Local grapes by the Amana Colonies

Kristen took a trip to Iowa last month and discovered a large community of people called the Amana Colonies who are helping locally grown grapes make a major come back!


Amana, not Amish: 

At first glance, the Amana community seems to highly resemble the famous Amish settlers. However, the people of the Amana colonies are of German descent and highly value innovation and advancement in technology. After breaking away from the Luthern church in 1714, the Amana group has thrived and how stands as 7 large colonies. To our joyous surprise, Amana is famous for their Oktoberfest celebration and supports 4 wineries and 1 incredibly German-style brewery.


Show me the wine

While visiting, Kristen managed to visit 2 of the wineries and got to learn a great deal about delicious local blends.

Stop 1: Fireside Winery –

**Currently being sold in the Heritage Haus in Amana.

Though these wines are sold to Amana like a winery in Napa would sell them to you local liquor store, the winery grows grape varieties that we have never heard of before!

Wines to try:

Hearthstone: It was a beautiful, light, and semi-dry red wine made with the local Marquette grape. It’s aroma screams fresh cherry and the palate finishes with smokey oak flavors. It’s wine that is elegant enough for short ribs but yet approachable enough for pizza.

Blu: This white blend of Geisenheim and local Iowa Seyval grapes, is a lightly sweet wine with crisp apple notes and and orange fruit aromas. It’s the perfect pair for your spicy taco night or BYOB to your favorite Indian restaurant. Seyval is also a MA local grape and the Iowa expression is elegant in comparison.

Glow: This dessert sweet wine is made with Iowa grown Brianna grapes. Expect this wine to take you away to a tropical destination with its pineapple, peach, and roasted apricot flavors. It’s the perfect sweet wine for the white sangria lovers in your life or even better on ice as a summer porch sipper.


Brave enough to try?

Fireside wines can be purchased on their website and shipped to your house! Explore their large portfolio and let us know what you think!


Stop 2: Ackerman Winery

Established in 1956, it’s one of the oldest wineries in Iowa and has won awards for it’s fruit wine such as rhubarb and dandelion wine. Their unique selection of wines alone was stunning before we even to got taste them!


wines to try:

Catawba: This native American grape varietal is the parent grape of the famous Concord variety. It produces a gorgeous pink wine that we swear will be your new summer fav! It’s hints of fresh strawberry and red apple will go down so easy it can be dangerous.

Edelweiss: This juicy Iowa grown white grape reminded us of a Gewurztraminer. It’s soft and floral body is easy drinking with pear and lemon notes. Serve ice cold while waiting for toe nails to dry in the hot summer sun.

Try the fruit wines – we dare you! Choosing a top fruit wine is too hard. All of their fruits are grown across america and boast about their health benefits as listed below. The Rhubarb and Dandelion have won awards but the Blackberry and Pomegranate were some of our favs. We recommend joining the wine club so you can taste them all!

Ackerman wines can also be purchased on their website!


Happy Drinking Wineos!!!



Pura: Our Bottled Sangria of the Season

Nothing beats creating your own sangria recipe based off your favorite summer flavors, but sometimes you need to grab a bottle of sangria on the go.  Not everyone has the time to let a sangria pitcher sit overnight, or maybe you want to try someone else’s take on the season’s favorite wine cocktail.

This summer, our current fave is Pura, an all-organic, Spanish import, bottled sangria bursting with flavor inside the bottle – and color on the outside!

It’s a fruity, zesty sangria overflowing with prominent orange and blackberry flavors. It’s made with 100% Monastrell grapes – or, as the French call it, Mourvèdre. The finished product is juicy and light on the palate: the perfect wine for summer sipping.

We’d be remiss not to mention the gorgeous bottle. The split color, polka-dots, and the orange-headed lady – a clear fruit enthusiast,  sets the  wine scene before you open it.   Bottles are often deceiving, but this one is right on the mark!

It’s versatile, too, depending on the weather or your mood. We love this sangria straight from the bottle, or on the rocks during a hot afternoon. Want more bite? Try adding in a nip or two of citrus vodka or orange brandy; you won’t be disappointed. If you happen to create an amazing PURA sangria cocktail, try submitting your invention to their mixology page where you can literally win prizes for your summer drinking habits.

If you see this sangria at your local wine outlet, snag it while you can. We hope you enjoy sipping this drink during the hottest days of summer!

