Philly Daily News introduces Valenzano’s “Bine & Vine”

Bine & Vine, released earlier this year by South Jersey’s Valenzano Winery is a Chardonnay infused with hops. (courtesy photo)

POSTED: Thursday, March 27, 2014, 3:01 AM

TURNABOUT is fair play, but in the case of Philly Wine Week it’s also long overdue.
The inaugural grape-juice jag, which continues through Sunday, was modeled on the city’s original bacchanal, Philly Beer Week.  Never mind that the winos have stamina for only 8 days of festivities while the suds set goes 10 – that’s close enough. After all, beer has been plagiarizing wine for years.

The Everyman’s drink, aiming to claw its way to the rarefied height of the vine, has adopted wine’s expensive corked bottles, its aged and blended casks, its boorish Robert Parker ratings and lavish “pairing dinners.” There are now professionally trained beer “sommeliers” who will select properly cellared bottles and decant them into delicate sipping glasses to enhance the bouquet.

But wine stealing from beer? That’s the liquor-store equivalent of the Koch Brothers camping out with Occupy Wall Street.
In fact, wine has a lot to learn from beer.

For example:

_ Cans: If a Russian imperial stout like Oskar Blues Ten Fidy (10.5 percent alcohol) can survive aluminum, so can a Bordeaux. Perfect for picnics; no corkscrew needed.
_ Twelve-ounce bottles: That’s two glasses – just enough for one person, and no oxidation issues from half-empty bottles.
_ Drinking songs: The Blues Brothers’ “Hey Bartender” or Don Ho’s “Tiny Bubbles”?
Your choice.
_ Taps: Why force tables to choose and share a single bottle that can somehow pair with four different dishes? Restaurants with 10 or 15 different draft wines give diners options by the glass.
It’s notable that the few restaurants around Philly that offer this convenience (Tria Taproom, Johnny Brenda’s) are well-established beer joints.
_ Price: At no more than $30, a bottle of the world’s greatest beer is accessible to any beer lover. Only lottery winners will ever get a chance to savor the world’s greatest wine.
_ Experimentation: Beer makers live to break rules. Low-alcohol IPA, smoked Helles, peanut-butter porter – it’s all fair game.

Heck, some breweries even use grapes in their beer. Dogfish Head Noble Rot is a saison made with white viognier grapes and the brewery’s Belgian-style witbier; Red & White is made with pinot noir. Allagash Victoria Ale contains Chardonnay grapes crushed right at the brewery in Maine.

Winemakers? They follow rules, and when they break them – as Jason Wilson, of Drexel University’s TableMatters.com, pointed out a few weeks ago in a column about the harrumphing of the aforementioned Mr. Parker – they get slapped down by the Authori-tay.

Which is why I was astonished when a pal handed me a bottle of Bine & Vine, released earlier this year by South Jersey’s Valenzano Winery.  It’s a Chardonnay infused with hops.  As far as I can tell, it’s the first-ever commercially produced wine made with the flowers used normally to bitter beer. I checked around with reps from several wine organizations, and none had ever heard of such heresy.

Naturally, it was a beer lover – or a pair of them – who came up with the idea. Michael Jones, a Fishtown homebrewer who works at the winery, told me that it was born when he and owner Mark Valenzano were sucking down cans of Heady Topper, the renowned hop monster from The Alchemist, in Vermont.

“We’re big IPA guys, and we started talking: What if we could get this hop flavor into a wine?” Jones told me. “We researched it and didn’t find any other winery that had done it. But we figured, why not?”

Typically, brewers boil hops to extract their bitter qualities to balance the sweetness of malt. Valenzano and Jones didn’t want a bitter wine, however.  Instead they simply added condensed hop pellets to cool stainless-steel tanks of wine and let them soak for about a month. The process, which brewers call “dry-hopping,” extracts only the hops’ aroma.

The pair experimented with about 20 hop varieties, looking for one that could complement their Chardonnay.
Some were ruled out immediately. For example, Cascade, the most widespread variety in today’s craft beer, was too piney, and it dominated the citrus notes of the wine, Jones said.

Their choice came down to two varieties: New Zealand’s trendy Nelson Sauvin, which mimics the aroma and flavor of sauvignon blanc; and U.S.-grown Citra, known for its tropical-fruit character. They ultimately went with the latter.
The finished product, Jones said, “is definitely not a novelty that we produced for the sake of doing something weird. It’s a great wine and it can really stand up to be paired with a lot of foods.”

The hops infusion gives the wine an intense citrus, almost floral character. Refreshing and full of flavor, Bine & Vine would fit in well at a weekend barbecue as a substitute for a sparkling Czech-style pilsner.

Look for it only in New Jersey liquor shops, at $15 a bottle, and don’t cellar it – the aroma disappears with time.
The thing is, I predict that beer lovers will grab a glass before wine drinkers – ever weighed down by their tedious orthodoxy – take the dare.

