Family Traditions with Cynthia Lohr and a Party Bluprints Brunch Recipe

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We are proud to present the final post in our series for the #YouKnowJLohr Campaign.  Please enjoy this special interview with Cynthia Lohr where she shares her family traditions, plus a delicious recipe from us!

Disclosure: Party Bluprints Inc. has proudly partnered with J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines and the #YouKnowJLohr campaign to share entertaining ideas, inspirations and a brunch recipe. The opinions within this post are expressly our own.

At Party Bluprints, family and traditions are an integral part of our lives. We actually started our business because we wanted to make it easier for hosts to gather and celebrate with friends and family. Besides holidays and milestone occasions, we wanted to encourage people to invite others into their homes to share food, drink and conversation, creating an opportunity to connect. Over the years we have shared many of our family traditions and recipes and we’re so pleased to turn the tables and share those of the Lohr family of J.. Lohr Wines & Vineyards. Like us, they value family, tradition and the sweet memories created when gathering. As the last installment of our 6 part series we are so honored to share another special interview with Cynthia Lohr, who invites you into her heart and family. We also are pleased to share our Challah Bread French Toast with Blueberry Lemon Coulis recipe paired with 2014 J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay. We hope both will inspire you to gather with family and create memories to last a lifetime.

Cynthia Lohr spent some of her youth in the vineyards and at the wineries, absorbing aspects of the wine industry firsthand. As an adult, she chose her own path, establishing a reputation for excellence in strategic marketing and public relations, consulting with a who’s who of leading Internet and technology companies. In 2002, Cynthia joined the family business as director of communications for J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, and in 2009, she was named marketing vice president.

Cynthia’s efforts to champion the family business led to J. Lohr being recognized as the 2010 “American Winery of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and the notable partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation to support mammograms for women in need through sales of wines from Carol’s Vineyard. A deeply personal story to the Lohr family, this national campaign has helped fund more than 5,000 mammograms for women who would otherwise be unable to afford them, and raise awareness for this important cause. Beginning in 2016, Cynthia transitioned to the role of trade and brand advocate for J. Lohr.

Interview with Cynthia Lohr

Dawn: What is it about gathering around a table, breaking bread and sharing wine that connects people?

Cynthia: The chance to slow down, be present, and have so many senses engaged, is an unrivaled experience, no matter how, or when, people gather! I love to cook, and I love to host, and while I prefer more intimate gatherings of 2-6 around my round table, I’m equally comfortable hosting 12, whether extended family or the female fan club that surrounds one of my girlfriends when she’s in town from Dallas! The beauty of wine is that it’s not only a social lubricant that inspires openness and sharing, it’s an art form that holds a unique story in every bottle, which I’m happy to tell when pouring J. Lohr.carol_lohr

Elizabeth: What is your favorite memory surrounding a family gathering – what was on the table/in the glass?

Cynthia: Our mother was an amazing cook, and we gathered for family meals nearly every night, before my father returned to work in the evening. My father always had interesting anecdotes to share about his first business as a builder/developer, so my brothers and I would sit in rapt attention so as to not miss a single detail. One of our earliest wines, an aromatic white blend named Jade, had a beautiful and memorable name and package, and was one of our first offerings from our vineyards in Arroyo Seco in Monterey County. My father was very proud of this early wine, and we were too! Though we stopped producing it many years ago, we still get fans asking about its availability. Talk about making a lasting impression!

Dawn: Brunch is a fun (and low pressure) way to host a gathering. What do you like about hosting brunch?

Cynthia: Brunch for me is an easier offering than dinner, which typically takes longer to prepare, but is equally well-received, and more inclusive for young children. I have a lot of fun with pairings, particularly finding delicious dishes to pair with wines in our J. Lohr Gesture tier.

I also like that brunch usually turns into a multi-hour affair. I prefer Sunday brunch, perhaps after church or other practice, because it reminds everyone as to the importance of community.

Elizabeth: What are some of your favorite brunch dishes to make and share?

Cynthia: I threw a baby shower for our former nanny, and decided to make a number of quiches, including crusts, from scratch. So, when I’ve got time, that’s my go-to dish, and there are so many incredible variations. One of my favorites is bacon, gruyère and leek, but then who doesn’t like a hearty mushroom and sausage quiche? Our J. Lohr Gesture Grenache Rosé and also our Gesture RVG (Roussanne, Viognier Grenache) pair beautifully and are exquisite Rhône-style wines that complement the French theme associated with quiches! My favorite egg dish is a green chile, mushroom and feta scramble, served with whole wheat toast and berries on the side. Yum! And lastly, I love to make a French toast with challah, and include a bit of vanilla and lemon zest in the egg batter. This always goes over well for the sweet tooths in the bunch!

Dawn: What are some of your favorite family traditions that you’ve carried on from the previous generation?

Cynthia: Because my father’s birthday is January 1st, and his sister’s birthday is December 31st (our aunt Lynn Lohr) some combination of us always gathers for at least a celebratory toast around midnight. While champagne is often featured, we’re just as happy toasting with our J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Sauvignon, or sometimes our J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon or one of the Bordeaux blends from the J. Lohr Cuvée Series.

