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TGIF Randomness

State of the Wine Cellar

Happy Friday everyone!  I’ve got a few random notes for you as we wind up the week.

We have a beautiful day here at Peaceful Bend today, but I understand that Sunday might get a bit cold and damp.  I’ll be sure to have a pot of hot mulled wine on the stove to keep any visitors warm!

Tonight I’ll be up in St. Louis offering our wine at the Mardi Gras Wine, Beer, and Whiskey Taste from 7-11pm.  This event is held at the Soulard Market Park in the Bud Light Party Tent.  You can find out more information about this tasting and purchase tickets by clicking here.  By the way, this tasting is going waaaay past my normal bedtime, so coffee might be my beverage today!

Poor Clyde came down with a cold this week, so Connie will be helping me here in the tasting room this afternoon.  So far I’m feeling great, so keep your fingers crossed that he feels better soon and that I don’t catch his bug!  I made him a version of this soup to eat while I’m gone tonight.

Murphy’s Place is offering a great discount on their vacation cabin rental prices during the off-season this year.  Check them out here and plan a winter get-away to see us at the same time.

The big game is on this weekend!  If you are looking for a few delicious nibbles to serve, check out these, these, or even this.

Be sure to mark your calendars to visit us on Valentine’s Day weekend.  We’ll have our chocolate & wine pairing from 11-6, while supplies last on Saturday and Sunday.  More info on our events page.

I hope to see you this weekend – Cheers!


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Norton Chocolate Cheesecake

Norton Chocolate Cheesecake
I’m sorry to ruin any diet plans you had this week, but this Norton chocolate cheesecake recipe idea has been worming it’s way through my brain all week, so I had to test it out and share.  One taste of this deliciousness though, and you’ll forgive me.  Anything.

Yep, it’s that good.

There are a lot of steps to making this cheesecake, so it might seem overwhelming at first.  But each step is actually pretty easy to do.  I did discover that if you use a mixer to cream your cream cheese and sugar together, that the regular beaters don’t really work.  Really don’t work! So either fit your machine with a paddle attachment and plan to scrape it off regularly, or pull out a fork and work off several calories early on in the making of this cheesecake by manually mixing everything together.  Think of it as your arm workout for the day.

Norton Chocolate Cheesecake
I used our 2010 Norton for this recipe, and I hoped the flavor would come through all that chocolate.  It definitely did and gave this cheesecake an extra raspberry flavor, so of course, that’s what I recommend using as a garnish. Plus, raspberries make an easy garnish, and after that arm workout, I was ready for easy.  Feel free to try something else, like a chocolate ganache or whipped cream instead of the raspberries.

This crust was made from gingersnap cookies, which gave a little extra tang to this rich cheesecake.  You could try pre-packaged graham cracker (or chocolate cookie crumb) pie crusts and skip making your own crust.  There will be a lot of the filling mixture though, so be sure to purchase more than one crust.  I haven’t tried store-bought crusts myself, so I don’t know how they would affect the baking process.  You might need to check in on the pies after baking for 30 minutes or so.

When you turn the oven off, you’ll want to have cooked edges, but a rather large, very jiggly center.  The center firms up in the refrigerator, so don’t worry about those jiggles.

Norton Chocolate Cheesecake

If you manually mixed this together, you won’t have to worry about jiggles on you or the cake. :)

I hope you have fun making this cheesecake!  If you don’t want to bother making one yourself, then come by the winery on February 14 for our annual Valentine’s Chocolate and Wine Pairing.  I’ll be serving this along with two other treats paired up with our wines.  Find out more by clicking here.

Norton Chocolate Cheesecake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Use Peaceful Bend Vineyard Norton wine to make this rich, chocolate cheesecake for your Valentine!
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
  • Crust:
  • 12 oz. box of gingersnap cookies
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Filling:
  • ½ cup Norton wine
  • 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup unflavored Greek yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • fresh raspberries for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Add a large bowl or pan of hot water to the bottom rack of the oven. Butter a springform pan.
  2. Place half the gingersnap cookies in a food processor or large ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to crush them finely.
  3. Mix the butter, sugar and ground cinnamon together with the cookie crumbs until the crumbs are moistened.
  4. Spread the cookie mixture uniformly on the bottom of the springform pan and press down creating an even, packed layer of crumbs. Set aside.
  5. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave or in the top of a double boiler. Stir in the heavy cream until smooth. Set aside to cool a bit.
  6. Cream the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and well incorporated together. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until smooth in between each egg. Add the chocolate mixture and blend until smooth. Add the sour cream and the yogurt and stir until smooth. Add the wine, salt, and vanilla and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into the springform pan, completely covering the crust.
  7. Place the springform pan on a rack in the middle of the oven, above the steaming water pan. Bake for 45 minutes. The edges of the cheesecake should be cooked, but the center will still be jiggly. Turn off heat, crack the oven door, and allow to cool in the oven for another 45 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow to cool on the countertop until you can handle the pan. Cover the cheesecake and chill for 12 hours in the refrigerator.
  8. Before taking the cheesecake out of the pan, run a warm, dry knife along the edge between the cake and pan. Carefully remove the outer sides and garnish the cake with the raspberries and extra gingersnap cookies. Serve each slice with an extra cookie or two on the side.
Feel free to substitute chocolate cookie or graham crackers for the gingersnap cookies.


