Arizona to Asheville


  The following was submitted to "Brewing Up a Storm" by Guest Blogger Bruce Howard. We hope Bruce will continue to share his thoughts with us about travel and beer! He writes about his trip to Asheville from Arizona via Maryland with his wife Marion and Corgi, Max. Full disclosure, Marion was my colelge roommate at SMU in Dallas and is a dear friend who balied me out of unfortunate situations time after time including the recent appearance of a reptile in my garage!


Here's Bruce...............

You would have thought Marion, Max and I would leave Maryland after a two week stay and drive back to Arizona.  Not for us, there were more friends to see and more IPAs to drink.  We took a direct path south from Maryland and traveled to Asheville, North Carolina (NC)  not quite a direct path west.  If you have never been to western NC or eastern Tennessee you are missing some of best views in the United States.  What took us to Asheville was Marion’s college roommate Gina and her husband John live there.  I was shocked how many breweries are located in Asheville.  So I attempted to do my best and visit some of them.  This is the 2nd of three (3) blogs in the “Across the Country” series.

The first and by far the largest brewery was the Sierra Nevada facility which is located in Mills River, just down the road from Asheville off Interstate 26 (you know you have made it when there is a sign for the facility located on I-26).  Why come to Asheville to open a brewery – the water - which is basic for life (I mean water not beer). We were amazed at the beautiful facility and surrounding land.  The brewery and associated facility are huge.  We did not take the tour (there is one specifically for IPA) that is for the next trip. 


Prior to drinking beer I thought (or maybe it was Marion’s idea) it would be a good idea to have food.  The Taproom layout is beautiful and the wood interior is amazing.  But the view out the rear of the facility is breathtaking.   I tried three IPAs (before I get ahead myself the food was outstanding – try the duck fat fries and green chile pork).  I was not sure which IPA to try (I mean have a pint) so I went for the sampler (Audition Rye IPA, Hop Hunter IPA, Serrano Pale Ale and Torpedo Extra IPA).  The Audition (ABV 5.9/IBU 38) Rye IPA had a smooth flavor which surprised me with the citrusy hop taste and rye being added but it was nice combination.  The Hop Hunter IPA (ABV 6.2/IBU60) was more of a traditional IPA with more of a hoppy taste.   If you like hops the Torpedo Extra IPA (ABV7.2/IBU65) would be my recommendation.  The Serrano Pale Ale (ABV5.4/IBU 42) has a unique flavor for someone who enjoys a little spice (Serrano chili) in a Pale Ale.

My favorite was the Audition Rye IPA. You would have thought I would have had a pint. Wrong. I had a pint of the Tropical Torpedo IPA (ABV6.7/IBU55).  It had a different citrusy hop taste. If you like citrus that is not orange this is your beer.

I am aware of Sierra Nevada beers in my local stores.  But until I visited the Asheville facility I did not realize the variety of beers they produce and the quality.  If you are like me you want to support your local brewery – I know Sierra Nevada is the second largest microbrewery of beer (second to Boston Brewery Company) but some of their business practices support local small business - buying the majority of their produce from local farmers.  You can guarantee my next visit to Asheville will include a trip to the Sierra Nevada facility (including the IPA tour).

You may have thought the Sierra Nevada facility visit was enough and you would be wrong. Gina and John owners of Metro Wine (have an excellent selection and variety of wines).  Their main focus is wine but they have a number of beers to purchase (they are always doing something to support the community and have great tasting events – please look at their calendar section for information on wine/beer tastings). 


So being a good friend and “Consumer” expert I purchased a few bottles from Hi-Wire and Wicked Weed Breweries.  I began with the Hi-Wire Brewery selection of Lion Tamer Rye IPA (ABV7%) which is a seasonal beer brewed and bottled from late July to late October and Hi-Pitch Mosaic IPA (ABV6.7%/IBU 55) a flagship beer brewed year around.  The Lion Tamer Rye had a very strong spice taste which is probably the rye.  If you like rye then this is the beer.  The Mosaic IPA had a bitter/hoppy and a citrusy hop taste (do to the Mosaic hops) to me (which I enjoyed)This is the first time I reviewed a beer from the bottle, if you try the same one at any brewery it may have a different or fresher taste.  I did not visit Hi-Wire Brewery on this trip but certainly will go on my next one.

The second selection of beers were from Wicked Weed Brewery which included their Freak of Nature double IPA (ABV8.5%) and Pernicious IPA (ABV7.3%) that are brewed year around.  The Freak of Nature Double IPA was off the charts hoppy (literally – the IBU rating is ? on their homepage), it is Wicked Weed Brewery’s first and maybe best flagship beer.  As with most Double IPAs it has a high AVB so be careful how many you drink at one time.  The Pernicious did not taste as hoppy and had a citrus taste (the brewer uses Mango hop aroma – I am not sure my pallet is sophisticated enough to detect the Mango influence) but it was smooth – so I had more than one.  Based on conversations with local beer drinkers I had heard good things about Wicked Weed Brewery which seems to be one of the most popular breweries in Asheville so I visited the one downtown. 


