Category Archives: Wine and Wineries

Giveaway: Spice Up Your Fall with Two Westside Wine Events

Spice up your fall with these two west-side wine events

Spice up your fall with these two westside wine events

UPDATE: We have a giveaway winner! After tallying up the entries and placing the total into Random.org, congratulations to entry #19 – Jessica Z! You’ve won 2 L’Amour du Vin general admission tickets. Please reply to my email by Tuesday at noon confirming you can attend.

lamourduvin

If Target and Lowe’s are right, the holidays are quickly approaching. Ok, maaaaybe Christmas in September is a bit too soon; however, seeing the decorations on the shelves has been a good reminder that there’s one thing I need to do sooner than later: make sure my wine coffers are filled. 

Whether it’s a last-minute Halloween party, Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws, or my friend’s Waffle Christmas bash, I’ll sleep better knowing I have a reserve of reds and whites at the ready for the next holiday party.

What to buy, though? Fortunately, two upcoming events on the westside offer the perfect opportunity for some wine recon.

Keep reading for details on both events and a chance to win tickets to one of them!

Island Wine Festival, October 4

I never need an excuse to spend the day on Put-In-Bay, but if you do, this Saturday’s Island Wine Festival is a really great one.

Hop aboard the Miller Ferry to South Bass Island for a leisurely afternoon of wine, delicious food, and island living. Put-In-Bay’s Island Wine Festival runs 11am to 6pm on October 4 at the Put-in-Bay Winery and Doller House Estate.

Enjoy the beautiful views of Lake Erie or take a stroll through Put-in-Bay Winery's beautiful grounds at the Island Wine Festival

Enjoy beautiful views of Lake Erie or take a stroll through Put-in-Bay Winery’s gorgeous grounds at the Island Wine Festival

Sample more than 400 wines, including ones from the Put-in-Bay Winery, Heineman Winery and other Ohio wineries. Sampling tickets are $1 each with most samples running between $1 and $4. Bottles can also be purchased to take home with you.

In addition to wine, enjoy a display on the history of island wineries and grab a bite to eat from one of the festival vendors. Benefits from the event’s silent auction will go to the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society.

Scott and I went to the Island Wine Festival two years ago and made a full day out of the trip, checking out Perry’s Cave, the Crystal Cave and Perry’s Monument before and after the festival.

Although most people think summer when they think of Put-in-Bay, Fall is where it’s at, in my opinion.

L’Amour du Vin, October 9

I know everyone loves the Arthritis Foundation’s Silver Spoon Awards — I do too. But if I had to pick a favorite between that and their fall fundraiser L’Amour du Vin, I’d be hard-pressed to make my choice.

Presented by University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center, L’Amour du Vin puts the spotlight on Lorain County and Cleveland’s Westside.

Enter to win 2 tickets to L'Amour du Vin on October 9

Enter to win 2 tickets to L’Amour du Vin on October 9

The wine and food event is taking place next Thursday, October 9 and will feature wines from Heidleburg of Lorain and cuisine from 41 North, AMP 150, Bistro 83, Taki’s Greek Kitchen, Kiedrowski’s Simply Delicious Bakery, and other area restaurants.

I LOVE this event. Living in Avon Lake, I may be a little biased but L’Amour du Vin’s smaller size and targeted approach is the perfect opportunity to experience what the westside of Cleveland has to offer (spoiler: a lot).

The VIP lounge has also always impressed me, featuring cocktails from Brown-Forman (loved last year’s Ward 8!) plus more food, spa services and other VIP surprises.

Scott and I even purchased L’Amour du Vin tickets for his parents so that they can get a taste of some of the different restaurants in their new neighborhood.

Cocktails and food from last year's L'Amour du Vin VIP party

Cocktails and food from last year’s L’Amour du Vin VIP party

The 17th annual L’Amour du Vin takes place October 9 at the Avon Oaks Country Club from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. General admission tickets are $65 per person ($80 at the door) and VIP costs $95 per person. Event proceeds support local programs and services for the nearly 1.3 million Northeast Ohioans with arthritis. Purchase tickets at lamourduvin2014.eventbrite.com or by calling Alicia at (216) 285-2822.

As much as I’m looking forward to attending L’Amour du Vin,
I’m even more excited that one of you will also be going!

