Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Are Your Dinner Guests Lactose Intolerant?
Dairy Alternatives That Will Keep Everyone Happy


How to ensure your dairy-intolerant guests 
have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Food Allergies and Preferences
Years ago you just had to count how many people were showing up for Thanksgiving dinner. How many kids and how many adults - that's it. But things are different now. Today, if you have more than two people coming for dinner, I would be willing to bet that someone has a food allergy or preference. It's important to take that into account when you are planning your menu. 

Since more than half the world is lactose intolerant, there's a good chance that at least one of your guests has an issue with dairy. It's important to ask ahead of time so you can plan accordingly.

Even if your guests tell you about their problems digesting dairy products, you may still be a little confused about what to do to your recipes so that everyone can enjoy the meal. I'll introduce you to some great dairy substitutes but first let me tell you what it means to be dairy intolerant.

What is Dairy Intolerance
A person is dairy intolerant if:
they are allergic to casein, the protein in milk, or
they are lactose intolerant and lack the enzyme lactase needed to digest milk.

Dairy includes milk and milk products such as:
Butter
Buttermilk
Cheese
Cream Cheese
Cottage Cheese
Gelato
Ice Cream
Powdered Milk
Sour Cream
Yogurt
Any other food made from the milk of mammals. That includes dairy cows, goats, sheep, and camels. I must admit I haven't seen camel milk in the store recently, but you can actually buy camel milk from a company called Desert Farms in Santa Monica, California! Who knew? 

Some people tolerate dairy from goats and sheep (and maybe even camels) better than from cows but always check with your guests before you toss some goat feta in the salad.

Eggs are not dairy. Someone who is just avoiding dairy can eat eggs.

Dairy Alternatives
There are some delicious dairy-free products available that you can use in your recipes to accommodate your dairy-free guests and, in most recipes, your dairy loving guests may not even be able to taste the difference!

Milk and Cream
There are many alternatives to dairy milk. Soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, and hemp milk, to name a few, can all be used as a replacement. For everyday use, I probably enjoy almond milk the best. Whole Foods carries their own brand that is organic. These non-dairy milks can be used in most recipes that call for 1%, 2%, or skim milk. If you need a more creamy, dense milk to replace whole milk or cream, you can buy soy creamer or coconut creamer.


Substitute 1%, 2%, or skim milk with non-dairy milk.
Substitute whole milk or cream with non-dairy creamer.

Butter 
Instead of butter, you can use Earth Balance. This buttery spread is vegan, lactose and casein free, gluten free and is non-GMO and it melts like butter. I've used it for years - it's great. They even sell a Shortening Stick that is handy for pie crusts. Olive oil is a healthier alternative to use on vegetables and in some baked goods. 



Sour Cream
If you want to make your mashed potatoes or twice-baked potatoes super creamy, blend in some Tofutti Sour Cream but make sure you get the one that is non-hydrogenated. For some odd reason they still continue to make one that contains trans fats. The non-hydrogenated one looks like this.



Tastes just like sour cream.

Dairy-free mashed potatoes are a snap by using Earth balance and Tofutti sour cream. To make them more moist, add the water from boiling the potatoes or some almond milk. 

Ice Cream
If you are looking for an ice cream substitute to top that dairy-free crisp, there are plenty of non-dairy frozen desserts. So Delicious makes some wonderful dairy-free ice creams made from coconut milk, almond milk and soy milk.


Cheese 
No need to skip the cheese and crackers now that Miyoko's Kitchen offers a wide selection of delicious artisan dairy-free "cheeses".  


Have a Happy Dairy-Free Thanksgiving!




Monday, November 24, 2014

Sweet And Orangey Brussels Sprouts
Stove Top Or Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Recipe
Perfect Side Dish For The Holidays

Orange and maple syrup flavored Brussels sprouts.

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For more holiday recipes, download
Health Begins in the Kitchen on Amazon & iTunes

Planning my Thanksgiving Menu
Thanksgiving should have been named the Holiday of Starch with mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole and stuffing always being the highlights of the menu. But my favorite dish is always Brussels Sprouts, even though I also make garlicky green beens for those who aren't crazy about the petite cabbage. Last year I made Roasted Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Shallots with Pomegranate Seeds. A few years ago I served them raw in a Brussels Sprouts Salad with Orange Chia Seed Vinaigrette, Dried Cranberries and Almonds. But this year's recipe is super simple and flavorful with just a handful of common ingredients.