Patriots Sangria Recipe

Although we review wines from all over the world, we’ll always be New England girls at heart. So it goes without saying that we’ll be rooting for the Pats at the Super Bowl, and we can’t give our full gusto without a good glass of wine! We whipped up a Patriot’s Sangria to celebrate our favorite team and hope our New England readers will enjoy it on game day.

With clear white ice cubs, fresh red raspberries and colorful blueberries, we pay homage to our team’s classic, patriotic colors in this berry sangria:


But enough about colors – let’s talk about how to make it, and the berry-licious taste!


2 bottles of Pinot Noir

1 cup cherry brandy

A splash of soda water

Fresh Raspberries

Fresh Blueberries



The recipe is simple: 

In a pitcher, mix the Pinot Noir and the cherry brandy. Stir and let chill (optional).

When serving, top each glass with a splash of chilled soda water. Add ice and a handful of blueberries and raspberries to capture the Patriot’s color scheme.

Last step: drink up and cheer on our boys!

We hope you  enjoy! GO PATS!


Sangria Series #4 -Raspberry Lemonade Sangria

Happy August, wine lovers!

There’s no debate – lemonade is the best summer beverage when you’re trying to cool down. Other than white wine, that is. So we decided to combine the two into a sangria recipe! Perfect after a long hot day out or as a sweet nighttime beverage, this sangria is light on the palate but will definitely supply the fun buzz needed for a girls’ night in.


I decided on a raspberry lemonade recipe, but substituting the raspberry flavor for any of your other favorite lemonade tastes (plain, pink, strawberry, peach, etc) will work just as well!

The ingredients list is simple!

  • 1 bottle of Pinot Grigio (I used Avia from our “How Low Can You Go” article!)
  • 4-5 cups of raspberry lemonade (I used Simply Lemonade brand)
  • 2 nips of raspberry vodka (I used Smirnoff)
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1 pear, sliced

The process is as simple as it looks – add it all together and stir! Feel free to add more lemonade or vodka depending on how soft or strong you want the drink to be.


I garnished the sangria with slices of apple and pear, then left the mixture to chill for several hours in the fridge. When it was ready, we served the chilled sangria over ice. Frozen raspberries or strawberries would have worked as well!


Prefer your lemonade sweet? Subsistute pinot grigio with riesling or a moscato!




David’s Tea Sangria – Summer Sangria Series #3


Hey Wineos! We hope that you are enjoying your summer so far! We are proud to present another Half-Past Summer Sangria Series recipe, this time inspired from Davids Tea Goji Pop Sangria.

We call ours:

Magic Dragon Sangria (David’s Tea)

*makes 6 solo cup size glasses*


16 “perfect spoonfuls” of Magic Dragon herbal tea from David’s Tea – we bought 2 oz of tea which was more than enough so we suggest 1.5oz 


4.5 cups of hot water 

2 cups Stemmari Moscato (or Moscato of your choice)


1 shot of Blackberry Liquor 


5 oz Bacardi White Rum


3 Clementines 

1 Pink Lady Apple 


  1. Divide 2 of the 3 clementines into sections and freeze pieces in Ziplock bags. 13595614_10209868728420781_8198027_n
  2. Bring water to almost boil and add tea- let steep until room temperature
  3. Pour wine, rum, liquor and into a pitcher
  4. Pour steeping tea into pitcher but DO NOT strain the loose tea out!
  5. Divide the last clementine into smaller pieces, slice apple into small pieces and add both to pitcher. 13624876_10209868728540784_552935729_n
  6. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, leaving the loose tea inside pitcher
  7. When ready to serve, Pour sangria through a tea strainer for each glass then add frozen Clementine pieces to act as ice cubes. **If you own a David’s Tea Pitcher that has a tea strainer built in then make the whole sangria using their pitcher.** 13617952_10209868728460782_1147795539_n
  8. ENJOY!!


David’s Tea Logo Image Credit @ laurenmarinigh.com

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Watermelon Sangria – Summer Sangria Series #2

Here’s a recipe we created just for you, and the first in our summer long Sangria Series!

Watermelon Sangria


*Batch size makes 5 solo cup size glasses of sangria*

1 bottle of dry {not overly sweet}  bubbly rose (brand of your choice)


1 bottle of Rosatello sweet Italian bubbly rose .