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Just Up the Road: Bem General

Our ‘Just Up The Road’ series features nearby businesses and attractions that we love. We’ll try to show a unique side of these places that aren’t necessarily highlighted on websites or in brochures. I hope you enjoy these peeks into our neighborhood, and can plan to visit one of these spots in addition to your visit to the winery!

Bem General
If you are in our area for an extended visit, consider heading north on Highway 19 to check out a charming store in Bem, Missouri called Bem General. Admittedly, this business is a ‘fur piece’ up the road, but well worth a stop in to visit with the owners, check out the handmade gifts, pick up locally grown meat and produce, enjoy a spa treatment, or attend a craft afternoon. I grabbed my buddy Crystal and headed up this past Tuesday afternoon to chat with co-owner, April Adkison, while she worked on organizing the shop for next month’s re-opening.

Bem General
Bem General started life as a dance hall and then was purchased by the Kreter family as a new location for their family business, Kreter General Store, back in the 1930’s. The Kreters operated their store until 1991, eventually selling the old building to April’s cousin who wanted to make sure something good would happen to this local landmark.

April and her sister, Amy, had grown up in Bem and were both newly moved back to the area when their cousin purchased the store in 2005.  At that time they didn’t take much interest, but fast-forward to 2011 when their cousin came in town and said ‘You are the ones to do something there!’.

After some thought, April and Amy took their cousin’s wishes to heart and opened Bem General’s doors in 2012.  Since then, they have been charming all of us with their heart-felt dedication to the space and the principals they hold dear.  April runs the store while her Amy, a massage therapist and yoga instructor, runs the spa section of the business.

Bem General
The sisters share a love of antiques, quality food, hand-made items, and wholesome living that is obvious from the moment you step in the door. They have created a unique combination of retail shop, event space, and spa treatment facilities that is both fun and deeply comforting.  The day Crystal and I showed up, I had to smile at the mix of Valentine’s and Christmas decor that was up in the store.  I’ve had my own struggles to get everything wrapped up after the holidays this year, so I was glad to see I wasn’t the only one!

Bem General

Bem General
The ‘buy local’ ethic is a guiding principal at Bem General, so the sisters feature area artists and craftsmen in the beautifully decorated shop.  Pottery, jewelery and even fishing lures are on display throughout the store.  Living healthfully is another focus between the spa and the organic foods available.

I have to apologize, as my attempt at photographing the spa rooms didn’t turn out very well.  But rest assured, the massage and reflexology rooms are as charming and cozy as the rest of Bem General’s space.  April and Amy have also been working on videos to demonstrate yoga, breathing, and cooking principals to encourage good health.

Bem General
April makes her own goat’s milk soap, lotions, bath salts, herbal teas, and offers essential oils for those who like to make their own blends. The front half of the retail store reminded me of an old apothecary with it’s jars of oils and various products lining the shelves behind the counter.

Bem General
At the far end of Bem General is an event space with room for small groups to get together. They also house their coolers for their CSA members at this end of the store.  Every time I walked by a spot, I kept spying something new and cool. This is one of those stores where you’ll want to plan to spend more time in to really soak in the atmosphere.

Bem General
Chalk board painted walls!  Squee!

Ahem.  Please pardon the outburst.

The store is closed in January, but will open up again in February.  On February 10 they will be hosting a live music event featuring the band Feeding Leroy. The concert starts at 6:30pm, cover charge is $5, and food & wine will be available to purchase during the evening. April also told us that she will be announcing their CSA program next month as well, so be sure to like their page on facebook or sign up for their weekly newsletter on Bem General’s website.

You can also follow along with April on her lovely blog, Farmhouse Kitchen Lab, or on the Bem General Instagram page too.  Their regular hours are Thursdays from 1-6pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 10-5, or by appointment/chance for the rest of the week.

I hope you get a chance to visit and enjoy all that our area offers.  If you’ve been to Bem General, leave a comment and let us know what you thought about it.  Cheers!

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