I have never (and I have been to a few of them – just ask Marion) visited a brewery that had such a variety and selection of beers on tap.  As I sat at the bar and pondered the meaning of life (or at least which beer I was going to try) I noticed they had Pumpkin beers (a seasonal treat for me).  There were three on tap: Smokin Pumpkin Porter (ABV8.3%/IBU18), Chai Pumpkin Stout (ABV7.3%/IBU28) and Pumpkin Up The Volume (ABV7.6%/IBU 17).  As with all pumpkin beers I chose the one that had the color of a pumpkin.  My selection was Pumpkin Up The Volume.  It was smooth and hit that distinct pumpkin taste – it was excellent.  I should have taken a growler back with me back to Arizona.  I would highly recommend visiting Wicked Weed Brewery on your next trip to Asheville.

I could have spent days visiting all the breweries in Asheville (oh – I did not mention our tour of the Biltmore you have got to experience it) but we had to make our way west back home to Arizona.

We had a great time and thank you Gina and John for being wonderful hosts.

Have a Hoppy Day.

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Asheville Wine Focus Group




News Release: Sunday, October 15th

Subject: Asheville Wine Focus Group @MetroWines
Please join The Asheville School of Wine for the monthly Asheville Wine Focus Group the first Wednesday of every month from 5:30 to 6:30 starting January 3rd at MetroWines. The event is "on the house" but seating is limited to the first 10 people who call the shop at (828) 575-9525.
MetroWines is asking you to help us decide if you like the wines presented, would you like to see the wines in the shop and what you think should be the shelf price. 
"We are always working to learn what our customers want," says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. "Who better to ask than our customers?"
Follow Asheville Wine Focus Group on our drop down under Wine Blogs here:
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
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"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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Blind Tasting League Going Dark

News Release: Sunday, October 15th, 2017

Subject: Blind Tasting League Going Dark @MetroWines
After nearly four years, Andy Hale, Director of Education for The Asheville School of Wine @MetroWines, will host his last gathering of Blind Tasting League on Wednesday, November 1st from 6 to 7pm @MetroWines. 
Information and Tickets:
"If you have never attended Blind Tasting League with Andy, you don't want to miss this opportunity," says Gina Trippi, co-owner of Metro Wines. " You will learn, you will laugh, and you will leave with the confidence to be the one at the table who knows the wine!"
This night will also be a "Going Away Party" for Andy as he will be moving to Nashville. Party from 7to 8pm. There is no charge for the party. "We hope Asheville will turn out to say good-bye to Andy," says Gina Trippi. "He has taken the fear out of wine and wine shops!"
Andy will be returning to host "PopUP" classes and events. And he will continue to post on Blind Tasting League Blog as well as the Asheville School of Wine Blog. 
Andy's last day @MetroWines is November 10th.
While we re-format, Blind Tasting League will be going dark for a short re-tooling time! We invite all wine tasters to watch for information and news on our blogs about Blind Tasting League and to continue to join us on the first Wednesday of the month for the all new "Asheville Wine Focus Group" starting in January. 
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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Andy Hale Going to Nashville!

From the MetroWines Email of Sunday, October 15th. Subscribers get ALL the news first!


** ALERT! You're Not Going to Like This **
You know how you procrastinate about tearing off a bandaid.
It's like that. Take a deep breath. We got to do this.

Andy Hale is leaving us. Well, kind of, sort of, not all the way...
Shortly after I won the Barbera smack down he comes up
with this bogus story about his wife, Christina,
is taking a promotion in Nashville and he must go with her.

SURE. Is that the best you can do?

But as it turns out, that's true. 
Andy's last  regular day will be November 10th
and his last Blind Tasting League (BTL) will be November  1st.
So, if you have never been to BTL. Now is the time.
And this will be Andy's Going Away For Now Party as well.

(Might be some wine. Maybe a little Barbera! Sorry. Had to say that.)

Most of Andy's family lives here in Asheville so he will be back, like a lot.
When he returns, he will host Pop Up BTLs @MetroWines.
Maybe a surprise class like only Andy can do!
And Andy will continue to post on the blog

We will miss Andy. The three of us, John, Andy and me worked it hard
as a team to put MetroWines on the wine map in a crowded market.
No one can replace Andy. That's a fact. And we know it.
But it is also a fact that the friendly knowledgable service will continue.

One of our customers told me that she will miss Andy because,
when she was new to town, Andy was the first one who really talked
with her and made her feel comfortable in her new world.

That is who we are. And that will continue.
You've got a friend @MetroWines.