Whether you’re a longtime westsider who’s already clued into our local restaurants, or want to explore more of this region’s cuisine, here’s your chance to win a pair of general admission tickets to L’Amour du Vin:

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway
**Do one, some or all five of the entries. A separate comment’s needed for each.**

1) What’s your favorite Lorain County or Cleveland Westside restaurant? Leave a comment on this post with your pick.

2) Follow @ArthritisFouNEO and @ADHicken on Twitter and leave one comment on this post telling me you did both.

3) If you’re a fan of Clue Into Cleveland and The Arthritis Foundation, Northeast Ohio Chapteron Facebook, leave one comment on this blog post letting me know. If you’re not yet a fan, you can become one here and here.

4) Tweet the following and leave one comment letting me know you tweeted:

Raise a glass to @ArthritisFouNEO at #LAmourduVin. Enter @ADHicken’s giveaway for your chance to win tickets: http://wp.me/p2Ukr0-2Bp

You can tweet once per day for additional entries. Just leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

5) Subscribe to Clue Into Cleveland via a feed tracker like Bloglovin’ or Feedly and leave one comment letting me know you did. This can also include signing up to receive email notifications in the top-right “Subscribe” section of this page.

You have until Sunday, October 5 at 11:59PM to enter. On Monday, October 6, I will select a winner using Random.org and will announce the winner’s name on my blog.  Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry – good luck!

Disclosure: I was invited to attend L’Amour du Vin with a guest in exchange for hosting a giveaway, I also have been invited to attend the Island Wine Festival. My choice to post about these events and opinions are 100% my own.

Sipping Grapes & Ale at Progressive Field (or Scott Writes a Sonnet)

Scott and I decided to switch things up at Grapes & Ale this year. I’d be the designated driver, and he’d have an opportunity to sample all of the wine. The only catch? That he’d write the recap.

Colin Dussault's Acoustic Side Project greeted people near the stadium's entrance.

Colin Dussault’s Acoustic Side Project greeted people near the stadium’s entrance.

Nestled at the corner of 9th and Carnegie, there’s just something about Progressive Field that I really enjoy. I’m a transplant to Cleveland, so my fondness for the stadium doesn’t stem from a home team association. And, as someone who competed in marching band through the Philadelphia and South Jersey region, I’ve been in my fair share of stadiums. But Progressive captures something few others do.

I’ve mulled over what that “something” is, and I currently claim it is “hopeful enthusiasm.” Clevelanders have a solid ability to both recognize “what is” while planning for and looking forward to “what could be.” Something about Progressive Field captures that. Regardless of its corporate origins, the stadium’s current name is very fitting for this city.

What makes everything better is when you have the opportunity to freely drink the official beverages of “hopeful enthusiasm” – wine and beer. The Grapes & Ale at Progressive Field event, which happened a few Fridays ago on June 27th, brings all this together for a great time. And, since it raises funds for Our Lady of the Wayside, we have a perfect storm of good vibes.

Wines, foods, and peoples.

Wines, foods, and peoples.

Arriving at Progressive Field a tad early, Amanda and I could smell the predominantly barbecued food that was waiting to accompany the many spirits that are automatically included with entry.

After getting our etched wineglasses, my first stop was to try the Johnny Appleseed hard apple cider, followed by some flipflop moscato. Then we moved on to grab some of the always-delicious Famous Dave’s wings.

Amanda was Designated Driver that evening, and there was plenty of bottled water and soda (“pop” if you’re not a transplant) for her. There was also salad and veggies, ample seating if you walked in deep enough, and even a putting green.

Famous Dave's not only provided good eats, but a nice take-home surprise.

Famous Dave’s not only provided good eats, but a nice take-home surprise.

If you don’t like wine, the Beer Garden had taken over Progressive’s Budweiser Patio. You don’t need to buy tickets to go in – although you do need an empty glass and then tickets if you want any beer – but the mini hot dogs were delicious and the snow cone machine was a great treat.

There were also some games spread about. If leaving with the little wine glass wasn’t enough, the beer tickets got you a handled mason jar and a Lime-a-Rita sample got you another festive glass. Although I didn’t have any, a trusted source told me the Leinenkugel’s stand had brought a Russian Imperial Stout that was great.

I like my crushed ice plain.

I like my crushed ice plain.

If you didn’t bring extra cash for the beer (like me), no worries. There was still plenty of that free-flowing wine, as well as a few other spirits.

