie theater in downtown Charlotte. http://www.mezcharlotte.com/


PENNSYLVANIA- For the wine and culinary aficionado, investigate Dettera (129 E. Butler Avenue, Ambler) the original home of the award winning “le verre du vin” wine preservation system which keeps wine fresh and delicious by the glass and eclectic “Progressive American” succulent dishes like Oysters with Cassis Mignonette Sauce, Porcini Dusted Black Cod, and Kansas City Veal Sirloin with mushroom Bordelaise sauce. http://www.dettera.com/


RHODE ISLAND- Newport 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille (Newport Waterfront) is the most interesting Newport find. It features USDA Prime beef, New England's finest seafood, an artisan slider bar, and is complemented by an award-winning wine list. Notably, they believe in “Utilizing locally grown, organic produce in dishes supports the local farming industry, enhances the connection between the plate and its source, and ultimately increases the quality of the culinary experience. Also, they utilize only the fresh fish delivered from regional and international fishmongers which is referred to as ‘Top of the Catch’ selection. http://www.22bowens.com/


SOUTH CAROLINA- As the Golf Mecca of the US, Myrtle Beach is the home to Greg Norman’s Australian Grille (4930 Hwy 17 S Barefoot Landing) and the famed golfer “the Shark” showcases delicious fried calamari with a sweet and sour chili glaze, wood fired steaks such as Sirloin au Poivre, Grilled Veal Chop with roasted red pepper risotto, and Dijon Crusted Rack of Lamb. Greg Norman’s has a spectacular bar and dining room and a fully heated outside deck dining area to view the beautiful Intercoastal waterway, and Director and collector Peter Dombrowski’s award winning wine cellar with an amazing Australian selection! Make sure your golf group enjoys this fun highlight bar/restaurant of Myrtle Beach. http://www.shark.com/


VERMONT- Three Tomatoes Trattoria- (83 Church Street, Burlington) motto is “Be Smart. Eat Well. Enjoy Your Day.” Who needs better advice than this? Located at the Church Street Marketplace in downtown Burlington for more than 15 years, this rustic Italian restaurant is open at lunch and dinner boasting a plethora of tasty vegetarian selections, wood fired pizzas and tomato pies with a notable wine selection. http://www.threetomatoestrattoria.com/


VIRGINIA- El Pollo Rico (932 N. Kenmore St. Arlington) “Always a Crowd and Always a Bargain” and “Better than Lima” are great descriptors for this place! For the most fabulous Peruvian Chicken you have ever even imagined and a line that goes out the door and wraps around the block. The fried yucca and homemade slaw and rotisseried special Peruvian marinated birds are mouthwatering! http://www.ilovethischicken.com/


WASHINGTON D.C.- Enjoy a true Tuscan dining experience at Ristorante iRicchi (1220 19th St. NW) with my favorite homemade specialties- to die for fried calamari, mouthwatering papa soup-fresh tomatoes, garlic, and bread, wood fired lamb chops with rosemary, succulent on the bone pork loin, and house made meringatas and the best Italian wine list in town! http://www.irrichi.net/


WEST VIRGINIA- Sargasso of Morgantown Restaurant & Bar (215 Don Knott's Blvd Morgantown) features such items as Bite Size Twice Baked Potatoes with candied bacon, porcini mushroom, and aged cheddar and Braised Short Rib Pappardelle Pasta homemade pasta with short ribs slowly braised in fennel, cumin, orange zest, garlic, onion, parsley and oregano tomato sauce. Sargasso is North Central West Virginia's premier dining destination with Chef Simon Poulin . Sargasso is Morgantown’s only “world fusion” restaurant, which incorporates influences from multiple cultures, Caribbean, French, Italian, Asian, and Continental cuisine. http://www.dinesargasso.com/

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