With the first nip in the air and the crunch of leaves underfoot, who doesn’t start craving the flavors of fall? Now is the time to cover that backyard grill and preheat the oven.
Nothing compares to the aromas of autumnal cooking. The scent of baking apple, maple, ginger, cranberry and pumpkin will soon be wafting through homes across the country. There’s no better way to enhance their flavors than by pairing them with the perfect wines.
Pumpkin isn’t reserved exclusively for pie. Savory recipes for tempting entrees like crock-pot pumpkin chili, pumpkin lasagna and pumpkin risotto abound on the internet. These hearty dishes call for wines that have their own notes of baking spice. The 2016 Pebble Viognier, California, is a perfect example. Since it is heavier than white wine, it can hold its own when it’s served with filling main courses and sides. Its sweet flavor notes bring out the fall spices in foods. You may also enjoy it with desserts like pear compote or gingerbread.
When the first frost arrives, nothing beats a peppery, robust beef chili. It gets even better with a glass of 2015 Calamity Sue Riesling from Lake County, California. This light white wine is highly acidic and has just a smidgen of residual sugar. The deep flavors of the chili will pop on your palate. If you lean toward reds, try your chili with a Pinot Noir. The 2016 Convict’s Reward from southeastern Australia has mild tannins and light red fruits, so you can enjoy your chili’s zesty flavor without breaking into a sweat.
This wine is also delicious with pork tenderloin or chops. Its spice and herb notes accentuate popular pork accompaniments like apple, rosemary and cloves. There’s no need to switch Convict’s Reward out for a dessert wine. Its traces of berry pair very well with sweets like chocolate.
Some fall nights are made for stargazing. Bundle up, grab a bottle of Marula, slice some smoked gouda and gather round the hibachi. This rustic variety is thoroughly enjoyed outdoors, and the 2015 Marula Pinotage from South Africa is one of the best. Try it with smoked bacon or cured charcuterie meats. Its natural smoke and the smell of burning firewood will perfectly round out the crisp autumn evening.
Another good choice for nippy weather is the 2016 State Room Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot. This selection from Western Cape, South Africa, is an earthy, hearty red with pleasing notes of cassis and black fruits. It’s excellent sipped on its own or paired with soul foods like beef stew or mac-and-cheese. The medium-to-full body and fruity flavor easily make the transition between foods that stick to your ribs and desserts.
Not only do main dishes benefit from the right wine; even rich desserts like carrot cake, apple pie ala mode and warm pomegranate crisp are taken to a whole new level. The key is to choose wines that complement rather than compete. Semi-sweet white wines, like the 2016 Beeline Muscat Canelli, have just enough residual sugar.
Whether you’re into reds or whites, you can find dozens of other fall pairings on our Pinterest board.
Traveling Vineyard: Mixing Business With Pleasure
Since 2001, Traveling Vineyard has sold award-winning wines and accessories to the public. At the same time, it has enriched hundreds of thousands of consultants who work from home. Many are part-timers, but others have made hosting parties and selling wines a glamorous and lucrative career.
Traveling Vineyard gets consultants started with enough wine for two events and a kit filled with all the accessories. The Tasting Room is a comprehensive online training program that equips even newcomers who have no previous experience as sommeliers. Right away, they’re assigned a local mentor to shadow until they’re confident hosting on their own.
Consultants at all levels are well-supported. Traveling Vineyard has a knowledgeable team of seasoned experts to answer questions and help hosts connect with one another.
Regional events provide a forum for learning, discussing common challenges, exchanging ideas and socializing. The annual Harvest conference combines extended training with sheer fun. In addition to wine tastings and entrepreneurship sessions, the Harvest features great food, music, dancing and costume contests.
Even when wine guides become old pros themselves and start to build their own teams, they always have a leader to turn to for sales tips and encouragement.
The starter Traveling Vineyard Success Kit includes wine, glassware, a carrying case, marketing materials, order forms and other necessities. It is the only investment required for becoming a consultant, and it’s quite affordable. The first two tastings usually generate wine orders that offset the cost of restocking the inventory. Profits are based on a sliding scale with hosts earning up to 35 percent of their individual sales. They stock only one tasting’s worth of bottles at a time, so the product doesn’t take up space in their homes.
One of the best benefits of the Traveling Vineyard business model is its flexibility. Hosts work and hold tasting events whenever they choose. There are no set minimums for how much wine they have to sell. That’s a nice advantage over many direct sales programs. The absence of quotas makes for a noncompetitive culture that encourages personal goal-setting. Traveling Vineyard might be one host’s main source of income while another takes advantage of it for grocery money.
This is an excellent way to earn great money, be your own boss and explore fine wines all at the same time.
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