Can't Finish That Bottle of Wine at the Restaurant? Take It Home with You

Written by Scott Joseph on .

This week on WMFE-FM, Scott chats with 90.7's Nicole Creston about a little known law that allows restaurant patrons to take unfinished bottles of wine home with them. You can hear the segment at 5:45 p.m. Friday; it's repeated Saturday mornings at 9:35. Or, click to listen to the podcast anytime.

Wine Doggy BagsIt’s been seven years since the Florida legislature enacted a law that allows patrons to take an unfinished bottle of wine home with them if they are unable to finish it at the restaurant. The law went into effect on July 1, 2005, and when I first wrote about it for the Orlando Sentinel, in September of that year, few people knew about it.

Few people know about it today.

But it’s a terrific little way to free yourself from the confines of the list of wines by the glass.

Here’s some of what I wrote back then that explained the law:

Vertical Tasting of Freemark Abbey Cabernets with Winemaker Ted Edwards

Written by Scott Joseph on .


Freemark Abbey winemaker Ted Edwards

Update: Attendees are not required to pay a parking fee to attend the tasting. Simply tell the attendant at the entrance gate that you are attending a wine tasting at California Grill. This is also true any time you have a lunch or other business at one of the resorts inside the parking gate entrance.

 Here’s an extraordinary opportunity: a vertical wine tasting spanning three decades of Freemark Abbey cabernet sauvignons, hosted by winemaker Ted Edwards and local master sommelier John Blazon of Jackson Family Wines. Part of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, the tasting will be held at California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort Saturday, Nov. 5, from 1 to 3 p.m. Cost is $225 per person, plus tax. Gratuity is included, and because it will be outside Epcot’s gates, no admission fee is required, although parking rates apply because it is necessary to pass the Magic Kingdom parking attendants.


But those who know fine wine, and the reputation of Freemark Abbey’s cabernet, will appreciate this as a bargain.

Here are the featured vintages:

1987 Cabernet Bosché
1987 Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
1991 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
1991 Cabernet Bosché
1991 Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
1995 Cabernet Bosché
1995 Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
1999 Cabernet Bosché
1999 Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
2003 Cabernet Bosché
2003 Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Freemark Abbey, one of the first 16 wineries in Napa Valley, was founded in 1886. Ted Edwards has been the winemaker since 1985. Edwards and Blazon will also be in downtown Orlando on Sunday as judges for the Battle of the Parks.

For more information about the Freemark Abbey vertical tasting or to purchase tickets, call 407-939-3378.


Rioja Street Fare Festival with Scott Joseph and Wine on the Way Tonight

Written by Scott Joseph on .


Tonight’s the night for the big Rioja Street Fare Festival with Scott Joseph and Wine on the Way. Here are some details for those of you attending:

  • The event is sold out -- I have no more tickets I can sell -- however, as happens sometimes, people who have bought tickets find they cannot use them. If you are one of those people, post a notice on Facebook or Twitter and I can guarantee the tickets will be snapped up before you can say Vibrant Rioja! Those transactions are between you and the buyer or seller.
  • With our event sold out and the Winter Park Chamber’s Sip & Stroll on Park Avenue, parking is going to be at a premium. Therefore I’ve secured the services of One Way Valet through Events by Grace to provide complimentary valet parking. Yes, tipping makes it not-so-complimentary, but this is a whole lot better than trying to find a space nearby. By the way, don’t park in the bank across from the Winter Park Farmers Market -- you will be towed. Just pull up to the Farmers Market on New York Avenue and the valets will take over. And don’t be concerned with the name of the valet company -- they assure me they will return your car when you request it.
  • Please print out your tickets and bring them with you. Or, you may display the ticket on your smartphone as long as the unique code is visible. The people checking tickets will first ask for the name of the person who purchased the tickets, so if you were given a ticket that was purchased by someone else, give the other person’s name when you check in at the gate.
  • The event is planned for inside the Farmers Market and around the parking lot, so dress casually. It’s a Street Fare Festival, so street clothes are fine.

I’ve invited a whole bunch of the area’s top chefs who have created special “street fare” dishes specifically paired to the wines of Rioja. We say street fare, but in some cases the street may be Rodeo Drive or the Champs-Eysees. Or even Park Avenue. The amazing crew from Vibrant Rioja have put together a booklet of the dishes and the inspiration wine the chefs used to create it. Who's cooking?

  • Scott Hunnel, Victoria & Albert's
  • Kevin Fonzo, K restaurant
  • James & Julie Petrakis, The Ravenous Pig
  • Jamie McFadden and Harold Henderson, barJme
  • John Rivers, 4Rivers Smokehouse
  • Gregory Richie, Emeril's Tchoup Chop
  • Brandon McGlamery, Luma on Park
  • Matt Cargo, Prato
  • Tony Adams, Big Wheel Provisions food truck
  • Steven Saelg, The Crooked Spoon food truck

Many of the wines you’ll be tasting this evening are not readily found in retail outlets. Wine on the Way has graciously agreed to make your favorite wines available this evening. They’ll even deliver them for free in the cutest little delivery car you’ve ever seen. (It’ll be there tonight; don’t trip over it.)

A portion of tonight’s proceeds will benefit one of my favorite organizations, Canine Companions for Independence. These good folks train dogs to assist disabled people in performing the everyday duties you and I take for granted, like picking up something you’ve dropped or helping you take your socks off. They’re really amazing, and we’ll have some CCI representatives there with some of the doggies.

What else? Some fun surprises. See you there.


Tickets on Sale for WineQuest

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Tickets are now on sale for the 15th annual WineQuest, which will be held June 10-12 at Grande Lakes Orlando. The wine event, which benefits Quest, In., an organization that assists the disabled, will feature a Grand Tasting and Auction on Friday, a Saturday night farm-to-table dinner with wine pairings, and a Sunday brunch at in the garden at Primo.

This is one of the better wine events in the area, and the grand tasting last year had several noteworthy wines.

Advance ticket prices are $75 for the grand tasting, $155 for the five-course dinner and $55 for Sunday brunch. Ticket prices go up after May 9. Visit to see the  complete schedule and to purchase tickets. Or call 407-218-4300.


Capital Grille Offers Limited Artist Series Wine with Label by Florida Painter

Written by Scott Joseph on .

tableCloseBeginning today, the Capital Grille will be offering its second annual Artist Series Wine Event, which features a specially crafted wine sporting an original label designed by Florida artist Patricia Timbrook. Timbrook’s design was chosen from among others entered in a competition held last fall by the Orlando-based restaurant brand.

According to a press release, Timbrook’s painting, titled Pairings, was chosen “for the way the bold colors and fluid lines perfectly complement the robust flavors and subtle undertones of the wine.” The wine is a cabernet sauvignon from winemaker Thomas Peffer of Atalon Vineyards in Napa Valley. Fewer than 1000 cases will be produced, all exclusively for Capital Grille. The wine sells for $75 per bottle, and Darden will donate $25 from every bottle sold to Share Our Strength, a national charity that works to end childhood hunger in America.

“In addition to supporting our national charity, Share Our Strength, we are proud to recognize and celebrate talented artists like Patricia Timbrook,” said John Martin, President of The Capital Grille.  Timbrook is from Parrish, Florida, near Bradenton.

The Capital Grille is located at Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Drive. The restaurant is open for lunch Monday through Friday and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-370-4392.