If you have a Instant Pot or similar pressure cooker, this recipe will take only a few minutes. But I'll also show you a simple stove top recipe too.


It's nice to have an extra pot on Thanksgiving day since
all the burners and the oven are full of other things!


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Sweet and Orangey Brussels Sprouts 
Vegan, Gluten Free
[makes 8 servings]

2 pounds Brussels sprouts (1.5 pounds when trimmed)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon Earth Balance buttery spread
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Trim 1/4 inch off the bottom of each Brussels sprout. If they are large, cut them in half. Otherwise, leave them whole. Rinse under cold water.

Stove Top Recipe
Place the Brussels sprouts in a 5-quart Dutch oven or medium pot with a steamer basket. Steam them until they are fork tender. Some people like them as hard as a rock but I am not one of those people. I think they taste creamier when you can pierce them easily with a fork. 

Drain the cooked Brussels sprouts in a colander and set aside. Remove the steamer basket and remove all water.

Using the same pot, combine the orange juice and zest, Earth Balance, and maple syrup. Heat at a low temperature until the Earth Balance melts, stirring so that it mixes with the other ingredients.


Orange sauce

Add the Brussels sprouts to the orange sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir until each Brussels sprout is covered with the warm sauce. Serve immediately or reheat before serving.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Recipe
Place all of the ingredients in the Instant Pot or similar Pressure cooker.




Cover with the pressure cooker top, making sure that the quick release switch is closed. 
Push the manual button and set it for 3 to 4 minutes if the Brussels sprouts are good size and whole and 2 to 3 minutes if they are very small or cut in half. If you like them harder than fork tender, you should set it for less time. You can always cook them longer if they aren't done to your liking by just setting the lid back over the pot and letting them sit in the pot a minute or two more.

When the time is up, hit the off button and quick release the pressure.

Stir until the Brussels sprouts are evenly covered with sauce and serve.

Per serving: 65 calories, 2 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 83 mg omega-3 and 45 mg omega-6 fatty acids*, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 3 g dietary fiber, and 179 mg sodium.




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Have A Vegan Wine And Cheese Party!
Stock Up On Miyoko's Artisan Vegan "Cheese"
Perfect For Holiday Entertaining

Finally, Vegan "cheese" that tastes like cheese. Thanks Miyoko!

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Really, it Tastes Like Cheese!
I've always been very honest with you about vegan "cheese" because, let's face it, most of it is horrible. Some fake "cheese" products are passible buried in a lasagna or enchilada casserole but they simply do not taste good on a cracker and I certainly wouldn't ruin a good glass of wine eating them.

But Miyoko's Kitchen has produced a wide variety of "Cultured Nut Products" (they legally can't call it cheese because it lacks dairy) that are out of this world. 

A few years back, Miyoko tried to inspire people to make their own in her book, Artisan Vegan Cheese but enough people encouraged her to just make the "cheese" products and sell them. Well, she finally did just that and many vegans and those allergic to dairy, like myself, are very grateful. And, they are all gluten free.


If you want to try and do this yourself, buy
Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner

Lots of Products to Choose From
I haven't yet tried them all but I'll list them for you.

Classic Double Cream Chive
This one is amazing. I grated some on a baked potato with a spoonful of Tofutti sour cream and I was in heaven. You can also use some to stir into your vegan mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner. You won't be disappointed. 
This has a 60 day shelf life.
Double Cream Chive pairs well with a tannic Chianti, Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.


Double cream chive on top of a baked potato with Tofutti

Double Cream Sundried Tomato Garlic
I also loved this one and crumbled it on top of a homemade veggie pizza. It didn't really melt  but the flavors were wonderful. I think next time I will spread it on the crust first before putting the veggies on or grate it so it's thinner. It think it would melt if it were stirred into hot pasta. It would go beautifully with a nice Chianti.
This product has a 60 day shelf life.


Double Cream Sundried Tomato Garlic on veggie pizza

High Sierra Rustic Alpine
I think this one is my favorite. It's semi hard so it cuts well if you want to put it on a cracker or a slice of apple. To me it has the flavor of an aged cheddar with hints of bacon. I wanted to try making a panini with this "cheese" but I loved it so much I just consumed it all before I had a chance. Time to buy more!
Although I can't imagine it lasting very long in the fridge, this product has a nice long 90 day shelf life.
High Sierra Rustic Alpine can stand up to a good Cabernet Sauvignon but is also delightful with a Sauvignon Blanc. 




