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Halloween Wine? 7 Deadly Zin Zinfandel From California

Meet 7 Deadly Zins, an old vine Zinfandel from California’s Lodi Valley. The 7 Deadly brand released its first vine in 2002. The company says that the brand was born from the winemaker’s Catholic school upbringing and lust for making hedonistically seductive* wine.

“Sinful indeed,” they say, “our 2018 Old Vine Zinfandel is full-bodied and seductive. Heaps of jammy berry fruit are followed by aromas of leather, oak, and spice notes. On the palate, the wine is round and layered showing flavors of dark fruits, currants and toffee through a lingering spice-touched finish.”

Sounds delicious, and a perfect pairing for a feast (gluttony). Are there other special occasions for a sinful wine?

  • Pride. Pleased about a windfall, promotion, or other achievement?
  • Greed. If you covet something you can’t afford (or otherwise can’t possess), pop the cork.
  • Lust. Invite the object of your desire to share a bottle.
  • Envy. Envious of a friend who bought the 2003 Turley Zinfandel Dusi Vineyard (a magnum is $275)? Center yourself with a 7 Deadly Zin for $13.97.
  • Gluttony. Previously mentioned, with this added warning: gluttony includes drunkenness.
  • Wrath. Two glasses of 7 Deadly Zin will diminish the wrath for a while.
  • Sloth. Call someone to open the bottle and bring it to you, along with a glass and some fine cheese.
    Can a sinful Zin be part of your Halloween celebration?

    7 Deadly wines are made with grapes grown in the Lodi AVA‡ of California, where Zinfandel reigns supreme.

    7 Deadly also makes 7 Deadly Red and 7 Deadly Cab. All three bold reds are vinified to have a big mouthfeel, good structure and a long finish.

    The wines are also Lodi Rules Certified Sustainable.

    Buy it online here.
    Here’s more about the wine.

    7 Deadly also makes Cabernet Sauvignon and a red grape blend.

  • Zinfandel Overview, Red Zin Vs. White Zin
  • The History Of Zinfandel

    “Old vine” typically refers to a wine made from vines that are 30 to 40 years old, or older; some experts set the minimum at 50 years. Hundreds of years of experience have shown that older vines, when properly maintained, yield a more complex wine. With age brings greater wisdom; or in the case of wine, better flavor.

    Grape vines can grow for more than 120 years. After about 20 years, the vines start to yield fewer grapes, which provide more concentrated, intense wines.

    There is no legal or generally agreed definition for old vines. The designation can apply to an entire estate, or to only a certain parcel, which was planted before the others.

    Diseases such as “dead arm” can also afflict old vines, in some cases further concentrating the juice†.

    In the U.S., the most common old vine wine is Zinfandel. In California, vines up to 125 years old are still bearing small amounts of prized Zinfandel fruit. But that’s nothing!

  • From The 1600s. The oldest known grape-producing vine is a Žametovka vine, a red wine grape growing in Maribor, Slovenia. It is known to have been alive in the 17th century. The yield is teeny: about 35 to 55 kg of grapes each year. The grapes are made into wine which is sold in about 100 miniature bottles.
  • From The 1700s. The oldest vine with a fully authenticated minimum age, and thought to be the largest grape vine in the world, is known as The Great Vine at Hampton Court Palace in England (photo #5). It was transplanted to its current site in 1768. The variety is Schiava Grossa (also called Black Hamburg, or Trollinger, a red grape), originally cultivated in the wine regions of the South Tyrol region of northeast Italy. Contrary to the normal expectation for old vines, it produced its largest crop ever in the autumn of 2001: 383 kilograms (845 pounds).
  • From The 1800s. In the South Tyrol, a white wine grape vine, Versoaln, still thrives at Castel Katzenzungen. The vine is more than 350 years old. It bears grapes that are blended with the fruit of younger vines to produce approximately 500 bottles a year.

    [1] You can drink this fruity Zinfandel anytime, not just during the contemplation of the seven deadly sins (photos #1 and #2 © 7 Deadly Wines).

    [2] Zinfully blood-red for Halloween (photo © Little Wine Market).

    [3] An old Zinfandel vine. As vines age, they become thicker and more gnarly (photo © Ever Wonder Wine).

    [4] An old Pinot Noir vine at Hanzell Vineyards in Sonoma, California (photo courtesy Prince Of Pinot).

    [5] The world’s largest grapevine, The Great Vine At Hampton Court in England. Yes, this whole leafy green canopy over the trellis is one old, enormous grapevine (photo © SC Wanderlust | Flickr).