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Suzanne TATE

We had a great evening @MetroWines with Suzanne Tate of TATE. Sometimes Napa Valley Wines are just too big. But TATE has the formula. Hearty, roust wines that are still elegant. And you might say that is just wine speak. But it's like a balance beam. Not so easy as you might think. 

Based in St. Helena in the Napa Valley, the winery is a two person business, David and Suzanne Tate. That's it. David Tate is the primary winemaker but Suzanne adds her touch on occasion. 

A native of British Columbia, David graduated Brock University with an Honors Degree in Enology and Viticulture. He has worked all over the wine making world for 22 years. In addition to making the wines under his own label, David remains the winemaker and manager at Barnett Vineyards, one of the most renowned boutique wineries in Napa Valley. Prior to his work with Barnett, David was assistant winemaker at Ridge Vineyards for five years. David has also worked in the Barossa Valley in Australia, Provence, and Canterbury, New Zealand.
I asked Suzanne what do you want people to know about your wines?  
"All wines are from single vineyard micro plots. We have a history of working with small family farms to make small production wines," says Suzanne. "We offer about 1000 cases total each year."
Suzanne describes the 100% Merlot as having "not as much oak to express a purity of fruit."
The Cabernet is a "lunch Cab" says Suzanne, not as heavy as the bottle from Mt. Veder. The fruit is from the Bacchus Vineyard which grew wild from Prohibition until 2010! It is an ideal site on a 30% slope with volcanic soil.
The Mt. Veder 100% Cabernet has "subtle tannins and brooding blue notes," says Suzanne.
And then there's Howell Mountain, the REALLY BIG BOY. Only 75 cases of this masterpiece aged in French Oak for 22 months, 100% new. WOW. BIG. But, as aforestated, elegant.
Finally: This just in! Suzanne says she and David may be able to join us by SKYPE for  a holiday wine tasting. We are thinking  to call it "Home for the Holidays with the Tates!


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Colpetrone Sagrantino

Colpetrone, 2010 Umbria

      "Colpetrone Montefalco Sagrantino is made from the Sagrantino varietal, a strong and concentrated grape indigenous to the region of Umbria in central Italy. It primarily grows in small quantities in the village of Montefalco and surrounding areas. It is one of the most tannic grapes in the world producing deeply colored wines (almost black). Colpetrone is one of the most important wine producers in Montefalco focusing on low yields and precise winemaking to produce quality wines.
       This wine has ample dark fruit and floral aromas and flavors of blackberries, vanilla, and spice. The wine spends 18 months in large French oak barrels and 12 months in the bottle before released. This is an expressive, fully-loaded wine that is drinking absolutely beautiful, but can age another 10+ years."
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Fear Not Blaufrankisch!

90 Points 
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

     "The wine is pure, fresh and skinny on the spicy nose, light, nicely pure, yet intense, and very authentic on the palate, where it reveals a good freshness, nice grip, great tension and finesse. This is a ripe and very stimulating Blaufränkisch with ripe and very fine tannins. What a classic!"

MetroWines Note: OK. Let's just be honest here. Not that any of us are shallow
or unsophisticated but to the American ear, "blaufrankisch" is a little, well, weird
if not downright scary. Kind of makes you feel like it might have something to do 
with Boris Karloff and a laBOREatory in Transylvania! 

If we knew the grape as Franconia, ahhhh Franconia, as they do in Italy, we would be thinking a train ride passing fields of colored flowers. Well, whatever, we would not
be thinking smoking glass vials and a hunched over guy in a white coat!

Try to get past the name. In addition to what Robert Parker said,
you will find this bottle of, say it, Blaufrankisch, to be something like Pinot Noir
with spicy notes. The wine has good body, engaging aromas and, while smooth on the palate, there is still what you might call a tang!


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Service Dog Warns Veteran of Seizures

U.S. Army veteran Sgt. Mark Jenkins poses alongside his service dog Scout following a breakfast meeting of the Elizabeth City Morning Rotary Club at the Golden Corral in Elizabeth City, Friday, Sept. 15.

By Chris Day
Multimedia Editor

The Daily Advance

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Most dog owners consider themselves inseparable from their pets. You see one, you see the other.

But for Sgt. Mark Jenkins, his relationship with Scout, a 9-year-old yellow Lab, is more than just a bond of friendship. It’s a lifesaving connection.

Jenkins, who medically retired from the U.S. Army in 2010, depends on Scout — considered a “service animal’ — to alert him to the fact he’s close to suffering a seizure.

Jenkins spoke about his life with a service dog at a recent meeting of the Elizabeth City Morning Rotary Club. Jenkins served as a military police officer in the Army from 2006 to 2010 and saw duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was injured in the line of duty in 2008.

After a brief introduction, Jenkins, with Scout at his side, stepped to the podium.

"Put the dog on the table so we can look at him," a man seated up front shouted, earning a laugh from Jenkins and the audience. 