Fresh Loire Valley in a Fig Leaf
This soft wheel is beautifully wrapped in a wine-cured fig leaf. I haven't had a chance to try this one yet but Miyoko suggests serving with fruit and crackers and pairing with a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, a classic Bordeaux or a Semillon. 
It has a shelf live of 60 days.


I'm borrowing this picture from Miyoko's website so you can
see just how beautifully this one is presented.

I will get a chance to finally try this one on Friday!

French Style Winter Truffle
Marbled with truffle-scented mushrooms, this earthy delight was my daughter's favorite. Perhaps that's because it paired so beautifully with our Turtle Vines vegan Russian River Pinot Noir!
This product has the shortest shelf life of 30 days but do you think it would last that long around your holiday guests? I think not.

Read more about why you should drink vegan wine.

Aged English Sharp and Aged English Smoked Farmhouse
I tried the sharp version which was wonderful just on a simple cracker. It tasted like an aged cheddar with very complex flavors and paired nicely with a Petite Syrah.
Both of these have a nice long shelf life of 90 days.

Country Style Herbes de Provence
This beautiful wheel is encrusted in herbs and since it pairs beautifully with champagne and Prosecco, what better "cheese" to serve on New Year's Eve? But you obviously have to be a fan of Herbes de Provence.
This one also has a nice long shelf life of 90 days.


Country Style Herbes de Provence

How to Buy
Since these are made in Fairfax, California, I assume the product will start popping up in some local grocery stores in Northern California soon. I believe it is being carried in a Whole Foods in Novato and in the Community Market at the Barlow in Sebastopol. But if you can't find it in your town, you can buy it online at Miyoko's Kitchen Website. Right now you can only buy preselected collections of these "cheeses" and are not able to select individual products (I don't know if that will change in the future). For example:

The Harvest Collection contains: 
Fresh Loire Valley in a Fig Leaf
French Style Winter Truffle
High Sierra Rustic Alpine
Classic Double Cream Cheese
Double Cream Sundried Tomato Garlic

The Traditional Collection offers:
Aged English Sharp Farmhouse
Aged English Smoked Farmhouse
High Sierra Rustic Alpine

The Party Platter contains:
A Limited Edition Double Cream Garlic Herb
Fresh Loire Valley in a Fig Leaf
French Style Winter Truffle
High Sierra Rustic Alpine
Aged English Sharp Farmhouse
Double Cream Sundried Tomato Garlic

But if you are going to pay for shipping, you might as well load up on these wonderful products and get a chance to taste a wide variety of them. Miyoko suggests you order before Monday, November 24th at 12:00pm (PST) if you want delivery before Thanksgiving.

A big THANK YOU to Miyoko for making these wonderful products!



Monday, November 17, 2014

Making Polenta in my Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
The Creamiest Polenta I've Ever Eaten!
Vegan And Gluten Free

I love polenta when it's soft and creamy.

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Making Polenta in my Electric Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
Last month I blogged about my new Electric Instant Pot pressure cooker. I've been using it almost every day. I thought I would love it because it cooks things in less time, which it does for many dishes like beans, for example. But even when it takes the same amount of time, when you add in the time it takes for the pot to release its pressure naturally, I actually love it more for the texture it gives grains (like quinoa, polenta, and oatmeal.) It also frees you from having to continually stir dishes, like risotto.

Making polenta is one of those dishes that requires complete attention when making it on the stove. It needs constant stirring toward the end, it can boil over onto your nice clean stove, or send a flying hot clump of polenta into your eye. It also can result in polenta that's a bit gritty and crunchy. But making polenta in this pot not only makes it a lot easier, but it produces the creamiest polenta I've ever eaten! 

Great for your Gluten-Free Guests
Polenta is versatile and makes a great dish for various toppings. You can top polenta with ratatouille, sautéed mushrooms, tomato sauce, beans, poached or fried eggs, or just eat it plain. Today Doug and I had it for lunch with some black beans (cooked with green peppers and onions) and some pickled jalapeños that I canned a few weeks ago. 



