Take the wine and cupcake stroll at Stone House Urban Winery
On Sunday, Feb. 9, Stone House Urban Winery will lead its visitors on a movie theater-themed Wine and Cupcake Stroll.
“People will stroll through the winery eating cupcakes based on the treats you would enjoy at the movie theater and pairing them with a complementing wine,” Lori Yata said.
Yata, who co-owns the winery along with Lorie Dixon, said master baker Kevin Sokol will create the cupcakes for the event. Selected flavors will be popcorn, Twizzlers, Snickers, Coca-Cola and Sno-Caps.
“I give him all these crazy ideas and he comes up with the cupcakes,” Yata said.
Then comes the challenge of pairing the cupcakes with wines.
“It’s a hard job,” she said. “He brings in the cupcakes. We have a bite of cupcake and a sip of wine that we think will go well. Sometimes it’s terrible, sometimes it works very well. We just sit and try them until we find the perfect match. Last time when we were finished I said, ‘Don’t make me eat one more cupcake!’”
The testing process for this stroll will take place Friday before the Sunday event.
“If customers are sitting there, they get to play along with us,” Yata said.
While she could only guess as to how Sokol would incorporate the movie treats into the cupcakes, Yata did have some ideas in mind for pairings but said she wouldn’t be sure until she tasted them for herself.
“You actually have to put it in your mouth,” she said. “I think I might try the popcorn cupcake, because it’s buttery, with maybe the peach chardonnay because the chardonnay grape has a buttery finish to it.”
In planning for the Coca-Cola cupcake pairing, she mulled the idea of a pinot grigio “because it’s got a bit of a citrusy finish to it.”
“One thing we are very lucky with is that we have a lot of delicious fruit wines that can serve as a default if the regular dries and bold reds don’t do well. There is always going to be a fruit wine that goes well with something,” she said.
Depending on how taste tests go, Yata said, the winery might introduce an ice wine at the event.
“I was thinking of pairing it with the Sno-Cap,” she said. “To make ice wines, grapes must be picked when they are frozen on the vine.”
Yata prefers to source such grapes from Canada because they benefit from the lake effect weather in the Great Lakes region.
“I grew up in Michigan off Lake Michigan. They make nice ice wines because the grapes will still be on the vine in the cool breeze,” she said.
The winery will be decorated in movie style for the stroll.
“We’ll have popcorn buckets holding up the cupcakes. There will be sign-holders at each of the stations with a movie ticket for stop one, stop two. Then we will have whatever cupcake is paired,” she said.
Stone House Urban Winery formerly was Olney Winery at Stone House Square under the ownership of Dixon. Yata bought into the business in January 2019. The term “urban” winery means that the establishment makes its own wine but does not grow its own grapes.
“Lorie makes our wine and I run the front of the house,” Yata said, in reference to the historic home built in the mid-1700s. “We actually source juices in from around the world. We have an Argentinian Malbec and an Italian Sangiovese. If they come from the United States, the juices are probably from around the Napa Valley area.”
At a Halloween Wine and Cupcake Stroll last fall, Sokol created cupcakes inspired by candies including Good ‘N Plenty, M&M’s and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
“For Good ‘N Plenty, he put in anise flavoring. That was a really good cupcake. For popcorn, your guess is as good as mine what he is going to do,” she said. “I always think, ‘how can we have fun?’ We’ve also done pairings with cupcakes based on summer drinks. We had a delicious Key lime martini cupcake.”
Yata said the winery will host cupcake strolls quarterly. The next event will be based on breakfast foods and include Pop-Tart, French toast and mimosa cupcakes.
Tickets to the Wine and Cupcake Stroll cost $25 and include five miniature cupcakes, five wine tastings, a full size cupcake of each visitor’s preferred flavor at the end of stroll. Participants also will receive 10 percent off bottle purchases. Ticket sales end Friday, Feb. 7, at 5 p.m.Top photo: Co-owner Lori Yata tends to the wine wall at Stone House Urban Winery. The establishment will host an At the Movies-themed Wine and Cupcake Stroll on Sunday, Feb. 9, featuring movie treat-flavored cupcakes paired with wines. (Submitted photo)