Big Cork Vineyards – Rohrersville, MD

My sister and I visited Big Cork Vineyards back in March during the Maryland Wine Passport Experience. We were fortunate on being able to visit their brand new tasting room which had just opened a few weeks before our visit. So, why am I just now writing this review?

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I’ll be honest, I’ve wanted to write this review and had planned on doing it much sooner. Every time I sat down to write it, I just couldn’t decide what to say. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to say and I liked Big Cork but everything I thought to write sounded contradictory. Now I’ve realized that the contradiction may be somewhat fitting because in a way I felt Big Cork was somewhat of a contradiction in itself.

I know it sounds odd, just stick with me here.

IMAG2084Big Cork was our third stop for the day, preceded by Red Heifer and Knob Hall. As we approached Big Cork there was a giant sign that made finding it super easy but you don’t see their new, beautiful building until you’ve turned into the drive. Upon turning in we were greeted with a cute and comedic sign to direct us the ‘right way’. (It’s a little hard to see in the photo below but the red sign says ‘Wrong Way’ the blue says ‘Right Way.’)

The tasting room sits up on top of the hill and after going the ‘right way’ we wound around up to to find there was tons of parking. Upon approaching the building IMAG2092we immediately loved the grand entrance way made with gorgeous wooden beams. It was a little hard to get it fully into the frame but you can get the idea from the photo. Once inside however, the rustic tone set by the beams and area surrounding the tasting room was instantly gone.

Dressed fairly casually in jeans, a t-shirt and cardigan I felt under dressed and instantly wondered if I should run to the bathroom to brush my wind blown hair. A very nice man working directed us to the bathroom, only partially because I wanted to brush my hair but mainly because wine tasting all day makes a girl have to go! On the way to the bathroom we noticed the waiters looked like people you would find at a nice five star restaurant with towels draped over a stiff arm. The furniture and decor was very modern and industrial feeling, not at all like the entryway.

I loved the light fixture in the bathroom! It was simple, beautiful and I want it in my bathroom at home! We also took an obnoxious bathroom selfie because what better way feel less awkward than by being a little goofy?

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Now, you are probably wondering ‘why is their waiters? don’t you mean tasting room associates?’ I don’t. When you enter the tasting room to the right is a big, u-shaped, beautiful white tasting bar with tall pub height tables around the outer walls. To the left is a small seating area where you can come to enjoy their wine and order from their small bistro menu. It looked like the people seated at the pub tables were also being served by waiters.

We went to the tasting bar and were helped by a very friendly woman who shared all kinds of great information with us about not just the wine, but the vineyard as well. I was pleased with the selection we tried and loved that some were paired with small bites from their bistro menu. The stuffed tomatoes were to die for!

Now, some of you may remember when I wrote a previous review that I mentioned a story revolving around the phrase ‘Smells mayo, tastes like pickles’? Here it is.

Paired with one of the wines was a small dish of bright pink, almost coleslaw looking dip. Writing this review so long after I cannot remember what it was called unfortunately. The woman conducting our tasting told us that the dip seemed to be a love or hate option on their menu. If I recall correctly, the color came from radishes. Being slightly hesitant, I picked it up to smell it before tasting and told my sister ‘It smells like mayonnaise. Must be like a twist on coleslaw’ then I took a bite. Luckily for me, I love pickles and it tasted just like them! After another bite to finish my cracker, I couldn’t decide if I like the dip or not. It was quite the contradiction on smell, appearance and taste!

I can’t say any of the wines jumped out at me. I didn’t dislike them IMAG2088but I wasn’t over the moon about any of them either. However, the whole time we were tasting I was still trying to figure out the decor of the tasting room and figure out what feel it was they were going for which likely distracted me from really tasting the wine.

Around the tasting room I noticed that their shelving and some surfaces were made to look wood-like and hint at the rustic, rural vibe we had expected. As soon as you noticed a rustic touch however you were instantly thrown off by marble bottle holders, a bold white stone counter or a modern, industrial light. I was so busy trying to understand the intended feel for the room that I admit, the wine tasting was not my focus.

IMAG2091There were very clever stools at the tables around us and a large patio out the window. I’d like to visit again and sit on the patio this summer. Being outside and enjoying the weather would make for a much more comfortable experience in my book.

