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Taste Muscadine wines at Warm Springs Winery Friday

Ask many wine aficionados what pairs well with barbecue and they'll struggle to come up with a wine to match this Southern staple.

Ed Rocereta, owner and vintner of Warm Springs Winery, has no trouble answering this question.

Georgia barbecue goes with Georgia Muscadine wines.

Barbecue fans and wine lovers can decide for themselves at Friday's Cork and Pork, Dine Among the Vines. The year-old winery's first event will be 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the winery, 7227 Roosevelt Highway in Warm Springs.

Columbus musician Jennifer Duncan will sing popular tunes from the 1940s to the 1960s. Cost is $10, which includes one glass of wine. Barbecue plates will be available for an additional cost.

Rocereta, a pharmacist turned wine maker, wants Georgia wine lovers to open their minds and their mouths to Muscadine wines. He hopes Friday's event will introduce Chattahoochee Valley residents to Warm Springs Winery's wines.

The wines are named to honor regional landmarks and history. River Walk Red, described as dry with a touch of oak, is named for the Columbus RiverWalk.

White House White, listed as off-dry and crisp, is named for Warm Springs' Little White House.

Tribute, described as traditionally sweet with a distinctive Muscadine aroma, reminds many tasters of the wine their grandparents made in the basement.

"People tear up remembering grandma and grandpa when they smell it," Rocereta said.

Southern gardeners will likely appreciate Kudzu Rose but if a taster doesn't enjoy his first sip of the wine, Rocereta isn't worried. "It's kudzu. It will grow on you," he jokes.

From ground to gulp, the wine-making operation, including growing most of the grapes, is done in Warm Springs.

Wine novices are welcome at the winery. Rocereta, originally from Pennsylvania, aims for tastings to be "entertaining, educational and personable."

Tasting room guests get a peek at the fermenting and bottling operation from the tasting bar.

Rocereta doesn't believe wine tastings should be intimidating experiences. He loves interacting with guests who have never before been to a tasting. He hopes a visit to Warm Springs Winery will help guests feel confident enough to visit other wineries and open to trying different types of wines.

For those who consider Georgia's Muscadine grapes to be beneath, say, California's Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, Rocereta brings up the American wine movement of the 1970s and the film "Bottle Shock." The 2008 movie is about the 1976 wine competition called the "Judgment of Paris," when California wine defeated French wine in a blind taste test.

Those who can't make Friday's event, are welcome to stop by the winery for a tasting. The tasting room is open noon to 6 p.m. most days. Call 706-655-2233 for more information. Wines can also be purchased at Peachtree Package in Columbus.

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