          *                           *                            *

Creamy Pressure Cooker Polenta
Vegan, Dairy and Gluten Free
[makes 6 servings]

Requires the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker or a similar pressure cooker (link below for stove top recipe)

2 cups water
2 cups almond (or other non-dairy) milk
1 tablespoon Earth Balance buttery spread
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 cup gluten-free dry polenta or corn grits 
1 to 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)

Place the water, milk, Earth Balance, and salt into the Instant Pot. Press the sauté button on the lower left and bring the liquids to a boil.

Push sauté button on lower left to boil liquids in pot.

Gradually stir the polenta and nutritional yeast into the boiling liquid until well combined.



Cover with the pressure cooker top, making sure that the quick release switch is closed. Push the manual button and set it for 7 minutes.



When it's done, hit the off button on the lower right and let it release it's pressure naturally. It should take 15 to 20 minutes. 

After the pressure is released, slide open the cover and tilt it so that the steam comes out the back away from your face. There will be some liquid on top of the polenta. Stir until the liquid is incorporated and the polenta is smooth. Adjust salt if needed. If you want it thicker, hit the sauté button and cook for a few more minutes but it will thicken a lot as it cools.

When you open the cover, there will be liquid on top of the polenta.
Stir until the liquid is incorporated and the polenta is smooth.

Serve immediately.

Per serving: 135 calories, 3 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 2 g dietary fiber, and 266 mg sodium.

Don't have a pressure cooker? Here's the recipe for making polenta on a stove top


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What To Do With That Crazy Looking Vegetable
Creamy Celeriac, Potato and Pear Soup
Vegan And Gluten Free

Celeriac and pears combine beautifully in this fall soup.

Need more vegan recipes and menus for the holidays?
Download my eBook, Health Begins in the Kitchen,
available on Amazon and iTunes.

What's this Crazy Looking Vegetable in my CSA Box?
Did you receive a weird looking vegetable in your CSA box that looks like someone crossed a large jicama with the head of Medusa? Or did you pass something like that in the produce section of your grocery store and wonder what it was? Well, this knobby jewel is called celeriac, also known as celery root. 


After many years of passing them by, I finally worked up the courage to buy one this weekend. After tasting it, both raw and cooked, I really regret having waited so long.

Beneath the knobby skin, the inside flesh has the consistency and flavor of celery only a bit milder and without the annoying strings. Nutritionally, it's a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, manganese and magnesium and very good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, phosphorus and potassium. A cup of celeriac is only 66 calories and is virtually fat free. Slice it into salads, mash it, puree it, roast it or throw it into a soup. This vegetable is quite versatile.

Celeriac (celery root) after peeling

Since the temperature is dropping across the country and the holidays are approaching, I thought a fall soup recipe would be welcomed. Enjoy!

        *                      *                        *

Creamy Celeriac, Potato and Pear Soup
Vegan and Gluten Free
[makes 6 servings]

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
4 cups peeled and diced celeriac (about 1 1/2 pounds before peeling)
4 cups peeled and diced potatoes
2 medium pears, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
2 thin lemon slices
1 teaspoon Earth Balance buttery spread
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon Mediterranean pine nuts 
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 

Heat the oil in a soup pot or 5-quart Dutch oven and cook the onion, on medium-low heat, until it softens, about 5 minutes. 

Stir in the celeriac, potatoes, pears and thyme and cook, stirring constantly, for another 2 minutes. 

Add the broth, salt, pepper, and lemon slices and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. 



Remove the lemon slices and blend the soup, either using a hand blender or a regular blender (you may have to process in batches) until smooth.

I find using an electric hand blender is a lot simpler than using a blender.

Return the blended soup to the pot. Stir in the Earth Balance and, after it melts, the lemon juice. If it's too thick, add a bit more broth or hot water. Adjust the salt and pepper and amount of lemon juice if necessary.

I usually like to use raw nuts in all my recipes but I find that pine nuts are much tastier in a recipe like this if they are briefly toasted in a heated frying pan for just a few minutes. 

Pour the soup in individual soup bowls and top with pine nuts and parsley.

Each bowl is only 223 calories!

Per serving: 223 calories, 4 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 31 mg omega-3 and 895 mg omega-6 fatty acids, 5 g protein, 41 g carbohydrate, 8 g dietary fiber, and 311 mg sodium.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Maple Syrup And Cayenne Glazed Acorn Squash
Spicy And Colorful Fall Side Dish

Roasted acorn slices make a wonderful dish for Thanksgiving.