They have a grand opening event scheduled for May 30, 2015 which may be my perfect chance to go give Big Cork another try. Now that I know what to expect, I hope I can enjoy the environment and take the time to really taste the wines they offer.

One thing I would like all of my readers to take away is that while their seemed to be so much contradiction at Big Cork, it was a beautiful vineyard with great service. If you go in with the proper expectations and with an open mind I’m sure you will have a wonderful time and feel comfortable. The impression I got was that Big Cork is moving to be a higher-end, upscale winery rather than a rural, Maryland vineyard. They are definitely well on their way and I’m sure, with a little more time, they will reach that feel/reputation successfully.

Once I am able to visit again I’ll be sure give an update!

If anyone has the chance to visit and would like to share their thoughts as well, we’d love to hear from you! Comment below or email us at wineandfit@outlook.com

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H2-Oh I need to drink more water!

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This morning at work I was in the elevator with a guy who saw my half gallon water jug and asked “You plan on drinking all of that today?” I smiled and said “Yes I do. Probably a second one of these too.” Of course he followed with a question I’ve heard tons of times when talking to people about trying to drink between 3/4 to 1 whole gallon of water today.

“Good for you. I don’t mean to be too personal,” he said “but doesn’t that make you run to the bathroom all day?”

Now to answer his question…not anymore. The first few days of upping your water intake you will most definitely be going to the bathroom more, however probably not in a running fashion. After your body adjusts and starts getting the benefits of hydration you won’t be going so often.

It occurred to me after he noted that it was “good for me” before asking about my bathroom habits that maybe people aren’t drinking enough water not because they don’t realize it’s necessary but because they don’t want to be burdened with an additional few trips to the bathroom. I could be totally off base, but I’m willing to bet I’m not.

Drinking enough water each day helps your body to function at an optimum level. Your organs work better, you blood carries nutrients more effectively, toxins and junk in your body are more easily removed naturally…the list goes on. People who are looking to lose weight or improve their workouts definitely need to be drinking all the water they can. Proper hydration will help the average person see a significant improvement in their weight loss when they are also eating and exercising properly.

For example, person A and person B are both 180lbs, 5’6″ and looking to lose about 20lbs. They are sticking to eating every 3 hours so they eat a well rounded breakfast/lunch/dinner along with small snacks throughout the day. Both ensure protein is included in each snack/meal. Both go to the gym and do a combination of cardio and weight lifting 3 times a week. Person A drinks about 36oz of water a day but person B drinks at least 96oz if water each day. Within the first 30 days of their weight loss plan, guess who saw the better results? Person B!

It’s not rocket science and it’s not difficult. You don’t even have 11130210_1582711152000728_8275094200412273360_nto spend any extra money to get water, grab a cup or a reusable bottle and fill it up! All it takes it paying attention. Some people, like myself, do a better job of ensuring they hit their intake goal by using a large bottle and knowing they have to drink the entire thing by a certain time of day. Others prefer a smaller bottle and challenging themselves to drink X number of that bottle in the day. Find what works for you!

I’d say going to the bathroom 2 or so more times each day is well worth the benefits of drinking enough water! Check out this great article that highlights some, of the many, benefits of staying hydrated. I bet by the time you’re done you’ll be thinking “Oh I need to drink more water!”

Other resources to learn more about hydration:
Hydration: Why It’s So ImportantAre You Drinking Enough Water Every Day?
10 Ways To Drink More Water

Cheat Day White Wine and Honey Pizza

It’s friday! Aka – Cheat Day for many who are focusing on eating well but still need to splurge now and then.

We found this great recipe on one of our favorite sites, Tablespoon, that we just had to share.

White Wine and Honey Pizza Dough

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Ingredients
6 tablespoons water – depending on how dry the dough feels you may need slightly more or less
2 tablespoons white wine – Use something you enjoy drinking to pair with the dish, Pinot Grigio is a great option!
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour – For a healthier option substitute whole wheat flour

Directions
1. In a large bowl, combine white wine, 4 tablespoons water and yeast and whisk until yeast dissolves.
2. Add honey, salt, olive oil and stir to combine.
3. Add in flour and work with fingers or a spoon until the dough comes together.
4. Pour dough onto a lightly floured countertop and knead about 2 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Add the extra tbsp or two of water if the dough seems really, really dry (but try to avoid it). If dough is too wet add a little more flour.
5. Pour kneaded dough into a lightly greased medium bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours.
6. Preheat oven to 500°F.
7. Put risen dough on a pizza stone or parchment paper-lined baking sheet and spread out with fingers into desired shape.
8. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough until it’s as thin as you like.
9. Top the dough with 1/2 cup tomato sauce, some oregano, basil and mozzarella cheese (or whatever toppings you desire) and bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly brown.
10. Serve immediately.