Jenkins told the audience that when he was injured he temporarily lost mobility and he had to undergo speech therapy. He began suffering seizures and having blackouts. That was while he was in treatment at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

That's where a doctor told Jenkins that dogs can be trained to detect seizures in humans. That really opened his eyes to the need for service dogs, he said.

The nonprofit America's VetDogs assisted Jenkins in finding Scout, who has been at Jenkins' side now for six years.

Jenkins said he encourages people with disabilities, whether they're veterans or not, to contact a service dog organization to see if they quality for a service animal. Many of those organization are nonprofits and depend on donations.

"What I do is make people aware how important it is that people support these organizations," Jenkins said.

An online search using the words 'service dog organizations' leads to links to several of these organizations.

Jenkins said Scout alerts him to an oncoming seizure by smelling a difference in his blood. If he is standing and Scout detects a seizure, the dog will nudge him and then lean against him to prevent him from falling. If he's sitting at the time, Scout will climb on top of him and pin him to where he's seated, Jenkins said. Scout also is trained to retrieve Jenkins' medications and to push a button notifying 911 emergency services.

Jenkins also informs the public about the different laws that cover the use of service animals. For instance, it is a felony to assault a service animal, Jenkins said. He's been to hotels where he was told his service dog wasn't allowed because the hotel has a no pets policy. That, too, is against the law.

"They don't understand that in the United States if you have a service dog they cannot deny you access," he said, referring to some motel and hotel operators.

People also should not ask someone with a service dog what their disability is either, Jenkins said. In some instances, such as in Jenkins' case, a person with a service dog may not have a visible disability.

"Most veterans with service dogs actually don't have noticeable wounds," Jenkins said.

It also cost about $50,000 to train a service dog, he said. 

America's VetDogs is headquartered in Smithtown, New York. For more information about the organization, visit online at


That's What I'm Talkin' About!

          Your Shop Dogs Bandit and Cate


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"Spain for the Holidays"



News Release: Friday, September 29th, 1017

About: "Spain for the Holidays" Seated Tasting of Spanish Wines
Please join The Asheville School of Wine and Laurence Vuelta of Aveniu Brands for a seated tasting of Spanish Wines perfect for the holidays on Thursday, November 16th starting 5:30pm @MetroWines. The cost is $25. Seating is limited. Please call (828) 575-9525or shop online here: 
You will be greeted with a glass of CAVA. Once seated, a dry Albarino, Tempranillo Gran Reserva, Garnacha from Priorat and a Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo based Rose will be paired with tapas showcasing the versatility of these wines. 
"This collection of wines can be paired with a wide range of flavors or enjoyed alone," says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines."With a sparkling, white, red and rose' in the house, you can handle any holiday event or just reading a book by the fire after the party is over!"

Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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News Release: Thursday, September 28th, 2017

About "Zinposium" with Trinchero Family Estates
Just in time for Thanksgiving! Join The Asheville School of Wine and Kevin Hicks of Trinchero Family Estates for  "Zinposium," a comprehensive and informative tasting of Zinfandels on Friday, November 17th from 5 to 6:30pm @MetroWines. Wines will be "on the taste" and "on the house" and parking is free, close and easy.
"If you enjoy Zinfandel, this event is for you," says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. "This is a versatile varietal that is perfect for the Thanksgiving Table and Trinchero is well known as one of the masters of ZIN!"
From Trinchero: "Trinchero Family Estates was born from unwavering fortitude and a bit of good fortune. Nearly 70 years ago, when Italian immigrant Mario Trinchero left New York City in search of a better life for his family in Napa Valley, no one could have predicted the unprecedented success that followed. From the world’s first-ever White Zinfandel to some of the most-sought after vineyards in Napa to a portfolio of more than 45 global wine and spirits brands, the Trinchero Family Estates of today is an enduring symbol of the American Dream."
More About Trinchero:
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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Sparkling Class and Tasting



News Release: Wednesday, September 27, 2017
About: Sparkling Tasting and Class @MetroWines
What's the difference in Prosecco and Champagne? Please join The Asheville School of Wine to learn what separates the various sparkling wines on Tuesday, November 7th from 5:30 to 6:30. Cost for the tasting and class is $20. Call (828) 575-9525 or chop online:
Andy Hale, Director of Education for The Asheville School of Wine @MetroWines takes us through Prosecco, CAVA, Champagne, Sparkling French Wine. 
"The difference is in the fermentation," says Andy Hale. "The texture, the taste and the best use for the wine varies with each style."
We will be joined by Paola Ferraro of Bele Casel LIVE via SKYPE in Asolo, Italy! Paola will tell us all about the Prosecco made by her family. Until then, follow Paola on twitter here:
About Bele Casel: 

It all started over 40 years ago when my father, a winemaking student, met my mother. But above all he met my grandfather Ilario, a great farmer. At the time my grandfather owned just over a hectare of dessert wine near his home and. Like all farmers, sold his wine production in demijohns.