Need some vegan recipes and menus for the holidays?
Download my eBook, Health Begins in the kitchen,
available on Amazon and iTunes

It's November - Time to Start Cooking!
I don't know what it is, but in November my urge to cook triples. Maybe it's the cool weather or the countdown to Thanksgiving, but I want to just fill the house with colorful winter squash, persimmons, pomegranates, pears, and all the other wonderful fruits and vegetables that are so plentiful this time of year. Just yesterday I developed five recipes for upcoming blog posts that I will be sharing soon. Doug and I happily ate from morning to night. It's tough work but someone has to do it :-)

Acorn Squash
This little winter squash is so adorable. I just want to decorate the entire dining table with them! I'll admit they are hard to cut and Doug usually attacks that job (given that I'm prone to slicing off pieces of digits.) But I thought that slices of roasted and glazed acorn squash would make a great Thanksgiving or holiday side dish. They are easier to serve and one doesn't have to commit to an entire squash half. Doug was able to make the cuts directly on the ridges so the slices were extra cute. 

Winter squash is an excelled source of alpha and beta-carotene as well as lutein and zeaxanthin.
Acorn squash is high in Vitamin A, C, thiamin and B6 as well as magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
It's an excellent source of dietary fiber too!
              
   *                        *                      *

Roasted Acorn Squash Glazed with Maple Syrup and Cayenne
Vegan, Gluten Free
[makes 4 servings]

Requires a large, rimmed baking pan. Non-stick or lined with a Silpat sheet preferable.

1 (8 inch) acorn squash
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne papper (or to taste)*
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
* You can also used any other pepper such as chipotle, black pepper, or your favorite spicy seasoning such as mitmita, hot pimenton or others. Adjust amounts accordingly.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice 1/2 inch from the top and bottom of the acorn squash. Slice in half vertically, trying to stay between the ridges, and scoop out the seeds. Proceed to slice the acorn squash along the ridges or make each slice around 1 1/2 inches wide.



Mix the oil, maple syrup, cayenne and salt in a large bowl. Stir until it is well combined. 
Dip each slice into the bowl and with a small spoon, drip the mixture onto both sides and the inside of the slices. 


Place the dipped slices on their sides on a non-stick, rimmed, roasting pan or one that is covered with a Silpat sheet. If you use a regular rimmed roasting pan, make sure you grease it first. This will make cleanup easier as the maple syrup will caramelize. 

Bake in the oven until they soften, about 20 to 30 minutes. Flip over and cook until a fork easily pierces the squash, another 10 to 15 minutes. 



Serve immediately as a side dish. For dinner last night, we had them with Tamaki Haiga rice and Brussels Sprouts that I cooked in five minutes in my new pressure cooker. I will share that simple recipe in the near future.



Sunday, November 02, 2014

Not All Wine Is Vegan And Gluten Free
Find Out What's In Your Wine
Try Our 2012 Turtle Vines Pinot Noir

Our Turtle Vines Pinot Noir is raw, vegan, unfined, unfiltered, gluten free and made from certified organic grapes.

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Download my eBook, Health Begins in the Kitchen,
on Amazon and iTunes.

What's in your Wine?
Even if you're not a vegan you may not relish the idea that the wine you are drinking was mixed with gelatin from pigs, cows, and fish bladders, egg whites, and other distasteful animal ingredients, during the winemaking process. And for those of you who are lactose or gluten intolerant, you may be concerned that milk protein and wheat gluten may also have been used. 

Why is this done?
Many wineries have a formula for making wine that produces a consistent product from year to year that is less dependent on the quality of the grapes they use. The commercial process that is used to create a clear and stable wine or to fix defects is calling "fining". 

Fining
Fining is the operation of adding one or more compounds to wine to bring it into balance and keep it there. Many of these compounds are from animals, gluten and other surprising materials. Although these compounds are filtered out of the wine before it is bottled and sold, there potentially could be some residue in the wine, albeit very minuscule amounts. Here's are some examples:
* Isinglass (fish bladder) is used to clarify wine.
* Gelatin (pork, cow and fish skin and bones) clarifies wine and removes excess tannins.
* Plant proteins (either green peas or hydrolyzed gluten) is used to clarify wine and remove excess tannins. Pea protein is appropriate for vegan wines.
* Egg albumin is used to clarify wine and remove astringencies in red wine.
* Potassium caseinate (milk protein) improves aromatic defects and treats oxidized wines.
* PVPP (plastic) is used to treat bitterness.
* Bentonite (clay) is used for rapid clarification and to treat protein-unstable wines.Bentonite is appropriate for vegan wines.