2 cups of WTR MLN WTR brand watermelon water/juice


3/4c elderflower liquor – we used St.Elder brand


1 nip of Smirnoff Watermelon Vodka


1 pound of fresh or store cut watermelon hearts

1 package of  grilling skewers


  1. Cut half of the watermelon hearts into small cubes and place three on 5 skewers. Freeze the chunks until ready to serve sangria.
  2. Mix the 1 bottle of dry bubbly rose wine, elderflower liquor, watermelon nip, watermelon water, and half of the watermelon hearts cut into chunks. Add all of these ingredients into a pitcher and refrigerate for at least four hours.
  3. Pour each solo cup 3/4 of the way full with sangria mixer. Add in iced watermelon skewer and then top off the cup with Rosatello bubbly rose wine.
  4. ENJOY!


Summer Sangria Series #1: Sangria for Dummies


Hey Everyone! The hot summer months are finally here and we all know that means ice cold pitchers of Sangria are more than necessary. This is our easy guide for those readers who are a little intimidated by making a batch for the in-law’s 4th of July party.

Sangria is made of a few simple components:

  1. one bottle of red or white wine
  2. 1/2 cup – 1 cup fruit juice
  3. 1/2 cup – fruit liquor or rum
  4. 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup sweetener (agave, honey, simple syrup) {simple syrup = equal parts granulated sugar and water that is heated/simmered on the stove until all of the sugar dissolved – takes about 5 minutes} 
  5. Mix all ingredients in a larger pitcher with ice. Chill and serve!
  6. ** PRO TIP: Freeze bunches of grapes (or other fruit) and use them like ice cubes to prevent watered down sangria! They are WICKED tasty as treats!


  1.  1 -2 cups of mixer (club soda, iced tea, sprite, lemonade)
  2. 1-2 cups of chopped and peeled fresh fruit


Now obviously you do not have to follow this format at all it’s just a basic guide. Sangria is meant to be a fun mash up of what you have lying around. OR a great way to re-purpose wine that you may not have liked on its own.


Out Shopping?

Running late to the cookout and don’t have time to make a sangria? NO PROBLEM! Check out these premade sangria brand that we can guarantee are summer sweet.

Lolea Sangria –


This bubbly sangria can be found at Whole Foods and in half bottles! Perfect for carrying along in your bag. They produce a bubbly sangria in both red, white, and champange styles!

Senor Sangria –


This gem we found a local unique wine shop. The wines are produced in Spain and are made in both red and white styles. This sangria is big on natural fruit juices so it may not be very strong in the alcohol content but it tastes fresh!!

Mija Sangria –


This tangy superfruit sangria is great tasting and good for you! Thankfully it can be found at most liquor stores and supermarkets like Wegmans. Check out our article mentioning this wine for further info!

Yellowtail Bubbly Sangria


Deep red and super juicy! This sangria is ready for the party but DO NOT SHAKE before you open it. Yellow tail is a widely sold brand so this may be your best bet on the way to a party but we can promise you that its awesome!

Happy Sangria-ing!




Yellow Tail Sangria: A Near-Death Experience

Yesterday, Kristen was violently attacked by a seemingly user-friendly bottle of bubbly sangria.

User-friendly…or not?

The terms “bubbly” and “sangria” are rarely paired, but that’s what drew us to it. This summer, we’ve been obsessed with bubbles. An avid red wine fan myself, I’ve been veering toward sangria recently to get that deep taste without the warm flush I often get from heavier reds like Merlot. So I’ve adapted to the dramatic shift in New England weather and was thrilled when Kristen revealed her bubbly sangria, which embraced everything I love about wine and our summer.

Unfortunately, a late summer lunch comes with cute clothes, and cute clothes don’t mash well with a bubbly explosions. Kristen did the honors of popping our bubbly, which proceeded to explode all over her new elephant pants and white knit sweater. Thankfully, I drink enough coffee (and am clumsy enough) that I’m an expert stain-remover.

But we can’t blame it all on the bubbles from our fave Australian vineyard. On our way to Demi’s, Kristen and I were nearly hit on three separate left turns by aggressive speeders flying over hills. The poor bubbly, unprotected in the trunk thanks to Massachusetts law, got tossed around and had plenty of reason for a red-stained revenge when Kristen went to pop it open.

Beautiful red bubbles
Homemade pan pizzas

That said, it was a delicious glass. Though we may be a bit traumatized from the opening, within a few sips we’d (mostly) forgotten all about the messy incident. We paired our drinks with homemade pan pizzas, balancing the spicy pepperoni, onions, and peppers with the thick sweetness of the sangria.

The bottle was purchased at Wegman’s, costing $9.99 and serving four. Demi, our picky drinker, gives her stamp of approval, showing this is a selection for both avid wine drinkers and those who aren’t.

Anyway, here’s a video of retro cats getting turnt on bubbles in a vintage children’s movie: