Steppin’ Out – Charles B. Mitchell Vineyards, Bottle Your Own and Pizza Too

pizza-dough-1024x682Several times a year Charles B. Mitchell Vineyards, a well known winery in the quaint town of Fair Play, holds a Bottle Your Own wine event. The dates are Valentine’s Day Weekend, Veteran’s Day Weekend and one just around the corner, the 4th of July weekend (July 3-6), “A National Celebration with Wine” as they put it.

If you have never bottled your own wine, here is the way it works. You bring in your own, clean (important!) bottles (preferably in a wine box) or purchase them at the winery for only 75 cents each. You bottle your own wine and they provide the corks, capsules (the thing that covers the cork to keep varmints out), labels and all the equipment you will need to complete the process. You do all the work, but don’t worry, there are a lot of experienced people there to help you.

There are three outstanding wines to select from this year: a 2013 Baumann Vineyard Zinfandel, 2013 Thompson Vineyard Cabernet Franc and a 2013 Harde Vineyard Petite Sirah. You can fill your bottles with any of them or, as my friend Russ Salazar does, taste first, create a blend you like and fill the bottles with a mixture of two or more of them.

The cost, when purchased by the case, is a cheap $6.99 per bottle (that’s under $90 a case, plus tax). But wait, there’s a bonus! Buy a case of wine and be treated to free endless pizza from their smoke and fire belching imported, wood-fired pizza oven.

Gather together a group of friends, wine lovers or, best of all, friends who are wine lovers and make an adventure out of it, bottling wine, eating pizza and just having a great time.

Speaking of their pizza, every Friday evening from 5 p.m until 9 p.m. they hold Endless Pizza Night. You can enjoy a unique outdoor culinary experience with not only their wood-fired artisan pizza, but Maine lobster and Bocce Ball on their adjacent court.

The cost for pizza and salad is a cheap $15 per person, the Maine lobster is market price. It is best to call a day or two in advance, especially if you want lobster.

This is not just pizza, this is really good, thin crust pizza served hot from the oven. I’ve had it many times and end up eating much more than I should.

Another thing that is great about their pizza is that they will put together one that you like from their vast array of pizza toppings. (I once ordered sausage, sausage and sausage on a pizza. They made it and added pineapple to give it a sweet taste. Wonderful.)

While you are there, don’t forget to sample all of the other great wines they make, and they have a number of them.

They have a great tasting room with a fantastic, knowledgeable staff. And, don’t leave without checking out their special sales on bottled wine and their “futures” sales on wine still in the barrel. More than once I have found a really great wine still in the barrel and bought it for future pick up at a really great price.

Oh, if you can’t attend this great bottle your own wine event, you can call their tasting room or go on line at and order the wine already bottled. In this case they do the work so it costs a bit more.

Again, the dates and times for the 4th of July Bottle Your Own Event are July 3-6, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day.

Charles B. Mitchell Vineyards is located at 8221 Stoney Creek Road in Fair Play and can be reached at (530) 620-3467. The tasting room is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 until 5, and on “Pizza Friday” until 9.

By the way, did you know that Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc are the parents of the king of red Bordeaux wines, Cabernet Sauvignon?

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