Once my dad finished his studies he started working in a distillery, helping my grandfather in the land and in the “cellar” in his spare time. It was during those years that a baby boy called Luca, his sister Paola and a business named “the County” were born.

These children, here now to tell you this story, grew up with their maternal grandparents, since mum and dad were following an adventure that was far greater than their own dreams: every day, after finishing their daytime jobs, they would go down in the cellar to try and consolidate, day after day, their efforts and sacrifices.

These memories are still very much alive in our heads. The whole family would be busy bottling 200-300 bottles in one day, sticking labels by hand on each bottle. We would deliver on Saturdays to meet personally the few clients we had.

Nobody talked about foreign markets yet, even less so of e-commerce. Business was based on a handshake and a few phone calls. But in the space of a few years the whole world underwent great radical changes. In the wine business everyone started targeting foreign markets and greatly increasing their sales.

In the evenings, over dinner, we used to wonder where we were going wrong, and why all our hard work and sacrifices to produce high quality wine weren’t paying off yet. Then, suddenly, one day we received a phone call from an American importer looking to buy Prosecco, and surprisingly, he’d contacted us, too.

It was a cold and rainy day when the person in charge of finding “the best Prosecco around” arrived, and we were very, very tense. We were aware of the quality of our product but we also knew that our cellar, a basement just a little bigger than a garage, couldn’t compete with all the big wineries in the area. Our English wasn’t very good either, and we didn’t consider ourselves salesmen but simple producers. Imagine our faces when we heard that we had been chosen amongst all the other producers!

Five years on, we have grown, we have made several mistakes but we have also learned a lot. One thing hasn’t changed though: the desire to make great wines. So while the Prosecco sales were increasing and reds were entering a crisis we played a wild card: we planted Merlot vines, typical of our area, always overlooked, and started producing huge amounts of grapes. The plan was to revalue the name of this grape.

We opted for tightly planted vineyards, extreme thinning out of the vines, harvesting very mature grapes and finally purchasing large barrels to keep the quality of our Merlot unaltered. And here we are, after a family dinner, sitting in front of our PC, telling the tale of a family who was able to turn a dream into reality, and into a successful business.

Luca Ferraro, grape grower and winemaker

All About Bele Casel:
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
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Have a heart WineTasting for Thanksgiving

News Release: Tuesday, September 26th, 2017  

About: Thanksgiving Wines that Give Back
Please join The Asheville School of Wine to taste wines from wineries that give back to the community on November 18, 2017 from 10am to 7pm @MetroWines. Four versatile, Thanksgiving perfect wines will be "on the taste" and "on the house."
Eric Asimov, wine Critic for The New York Times, says it is hard to go wrong with wines for the Thanksgiving Table because most guests come for the company and community!
"This year we are suggesting wines that not only pair well with a traditional Thanksgiving menu but also are made by wineries that give back to the community," says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines.  
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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Gabrielle Collection Wine Tasting

News Release: Monday, September 25th, 2017

About: Gabrielle Collection Wine Tasting @MetroWines
Please join The Asheville School of Wine to meet Gabrielle Leonhard of Gabrielle Collection. A selection of wines will be "on the taste" and "on the house" on Monday, October 2nd from 5 to 6:30pm @MetroWines.
"Gabrielle Collection is known for wines such as "Juxtaposition," says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. "Join us to taste "Juxtaposition" as well as other great Napa Valley wines."
More about Gabrielle Collection here:
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525

Gabrielle Collection is a series of boutique, luxury Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons and Proprietary Cabernet blends, that are invitingly and food complementary wines. They show the artistry of Winemaker Gabrielle in their balance, suppleness and distinction as she brings the magic of the soil and sun into a glass of wine.

Gabrielle believes blending varietals and vineyards achieves the most expressive wine. Drawing from the organically farmed estate vineyard in the Oak Knoll Appellation as well as other from select sustainably farmed vineyards, where the climate and soil are best suited to produce each varietal perfectly, she creates wines with richness and complexity.

Blending 01

We believe in a team approach to winemaking, as collaboration produces excellence.

Gabrielle Leonhard
Head of Winemaking and Master Blender

Gabrielle Leonhard was born in Germany, to a family with a long history of wine professionals and collectors. Her grandfather traveled the world exploring food and wines as a wine and food critic. Her mother was a wine chemist in Bordeaux, a food chemist and completed cooking school with a chef from the esteemed Cordon Blue Cooking School in France. A passion for quality ingredients and food preparation was a family heritage. Food and wine pairings were an ongoing topic at the family table. Gabrielle always dreamed of making wine.

Studies include Napa College/UC Davis viticulture program, sensory evaluation and olive oil sensory evaluation.