To be honest, my wine preferences are pretty narrow; the wine needs to be white and sweet. I’m not listing a lot of sampled names here not because there wasn’t a large selection, but because there was and my sampling was more copious than my note-taking.

The vendors stretched down an entire side of Progressive Field; there was plenty of wine I didn’t drink, and plenty of wine that I did. But you needed to do something special to stand-out in my memory, and the vendor which delivered that was Cupcake Vineyards:

  • Walk-in wine truck pulled into the stadium? Check.
  • Photo-op? Check.
  • Second photo-op? Check.
  • iPads with all the info and cat videos you could want? Check. (Especially because one of our cats is named Cupcake.)
  • Tiny cupcakes at the ready? Check.
  • Delicious Prosecco? Double check.

When it came to wine, Cupcake Vineyards got my vote for “Win.”

Cupcakes! Cupcakes cupcakes cupcakes! CUPCAKES!

Cupcakes! Cupcakes cupcakes cupcakes! CUPCAKES!

Great venue, great drinks, great food, great company – what more am I to say? Grapes & Ale at Progressive Field was a feel-good event last year, and it was a feel-good event this year, and I eagerly look forward to next’s. Until then, I declared I’d review this as a sonnet, so here it is:

Progressive Field is a really great space,
Open and cool and filled up with big smiles.
If the Indians don’t manage to place,
It’s still a spot where-in I’d walk for miles.

Awesome is Our Lady of the Wayside,
Caring for those who are needing a boost.
Providing shelter, respite, and a ride.
So help by drinking fermented grape juice!

Grapes & Ale at Progressive Field is fun,
Food, spirits, and beer all over – delish!
So buy some tickets, you son of a gun!
“This never should end,” is what you will wish!

So come on down to 9th and Carnegie,
Bring hunger and thirst…but not the baby.

Selfie! Selfie selfie selfie! SELFIE!

Selfie! Selfie selfie selfie! SELFIE!

Disclaimers: 

  • I know Carnegie/baby is a terrible rhyme, but how about YOU come up with a better word that rhymes with Carnegie! 
  • Also, Amanda was offered tickets to attend Grapes & Ale at Progressive Field in exchange for blogging about it. I got her second ticket because I can flap my eyeleshes like a pro. The decision to attend and post about an event is her own, based on whether she thinks it’s something that may also interest others.
  • My decision to blog about the event was not my own, but part of Amanda’s agreeing to be Designated Driver so I could run about downing samples like a thirsty camel at an Oasis Sample Party. It seems batting eyelashes is not as powerful a tool of persuasion as I thought.

Giveaway: Win 2 Tickets to Nature’s Bin Cornucopia Uncorked Wine Tasting

Update: After removing one duplicate entry:

Uncorked winner

Congratulations, entry #8 – Kim, for winning this giveaway.

Wine Lovers: I have an event and giveaway specifically for you today

cornucopia uncorked

Are you the person everyone turns to to select a bottle of wine? If you think you know how to pick a good red or just love Cabernet, join Nature’s Bin at the 78th Street Studios’ smARTSpace for Cornucopia Uncorked.

A fundraiser for Nature’s Bin’s Cornucopia program, Uncorked takes place next Thursday, April 10 from 6:30-9:30pm.

Enjoy an evening of food from Nature’s Bin (including something for carnivores, vegetarians and vegans), live music from Men with Short Beards, and a competitive wine tasting.

Tickets cost $50 ($30 of each is tax-deductible). I’m also giving away two tickets below.

But first … What is a competitive wine tasting?

  • Uncorked guests bring 2 bottles of Cabernet, the evening’s theme wine (preferably priced between $12 and $24, or as close as possible). 
  • At check in, one bottle is bagged and numbered.  The other bottle is then set aside. 
  • The bagged bottles are put out for tasting (you can’t see through the bags so no one knows what they are tasting).
  • Everyone then votes for their favorite blind-tasted wine.
  • The guests who bring the top five voted bottles are awarded prizes.
  • The person who brings the number one wine will receive the majority of other bottles that have been set aside.

Uncorked is not just a great way to put your wine tastes to the test, but the event will also raise money for Cornucopia.

Since 1975, Nature Bin’s Cornucopia program has helped people with disabilities develop their skills, confidence, and workplace potential by providing work adjustment training and job coaching and placement services.  Today, they serve people with a wide range of severe disabilities including developmental disabilities, mental illness, autism, visual and hearing impairment, and injuries resulting from accident or illness.

