Archive for the ‘ Health & Wine ’ Category

The Garden State Wine Has Arrived

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This and a bottle of Europa!

To borrow from written history, various documented internet sources, and my own education in and around the New Jersey Vineyards over the past year, I have discovered my new home makes more than just ‘Okay and fruity’ wine.

The state has begun to take back its bragging rights of being ‘The Garden State’* in the last few years, and is staking a claim in some of the best wines produced outside of California and France. In 1767, London’s Royal Society of the Arts had already recognized two New Jersey vintners for their success in producing the first bottles of quality wine derived from the colonial agriculture. The problem I believe, started when everyone wanted a stake in the wine industry here and began buying up land and growing wine grapes further north, where the soil and weather are vastly different. Thus the huge difference in wine.

The GSWGA website with its marketing verbiage of ‘Savor The Experience’ and hearing from locals about how great their wines are in the central Jersey area (as they showed me their local fruity blueberry and cranberry wine), I was beginning to think no one knew what good vino really was. I already hail from Texas where there are very few, if any drinkable to my mature palate in the Lone Star State ( Texas grows wine grapes, and bottles it!). Yes laugh! Five years ago when I hit what I call the central Jersey wine trail…well…I was more than disappointed. De ja vue hit me like a mad bull in a packed rodeo parking lot!

I am sure a few winery cowboys would love to come after me on that comment, but I do agree in the spring along the east bound highways of I45: blooming wildflowers, historical site seeing, and a few stops at wineries can break up the ‘out of the AC lock down’ lifestyle of the Lone Star State, but I discovered something MORE breath taking in Jersey.

The Outer Coastal Plain American Viticultural Area– beautiful acres of green grass, pine barrens, and shore line. New Jersey is a puzzle so spread out that it can take years to place each piece together and find your way around, but its worth the wait. New Jersey wineries are generally in one of two areas: the triangle defined by Atlantic City, Cape May, and Philadelphia or the strip from near Trenton to High Point along the Delaware River.

Last year while taking a weekend excursion, which there are so many here to discover with its rich history, I ended up in the Marlton, Berlin, and the Atco New Jersey area. Noticing the clump of wineries on the ‘Garden State Wine Growers Association’ map, we decided to visit a few and see if they differed from the upper regions near our home in Princeton. Some were more drinkable, but our last stop was Amalthea Cellars. We walked away more than two hours later with over a case of wine, and I have made a few trips back since.

A big southern Thank You to ‘The Garden State’* as is well known for; it consist of rich cultural food history, small historical towns dotted up and down its old highways, sprawling farmland, farmers markets and (in my opinion) some of the best wineries down south. Put them together, and the sweltering summer heat of late aside, I have come to embrace my new home of wine and foodie paradise.

There is a lot going on now that the New Jersey Outer Coastal Plain AVA is getting noticed, and I would not miss it if I were you!

*HISTORY: New Jersey’s nickname, the Garden State, derives largely from the more than one hundred year history of growing of fruits and vegetables in this area which supplies such produce to the mid-Atlantic region and as far north as Montreal.


Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Have A Grape Day!

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Pinot Noir

A British study recently presented at The Experimental Biology convention in California noted that consumption of grapes lowered blood pressure, improved heart function and reduced other risk factors for heart disease and metabolic syndrome in rats. Metabolic syndrome is a condition associated with impaired blood sugar regulation and the development of complications previously associated with diabetes per se. In many ways it can be considered a diabetic “precursor.”

This is not really a surprise as this mirrors many of the benefits associated with wine that we had previously discussed. American researchers think the benefits of grapes could be due to phytochemicals and antioxidants. These are the same compounds that are thought to produce the positive health effects of wine. It seems the benefits of grapes are preserved in alcohol.

What is interesting is that the animals were fed the fruit in addition to a high-fat, American style diet for three months. A control group had a similar diet without the grapes. At the end of the three-month period, the grape-fed rats had lower blood pressure, lower triglycerides, improved glucose tolerance, better heart function, and reduced indicators of inflammation in the heart and the blood than the rats who received no grape powder.

There is always a danger in extrapolating across species, but this data seems to correlate very well with human observational studies looking at the beneficial effects of wine. So go have a grape day; I’ll take mine fermented.

