Seasons of the Vine: March/April 2013


Lingo Vino
Tips for speaking the language of wine

Do wine terms seem foreign to you? Rochester now offers several tasty ways to brush up on your wine lingo.

Visit a tasting room. Known as “experience tasting,” local winery tasting rooms are a great place to figure out tannins, finish and body as you sip on samples.

Take a class. Winemaker Justin Osbourne of Four Daughters Vinyard & Winery in Spring Valley, often conducts seminars to explore wine terminology.

Barbara Pitcher, local sommelier (i.e., a trained wine professional), also offers classes through her new venture “Pairing to Perfection,” an ongoing series of fourweek classes held at SÖntés restaurant. Barbara uses a flight (i.e., selection of small samples) of three whites and three reds to teach participants about wine. Her goal is to teach the steps required to effectively taste wine so discerningly that you could blind taste a wine and identify the varietal.

To facilitate discussion, classes are limited to 16. Sessions include culinary tidbits to demonstrate “how profoundly food really impacts wine,” says Barbara who recognizes that wine and food palates are personalized and encourages participants to “give yourself credit that yours is valid.” For more information, contact Barbara at 952-358-1285 or

Common wine terminology:

Balanced – indicates that a wine’s body, acids and tannins all are in the proper proportions.

Body – the weight on the palate due to the level of alcohol, residual sugar and glycerol.

Chewy – refers to texture on the palate which is due to high tannins and glycerol.

Finish – the flavors left after swallowing or spitting a wine and the duration of these flavors.

Round – indicates full body and soft tannins.

Structure – a reference to the backbone of acid and/or tannins that support a wine’s “body”; necessary for aging.


March 8, Beer Tasting, DoubleTree Hotel, 4:30–7:30 p.m., presented by Leadership Greater Rochester Class of 2013 to raise funds for the Channel One kitchen. Tickets: $20 per person in advance, contact Dusty at 280-7240.

March 13, Whisky Tasting, Plummer House, 6–9 p.m., a fundraiser for the Friends of the Library to benefit the Rochester Public Library. Enjoy a tasting of Beam Global whiskies. Tickets: $40 per person/$70 per couple (early bird registration). Register at call 328-2343.

March 22, Early Riser’s 39th “Night Out for a Cause”, Rochester International Event Center, 7:30–9 p.m. Enjoy wine, beer and spirits until 9 p.m. Musical entertainment will follow (9–11 p.m.). This event supports Hearts of Hope, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Rochester Area Family Y, Crisis Nursery, Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch and Boys and Girls Club. Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Call 288-6575 for more information.

April 26, Paws and Claws 6th Annual Wine Tasting, Rochester Athletic Club, 6–9 p.m. Tickets: $25 in advance at Paws and Claw’s main office, 602 7th St NW or $30 at the door.

April 26, PossAbilities Wine & Roses, Somerby Golf Community, 5:30 p.m.
This benefit offers a silent and live auction and four-course, gourmet meal—wines paired with each course—to benefit children and adults with disabilities. Tickets: $90 per person. For more, visit or call 281-6116.


RochesterWomen magazine and Rochester Trolley and Tour Company will begin area winery trips this spring.

Starting Sunday, March 24, with a visit to Rochester-area wineries: Four Daughters Vineyard & Winery in Spring Valley where you can enjoy wine tasting and culinary creations, Salem Glen Vineyard and Winery and Post Town Winery tasting room.

Sunday, April 21, Food Editor Margo Stich will guide a tour through several scenic Mississippi River area wineries: Danzinger Vineyards & Winery, Alma, Wisc., Villa Bellezza Winery & Vineyard, Pepin, Wisc., and Whitewater Wines, Plainview.

Sunday, May 19, Margo leads a tour to wineries in the bluff country of the Mississippi River Valley: Seven Hawks Vineyards tasting room, Fountain, Wisc., River View Vineyard & Winery, north of La Crescent, Minn., and Garvin Heights Vineyards overlooking Winona.

Sunday, June 16, treat Dad to a special wine and art tour when we visit Four Daughters Vineyard & Winery in Spring Valley then go on to Lanesboro for Art in the Park.

For more details and to make reservations, visit