Fundraisers like Uncorked help Nature’s Bin fund their non-profit program so that they can continue to help unlock individuals’ potential and become fully functioning members of their communities.

Cornucopia

While I’d love to attend Uncorked, I’m unfortunately allergic to red wine. (I know, with a maiden name like DiGiandomenico, it’s a funny allergy to have.)

The upside of this is that one lucky person and their friend get to benefit from my allergy by going in my place. All you have to do is enter my giveaway.

How to enter: Do 1, some, or all 5 of the entries. Separate comment needed for each.

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway
**You must leave a separate comment on this post for each entry**

1) What’s your favorite type of Cabernet? Leave a comment on this post letting me know.

2) Follow @Naturesbin and @ADHicken on Twitter and leave one comment on this post telling me you did both.

3) If you’re a fan of Clue Into Cleveland and Nature’s Bin on Facebook, leave one comment on this blog post letting me know. If you’re not yet a fan, you can become one here and here.

4) Tweet the following and leave one comment letting me know you tweeted:

I want to win tickets to #CLE’s Cornucopia Uncorked wine tasting. Enter @ADHicken and @Naturesbin’s giveaway: http://wp.me/p2Ukr0-2sQ

You can tweet once per day for additional entries. Just leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

5) Subscribe to Clue Into Cleveland via a feed tracker like Bloglovin’ or Feedly and leave one comment letting me know you did. This can also include signing up to receive email notifications in the top-right “Subscribe” section of this page.

You have until April 7 at 11:59 pm to enter. Random.org will select the winner, which I will announce on April 8. Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry. Good luck!

Disclosure: I was invited to attend Uncorked with a guest in exchange for blogging about it. I can’t attend so am giving away my two tickets. My choice to post about this and any opinions are 100% my own.

L’Amour du Vin Recap and Midwest Wine and Food Ideas for the Fall

Reminder: You have until Thursday night to enter my Bourbon Street Ball giveaway. Remember you can tweet daily for extra entries!

L'Amour du Vin raised over $56K for the Arthritis Foundation, Great Lakes Region, Northeast Ohio

L’Amour du Vin raised over $56K for the Arthritis Foundation, Great Lakes Region, Northeast Ohio

It’s a rare treat to be able to hop in the car and drive a few minutes for a tasting event that features so many of the area’s restaurants. A fine dining and drinking event in my own backyard.

The convenience is something that sets L’Amour du Vin, the fall food fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation, Great Lakes Region, Northeast Ohioapart from other food events we may attend.

Musicians from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music Jazz Ensemble

Musicians from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music Jazz Ensemble

In exchange for hosting a giveaway last month, I was invited to attend the event.  When we arrived at the Avon Oaks Country Club last Thursday, we made our way to the VIP lounge. There we started our evening with a westside restaurant that is quickly raising the ranks of our neighborhood favorites – Bistro 83

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Seeing Put-in-Bay by Bike

1 Put in Bay

Miller Ferry offers a smooth boat ride and excellent customer service on your way to Put-in-Bay (photo from boat on right)

After we got back from our vacation last week, Scott and I still had a few days off before going back to work. So we decided it was the perfect opportunity to take a trip a little closer to home.

On Thursday we made the short drive over the Edison Bridge to Catawba and caught the Miller Boat Line to Put-in-Bay.

Last fall we visited the island for the Put-in-Bay Wine Festival. Although we packed a lot into that daytrip, we still had a long list of things we wanted to do. After being invited back to stay over for the night, this was the perfect opportunity to cross some things off that list.

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Giveaway: A Night of Wine, Food and Chocolate at Locavore

NMSS Ohio Buckeye Chapter's Locavore - September 27

NMSS Ohio Buckeye Chapter’s Locavore – September 27

I think it’s safe to say most (if not all) of us love eating local. There’s something about a meal prepared with fresh, local, high-quality ingredients that just tastes better.

For all of you local culinary lovers who missed last week’s Taste of the Browns giveaway, today’s giveaway features another great food event raising money for an excellent cause.

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Our Lady of the Wayside’s Grapes and Ale: BBQ, Brews and Blues

Our Lady of the Wayside's Grapes and Ale

BBQ, brews and blues at the ballpark – besides being a fun tongue-twister, it’s my favorite way to chill out in the summer.