    *That’s a marketing description, not a wine industry term.

    †Dead Arm is a vine disease caused by the fungus Eutypa lata. It randomly affects vineyards all over the world. Often the affected branches are pruned. Left on the vine, they slowly become dead wood. The juice is thus concentrated in the grapes of the remaining branches. Australia’s Dead Arm Shiraz won Wine Of The Year at the 2020 London Wine Competition.

    ‡The Lodi AVA is an American Viticultural Area located in the Central Valley of California, at the northern edge of the San Joaquin Valley, east of San Francisco Bay. The AVA gained approval as a designated wine-growing area in 1986.


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    Pumpkin Waffles Recipe For Fall, Halloween & Thanksgiving

    [1] Mmmm, pumpkin waffles (photo and recipe © Colavita).

    [2] Mashed bananas are mixed with the pumpkin in the waffles. You can also slice bananas as a garnish (photo © Jonathan Cooper | Unsplash).

    [3] Pumpkin is a great source of the powerful antioxidant, beta-carotene (photo © Libby’s).

    [4] The mineral and nutrient contents of rolled oats (in photo) match those of steel-cut oats. Here’s more about it (photo © Kelly Cline | iStock Photo).


    You don’t have to wait until Halloween to make these scrumptious pumpkin waffles. They’re delicious all through the fall and winter. This recipe from Colavita invites you to customize garnishes, from pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries to chocolate chips and crème fraîche. The recipe is also a better-for-you option, with whole wheat flour and rolled oats and lots of nutrition from the pumpkin, especially beta-carotene*.

    There are more seasonal waffle recipes below.

    > The 15 Different Types Of Waffles

    > How To Make The Best Waffles

    > The History Of Waffles

    > The History Of The Waffle Iron

  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 can pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1¼ cups milk (dairy or nut milk will work)
  • ⅓ cup Colavita Olive Oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoonsalt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (ideally freshly)
  • Garnish: banana slices, butter, chocolate chips, crème fraîche, dried cranberries, maple syrup, pumpkin seeds

    1. COMBINE all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (the flours, oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg). Mix to combine all the ingredients.

    2. COMBINE all the wet ingredients in a separate large bowl, and mix well.

    3. POUR the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

    4. PREHEAT the waffle iron. When it’s ready, grease it lightly with a little olive oil (pour about a tablespoon of oil into a paper towel and rub it onto the waffle iron).

    5. POUR ½ cup of the batter into the waffle iron and close the lid. Cook until the light on the waffle maker turns green (or indicates that it’s ready).
    6. REMOVE the waffle from the iron and repeat with the remaining batter. Garnish as desired and serve.

  • Gingerbread Waffles
  • Mashed Potato Waffles With Scallions & Sour Cream
  • Pumpkin Dessert Waffles
  • Savory Mashed Potato Waffles
  • Savory Waffle Recipe Ideas
  • Spiced Stout Waffles
  • Thanksgiving Sausage Stuffing Is Turned Into Waffles
  • Waffle Sandwich Cones
  • ________________

    *The bright orange color of pumpkins and other squash is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with beta-carotene, an important antioxidant. Beta-carotene is one of the plant carotenoids that is converted to vitamin A in the body.

    During the conversion to vitamin A, beta-carotene performs many important functions in overall health. Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, and offers protection against heart disease and other diseases, including some degenerative aspects of aging [source].



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    Spooktacular Halloween Wine Gifts From Windsor Vineyards

    Is there a special wine for Halloween? Absolutely: It’s the wine with the best costume. While our friend Ruth sews little ghost bottle covers, the vintners at Sonoma County’s Windsor Vineyards have dressed the bottle for you, with a choice of 18 special Halloween labels.

    It’s easy to get spooky with these Halloween “spirits”—the wine(s) of your choice with your selected wine label(s). Three examples (see them close up in photo #7, below:

  • Here for the Boos: Get the party started with this cute ghost-inspired label that features a Spotify QR code that links to a playlist with all of Halloween’s best hits.
  • Let’s Get Lit: Don’t forget the wine, witches! Host a pumpkin carving party and use the QR code on the label to find over 50+ designs to turn your gourd into a glowing masterpiece.
  • Horror Movie ‘Take a Sip When’ Game: Pop the cork and play the ‘Take a Sip When’ horror movie game.
  • And 15 more label choices.

    Choose from a selection of:

  • White Wines: Chardonnay, Fusion White Wine Blend, Moscato, Sauvignon Blanc, Sparkling Wine
  • Red Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Fusion Red Blend Merlot, Pinot Noir
    Whether you bring the bottle(s) to a party host, give them as gifts at your own party, or sit with your partner and play the Horror Movie Game…you’ll have a memorable Halloween.

    Head to Windsor Vineyards’ Halloween label page, pick your label, and get started!

    There are also designs for Windsor Vineyards have made special occasions more memorable with their “vino-centric personalization,” the ability of customers to select personalized wine labels for any occasion.

    What began as the simple idea of writing a person’s name on bottles has grown into a wide range of custom options, including hand-etching.

    You can choose from a broad selection of award-winning wines paired with themed templates. There are 18 label choices for Halloween alone!

    And the artist in you can design your own label from scratch, using the design tool on the website.

    Good wine, fun label: What else do you need (except, maybe, some good food to go with the wine).


    [1] Choose your label and your wine: red, white and sparkling. You can see the labels up-close below (all photos © Windsor Vineyards).

    [2] Trick or treat if you dare…or just uncork the bottle and have a seat.

    [3] Is it real witches’ brew, or a bottle of California wine?

    [4] Halloween isn’t over on October 31st. Día de los Muertos is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd.


    [5] A close-up of the labels in photo #1.

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    Schofferhofer Beer: Hefeweizen & The Types Of Wheat Beer

    Following on the heels of eating good food, the second-best part of our job is the thrill of discovery. Experiencing new categories or sub-categories of food and drink makes it a good day.

    Take wheat beer, for example. It’s a lighter style on the opposite spectrum of what we personally prefer (IPA, Porter, Stout).

    But Schöfferhofer showed us a different take on the German tradition of premium wheat beer, with their Hefeweizen mix.

    Hefeweizen is one of the types of wheat beer (see the rest below).

    Schöfferhofer, a German brewer, was the first brewery to blend 50% Hefeweizen beer with 50% grapefruit juice, creating a refreshing taste experience that to us, is so much more alluring than the Belgian lambics we’ve tried.

    (Although a Schaarbeekse krieken, a cherry kriek from Belgium, is really nice with a chocolate dessert.)

    Schöfferhofer Grapefruit took off, engendering Passionfruit and Pomegranate versions. All are 50% fruit juice and 100% delicious.

    These 50% fruit juice beers are what you’d imagine a fruity, soft-drink version of beer to be. There’s lots of fruit flavor and some sparkle, with a depth of hefeweizen flavor.

    The three fruit flavors—Grapefruit, Passionfruit, and Pomegranate—are enjoyable year-round. Right now, the colors of the beers resemble the colors of the turning fall leaves.

    Try them with just about any food where you’d like to pair a fruity, slightly sweet beverage.

  • Food: We first tried the beers with Mexican food. The fruitiness complemented the chile flavors. Great with a hot dog, too.
  • Dessert: The beers are a natural with baked goods, fruit desserts, and sorbet.
  • Cocktails: There are quite a few beer cocktail recipes on the website. The ones we tried were so enjoyable, we’re thinking about a “beertail” get-together.
    Ready to quaff?

    Here’s a store locator. You can also buy the beers online.

    Wheat beers are a challenge to make. Barley malt is easier to brew with, while wheat beers are exceptionally hard to brew.

    That’s because the proteins and starches in the wheat want to bind, making it trickier to extract the sugars.

    These same proteins make wheat exceptional for baking. Think stretchy pizza dough says Allagash Brewing Company, a craft brewer of fine American wheat beers (photo #5).

    The different styles of wheat beer have one thing in common: wheat comprises a substantial portion of the grain used in brewing. (Most European and American beers are brewed primarily with malted barley.)

    The wheat typically makes the beer lighter in color, so they are called “white beer.” They’re not white, of course, but range from straw to light gold (photos #4 and #5).

    While wheat beers may seem similar, there’s a bit of difference between them.