Doc AKA Micheal Fenster- What’s Cooking With Doc (‘Have A Grape Day’ was used with permission)

Sunday Calendar-


Weekly Calendar– PIWC will be posting weekly must haves, tasting notes, events, and happenings at the beginning of each week. Here you will find the hot new wine, food, beer, and spirit news PIWC can bring to our readers. ‘Corky’ is out on the streets doing his best investigative reporting on all subjects!

Sip and Twit Event, The Wine Loft, Long Branch, NJ- Event Details

Market Monday

Wine Preservation Options…

Tasting Tuesday-

Each week PIWC will feature Guest Writers, and Restaurant Reviews- either industry professionals or fantastic blogs we feel you need to discover!

This week Writer, Elizabeth Willsy (Beer For Wine Lovers) is going to share some ‘Win(e)ing wisdom… Re-posted on Thursday, 3/18- due to technical reasons…

Wine Down Wednesday-

Chef E shares weekly food and wine pairings…’Does The Wine Make The Glass’- Four Styles Tested in a Crowd!

Thirsty Thursday-

Wine Enthusiast and writer Adrienne Turner will share bottle notes from her cellar down under…

Frugal Friday-

‘Corky’ will bring you a list of must have bargain wines…

Simply Saturday-

PIWC will present local food, wine, art, and other must attend related events for the upcoming week…

If readers have any questions or information they are seeking about related subject matter, please let us know. We will try to find out, and answer your questions from our own experience, or seek out other professionals we can refer you to!

How Much Is Too Much Win(e)ing? A Docs Viewpoint

The History of Man (and Woman) is inextricably tied to that of alcohol. The exact date Bacchus delivered is gift is unknown and likely tied temporally to the experience of the first hangover. Nonetheless, Neolithic beer jugs date back to around 10,000 BC which provides evidence for the use of alcohol in its many forms from pre-history into the present. Intentional wine making was clearly established by the Egyptians as far back as around 4,000 BC and it is probably even further back than that date. Since that time wine (and alcohol) has served important nutritional, antiseptic, analgesic and medicinal roles. The uses have run the gamut from personal to social and gustatory to religious.

Throughout this long love affair between us and vino, the benefits of wine consumption have been touted. Today, the discussion is no different and continues to engender debate. Moderate alcohol consumption has been studied and seems to convey some potential health benefits. There is clear cardiovascular benefit (less heart attacks, peripheral vascular disease and hypertension), perhaps some benefit in terms of a reduction in stroke and a decrease in the incidence of Alzheimer’s dementia. There also seems to be some potential benefit against developing gallstones, arthritis, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, certain forms of cancer and type 2- diabetes.

In population based studies, those who consume moderate amounts of alcohol live longer and are healthier than either teetotalers or boozehounds. It appears either extreme is detrimental and the people at either extreme are not really the kind you want to hang around while you’re having a cocktail anyway. But what exactly is “moderate drinking”? In most studies, a “glass” of wine is about 5 ounces. You cannot use the glass that holds 750ml and claim just 1 glass of wine a day. Neither can you “save” your daily drinks and binge on Friday and Saturday. Slow and steady wins the race here. The definitions vary from study to study, but the range of the healthy benefits (and lack of consequences due to overindulgence) seem to be associated with about 1-3 drinks per day. Since there is a mass (as well as a genetic) component to alcohol metabolism, men were able to consume slightly more wine and retain the benefits of consumption without the complications of excess.

According to William Blake, Excess may lead you to the Palace of Wisdom but if she’s pouring your drinks she can lead you right to the transplant list. Excess alcohol consumption can cause irreparable heart and liver damage, affect your ability to clot and contribute to other blood disorders, cause pancreatic damage, gastrointestinal damage and types of encephalopathy. While wine consumption can reduce the incidence of depression and have a beneficial effect on erectile dysfunction, coyote ugly remains another significant hazard.

Despite these and other dangers, alcohol in the form of wine has been with us since it seems Homo erectus stumbled up upon two legs (no doubt to pee in the corner of the cave thinking he was outside). Since the whole experiment with the 18th amendment didn’t work out so well, and we really need the tax revenue nowadays, it seems it will be with us for the foreseeable future. Like any gustatory pleasure; foie or fries, salt or salted pork, enjoyment with wine is in not wine-ing too much.

Michael S. Fenster, MD, F.A.C.C., FSCA&I, PEMBA
Whats Cooking With Doc Blog