And on June 28, this triple-play of summer fun comes to downtown Cleveland at Our Lady of the Wayside’s Grapes and Ale fundraiser.

From 7-10pm, Progressive Field will be taken over by some of the area’s best BBQ restaurants and beer and wine providers.

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Giveaway: Fabulous Food Show is Ready for the Holidays

Although Hurricane Sandy put a delay on a lot of the Halloween festivities, I think it’s safe to safe the holiday season is finally upon us. And with the arrival of HallowThanksMas, my brain turns to food.

That’s kind of a lie. My brain is usually turned to food, but more so over the next two months. As I prepare for Scott’s family coming into town for Thanksgiving and the usual myriad of holiday dinners, I’m looking everywhere I can for food and drink ideas.

Fortunately, the Fabulous Food Show is coming back to Cleveland for its 7th year with 3 days of chef demonstrations, tips and treats (Nov. 9-11)

I’ve enjoyed this show since first moving to Cleveland and last year loved exploring its local food highlights.

This year’s Fabulous Food Show couldn’t have come at a better time as Hometown Hero Michael Symon kicks things off with a demonstration in the Main Kitchen Theatre on Friday at 11 am.

In addition to Chef Symon’s appearances throughout the weekend, the show also sees returns from Celebrity Chefs Guy Fieri and Anne Burrell.

Michael Symon at last year’s Fabulous Food Show prepares a Braised Pork Shank with Shaved Brussel Sprouts Salad

New to the show this year are Sandwich King Jeff Mauro, French cuisine master Jacques Pepin, and longtime veterans of food television Sara Moulton and Mary Ann Esposito. I’m excited to see the show incorporate chefs like Pepin, Moulton and Esposito from long-running PBS cooking shows (especially Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito – I’m nuts for Italian food).

However, no matter what sort of food you enjoy there should be no shortage of things to do since a total of 8 stages throughout the I-X Center will feature 100+ live demonstrations throughout the festival. Other things I’m looking forward to:

  • Maria Isabella, author of In the Kitchen with Cleveland’s Favorite Chefs, challenges local chefs like Dante Boccuzzi, Nolan Konkowsk, Zack Bruell and Ben Bebenroth with their favorite recipes for last-minute entertaining
  • Tri-C’s Hospitality & Culinary Arts department presents the NEO Culinary Challenge
  • The Great Sugardale BAC-ON pits national finalists head-to-head with their most creative bacon-themed recipes
  • Michael Ruhlman and Laura Taxel – two of my favorite Cleveland authors present on bacon curing and the West Side Market, respectively
  • Taste of the Holidays and the Vitamix Spirit Lounge’s Holiday Batch Drink Contest feature the region’s food and drink experts sharing favorite seasonal flavors

Save time to browse more than 500 vendors at the Food Show Market Place and By Hand Fine Art & Craft Fair, sampling products, services, and unique artistic items for the holidays. And afterwards sample a selection of wine and beer in the Grand Tasting Pavilion.

At last year’s Fabulous Food Show, Robert Irvine, Joe Crea, Michael Symon, Michael Ruhlman and Steve Schimoler discuss Cleveland food inspiration

Tickets for the Fabulous Food Show start at $25 for one-day general admission if purchased online ($30.00 onsite during the show). Reserved floor seating and weekend passes are also available.

Information about all of the ticket options are available at www.fabulousfoodshow.com/tickets.aspx. And you can enter to win a pair of general admission tickets in my Fabulous Food Show giveaway.

***

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway!
Leave a separate comment on this post for each entry

1) For one entry in the giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite dish is for the holidays (and if you have a link to the recipe, feel free to share).

2) If you’re a fan of Clue Into Cleveland and the Fabulous Food Show on Facebook, leave a comment on this blog post letting me know (good for one entry). If you’re not yet a fan of either, you can become one here and here.

3) Follow @ADHicken and @FabFoodShow on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you did both (good for one entry).

4) Twitter users can also get an extra entry each day for tweeting: “I want to win tickets to the Cleveland @FabFoodShow. Enter @ADHicken’s giveaway for your chance to win: http://wp.me/pPIgG-1AY”  (Each day you do this, you must leave a new comment.)

5) Subscribe to receive Clue Into Cleveland blog posts in your inbox or blog reader like Google Reader and leave a comment letting me know you did. This can also include signing up to receive email notifications in the top-right “You’ve Got Mail” section of this page.

