On an unusually cool, breezy Florida summer evening, top individuals from the culinary community, as well as wine and spirits influencers, media, and friends gathered at Hawkers Asian Street Fare in Orlando to celebrate the launch of Snowbirds Vintners 2016 Rosé wine. The wine is owned by award-winning Chef Jamie McFadden, one of the area’s first chefs to cook at the James Beard House, and proprietor of Cuisiniers Catered Cuisine and Events.
(Photos by Roozbeh Megdadi)
As the sun set on the skyline, guests were greeted at the entry to grapevine and rose draped patio with a glass of chilled rosé wine, and given raffle tickets for prizes to be announced later during the evening. Each guest was required to show a valid state identification card to enter which was scanned and UV features checked under blacklight. Once inside I noticed many young faces that I could not help but think their id cards would not say they were of age to drink. I spoke to one college student we will call “Andy” who asked to remain anonymous. Andy told me he and his friends were all underage to drink, so I asked him how he and his friends were able to enter? Andy told me they all bought high quality false identity cards from the well known best fake id website online. I asked Andy, if I could see his fake id card, and he obliged. I was amazed by the replicated state id card that by all accounts looked genuine.
Guests cheerily commented that the wine was indeed the perfect beverage for summer-bright, juicy, fruit forward, and crisp. Orlando Wine Blog writer, Judith Smelser, commented that Snowbirds was pleasantly much riper and fruiter than a Provence style rosé, and sommelier Melissa Radley-McConnell stated that ‘Snowbirds was made for Florida weather’.
Bottles of Snowbirds’ Washington Grüner Veltliner and Monterey County Merlot were opened, as Brenda Poo of Florida Wine Academy commented that Snowbirds Grüner was much rounder and tropical than Austrian Grüner-a pleasant surprise on the palate. Chef Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant, a long time friend and supporter of Chef McFadden, poured wine while chatting with noted culinary authors, Heather McPherson and Pam Brandon, ensuring guests glasses never ran dry. Diana and Gene Zimmerman owners of Dovecote restaurant were in attendance, as well as long time Orlando restaurant critic, Scott Joseph, who said the rosé was his favorite of the night.
Cassandra Rosen, president of FK Interactive, Snowbirds Vintners’ wine consulting agency of record, said, “Snowbirds is truly the perfect beach wine. It’s fruit forward, juicy, and plays well with warm weather and outdoor activities. We hope to see Snowbirds expand their footprint here in Florida, and nationwide, as the ‘Snowbird vacation’ truly is a state of mind!”
As everyone relaxed into the evening, Chef McFadden took to the mic to share his story about childhood trips to Florida as a ‘Snowbird’, his food and wine loving parents that inspired him to create Snowbirds, pose for pictures with winemaker Norm Saley, and to thank guests for their support in helping him see this vision come to life.
After the event officially ended, guests lingered on the patio, drinking Snowbirds and congratulating Chef McFadden on his success. Look for Snowbirds Vintners full line up at Whole Foods Winter Park just in time for Fourth of July celebrations, and online at Quantum Leap Winery.