Food & Drink

Winemaker Weekend

Food & Drink, Travel July 25th, 2014 — by:

wine weekendIf you’ve ever dreamed of being a winemaker, then this is your chance… The 2nd Annual Winemaker Weekend at the lovely VGS Chateau Potelle is just around the corner and there are still a few spaces left. Longtime friend of Taigan, Jean-Noel Fourmeaux will help you blend the best wine for your taste and then they will record  your “assemblage” and bottle 3 cases of your personal 2013 red wine, etched with your name, in three different bottle formats. Once glance at the itinerary has us ready to sign on the dotted line!

Program Details: 

Friday, September 19
6:00 – 9:00 PM: Welcome Reception in our Tasting House & Garden. We’ll start with our signature tasting – our wines paired with food bites by Michelin starred La Toque Restaurant – and then relax together over heavy hors d’oeuvres served with Library wines.

Saturday, September 20
9:30 AM – 1 PM: Blending Experience. First, I will instruct you about the characteristics and flavor profiles of each varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Through a blending demonstration, you will see how each varietal affects the other ones, how they each can be part of a blend and in what manner they can contribute to the blend you want to create. Through the artistry of blending, I will show you where the science stops and the art begins! Then I will humbly become your assistant winemaker. With pipettes, graduated tubes, bottles and glasses in hand, you will discover what best suits your own palate and craft your own wine! How fun is that?

1:30 – 2:30 PM: Lunch at C Casa. Just a short walk over to the Oxbow Market to enjoy tacos like you’ve never had. Open faced tacos that are purely exceptional!

3 – 5:30 PM: Cooking Class. La Toque has long been renowned for its wine and food creations. Chef Ken Frank works with his sommelier team to carefully pair each dish with a particular wine. He will demonstrate some of his favorite recipes and highlight what it takes to make food “wine friendly.”

7:00 PM: Apéritif and Champagne on the private patio of La Toque followed by the dinner Chef Ken Frank designed to accompany the VGS wines.

Sunday, September 21
9:30 AM – Noon: Brunch in the Vineyard. Your winemaking weekend will conclude with a leisurely brunch on Cloud Nine. Enjoy the serenity and beauty of our Mt. Veeder Mountain Vineyard.

$5,500/couple for this fantastic experience and 3 cases of your personal 2013 red wine, etched with your name, in three different bottle formats (750 ml X 24 bottles, 1.5L X 4 bottles, and 3L X 1 bottle). Wine will be bottled in June 2015. Accommodations and transportation not included. Payment is transferable but not refundable.

To purchase the Winemaker Weekend or to sample some of VGS Chateau Potelle’s products visit

The Perfect Cheese Board

Food & Drink July 22nd, 2014 — by:


Making the perfect cheese board is an art. Here are a few tips on how to create a beautiful and tasty spread!

1. Start with a beautiful “canvas”. We recommend the Brooklyn Slate products (pictured above) for a rustic look, or this marble version from And George for a more refined take.

Marble Cutting Board

2. Add cheese. Select a variety of cheeses. Try different textures, regions, etc. Some of our favorite go-to cheeses are listed below.

Thomasville Tomme

Cabot Clothbound Cheddar

Southern Belle Goat Cheese

Asher Blue

Lil Moo

Cave Aged Gruyere

 3. Accessorize Accordingly.

Seven Pepper Jelly

Roasted and Salted Pecans

Charcuterie Trio

Artisan Honey


4. Dig in! 

Gibralter Cheese Set

Tortoise Cheese Knives



A Summer Smash

Food & Drink June 30th, 2014 — by:

It’s summertime and the weather is high, which of course means it’s time to whip up a batch of  refreshing cocktails. We recommend a Ginger-Blackberry Smash from Maureen Christian-Petrosky’s new book The Cocktail Club. Serve them up to order, or in a chic beverage dispenser alongside Tara Guerard’s lovely hemstitch napkins. Either way, people are sure to appreciate a little heat relief!

Ginger-Blackberry Smash

Maureen Christian-Petrosky

1 cup sugar
1 four-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 lime wedge
1/4 cup silver tequila
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
3 fresh blackberries
1 thin slice crystallized ginger

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and fresh ginger with 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Let the ginger steep over low heat for about 20 minutes, or longer if you want your cocktail spicier. Strain the syrup into a container and let cool completely.

On a shallow plate, combine the salt and ground ginger. Use the lime wedge to moisten the rim of a glass and dip it lightly into the mixture. In a shaker filled with ice, add the tequila, 1 ounce of the ginger-flavored simple syrup, and the lime juice; shake until chilled. Lightly muddle the blackberries in the bottom of a glass, then add ice. Strain the shaker into the glass and garnish with a sliver of crystallized ginger.


Just add jam…

Food & Drink, Food & Drink June 16th, 2014 — by:

We’ve turned to the experts at Sallie’s Greatest Jams for a couple easy, refreshing ideas for summertime bites and drinks. Try one of these simple and delicious recipes for a night with friends.

Cocktail time.
Start off with a Peach + Mint Sweet Tea Martini

1 ½ oz. Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka
1 ½ oz. Orange juice

1 oz. sparkling water
1 heaping tsp. Sallie’s Greatest Peach + Mint Jam
Thin peach slice
Fresh mint leaf

Put it all in a shaker with ice. Shake to blend then strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a peach slice and fresh mint leaf.

Pair up your cocktail with a starter.
Baked Brie with Blackberry Spice + Sage

17 oz. round of Brie cheese

3 tablespoons of Sallie’s Greatest Blackberry Spice + Sage Jam
Fresh or Frozen blackberries

Slice the top rind off cheese leaving the side round in tack. Place Brie in the center of a Brie baker or pie plate. Put the Blackberry Spice + Sage Jam in the center of the brie. Top with blackberries. Bake at 400 degrees until cheese melts (about 10-15 mins). Serve with crackers and sliced apples.

Main Dish.
Scallop & Roasted Pepper Salad with Peach Pepper + Ginger Dressing

1 lb. scallops
2 large green or red peppers (or buy roasted peppers and skip this preparation)
2 tomatoes cut into wedges
1 cucumber sliced
1 small sweet red onion chopped (can use white sweet onion or 2 green onions)
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
Mixed salad greens or arugula
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup Sallie’s Greatest Peach Pepper + Ginger Jam
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat broiler. Place washed peppers on rack in broiler pan. Broil about 15 minutes close to heat until charred. Put peppers in plastic wrap or a brown bag and let stand 10 to 15 minutes until skin wrinkles and can be pulled away. Remove loose skin. Cut peppers in half and remove seeds, then cut into I inch pieces. Arrange salad greens on plates (or in a bowl) top with peppers, onion, tomatoes, cucumbers and goat cheese. Pan sauté 1lb scallops or shrimp in 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon butter. After browning on both sides, put 1 teaspoon of Peach, Pepper + Ginger in pan with 2 tablespoons water. Toss to glaze. Mix olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and Peach, Pepper + Ginger jam together. Toss salad with dressing and top with scallops or shrimp. Serves 6.

Sweet Finish.
Blueberry Lemon + Thyme Lemon Squares
2 cups plain flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
¼ cup plain flour
½ tsp. baking powder
Sallie’s Greatest Blueberry Lemon + Thyme Jam
Sift together flour and powdered sugar. Cut in margarine to form crumbly mixture. Press in a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Beat eggs: add sugar and lemon juice: blend well. Sift flour and baking powder and mix well with egg mixture. Pour over crust. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes or until top is light brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into bars and top each with a teaspoon of Blueberry Lemon + Thyme Jam.
Note: You can cut the bars into triangles and top with smaller amount of jam for a beautiful tray to serve at a cocktail party.

SUMMER is here! Whether preparing for your upcoming summer vacation or the new found heat or simply a cocktail change, these inspiring products are guaranteed to help you enjoy this Summer even more! Here are our current top 10 best sellers.

1. Pre-Shave Oil from Aidan Gill (just in time for Father’s Day!)

2. Turkish Bath Towels from Turkish-T (since you’re headed to the beach and the lake right now)

3. Bloody Mary Bender from Charleston Mix Bloody Mary (for day drinking on weekends)

4. Cashmere Topper from Letarte Swimwear (for traveling in cold airports)

5. Two-Bits Cuff Links from Bird Dog Bay

6. Marway Aqua Tunic from Amaya Textiles (great with white jeans or as a cover up!)

7. Paola Activewear Pants from Anatomie from Europe (also great for traveling)

8. Seven Layer Caramel Cake from Caroline’s Cakes

9. Classic Gelato Sampler from Honeysuckle Gelato

10. Sorbet Short Bathrobe from Turkish-T

AND… Here are some other great finds for summer that we are loving right now!

for entertaining:

These beautiful glass tumblers are sure to make any summer dinner party more colorful.

Simple white champagne bucket that works great for icing down wine or soft drinks as well. Great addtiion to your outdoor gatherings.

for women:

This sporty tunic is a great choice for relaxing poolside with the kids or a paddle-board or beach adventure. No need for added protection when wearing this UPF 50 (like SPF but for clothes) cover-up.

This comfortable and stylish maxi dress is a wonderful summer piece to throw on for any occasion. From a backyard grill out to symphony in the park or out to dinner, you can’t go wrong in this look!

A fun, colorful pair of short shorts that can go from day to night during summer.


These Grape Seed Age Protecting Shea Butter Soaps for the body are a great indulgence after a day at the beach. The Green Soap is exfoliating with Rosemary, Thyme, and Grape Seed for a healthy glow and the White Soap contains Soy Milk, Oats and Grape Seed Extract to soothe and protect skin while gently exfoliating. Try them out!

Hairspray with a bonus?! Moroccan Oil Intense Gold Glimmer Shine Spray is the original hairspray from Moroccan Oil. It not only will provide your hair with long-lasting shine but also protects it from the harmful effects of UV light and free radicals.

for men:

This Sport Loafer is a breathable boat loafer with a flexible rubber outsole. Inspired by the classic boat shoe, the Sport Loafer is a smart yet casual loafer and is perfect for boating.

This is a one-of-a-kind, handmade, solid oak skateboard will get you back in touch with your inner child and your kids will love it too.

yummy treats:

Drizzle this specialty honey to add a bit of sweetness to baked brie, cheese and crackers or some sliced apple with fresh basil.

It’s not summer without something cold to grab from the freezer. After a hot day, cool off with these meyer lemon ice cream sandwiches. YUM YUM!