You have until Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 11:59PM to enter. On Wednesday, Nov. 7, I will select a winner using Random.org and will announce the winner’s name on my blog.  Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry – good luck!

***

Disclosures: I was provided 2 tickets to give away to the Fabulous Food Show and 2 for a guest and I to attend. My thoughts and the choice of events I share are my own.
Regarding the Facebook components of this giveaway: This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of the Facebook pages listed and not to Facebook.

Smartphone Rehab (or An Excuse to Get Away to NY)

It doesn’t matter where we are, Scott will always ham it up for the camera (and that’s why I love him)

Some blogkeeping: Today’s the last day of the L’Amour du Vin giveaway. You can enter here until 11:59 tonight and I’ll announce the winner tomorrow.

I have an addiction. To my cellphone.

Whether it’s checking my email, refreshing news apps to see if there are new articles to read (regardless of whether or not the topic interests me) or checking Twitter and Facebook for the nth time today, I spend almost every moment I’m not doing something (and some moments I am) with my hands on that touchscreen.

I know it’s not an unusual – or new – compulsion to have (my similarly unhealthy WebMD obsession gave me this guide to smartphone addiction).  But the first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

So, seeing how disruptive my phone habits had gotten, I turned my cell off on Friday night and headed out of town for a bit of a social media getaway.

Enjoying a glass or two at Johnson Estate Winery, New York’s oldest

Our destination was Westfield, NY outside of Chautauqua. The area had come highly recommended from Alicia @ Poise in Parma, who had visited the Chautauqua Institute last year.

Despite the area’s reputation, though, for providing a tranquil escape, I could feel the withdrawal setting in as we headed out.  I mean – between FourSquare and Instagram alone – I think I actually use my phone more often when I’m on vacation than at home.

I feared that not having my phone for two days on a scenic roadtrip was going to be too difficult of a test.

However, I had the support of Jen, Kimberly and Alicia – a few of my other social media/smartphone addicts with me, a pile of books and board games and a weekend full of plans to keep me from suffering from withdrawal.

If you’re looking to escape, the Captain Storm House B and B is picture-perfect

The 8 of us took over the Captain Storm House Bed and Breakfast, a beautiful Queen Anne revival house whose rooms were reminiscent of the house in CLUE.

Fitting, since our Friday and Saturday nights were spent playing board games like Apples to Apples, Say Anything, Marry-Date-Dump and a childhood favorite Fireball Island.

After throwing together a homemade waffle bar, we set out on Saturday morning for a tour of some of the area’s wineries. We enjoyed Noble Winery’s beautiful fall foliage against the backdrop of Lake Erie, as well as some interesting historic cellars like the one at South Shore Wine Company.

While I didn’t think some of the wines stood up against those from our trip to Geneva, I enjoyed the white and ice wines at the Johnson Estate Winery and picked up a bottle of their spice wine to savor over the winter.

Samplings at Southern Tier

Our last stop for the weekend was Southern Tier Brewing Co. It was my first visit to the brewery and after I sampled a bit of their brews, it was the highlight of the weekend’s sight-seeing.

I picked up a couple of bottles of Mokah and Choklat and took advantage of a nice buy 2, get 1 free sale on Back Burner. I love Barley Wine ales and can’t wait to break into those.

All of that beer got me in the mood for Cleveland Beer Week kicking off this Friday and running through the 27th (because you know you need more than just 7 days to fit in all of the great beer events!).  Fortunately, Cleveland Food and Brews posted a helpful guide for Cleveland Beer Week on his blog.

Now I just need to narrow my list down! No easy task though I know I’ll at least be starting things off with Fat Head’s Victory brunch and Lilly’s Big Bang Theory-inspired chocolate and beer pairing on Saturday.  Bazinga!

Ohio’s Fall foliage and a picnic welcomed us back from the weekend

As Scott and I enjoyed a roadside picnic on our drive home from New York, I was happy to realize I only thought about tweeting 2 times the entire weekend. Instead I focused on having a fun time with friends without being constantly distracted by my phone.

Now that I’m home I’ve noticed my “smartphone rehab” was much-needed and that I’m not constantly checking my phone as much as I did – in fact it’s sitting very comfortably at the bottom of my purse right now.  But while I’m not hoping for a relapse, I wouldn’t mind another excuse to getaway again. :)

Do you think you’re too dependent on your phone or social media?  If so, what do you do to try and break the habit? (I could use all the tips I can get!)