Wayne O’Connell
Winemaking Team

Wayne heads the production and harvest activities and is part of the blending team. He finds wonderful vineyard fruit sources and assures that fruit for Gabrielle Collection wines is top quality. He worked for his grandfather in the vineyard and cellar growing up and learned old world winemaking methods first hand.

Studies include Napa College/UC Davis viticulture program.

Kyle Laird
Consulting Winemaker

Kyle stresses harvest practices of selective picking: multiple passes to pluck fruit only at its optimum. He works closely with the vineyard crews to gently coax the flavors from the soil. Kyle is responsible for all the technical aspects of winemaking: picking decisions, fermentation, barrel selection, blending trials, bottling.

A native of Napa Valley, Kyle previously worked at San Clement Winery and Robert Craig Winery as Assistant Winemaker,  producing several vintages of highly rated Cabernets. He manages the production of high-end boutique wines at the custom Crush facility, Bin to Bottle.

Viticulture: Wine is made in the vineyard. Everyone at Gabrielle Collection is dedicated to this principle.

Patrick Riggs

Patrick Riggs, Jack Neal and Son’s lead Viticulturist and Head of Organic Farming, is the consulting vineyard manager of the estate vineyard. In collaboration with Wayne & Gabrielle, he oversees vine health and quality and implements strategies to keep the vineyards free from damaging pests and disease. Every year, we meet to make farming practice decisions with the goal of producing top grape quality that expresses the unique soil properties of the estate vineyard. Each vine is treated individually in regard to water; fertilizer and pest management needs, always focusing on organic and sustainable practices. Patrick earned a BA at the University of Wisconsin, Soil Science and Bacteriology and Masters degree in Plant Pathology from U.C. Davis.

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In 2000, Gabrielle made the decision to take the final step in adopting organic and sustainable farming and lifestyle practices. She attended seminars, hired consultants to assure that all aspects of this decision would be correctly implemented. After over 25 years in the horticulture industry already using non-pesticide practices, she wanted to incorporate the universality of sustainable practices, which include the land, workers, business practices and the environment.

“The entire estate functions as an integrated community: the grapes provide delicious wine, which pairs with fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey cultivated from the gardens, then gardens give health back to the vineyard. Providing housing to our workers strengthens the sense of a stable community and commitment to the land. All benefit!” -Gabrielle

Organic Practices: The vine cuttings are mulched and returned to the vineyard as compost, the garden plants and vineyard vines receive only organic fertilizers and sprays. After a decade of farming organically, the results are rewarding- no disease or insects have been present. The natural balancing of a diverse ecco system is working!

Minimal Use of Sulfur: The vineyard only receives sulfur treatment for a month- mostly in May, in comparison to historically traditional treatments from April through June/ July. Stylet oil is applied February-April, botanical mildew eating microorganisms are applied after May. This minimizes sulfur exposure to the environment as well assures that all sulfur residue will be absent at time of harvest. Minimal sulfur is added to barreled wine- just enough to keep the wine free of damaging organisms. The result is less environmental impact and less exposure to those who have sulfur intolerance.

Bio-Diversity: The soil attributes are accented by the bio-diversity of surrounding herb gardens, fruit trees and mature Eucalyptus trees. We believe that this diversity has maintained the excellent health in the vineyard- we have not had disease or insect pressure since planting in 2000- the entire estate transitioned to organic and sustainable practices that year.

Stewardship: The estate borders Dry Creek, a tributary into the Napa River, a major water source of the San Francisco Bay. We are very vigorous with our stewardship of the creek, exceeding organic regulations, taking into consideration the environment as a whole. For example, we use organic Stylet Oil instead of organic sulfur to spray against mildew in the spring as long as possible, and then convert to wetable powder. This avoids the sulfur drift of air-applied sulfur. Better for the creek, better for us!

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Fiji Wedding Started @MetroWines! Shouldn't Your's?

Where does a travel writer get married? All the details of our beautiful celebration and escape! W/LaZoom ToursGolden Fleece Slow Earth KitchenStorm Rhum Bar and BistroMetro Wines Asheville,The Chocolate LoungeCrowne Plaza Resort AshevilleRoyal Davui Island Resort ~ Fiji -

Asheville Charm Meets South Pacific Timelapse… “Sota Tale” As a travel and lifestyle writer, deciding where to celebrate our marriage and honeymoon was not an easy one. We knew we were not going to have a traditional wedding, and wanted to make the celebration uniquely our own, reflecting our love a...


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Greyhound Blood Factory


Story from the Washington Post about guys like me, Your Shop Dog, Bandit.

Sometimes, veterinarians will ask if I or guys like me can donate a little blood to save lives.

You see, as the orginal dog, we, greyhounds, are universal blood donors.

Sometimes, when there is an accident or a complicated surgery, the doctors we will call

me to come down and help. This is an honor to be a FIRST RESPONDER.

Some of us where jackets proudly stating that we are blood donors.  

