Celebrating the New Year in our house always involves raising a glass of something bubbly, or a favorite vino. The last week of December, Urbana native Daniel Orrison travels to Urbana for family festivities — and to pour locals a taste of his Napa and Portugese made wine.
You may remember Orrison from an intro column I wrote, describing his intriguing adventures traveling from Urbana High School (class of 2005) to New Zealand, where he met Filipa “Pipa” Fonseca over their mutual love for making wine. Fast forward several years, and the Orrisons now doubled the amount of wine they produce in both Napa and Portugal (Pipa’s native stomping grounds), and nearly sold out of the two blends they released this spring under their label, Orison Wines.
Orrison is the marketing and business director for the Bespoke Collection in Napa Valley and as of Jan. 1, Pipa will go to work full-time for the Orison brand. The wines are sold not just in Napa but also in Maryland at Orion Wine and Spirits, which is owned by Charlie Seymour — who happens to be Orrison’s uncle.
“It makes me very proud of my nephew and I am glad they have such a passion for something and enjoy their work so much,” Seymour said, adding with a good-hearted laugh that Orrison’s wines are quality blends. “It really is delicious.”
Orrison said he gets texts and emails from Urbana residents commenting on his blends, which include the 2012 Rowan, a red blend made in Napa, and the 2013 Pipa, a white made in Portugal. “There isn’t a better feeling than getting a picture of the wine from families that they are enjoying it. It keeps us closer to home,” he said.
Orison Wines annually releases a spring and a fall wine. For 2015, the duo anticipates the release of a white in the spring and a red in the fall. Both will be available at Orion, Orrison said.
Visits to Urbana bring Orrison back to his roots. It was at Seymour’s former restaurant, The Turning Point Inn, that he got his first taste of good wine, and he never looked back. Seymour, principal of Urbana’s Turning Point Real Estate, ran The Turning Point Inn for years as a 140-seat restaurant/inn that won a number of national awards and accreditations, including being noted in Washingtonian Magazine multiple times. Now the building hosts his real estate company, but Seymour still carries his love for being a restaurateur by helping locals select the best vino to pair with their meals.
On Tuesday, Dec. 23 from 4 to 7 p.m., the Orrisons will pour tastes of their wines and will be present to sign bottles and talk about the wine making process at Orion. If the issue isn’t in your hands in time to attend, Orrison welcomes comments via email. “If people have favorite restaurants or places they want to see the wine, they can reach out and let us know directly,” he said. He noted that people often say that Rowan is one of the best reds they have tasted and perhaps the best $20 bottle of wine in America. Contact Orrison at email@example.com; for more information, go to www.orisonwines.com or www.iloveorion.com.
Also notable this month is the Jan. 9 fundraiser at the Urbana Fire and Rescue Hall for the Hageman family. Cliff Hageman lost his leg after a car accident this fall, resulting in overwhelming medical bills. Consider attending the event for an evening to connect with neighbors and to raise funds for this beloved family.
Flip to the front page and read the profile of Jesse Martin, written by Greater Urbana Area Food Bank founder Jo Ostby. Even though 10-year-old Jesse was born with a number of physical difficulties, she gives continuously to the local community. This year, take time to notice other stand-out members of our community and let the Town Courier know about them. These are the types of articles we love to write. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 240.409.6734 with holiday photos, notes about topics you would like covered and more.
Have a happy New Year!