Giveaway! L’Amour du Vin Wine and Food Event

Oct. 18 at Avon Oaks Country Club

After last weekend’s trip to the Put-in-Bay Island Wine Festival, I thought I’d be all wined out. Ha! What am i talking about? I could never be tired of wine.

Good thing, since next Thursday, Oct. 18, there’s a local event whose name is literally all about embracing our love for the grape. And I have a pair of tickets to give away for it:

L’Amour du Vin is Lorain County’s premier wine and food tasting event featuring not just wines from around the world, but also some of the best restaurants from Cleveland’s western suburbs – my side of town!

From 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at Avon Oaks Country Club, guests can taste their way through 15 local eateries including AMP150, 87 West at Crocker Park, Oberlin Inn, Wood & Wine, Aladdin’s, and Kiedrowski’s Bakery (among many, many others).

A recent addition to the list of restaurants includes Tom’s Country Place; plus Wood Fire Grille and Flavor The Town Catering just announced they’ll be hosting a tasting table on the main floor in addition to L’Amour du Vin’s VIP Lounge.

Bonus! Whiskey, bourbon and vodka tastings in the VIP Lounge

Speaking of the VIP Lounge, if you need a break from wine tasting, check out that ticket option because besides exclusive dishes and specialty drinks, VIP ticketholders will be able to enjoy whiskey, bourbon and vodka tastings from Brown-Forman and  Watershed Distillery.

I’ve always found that great food and wine can only be made better when paired with good music, which will be provided throughout the evening by the Jazz Ensemble at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music.

Celebrating its 15th year, L’Amour du Vin – presented by EMH Healthcare – is one of the key fundraisers for the Arthritis Foundation of Northeastern Ohio.

In our region alone more than 1.5 million people suffer with arthritis. But because of the funds raised through events like this, the Arthritis Foundation is able to support research and educate the public about the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of this disease which affects one in five Americans and nearly 300,000 children.

The Arthritis Foundation has made it their mission to empower people to Take Control of their arthritis and lessen its impact through such efforts as the Arthritis Answers help-line and Aquatic and Walk with Ease fitness programs.  Here’s a bit more about the Arthritis Foundation’s impact across the country:

Click image for larger version

Tickets for L’Amour du Vin are $60 for general admission and $90 for VIP admission. You can purchase tickets by clicking here.

In addition to the funds raised through ticket sales, L’Amour du Vin’s silent auction and raffle will go to support the Arthritis Foundation of Northeastern Ohio.

Auction highlights include a number of spa and vacation getaways and packages for local restaurants and entertainment. I think the wine bottle raffle is what’s calling my name the most, though:

For $40, guests have a chance to win a five-night/four-day Western Caribbean cruise out of Miami, FL. However, no one goes home empty handed as each person who enters will win a bottle of white wine.

With L’Amour du Vin being only one week away, I’m excited to give away a pair of tickets to one lucky reader:

There are 4 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway

**You must leave a separate comment on this post for each entry**

1) I’m allergic to red wine (I know – worst Italian ever!) so I’m always in the market for a new white wine to try. For one entry in the giveaway, leave a comment on this post sharing your favorite white wine (type + winery or brand if you know it).

2) Facebook users: Share this link http://wp.me/pPIgG-1yF on Facebook then leave a comment letting me know you did (good for one entry).

3) Follow @ADHicken and @ArthritisFouNEO on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you did both (good for one entry).

4) Twitter users can also get an extra entry each day for tweeting the giveaway with a link to this post. Sample tweet you can use: “I want to raise a glass to @ArthritisFouNEO at #LAmourduVin. Enter @ADHicken’s giveaway for your chance to win: http://wp.me/pPIgG-1yF”  (Each day you do this, you must leave a new comment.)

You have until Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 11:59PM to enter. On Wednesday, Oct. 17, I will select a winner using Random.org and will announce the winner’s name on my blog.  Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry – good luck!

Disclosure: I was invited by the Arthritis Foundation of Northeastern Ohio to help promote L’Amour du Vin. In exchange, I will receive 2 complimentary VIP tickets for myself and 2 general admission tickets to give away. As always, though, the choice of events and opinions I share are my own.