Taste Alabama wines, meet vintners on June 8 at Pioneer Park

June 5, 2013 

The Lee County Historical Society hosts a wine tasting featuring some of the tastiest sips from vineyards across Alabama 5-7 p.m. EDT (4 to 6 p.m. CDT) Saturday at Pioneer Park in Loachapoka, Ala. Vintners from Alabama wineries will be at the event to talk with attendees about Alabama grape-growing and wine-making processes.

You're likely thinking you'll be tasting a lot of Muscadine wines, made using the popular Southern grape, and you're right.

But that's not all you'll be tasting.

Organizer Charles Mitchell expects guests to be surprised with the varieties being made in Alabama.

Upon -- let's call it -- "researching" the Alabama wine scene, Mitchell discovered dry white wines, hybrid wines, fruit wines and novelty wines.

As any good researchers would do, Mitchell and other organizers got some -- let's call it -- "hands on experience." They traveled the Alabama Wine Trail tasting and learning about Alabama wines.

"It's actually perfect for the historical society because the wine-making process is historical. Before prohibition there were a lot of vineyards in Alabama," Mitchell said.

Besides Muscadine, Alabama-grown grapes such as Norton, Fox, Cynthia and Black Spanish are to make wine. Some wine makers also create hybrid wines, combining juice from California-grown grapes with juice from Alabama-grown grapes.

Fruit wines, made from locally grown fruits such as peaches, are also popular in Alabama wine production.

Mitchell was especially surprised when he tasted a flavorful lemon wine. "It was described as lemonade with a kick, and it was," he said.

The creativity of the vintners impressed Mitchell.

One hybrid wine called White Trash, made with grapes that aren't commonly used in wine making, Mitchell described as "a nice, dry white."

He also noted that several Alabama wineries make rich, burgundy wines that are relatively dry.

The tasting event is free for Lee County Historical Society members. Non-members are welcome to join the association on the day of the event for $25 per person or $35 per family. A commemorative Pioneer Park wine glasses will be available for $10, for those 21-and-older who want to taste the Alabama wines.

Acoustic music will be played at the, weather-permitting, outdoor event where guests can help raise money to renovate the Barnard-Newell Log Cabin. The historic cabin, built in 1830 by a Creek Indian has been relocated to Pioneer Park and is in need of restoration.

Mitchell promises no wine knowledge is needed to attend the event: "First, we want a fun membership event. Second, we want to raise some funds for the cabin."

Visit leecountyhistoricalsociety.org for details. No reservations are needed.

Dawn Minty can be reached at dminty@ledger-enquirer.com. For food news and recipes, read her blog, Dawn's Dish, at ledger-enquirer.com/dawn

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