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New Fremont winery touts organic details

The sign for Briali Vineyards hadn’t gone up when I stopped by Monday, but starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, the winery will open for business.

Located in the bottom floor of the Country Meadows Golf Resort, 102 W. Indiana 120 in Fremont, Briali is the brain child of Brian and Alicia (or “Bri” and “Ali”) Moeller. Both are educated in agriculture and have been making wine – albeit, on a considerably smaller scale – for four years.

What makes Briali wine different, Brian Moeller says, is in the attention to organic detail. The wine isn’t certified organic – for many reasons, including the bureaucracy and cost of the certification – but the grapes are grown in an organic process. The grapes are grown without chemicals, and weeds are hand-pulled. The labels are made of 100 percent post-consumer waste.

Briali vineyards are scattered throughout Steuben County. The soil isn’t consistent, Moeller says, so the ground might consist of sand in one area and a hundred yards away it could be clay or rocky. Grapes are finicky growers – they like little water, so growing them atop a hill is ideal. Moeller has vineyards across the parking lot from the winery, and others will be planted along the entrance to County Meadows. Moeller grows about 1 1/2 acres of grapes at home, and there are two more acres a few miles east of the winery.

Moeller chose Country Meadows for Briali’s home because his family owns the property. His grandparents owned the restaurant that used to be housed in the new winery. In the corner is a piano his father gutted and added a wine rack to. When it was functional, the piano was inside the restaurant.

Moeller makes his wines in a back room of Briali, in 580-gallon tanks imported from Germany. Despite the tiny size of the winery, the tanks are top-of-the-line, Moeller says.

Moeller hopes to eventually be open daily. For now, the winery will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays to Sundays. It will have six or seven wines on Thursday, introducing another four a month later, and then another four in early 2013.

Wines will range from $10 to $22.

Fundraisers

•HearCare Connection is hosting Wine & Stein: A Taste for Hearing from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday at Sweetwater Sound (5501 U.S. 30 W.). The event, which includes auction items, will have music and help low-income kids receive hearing aids and care.

The tasting will include 12 to 18 wines and six stations of beer, plus food provided by Club Soda.

Tickets are $35 and can be bought at 602-3276 or HearCareConnection.org.

•Fort Wayne Toys for Tots is hosting a chili cook-off fundraiser 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday at the PNC Center, 12th floor, 110 W. Berry St. For $5, folks can sample and judge their favorite chili recipes, plus munch on cornbread or crackers, a drink and cookies.

The chili will be prepared by legal professionals in Fort Wayne, and they’ll be entering in five categories: fire alarm, white, wild about mild, no beans about it and you name it. Voting is $1 minimum, and ballot stuffing is encouraged.

For more information, call 444-4864.

New menu items

•Penn Station East Coast Subs (four Fort Wayne locations) is introducing a new sandwich for November. The Buffalo Chicken Lovers sub will include grilled chicken, spicy buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing.

•Sara’s Family Restaurant (5792 Coventry Lane) recently switched up its menu with more than a dozen new items, including chicken and waffles (two strips of breaded chicken over a Belgian waffle, sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with syrup and butter), porkettuccine (grilled pork tenderloin topped with sautéed mushrooms and served with creamy fettuccine noodles) and four new burgers.

Liquor, food dinners

•J.K. O’Donnell’s (121 W. Wayne St.) is having the last of its local food dinners for the year at 6:30 p.m. Monday. The dinner will be a tribute to kale, with six courses of food paired with Bell’s Brewery beers. A representative from Bell’s will be on hand to tap a Two Hearted Ale furkin.

The meal will include dishes such as kale and mushroom chowder, potato crusted cod and kale and pistachio ice cream.

Tickets are $40, plus tax and tip. For reservations, call 420-5563.

•Eddie Merlot’s (1504 S. Illinois Road) is having A Very Special Evening of Great Food and Great Wine at 7 p.m. Friday. The dinner’s five courses will be paired with wines from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

The meal will include dishes like seared scallops with roasted mushrooms and asparagus couscous and roasted elk chop.

Tickets are $99 per person plus tax and tip for non-platinum club members and $89 plus tax and tip for platinum club members. For reservations, call 459-2222.

Miscellaneous

•Saturday is National Sandwich Day, and Subway restaurants are having a buy-one-get-one-free deal with subs to celebrate.

•A reader wrote in, alerting us that a sign for Jet’s Pizza has been put up in the former Marco’s Pizza at 5825 Maplecrest Road.

•Ceruti’s Catering is celebrating its new venue from 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 8 with a ribbon cutting and band. The 15,000-square-foot building seats 800 guests. Ceruti’s Banquet & Event Center is located at 6325 Illinois Road.

The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email jyouhana@jg.net or call 461-8462. For more restaurant news, go to The Dish blog at www.journalgazette.net/thedish.

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