Is Fining Necessary?
Our Turtle Vines Pinot Noir is not fined or filtered. No animal products, plastic, or gluten is used in the production of our wine. It is simply not necessary.

To achieve clarity, we "rack" our wine. Racking is the process of letting the wine settle and then siphoning it into another vessel. This is done three times. Occasionally there is a bit of residue at the bottom of our bottles but that doesn't bother us - it's better than adding these odd and distasteful compounds listed above.

To balance our tannins, we "cold soak" our destemmed (and about 5% whole-cluster) grapes for five to ten days before fermentation to bring out the beneficial, water soluble skin tannins. 
We prevent excess tannins by ending fermentation and pressing the wine before the wine goes completely dry. This controls excess tannins from the grapes seeds by limiting how long they soak in the fermented wine.

Tannins can also seem out of balance if the acidity and alcohol levels are inappropriate. Acid levels are controlled by measuring and adding tartaric acid when necessary. Correct alcohol levels are controlled by picking the grapes when their target sugar content (and flavor) is achieved. With the proper acidity and alcohol levels, fining is not necessary to adjust tannins. 

All these methods of carefully balancing tannins prevents having to deal with astringencies and bitterness.


Cold soaking before fermentation 

Controlling aromatic defects is much easier to control when you grow and hand-pick your own grapes. At Turtle Vines we examine every grape cluster continually throughout the growing season, discarding any that have mold or mildew or that are not ripe enough to pick. Many large wineries machine-harvest their grapes allowing more bad grapes to end up in the fermentation tank. 

The Importance of Organic Grapes
When you go grocery shopping for grapes, many of you buy those that are organically grown. Every year table grapes are listed as one of the Environmental Working Groups "Dirty Dozen". Their 2014 audits showed that table grape samples has residue of at least 15 pesticides. But when you buy a bottle of wine, most people don't even think about whether or not the grapes used to make the wine are organic. Conventionally grown wine grapes can be treated with synthetic pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, and fertilizers. 

According to the California Department of Pesticides Regulation, 25 million pounds of pesticides were applied to conventionally-grown wine grapes in California in 2010. These wine grapes had far more pesticides than table grapes. According to the USDA Pesticide Data Program, there are up to 34 different kinds of pesticide residues found on conventionally-grown grapes! 

Our grapes at Turtle Vines Vineyards are certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers Association. It is not only important for our wine to be free of these toxins to protect you, but we did not want ourselves, our workers, our neighbors, or wildlife to be exposed or subjected to these harmful chemicals. 

We do not, however, make organic wine. The difference between organic wine and wine made from certified organic grapes is that organic wine does not allow for the addition of sulfur dioxide. Since sulfur dioxide prevents bacterial spoilage, very few wines are made organically as they have a short shelf life. We feel that the majority of benefits to the consumer are obtained by wine being vegan and made from certified organic grapes. 




Is Wine Raw?
During fermentation, temperatures rise but generally stay below 85 degrees so, from that standpoint, wine is considered raw. However, some winemakers add sugar during the winemaking process to achieve their target alcohol content (not to make the wine sweeter). Unless the sugar used was raw sugar, some would consider this wine not to be raw. 

This process of adding sugar to wine is called "chaptalization" and it is generally done in regions that have poor climate and produce grapes with low sugar content. This practice is illegal in Argentina, Australia, Austria, California, Italy, and South Africa. So you can be assured that wines from these regions were not made with sugar. Our California wines have plenty of sunshine and ample sugar content and don't need this added sugar.

Our 2012 Turtle Vines Pinor Noir is Now Available
If you are interested in purchasing our Pinot Noir, please go to our Turtle Vines Website.
Our wine is raw, vegan, unfined, unfiltered, gluten-free, and made with our hand-farmed organic grapes. 

The 2012 Pinot is about 80 percent Pommard and 20 percent 667 with a lower alcohol content of 13.0%. This produces a feminine style wine with a taste of ripened strawberry, currant, and cassis. It is a very versatile and food friendly wine which complements almost any dish from pasta to chocolate truffles!

If you mention Foods For Long Life, you will get additional 10% discount. Stock up for the holidays!


Mention Foods For Long Life and get an additional 10% off
our 2012 Turtle Vines Russian River Pinot Noir