Local Supporting Local

Post by Sarah McAleer, Southern Regional Sales Manager

Local Supporting Local (makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside doesn’t it?)

That is what Oliver Winery is working hard to accomplish in Bloomington. We are building relationships with local restaurants, and showing them that the winery in their backyard makes quality wines worthy to be on their wine list with other national brands.

Several local restaurants have been stepping up to support Oliver Winery like never before. If you like to dine in Bloomington and you also like to enjoy a glass or share a bottle of Oliver wine during your meal, consider visiting one of the featured restaurants below. Please add the Oliver Winery blog to your “favorites” and check back often as we will continue to keep you informed about special Oliver features and wine list additions in local restaurants.


LENNIE’S – This month, receive a complimentary mini indulgence with the purchase of a glass of Creekbend Ice Wine or Maximum Port. February is a great month to enjoy some dessert with your sweetheart.

PUCCINI’S – New additions to their dessert wine list include Creekbend Late Harvest Vignoles and Maximum Port. They also carry other Oliver favorites on their wine list including Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Shiraz and Soft Red. If you haven’t checked out Puccini’s new menu, we highly recommend it.

FARM BLOOMINGTON – Merlot, Chambourcin Rosé, Vidal Blanc Sparkling and the Hoosier Martini are just a few of the new additions to Farm Bloomington’s wine list. You won’t be sorry if you ask for the Hoosier Martini made with Soft Red, vodka, fresh lime juice and a splash of lemon lime soda. A refreshing new twist to an old favorite.

Oliver Winery and Bloomington restaurants, now that’s what I call supporting local. Cheers!

Spring is just around the corner!

Post by Marian Keith, Landscape Supervisor

In the midst of all the snow and ice we’ve been experiencing, it may seem hard to believe that spring is nearly within sight. But by the end of February, increasing daylight and warmer temperatures will begin to break up the monotonous cold and we will see stirrings of life and definite signs that winter is on its way out. As the earth warms and becomes active, the first green tips of spring bulbs will break through the surface of the soil. Birds will start singing their morning songs and insects will be seen humming sleepily about, waking up from their long winter’s nap.

Crocus chrysanthus ‘Blue Pearl’, blooms in late winter
Snowdrops (Galanthus elwesii) are a welcome sign of spring

At Oliver Winery, the first flowers to appear are always our parking lot island plantings of Crocus chrysanthus.  Opening as early as the last week in February if sunny weather permits, these small but bright sparks of purple, blue and gold are like healing medicine to my winter-weary spirit.  The crocus are accompanied by snowdrops (Galanthus elwesii), which bloom in drifts of fresh white above the thawing ground.

Daffodil ‘Jetfire’ is bright, beautiful and vigorous
Scilla siberica is the perfect complement to early daffodils

As March rolls around, waves of daffodils will begin to open in succession, led by ‘Jetfire’, a perky and vigorous favorite of mine with golden, swept-back petals and a long, bright orange cup.  These are gorgeous in combination with the electric blue blooms of Scilla siberica, a tough, easy and inexpensive little bulb that naturalizes freely here.  Next in line is miniature daffodil ‘Tete a Tete’, and then breezy ‘Barret Browning’, whose fresh white petals surround a small, vivid orange cup.  This last beauty makes a spectacular show beneath the lavender-flocked branches of our stand of eastern redbuds (Cercis canadensis).

Tulip ‘Juan’ blooms brilliantly in late March

The first tulips start to flaunt their colors towards the very end of March.  Among the best and brightest is ‘Juan’, a variety I consistently use from year to year.  Its unbelievably brilliant red petals are glowing yellow at the base, and are set off by decorative, blue-green foliage that is mottled and striped with purple.  Like other Fosteriana tulips, ‘Juan’ will perennialize well if not eaten by critters (we have no such luck).  It is particularly smashing in combination with blue hyacinths.

Anemone blanda ‘Blue Shades’ look great with everything!

One of my absolute favorite early spring bulbs is Anemone blanda ‘Blue Shades’.  These cheerful, daisylike flowers form low, spreading pools of pale to deep blue among the feet of taller bulbs and emerging perennials.  Although beautiful anywhere, they look particularly amazing with orange and apricot-hued tulips such as ‘Orange Emperor’ or ‘Daydream’.  Let them to go to seed as I do, and they will eventually make breathtaking drifts.  White and pink varieties are also available, and these may cross with the blue ones if planted nearby, making for some fun new color surprises.

‘Daydream’ tulips glow against a scrim of lavender-flowered eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Oliver Winery is the perfect place to drink in the sights, smells and sounds of the first warm days of the year.  Come celebrate spring with us by enjoying a picnic by the pond and a stroll down our many winding, flower-lined paths.  On cooler days, our porch and patio heaters allow guests to sit outdoors comfortably while enjoying a glass of wine in the fresh air and sunshine.  We look forward to seeing you here!  It won’t be long now before everything bursts into life again.

