As I browse the newspaper and some social media sites this morning, I am coming to the conclusion that the chosen buzz-phrase for the beginning of this new year is “Keep It Simple!” No matter what the subject – cooking, clothing, décor, relationships, life-in-general – the undoubtable advice of every headline seems to suggest that simplifying your life will make you happier. Well, then, what about food and drink for January? Let’s follow suit and keep it simple…

January can be long, cold at times, and not very exciting.  It’s possible, however, that local wines can make simple meals into something special – all those wonderful summer berries in a bottle are just waiting to be opened up in January! So at the great risk of sounding like every other newsletter today, here’s four ways to keep it simple…

First off, for those of you who have never paired Raspberry Fruit Wine with a rosemary chicken dish, here’s a simplified version to try this month. A well-structured and smooth wine like the Raspberry can accompany poultry without overpowering it. It’s a great combination – I hope you try it.

Easy Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes Bake
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons rosemary
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, coarse grind
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
6 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed (about 2 pounds)
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, halved
Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix oil, paprika, rosemary, sea salt, pepper and garlic powder in large bowl. Add chicken and potatoes; toss to coat well. Arrange potatoes in single layer on foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan sprayed with no stick cooking spray. Bake 15 minutes. Push potatoes to one side of pan. Place chicken on pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes longer or until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, turning potatoes occasionally. Yum!

Serve with a chilled glass of Raspberry Fruit Wine for a simple and delicious treat.


Strawberry Dessert Wine? As I’ve mentioned many times before, I love strawberry wine in January most of all – it takes me back to summer like nothing else!  These deep-flavoured berries make delicious meals deliciously easy.

Simple Strawberry Sauce

1 lb. strawberries, sliced, fresh or frozen
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup Strawberry Dessert Wine
½ lemon, juiced
Combine all the ingredients in a small pot over medium heat. Simmer over medium low heat 10 minutes. Serve warm or cold over chocolate cake, angel food, pound cake or frozen yogurt.

Serve with a small glass of chilled Strawberry Dessert Wine.


And then there’s Cherry Fruit Wine. I personally love the Cherry paired with pork dishes that have a slightly sweet sauce.

Slow Cooker Cherry Pork
1 boneless pork loin roast (3 to 4 pounds)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
3/4 cup cherry preserves
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown roast on all sides.
Transfer to a 6-qt. slow cooker. In a small bowl, mix preserves, cherries, vinegar and brown sugar until blended; pour over roast. Cover and cook on low 3-4 hours or until tender. Remove roast from slow cooker; tent with foil. Let stand 15 minutes before slicing.

And be sure to enjoy with chilled Cherry Fruit Wine!


Question:  Did you enjoy our new Blueberry Fruit Wine with your Christmas turkey this year?  We did too!  If you enjoyed that lovely combo, you can have it again in January.  Got some leftover turkey in your freezer?  Dig it out for this simple but flavourful dish:

 Turkey, Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole

1 cup uncooked wild rice blend (about 2 ½ – 3 cups cooked)

1 lb. broccoli

4 tbsp. butter

1 cup chopped onion

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. flour

1 cup whole milk

1 cup chicken broth

8 oz. grated cheddar cheese

4 cups cubed cooked turkey

½ cup slivered almonds

Cook rice first per package directions.   Cut broccoli into 1 inch pieces. Boil for 2 minutes and drain.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Melt butter and saute onions. Add garlic and mustard and cook for one minute.  Add flour and whisk for one minute.  Slowly add milk, (keep whisking), then broth.  Bring to simmer and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in one cup of the cheese, then the rice, turkey and broccoli.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to baking dish, top with remaining cheese and almonds.  Bake 20-30 minutes until bubbly.

 Simple but tasty, enjoy this dish with a glass of Blueberry Fruit Wine!


And finally, can we make one more suggestion for keeping life simple?

With most of us staying home a lot more these days, whenever we do venture out we like to accomplish a lot, and do it all rather quickly.  Stock tip:  make a visit to your local indoor market a weekend ritual.  With dozens of local-product vendors under one roof, you can purchase groceries, prepared food, weekend treats and every other imaginable local offering inside of an hour, and enjoy lunch or coffee to boot!  Warm and wonderful, indoor markets are the shopping destination of choice for many Albertans during our long winters…

Here are our winter hours:

Calgary Farmers Market:  Thursday to Sunday, 9-5

Edmonton Bountiful Market:  Friday and Sunday, 10-4, Saturday 9-5

Gasoline Alley Market, Red Deer:  Friday and Saturday, 9-5, Sunday 10-4

Hoping to see you soon, as you pick up your “summer in a bottle” on the way out…


Looking ahead, be sure to follow us on social media for news on our Valentine’s specials coming up soon.  There is always a wine for your Valentine…

And finally, in an attempt to keep our newsletter simple… that’s all the news for this month!

Happy Winter, everyone!


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