Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It's a Dog's Life

Quantum Leap has gone to the dogs.  There are 7 dogs that call Quantum Leap a second home.  So, to get a different perspective on life in a winery, we thought why not ask the top dogs?

Meet the Quantum Leap pack:

Buster-  Buster is a frequent and enthusiastic visitor of QL and just got a red wine tasting named after him-- “Buster’s Big Reds.”  He insists the fame hasn’t gone to his head.

Kaley-  Ten years young, Kaley is a veteran lady at QL.  She prides herself on helping other rescue pups like herself with Kaley’s Rescue Red Blend.

Ollie-  Ollie’s a champion runner and a mama’s boy.  His sister is Kaley and he’s patiently waiting for a wine to be named after him. 

Wesley-  Wesley loves everyone and everything.  He loves people, treats, long walks, and constant attention!

Stewart-  Stewy goes by the motto, “If I can dream it, I can do it!”  His favorite pastimes are balancing on barrels, chasing tennis balls, and greeting all Quantum Leap guests.

(Freckles and Shiloh are new additions to the pack and will be featured in later interviews.)

Let's get started-- 

Q.   What’s the best part about spending the day at the winery?

            Wesley—“Everyone pets me and Jen gives me lots of ice cubes.”
            Buster—“I can ask everyone to play tug with me! I’ll ask you and you and you and you.”

Q.  What’s your favorite QL wine?

            Kaley—“Something named after me has to be great! So, I’d say Kaley’s Rescue Red.”
            Ollie—“I’m more of a water bowl guy, but I love anything that was from a valley.  Walla                                Walla Valley, Napa Valley, Columbia Valley.  They sound like great places to
                         stretch out my legs and run, run, run!”

Q.   Red or white wine?

            Buster—“Red and white! Just like my coloring.”
            Stewart— “If it was in a barrel, I’ll drink it!”

Q.  Do you know any QL secrets?

            Ollie— “Their secrets are safe with me.  My muzzle is sealed!”

To see more of the #winerydogs, check out them out on Instagram @QuantumLeapWinery

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Who's the new guy?

We want you to get to know Matt Uva.  He’s the new Tasting Room Manager and Brand Ambassador at Quantum Leap.   With a vast knowledge of wine and last name that means “grape” in Italian, we think he’s a perfect fit.  Well, almost perfect.  (We’re almost all dog people around the winery, Matt.)

With an open and easy approach to wine, Matt can talk you through a tasting or help you find the perfect wine to go with any event, party, gift, or meal.  The Tasting Room is open from 2-7pm Thursdays and Fridays and 12-6pm on Saturdays—swing by and meet him.

Where are you from and how did you end up in Orlando?

I’m from New England (surprising, given my appearance). Ended up in Orlando the way most men do: chasing a girl.

What’s your background?

I’ve been in the wine and spirits industry for about 15 years. I’ve held just about every job in the wine business, from driving the truck to designing award-winning wine lists to running a retail chain and everything in between.

Have you always had an interest in wine?  How did your interest in wine come about?

When I graduated high school, I was gifted a bottle of 1982 Cheval Blanc. I had no idea what it was; I just thought it meant I was now mature enough to drink. A friend and I used a Swiss Army knife to pull the cork and drank it directly from the bottle on a swing set behind a grammar school. It wasn’t until years later that I realized what I had done (that bottle would be about $8,000 today) and decided to learn more about wine as my penance. For obvious reasons, it’s a fun subject to learn about.

What was your most memorable wine moment?

As a “wine guy” you get the opportunity to have so many of these moments.  It’s impossible to focus on just one. Buy me a drink and I’ll give you a different tale each time. I’ve been very lucky over the years.

Tell me what you like most about wine/Quantum Leap. (Why did you want to join the team at QL?)

The idea of a winery that emphasizes sustainability and works to reduce the carbon footprint of the vineyard-to-table process really sings to me. I don’t think most Americans realize how much energy is wasted in the wine and spirits industry. Doing all of this in Florida and still using Vitis Vinifera grapes is an amazing undertaking. The Quantum Leap concept is really the winery of the future and it’s fascinating to get to play a part in that.

What’s your favorite current QL wine and why?

What’ve ya got open? It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I’ve been hitting the Panther’s Tale quite a bit lately. It’s like a funkier, drier Pinot Noir – big cherry fruit, some spice notes, and an overall earthiness that I just really dig.

What’s your favorite wine of all time?

That’s an impossible question with no real answer, but the grape that will get me every time is Rötgipfler. It’s this weird little Austrian white that grows on about 9 acres. It produces the most complex wines I’ve ever tasted. The fact that it’s next to impossible to find makes it even better when I do come across it. I used to rep for a distributor back North that had one in their portfolio and whenever someone said, “I don’t drink white”, I’d pull out a bottle of Rötgipfler and change their lives forever.

