I open a bottle of wine every time I cook dinner. It’s almost as though each recipe should start with the explicit instructions: Pour yourself some wine.
For me, I take a moment to consciously consider what I want to drink before I start any food preparation. If I am unusually stressed, and I seek comfort and cooking is my medicine, I’ll open something familiar or a full-bodied chardonnay to keep me company as I prepare a dish. If I am giddy about the morning’s harvest from the garden, I might celebrate with a crisp, clean, cheerful rose as I assemble a summer salad from the bounty I’ve collected. Or perhaps the sun is out, there are groovy tunes on the stereo and the barbecue is ready to be fired up. A bottle of pinot noir might be the perfect inspiration needed to dream up a delicious smoky marinade or dry rub for the pork I picked up at the farmer’s market.
Drinking wine while preparing a meal is a much-cherished ritual shared by many home cooks. It brings a sense of calm and relaxation to the cook, who is often multi-tasking and operating just below the level of chaos. A quick sip, a deep breath, and it’s easy to carry on to the next task on the list.
Tuned into this habit or tendency, there are a handful of local wineries who have been offering online cooking shows to watch while you consume (their) wine. Two wineries in El Dorado County, Via Romano Vineyards and Boeger Vineyards, have shown up reliably each week to lead viewers through the cooking of a specific dish or recipe. The shows are lighthearted, casually presented and unscripted, and give you a glimpse into the personality of the winery.
You are encouraged to pour yourself some wine and follow along. Often, you can get a list of ingredients ahead of time, and cook in real time. Sometimes, you sip your wine and watch the preparation online, and then visit the winery’s website to download a copy of the recipe and attempt the dish at your leisure.
Of course, the wineries recommend you open a bottle of their wine to enjoy as you cook and as an accompaniment to the featured dish. However, everyone agrees that it’s acceptable to open any bottle of wine you have one hand.
As a home cook, I find these shows to be a great escape while I get to know more about our local wineries and mingle with other food and wine lovers in the virtual space.
Follow these wineries on social media for their weekly cooking demonstrations:
“The Via Romano Way”—Sundays at 4 p.m.
“Sip & Cook” with Eileen and Justin Boeger—Sundays at 5 p.m.