But this is far and apart from a filthy blood factory where greyhounds are kept in cages

and bled for money. This business of blood should be condemed, closed and outlawed.

Save lives. Please comment to this Washington Post article.

                                                                 Thank you. Your Bandit

Horror Story HERE.


PETA to Minnesota Veterinary Products Distributor: Pull Plug on Sale of Blood From Captive Dogs, Fund Rescue of Canines From Shocking Conditions

For Immediate Release:
September 21, 2017

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

St. Paul, Minn. – PETA has obtained photographs and video footage of approximately 150 greyhounds—most if not all of whom were bred for racing—suffering in squalid conditions ripe for disease at a Texas kennel doing business as The Pet Blood Bank, Inc., which sells dogs’ blood to veterinary clinics across the U.S. through Patterson Veterinary Supply, Inc., part of St. Paul‒based Patterson Companies, Inc., a Fortune 500 company. PETA is calling on Patterson to source blood exclusively from dogs who live in private homes and to fund the greyhounds’ urgent rescue.

Dogs were denied veterinary care for severe oral infections, painful and infected wounds, an apparent broken leg, and other health issues. Most dogs at the facility—a converted turkey farm—are solitarily confined to barren dirt kennels. Video footage shows dogs pacing and spinning in circles—severe stress-induced behavior—cowering, and even urinating on themselves in fear when approached. The animals are allegedly bled up to twice a month—with about 20 percent of their blood taken each time—and for up to three hours before and after the procedure, they’re locked inside crates outside, without shade or water, some muzzled. Conditions expose the dogs to ticks, fleas, and other parasites, endangering their welfare as well as that of recipients of their blood via transfusions.

“These dogs were used, abused, and discarded by the ruthless racing industry, and now they’re imprisoned in squalor, denied even basic veterinary care, and bled over and over again,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “It’s time for them to be rescued and given a chance to experience joy, love, and respect; to run and play; and to get to be dogs at long last.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—has asked San Saba County, Texas, authorities to investigate the facility for violations of the state’s cruelty statute and is urging The Pet Blood Bank’s operators to turn the dogs over to reputable rescue agencies for urgent veterinary assessment and care.

For more information, please visit

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WolfDog Benefit

News Release: Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

About: Benefit for WolfDog Sanctuary
Please join us on Sunday, October 15th from 2 to 4 in the afternoon @MetroWines to BENEFIT Full Moon Farm WolfDog Sanctuary ( as part of Wolf Awareness Week! We will be joined at the event by River the Ambassadog and Finn, his apprentice! and live music. There will be a cash bar open but admission to the event is free.
All profit, not just 10%, ALL profit on any bottle sold on October 15th goes to Full Moon. And that amount will be matched by MetroWines owners personally. This is the day to shop!
Full Moon is a Gold Participant of Guide Star Exchange and a 2017 Top Rated organization by Great Non-Profits. 
Full Moon is an organization dedicated to the well being of the wolfdog (a wolf hybrid). Situated on 17 beautiful acres in black Mountain, Full Moon is a 501 (c)(3) not for profit organization for refused wolfdogs who find themselves in need of shelter and care through no fault of their own. These wolfdogs have frequently spent most of their lives in abusive situations or complete neglect. They are used as status symbols, guard dogs or confined to cages when a home breeder decides to make quick cash on "wolf puppies."
"Providing for wolfdogs is very expensive," says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. "And Full Moon is one of the very few organizations committed to helping these forgotten animals."
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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Catch the Wine Bouquet

From the September Issue of The Laurel of Asheville

By Gina Trippi

Weddings are about the bouquet. But not just the one the bride carries. The bouquet of the wines also creates memories.

In a 2004 study, Dr. Rachel Herz at Brown University found that women showed more brain activity when smelling a perfume with which they associated a positive memory than when smelling the control perfume. The brain activity associated with the memorable perfume was also greater than that produced by the visual cue of seeing the bottle of perfume.

More recently, Psychology Today reported in 2015 that a number of behavioral studies have demonstrated that smells trigger more vivid emotional memories and are better at inducing the feeling of “being brought back in time” than images.

These findings were supported by the work of Dr. Ken Heilman, distinguished professor of Neurology and Health Psychology at University of Florida.

“Smell goes into the emotional parts of the brain and the memory parts, whereas words go into thinking parts of the brain,” says Heilman. “When you smell things, you remember your emotions.”

Why argue with science? Increase the memories of your wedding or any special occasion with aromatic wines.

The French white grape, Viognier, presents natural aromatics described as perfume including chamomile, lavender, peach and violets. And the Italian white grape from Langhe, Arneis, is a sensory sensation. Arneis offers an intense bouquet of peach, acacia flowers, chamomile and melon.

Red grapes can be memory makers too. Consider Monastrell, a particularly aromatic grape from Spain. A bottle of Juan Gil Silver Label Monastrell makes memories with aromas of blackberry, cherry cola, candied violet and just a hint of vanilla and black pepper.