What do you drink when not enjoying wine?

I’m a huge beer nerd, but living in Orlando it’s hard not to become a fan of cocktails. Some of the best bartenders in the business are working here, and what they’re doing is changing the industry. When I talk to friends around the country and mention local bartenders, they gush as if I’ve been hanging out with a major celebrity.

What hobbies or interests do you have beside wine?

Mountain climbing, whitewater kayaking, and downhill mountain biking – good thing I moved to Florida! Now that I’m a “flatlander” I’ve turned to raising butterflies, working my urban garden, and antiquing. Macho, I know.

Who’s your personal hero?

John Muir. Outdoorsman, poet, historical badass, and a killer beard.

This or that

Red or white?

Old World or New World?
New World

Screw caps or corks?

Cats or dogs?
Cats (I’ve got 6!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My First Perfectly Paired Class

A little context-- I am the marketing intern at Quantum Leap and I am pretty new to wine.  I recently went to my first Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Perfectly Paired class and this blog post outlines my experience.

There aren’t many subjects as vast as wine-- now add cheese, chocolate, and the inexact art of pairings.   As a novice to wine, I was unsure how well I was going to get along in July’s Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate class.  But from the first step into the room, I knew this class was going to be fun and entertaining. 
Everyone sat at family-style long tables and the atmosphere was light and pleasant.  The whole evening felt like a dinner party hosted by very (very, very) informed hostesses—Jill, the co-owner of Quantum Leap, Tonda, owner of La Femme du Fromage, and Lisa Wilk, founder of Orlando Uncorked. 

They opened the class with excitement over the pairings that they created together.  And if they are excited by the pairings, then they must be good.

There were five pairings in all.  The class is set up so each item is explained individually—how the cheese is made, how the chocolate is developed, and where the wine is sourced and then the pairing is looked at as a whole—why does the wine add to the cheese and chocolate and vice versa.  Delicious and informative.

My favorite was the triple crème cheese paired with Quantum Leap’s new sparkling wine.  It was an easy pairing to love-- the cheese was luxuriously smooth and buttery and the wine added a delightful lightness.  The triple crème was followed by a white chocolate dipped strawberry from Peterbrook Chocolatiers, which brought out light strawberry notes in the sparkling wine. 

If you like learning about wine, cheese, and chocolate as much as you enjoy eating it, Perfectly Paired classes are definitely for you.

Stay tuned to the website calendar or Facebook page for the next Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate class!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Around the World with Quantum Leap: Veneto, Italy

Gorgo Winery, Veneto, Italy
"In wine, there is truth." 
 Pliny the Elder

Veneto, the 20th province of Italy, is world-renowned for its beautiful historic cities like Venice, Verona, and Padua, for brands like Benetton, Geox, De’Longhi, and, of course, for its wine. 

The region has a long history with human settlement going back 7,000 years. Around the second century BCE, the Romans established many of its cities, including Venice and Verona, and brought viticulture the region.  Veneto continued to grow and maintain a strong wine culture.  In 1885, the Veneto region established the first Italian school of vine growing.

Today, Veneto is the largest wine producing region in Italy.  High volume doesn’t take away from quality.  It’s also the largest producer of DOC wines.  DOC stands for denominazione di origine controllata, and is the second highest industry quality standard in Italy.  The Veneto region is typically known for the production of Soave, Bardolino, Valpolicella, Prosecco wine varietals, yet there are many other great varietals in the region.

Veneto is situated in the far northeastern section of the Italian boot.   Thanks to a coastline on the Adriatic Sea, it has a temperate climate with fairly hot summers and cool winters. A temperate climate is important as it allows the vines to have long, warm periods to finish growing and ripening.

Roberto and Roberta Bricolo, owners of Gorgo Winery
The Gorgo Winery, a partner of Quantum Leap and the producer of their Custoza, and Pinot Grigio, has been family owned for 41 years and is currently run by Roberto Bricolo and his daughter Roberta.  The winery sits on the far left of the Veneto region and is 30 minutes away from the city of Verona. This part of the Veneto region is known for its especially mild climate and fertile soil.  

Roberto and Roberta use a mix of traditional techniques and modern innovations in growing and ripening grapes. Sustainability is also important.  The grapes are grown sustainably by using smart water practices and only using natural fertilizers and pesticides. To read more about Gorgo Winery, please click here

Quantum Leap is proud to offer both red and white Veneto region wines.  We invite you to try our white Veneto region wines-- Garda, a white blend, and Gorgo Winery’s Pinot Grigio and Custoza, a white blend.  Or if you prefer to try a red Veneto region wine, our Panther’s Tale is a smooth and balanced blend of Corvina and Merlot from the Veneto region.

We look forward to seeing you at the winery soon!