  • American Wheat Beer: Whether clear or cloudy, American wheat beers have a more noticeable hop character than a witbier or hefeweizen.
  • Bière blanche: The French-language name for wheat beer (blanche means white).
  • Hefeweissbier or Hefeweizen: Hefe is the German word for yeast, indicating that the beer is bottle-conditioned (unfiltered), and might have sediment.
  • Kristallweissbier or Kristallweizen: Kristall is the German word for crystal. It indicates a Weissbier that is filtered, removing the sediment.
  • Dunkles Weissbier or Dunkelweizen: A dark version of a wheat beer. Dunkel is the German word for dark.
  • Hefeweizen. Hefeweizen is a type of German white beer, more than 50% wheat-based. Hefeweizen means “yeast wheat” in German. The aromas and flavors include banana and clove, and sometimes vanilla, which are created by the Bavarian yeast strains used to ferment them. Weiss beers can be clear or cloudy, with colors from gold to amber to mahogany.
  • Weissbier. The term for white beer in Bavaria and Austria.
  • Weizenbier, or Weizen: The term for wheat in the western and northern German regions. Weizen is German for “wheat.”
  • Weizenbock: A wheat beer made in the bock style originating in Germany. (Bock is a dark, bottom-fermented, lightly hopped style).
  • Witbier. The Dutch term for “white beer,” witbiers use a significant portion of wheat in the beer. Witbiers are typically brewed with coriander and citrus or other spices, which complement the bready, bright wheat notes. They are always cloudy.


    [1] Schöfferhofer grapefruit wheat beer (photos #1, #2 and #3 © Schfferhofer).

    [2] Have a passion for passionfruit Schöfferhofer.

    [3] Pomegranate, a popular fall flavor in foods and drinks, is a best-seller year-round.

    [4] A glass of conventional wheat beer (photo © Kriss Szkurlatowski | Stock Xchange).

    [5] Allagash, an American wheat beer (photo © Allagash Brewing Company).



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    Apple Salad Recipes For National Apple Day

    [1] Sweet and crunchy apple, celery and peanut salad. The recipe is below (photo and recipe © Gelson’s Markets).

    [2] Sliced apples go right into the salad. The dressing keeps them from browning (photo © Stemilt).

    [3] A spinach, apple and goat cheese salad with pecans. You can add cheese and nuts to just about any apple salad (photo © Evolution Fresh).

    [4] Beet, spinach and apple salad. Here’s the recipe (photo © Butterball).


    October 21st is National Apple Day. Our tip is: Make an apple salad. It’s easy to make (or buy) an apple pie, or have a glass of apple cider or mulled cider, or an Appletini. But try something different. Some of our favorite apple recipes are apple sorbet and baked apples; and while they aren’t labor-intensive, they do take some effort.

    Here’s an idea that tasks very little effort: a green salad with apples.

    The salad recipe below, from Gelson’s Market, combines crisp apples, crunchy celery, pungent scallions, roasted peanuts, fresh parsley, and slivers of red jalapeño.

    The result: a blend of sweet, nutty, and spicy flavors with outstanding crunch.

    It’s tossed with lemon juice and olive oil, a simple but yummy dressing that helps the apples hold their color.

  • This is a delicious side salad with grilled fish, meat or poultry, and a nice appetizer salad with some added blue cheese, feta or goat cheese.
  • To turn it into an entrée salad, add a light protein, like a rotisserie chicken.
  • We had some leftover leg of lamb, which, perched on top of the salad, was a delicious pairing.
    Tip From Gelson’s: This salad travels really well. The lemon dressing keeps the apples fresh. Take it on outings, bring it to work for lunch.

    There are more apple salad recipes below.

    The history of apples.

    If you’re a fennel fan, you can exchange it for all or some of the celery. If you don’t like peanuts, substitute cashews or pecans.
    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 large celery stalks, sliced ¼-inch thick, diagonally
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on a steep diagonal
  • 2 SweeTango apples, halved, cored, cut into ¼-inch-thick wedges (substitute Honeycrisp*)
  • 1 red jalapeño, thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped, divided (we used honey roasted peanuts)
  • ½ cup parsley leaves, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

    1. SOAK the celery and scallions in ice water for 20 minutes. This makes the celery extra crisp and encourages the scallions to curl.

    2. DRAIN the water, dry the veggies on paper towels, and transfer them to a large salad bowl.

    3. ADD the apples, jalapeños, and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt, black pepper, and lemon juice, as needed.

    4. ADD half of the peanuts, half of the parsley leaves, and the olive oil. Toss to combine.

    5. GARNISH the salad with the remaining peanuts and parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Chill until cold before serving, about 15 minutes.

  • Apple & Chopped Fennel Salad
  • Apple, Lardons & Watercress Salad
  • Beet, Spinach & Apple Salad With Pomegranate Vinaigrette
  • Fennel Salad With Apple, Blood Orange & Verjus Vinaigrette
  • Gruyère Soufflé With Endive & Apple Salad
  • More Fall Salad Recipes

    *The SweeTango is a cross between the Honeycrisp apple and the Zestar. Both Honeycrisp and SweeTango were developed by the University of Minnesota.



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