Delightful Recipes for Valentine’s Day

Post by Pam Bonin, Marketing Manager

If you are looking to stay in this Valentine’s Day, we have a few recipes that will be great additions to your menu. Customers’ interest in dessert wines and sparkling wines always peak around this time of year. So we have included some great recipes using our Vidal Blanc Sparkling Wine, Maximum Port and Vidal Blanc Ice Wine. One of these recipes is surprisingly savory using our Maximum Port. We hope you enjoy. All of these recipes are staff-tested. Thank you Kandy and Kathy!

Peach & Sparkling Wine Sorbet
This light and fresh sorbet can be served as a palate cleanser in between courses or as a dessert after a rich, savory meal. Please note that this recipe requires an ice cream/sorbet maker. Makes 1 quart.

1 1/2 pounds peaches (Can substitute frozen, unsweetened peaches for fresh)
1/2 cup sugar + 1 Tbs
3 tsp lemon zest
3/4 cup Creekbend Vidal Blanc Sparkling Wine (substitute Muscat Canelli for a little extra sweetness)
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice

Put peaches in a large saucepan and cover them with boiling water. Cook 2 minutes, drain and rinse under cold water. Peel peaches; halve them and remove pits. Slice and transfer to food processor. Coarsely puree and pour into a bowl.

Bring sugar and 1/2 cup water to boil over medium-high heat. Add 2 tsp lemon zest and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes. Strain syrup into peach puree and blend well. Add Vidal Blanc Sparkling Wine, lemon juice and remaining teaspoon of lemon zest. Stir well and refrigerate until well chilled. Transfer to ice cream/sorbet maker and freeze.

Ice Wine Berries with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

This is an easy topping for your favorite chocolate cake or pound cake. You can also serve it on its own for a light and delectable dessert. Don’t forget to pair it with a glass of Vidal Blanc Ice Wine. It is deliciously divine! Makes about 2 cups.

2/3 cup strawberries, rinsed, drained well, tops removed and quartered
2/3 cup each raspberries and blackberries, rinsed and drained well
2 Tbs Creekbend Vidal Blanc Ice Wine

Gently toss berries with ice wine and let macerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream – Makes about 2 cups.

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbs vanilla infused sugar. You have to plan ahead to make this, but it is worth it and very easy. Follow this link to learn how to make your own.

Vigorously whisk cream and sugar together in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Serve immediately with your favorite flourless chocolate cake and ice wine berries.


Three-Mushroom Soup with Maximum Port & Tarragon
Maximum Port, a rich fortified dessert wine, adds depth to this savory soup. Mushroom lovers-this is the soup for you! Serves 6.

1 oz dried Porcini mushrooms
8 cups chicken stock
4 Tbs butter
2 shallots, minced
4 oz fresh Shiitake mushrooms, 1/4″ slice
12 oz white mushrooms, 1/4″ slice
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup Oliver Winery Maximum Port
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
salt & pepper
Combine dried Porcini and broth in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes. Pour broth through a cheesecloth-lined strainer, reserving broth. Rinse mushrooms well and coarsely chop.
Add butter to saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring until softened, approximately 1 minute. Add shiitake and white mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms have released their liquid, approximately 5-7 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low and sprinkle flour over mushrooms. Cook and stir well, scraping bottom of pan, for 1 minute. Gradually add broth and Maximum Port. Add the chopped porcini and tarragon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, partially covered for 20 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Serve soup garnished with creme fraiche or sour cream and a sprinkling of chives. So warm and filling on a cold day.

Port Wine Chocolate Cake
This classic chocolate is worth the effort. Your sweetie will appreciate its rich texture and lusciously rich flavor. Serves 14.

10 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
3/4 cup butter
5 egg yolks (save the whites)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup Maximum Port Wine
1/2 cup flour
5 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3 Tbs sugar
1 cup walnuts (optional, but yummy)

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1/2 Tbs corn syrup
1/2 cup Oliver Maximum Port
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a double broiler, melt unsweetened chocolate and 3/4 cup butter, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 10-inch bundt or tube pan.

In large bowl, beat yolks and 3/4 cup sugar on high until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Gradually stir in the 3/4 cup of Maximum Port and flour. Fold into the cooled chocolate mixture.

In a clean bowl, whip egg whites & cream of tartar until frothy. Gradually whisk 3 T sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter, then quickly fold in remaining whites until no streaks remain. Quickly fold in walnuts, if using. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until tester just comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto serving plate and cool completely.

To make glaze: In a double broiler, combine chocolate chips, butter and corn syrup. Stir frequently until chocolate is melted. Stir in remaining port wine and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Set aside to cool for about 30 minutes. Pour glaze over cooled cake and serve.

We hope you will enjoy these recipes. Please make them and let us know how they turned out in the comments section. We LOVE comments, almost as much as we love wine!