Load it up with veggies you need to get rid of or keep it simple with sliced tomatoes and spinach; your call! Give this recipe a go and come back to share what you thought and pictures of your final pizza!

*Originally from from Tablspoon.com, can be found here.

Charles Krug Chardonnay 2013 – Napa Valley

From the Carneros region in Napa valley comes a delightful Chardonnay which
is an excellent pick as spring rolls in. This particular region of Napa valley is ideal for growing two kinds of grapes, Pinot Noir and….you guessed it, Chardonnay!

The Charles Krug Chardonnay 2013 is definitely on the top of my list!CK_Chardonnay

One thing I love about this Chardonnay is it’s traditionalism. So many people are shifting to Chardonnay that is aged in primarily or all stainless steal. Every single time I see a bottle that declares the wine is ‘unoaked’ my heart dies a little and I quickly put the bottle back. Now, don’t worry if you aren’t an oak lover like I am, this particular wine isn’t overpowered by the oak.

The Charles Krug 2013 Chardonnay is light with fresh hints of lemon, citrus and some vanilla capped with a nice buttery note from the oak. It is definitely a wine that goes down easily on a nice spring day without being so easy to drink that it is unappreciated. You could pair this wonderfully with some salmon and asparagus on the grill or with a nice shrimp scampi.

For most people this wine should be easy to find in a store near you and comes in at a great price point, around $21 a bottle. Price will vary I’m sure but in my opinion anything $30 or less is a great value for this wine.

Find a bottle today, open it up and unWINEd outside as spring full arrives!

About the Winery

Originally founded in 1861 by Charles Krug, the winery is family owned and focused. From it’s original founder to the Mondavi family, who runs it today, Charles Krug winery has been a cornerstone in Napa Valley. Peter Mondavi Sr. is the current head of the winery and anyone who knows anything about this amazing 100 year old wine pioneer, knows that he has made endless contributions to the wine world. Had he not been the first to plant Chardonnay grapes in Napa Valley we may not be able to enjoy this wonderful wine!

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“Now under the guidance of Peter Mondavi Sr., the Charles Krug Winery honors its roots while forging ahead to the future. From the Wild West to the twenty-first century, relatively crude beginnings gave way to the finest form of winemaking.

Founded in 1861 by Charles Krug, the 27-year old Prussian immigrant came to America with little besides willpower and a willingness to work hard to build the cornerstone of the first winery in the Napa Valley. He became the major local winery figure of his era, greatly influencing Napa Valley’s development as a world-renown wine producing region.

His leadership was said to be inspirational and his ideas innovative. Charles Krug introduced the cider press for winemaking, the first of which is still on display at the winery. He carefully selected rootstocks, varietals and vineyard sites – a novel concept in late 19th century America.

After his death in 1892, James Moffitt held the winery in proprietorship through Prohibition. By 1943, he found a pioneering spirit in Cesare Mondavi, an Italian immigrant with a passion for wine, and sold the winery to his family for $75,000.” (Quoted from the Charles Krug Website)

The Charles Krug history is captivating and inspiring, read more here.

17 Minute HIIT Home Workout

Are you struggling to get to the gym? Feel like you don’t have the time to get there? Why not do a quick workout at home?!

This is a quick, effective workout you can do right at home in just 17 minutes. When you get home tonight, before you sit down and unwind with your favorite TV show and wine, knock it out!

17 Minute HIIT Workout

Perform each exercise for 60 seconds followed by 20 seconds of jogging in place.
*Scaled version: 45 seconds exercise – 30 seconds of marching in place

Jumping Jacks
Air Squats
Push-Ups (Do knee push-ups, if needed, to get your chest within two inches of the floor)
Leg Lifts (Hold a couch or chair for support if needed)
Burpees
Right Side Push-Up (Click here for demo)
Mountain Climbers
Left Side Push-Up
Burpees
Leg Lifts
Push-Ups
Air Squats
Jumping Jacks

Be sure to take a few minutes to stretch after completing your workout! Your muscles will thank you later!