But no grape beats Frappato, the red grape indigenous to Sicily, for pungent aromas. A glass of Frappato brings intoxicating aromas of raspberry, red cherry, roses and lavender.

A rose is always aromatic but the particular scents depend on the varietal from which the wine was made. A rose made from the French grape, Cinsault, presents strawberry and red cherry along with floral notes and a wave of perfume on the nose. A well-done wedding menu pairs the wine to the food. But you could consider choosing a wine that not only works with the foods but also invokes the aromas of the wedding flowers for a total sensory experience.

According to Wine Folly, an educational wine blog, you will find a complex set of floral scents, especially rose, in red wines including Pinot Noir, Grenache, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Monastrell and Tempranillo. White flowers are present in white wines including Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Blanc and Sémillon.

But what about Asheville? Are we smelling the roses? “Wedding clients are beginning to really focus on their wine selections,” says Heidi Perrone, event planner at Cordial and Craft, a local event production company. “Wines are becoming the focus of the table and couples are seeking choices not just in terms of taste but the look of the bottle and, yes, even the aromas!”

Gina Trippi is the co-owner of Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte Street in Asheville. Committed to the community, Metro Wines offers big shop selection with small shop service. Gina can be reached or 828.575.9525.

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Wedding Couple Meets Importer!

            Laurie and Woody meet Thomas Meunier of AuthentiqueVin, the importer for the sparkling wine, Rose Granit, they served to toast an celebrate their vows.

That happens @ and ONLY @MetroWines!

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Great Rose' Tasting V


News Release: Saturday, September 16th, 2017

About: Great Rose Tasting V @MetroWines
Join The Asheville School of Wine for The Great Rose Tasting V on Saturday, October 14th from 10am to 5pm @MetroWines. Four bottles of Rose from around the world will be "on the taste" and "on the house" all day long.
"With the firmly established and growing popularity of Rose, we have decided to continue The Great Rose Tastings all year," says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. "Asheville is ahead of the wine curve in discovering the versatility and wide world of Rose!"
The event always attracts a crowd and bottles sell out so customers are encouraged to come early. "Customers are beginning to stock up for Thanksgiving," says Andy Hale, Director of Education for The Asheville School of Wine. "Rose is perfect for an aperitif, a first course anytime, a holiday menu with widely different flavors or a pot luck."
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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AXIOS Wine Tasting

News Release: Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

About: Axios Wine Tasting @MetroWines
Join The Asheville School of Wine to meet Paul Giannaris and taste wines from Axios on Wednesday, September 27th from 5 to 6:30 @MetroWines.
Wines from Axios will be "on the taste" and "on the house" @MetroWines including:

Axios Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 09-6pk  91 W&S

Truth "Cuvee de Fume" 13


Truth Napa Valley Cuvee Red 12  90JS


Worthy Napa Valley Chardonnay 14


Worthy Sophia's Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon 12


About Axios: 

A powerhouse collaboration between proprietor Gus Kalaris and winemaker Bob Egelhoff, Axios is a super premium Cabernet Sauvignon of Napa Valley "cult" status.  Axios, meaning worthy in Greek, reflects Gus' vision to craft a wine of Bordeaux influence that represents the richness of its' Napa Valley origin.  This wine was proudly served at a reception hosted by President Bush at The White House in March of 2002.Worthy is the second label of Axios - the super premium Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Axios is the the Greek word for worthy.

Worthy’s Cabernet Sauvignon dominated Bordeaux blend  enjoyed overnight success when it stormed into the market in 2001.  Over the years Worthy has been recognized as a household name in cult wines.

The label for Truth was the inspiration behind this wine's name.  Looking at one's own reflection unveils the truth.  This intriguing label was proudly displayed at the SFMOMA's exhibition "How Wine Became Modern" in 2010-2011.  Beyond the packaging you will find an outstanding bistro style wine at a value price point.”

More about the owner Gus Kalaris: Gus Kalaris is the founder and owner of Constantine Wines, a wine distribution and import company founded in 1986 that has enjoyed a great reputation for premium offerings.  Under his leadership, Constantine Wines has enjoyed decades of uninterrupted growth.  Kalaris founded Axios, a luxury Napa Valley wine brand in 1999 to much acclaim.  The success of Axios has spawned the Worthy, Truth, Kalaris and Telios brands.  Gus, a Greek American, born in Washington, DC is fluent in the Greek language and dedicated to his heritage.  Kalaris has received numerous awards and national recognition for his charitable endeavors and serves on many charitable and philanthropic boards including Cystic Fibrosis and the Cal Ripken Sr Foundation. In 2013, Kalaris purchased a home surrounded by over 10 acres of vineyards in Calistoga.  His goal is to produce a world class Pomerol-style red blend from the estate under the Kalaris label.

Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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