Read more at Philly.com


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Philly Daily News introduces ‘Bine & Vine’


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Thursday Night Wine Dinners

Starting March 13th we will be hosting Thursday Night Wine Dinners with food service by Vitarelli’s Catering.  Table and bar service from our dinner menu will be available from 5pm-9pm in the tasting room.  Reservations can be made by calling 609-268-6731 between 11am-5pm.

Download menu .pdf file here.


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Educational Wine Tour For Two

Lean what goes into producing your favorite bottle of wine.  This education wine experience takes you on an in-depth guided tour of our production room, barrel aging, tank room and bottling line.  Learn the steps of making a great wine from the fall/harvest crush, through the fermentation processes, pressing, racking, aging, and finally to the bottling line.  During the summer months a vineyard tour may be included.

Specifics of the wine tour change seasonally depending upon what is going on at the winery that time of year.

Reservations Include:

  • Private Wine Tasting
  • Winery Tour
  • Cheese/Fruit Platter
  • Gift Bag with Souvenir Wine glasses and Complimentary 375ml bottle of Valenzano Wine (selection changes seasonally)

Reservations For Two: $70.00   $40.00 (Promotional Discount Automatically Applied)
Reservations for One:  $40.00   $25.00  (Promotional Discount Automatically Applied)

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Group Wine Tastings

Reservations are required for any group of 8 guests or more.

$10.00 per person (Private Wine Tasting)
$15.00 per person (Private Wine Tasting with light appetizers)
$20.00 per person (Private Wine Tasting with light appetizers and tour of winery production facility)

Availability is dependent upon other events scheduled for that day, number of participants and time restraints of group.  Limo and Bus tours are offered at 11:00am only (spring, summer & fall)

 Please call 609-268-6731 between 11:00am – 5:00pm  to check for availability.

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Tasting Room Menu

Wine Tasting Menu (Served weekends from 11-4pm)

Cheese & Fruit Platter:  $13
An array of fresh cheeses, seasonal fruit & crackers.  Perfect accompaniment for your favorite glass of wine (serves 2)

Italian Meat & Cheese Board:  $21
Produced in Mount Carmel, PA (original home to the Valenzano Family) handmade sliced soppressata is an Italian/American tradition.  Served with fresh mozzarella, sharp provolone, imported olives, grapes and roasted red peppers (serves 2)

Truffled Popcorn:  $6
White popcorn seasoned with white truffle oil & truffle salt.

Fresh Baked Baguette:  $5
Served warm with herbed olive oil dipping sauce

Arancini (Risotto Bites)  $6
Made with creamy Asiago cheese, breaded and served with marinara 

Soft Pretzels  $5
Toasted golden and served with beer cheese sauce

Sweets Flight  $9
Three sweets treats; slice of creamy cheesecake, homemade cannoli and rich chocolate truffle,  paired with a flight of 3 dessert wines.

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Dance Night – “Swing Into Spring”

‘Swing into Spring’ with DJ & Dance Instructor Curt Foy from 7pm-9pm for our monthly dance night (held the 4th Thursday of every month). Cover charge of $10.00 includes a 45 minute dance class followed by an hour long ‘open dance’ to practice your new moves with your instructor.  Fee includes dance instructions, wine tasting and souvenir wine glass. Bar menu available.


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All in the Famiglia – a Mafia Murder Mystery

“Join the members of the Valenzano Wine cartel  along with the cast of the New Jersey Renaissance Faire, as they dodge the prohibition and each other on the well traveled alcohol trade route from the Atlantic City to NYC.  Before the night is over, it could be murder!



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Yoga in the Vineyard

Start your morning with a flowing yoga practice at the Vineyards followed by a wine tasting.

Join us for an invigorating hour long, all-levels yoga class where we will breathe, move, and energize the body preparing the senses for a delightful, informative hour of wine tasting.

Ticket includes hour long yoga instruction in vineyard (will be held in ballroom if faced with inclement weather) followed by wine tasting in the tasting room. Wine will be available for purchase by the glass and/or bottle in the tasting room.

Please bring water, comfortable clothing for yoga (a change of clothes for the wine tasting portion, if you prefer), and a yoga mat.

This is a rain or shine event with no minimum class count.


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Join us Saturday, January 25th at 7:00pm for our first LOL Comedy event of 2014.  Valenzano Winery & MotherLeeds Entertainment Inc. have come together again to produce a comedic lineup that will have you rolling on the floor, LOL’ing like never before…

This year’s lineup includes:
Julia Scotti​​ the Crazy Old Lady of Comedy
Bob DiBuono – www.bobdibuono.com
Featuring: Don Gavin – The Godfather of Boston Comedy



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