Elizabeth: You and your family honored your mother, Carol Waldorf Lohr, by building a vineyard in her name, Carol’s Vineyard. You continue to honor your mother’s legacy with your partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF.) Your Touching Lives campaign, now in its 8th year, donates a portion of sales of every bottle of J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc purchased to the NBCF to fund mammograms to women who would otherwise be unable to afford them, which to date exceeds 5,000. In addition, your Touching Lives campaign is expanding its support to include Patient Navigation programs and services, which empower women to better understand their health and get access to the services they need in both hospitals and at community events across the United States. Can you tell us about the visions for Carol’s Vineyard and Touching Lives and how they came to life and share with us what your work with the NBCF and Touching Lives campaign means to you and J. Lohr as a company.

Cynthia: This is a deeply personal story to the Lohr family, having lost our mother to complications from breast cancer in 2008. What started as a way to commemorate the 2005 vintage of our J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, turned into a crusade, once we connected with the family behind the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the Hails. CEO Janelle Hail is a breast-cancer survivor of 35+ years, and her story is one of vision, faith, community and family. We felt that the Hail’s devotion to their mission to raise awareness for early detection, and to fortify communities with resources, was similar to our passion for our family business and the values that we hold.

One in 8 women in their lifetime will somehow be touched by breast cancer. The power of early detection through mammograms and other diagnostic tools has been proven to prolong and save lives. It’s in this capacity that we channeled our contributions from sales of our two wines from Carol’s Vineyard to have tangible impact, to touch lives, by directing these dollars to help support mammograms for women who would otherwise be unable to afford them. We’re very proud to have reached the milestone of funding more than 5,000 mammograms. In our newest Touching Lives campaign kicking off in in October, we’re working with the National Breast Cancer Foundation to help support Patient Navigation services, which help women with breast cancer navigate the complex treatment and recovery options through the guidance of trained advocates. It’s a powerful model in patient care that we’re thrilled to support, because these advancements were nascent during our mother’s diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer 15 years ago.

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Dawn: Can you tell us about your Mother and share a favorite recipe of hers?

Cynthia: Our mother was a very healthy cook, and made simple, delicious and balanced meals. Every so often she would get just a little crazy with sloppy joes, nachos, or a heaping plate of spaghetti and meat sauce. I have an early memory of her taking a Moroccan cooking course when I was very young, and while she made scrumptious dishes like dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) and stuffed bell peppers, she also made the delicate Middle Eastern pastry, baklava. I’ll never forget her carefully brushing the phyllo dough with melted, clarified butter, layer by layer, and the fragrance of the rose water used in the syrup. To this day, this remains one of my favorite holiday treats to make and share with friends and family. The flavors are set off beautifully with our J. Lohr Late Harvest White Riesling!

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Breast cancer has touched us and our families and we are pleased to share the expanding partnership between J. Lohr and the National Breast Cancer Foundation, learn more about the Touching Lives program and how you can help support their efforts to spread the word about early detection as they continue to champion their efforts to raise awareness. FYI: J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines donates $2 to the NBCF for every bottle of J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc and $3 for every bottle of J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon purchased.

We believe that family is precious and any time we can gather and enjoy one another’s company is important to the family fabric. We wish all of you many moments spent at the table together. Here’s a family favorite brunch recipe of ours, Challah Bread French Toast with Blueberry Lemon Coulis, paired with J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay – cheers to you and your family.

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Challah French Toast with Blueberry Lemon Coulis

Makes 4 large French Toast

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ loaf challah bread – sliced into 1 ¼” – 1 ½” pieces
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Confectioners sugar
  • Syrup

Instructions

  1. Prepare coulis: add blueberries, lemon juice and sugar to a non-stick saucepan and stir, drop in cinnamon stick. Heat on low-medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring intermittently until mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to set.
  2. Preheat large non-stick pan or griddle on medium heat.
  3. Add eggs, milk and cinnamon to a glass pie dish, whisk until thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Dip bread slices one at a time into egg mixture, making sure to coat both sides well.
  5. Place coated bread slices on greased pan and cook until both sides are golden brown.
  6. Top with blueberry lemon coulis, sprinkle with confectioners sugar and serve with syrup.

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Now see what unfolds with this #YouKnowJLohr ‘Too Many Cooks’ video. You can also meet the cast, which happens to be the Lohr Family, read more >

Cheers, enjoy and please remember to drink and serve responsibly.

WINEMAKER’S COMMENTS: The 2014 Riverstone Chardonnay has a youthful, brassy yellow color of medium depth. The aromas are fresh and reminiscent of ripe nectarine, apple and strawberry combined with honey, grilled hazelnuts and toasty oak from the barrel fermentation and sur lie aging. The palate weight is plump and rich, with flavors echoing the aromas with a delicate balance of acidity, buttery length and sophisticated elegance. —Jeff Meier, winemaker

WINE LIST DESCRIPTION: A fresh, youthful and rich Chardonnay with flavors of nectarine, apple, citrus and honey.

About J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines: Founded four decades ago by Jerry Lohr, and still family-owned and operated today, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines makes a full line of internationally recognized wines from its 3,700 acres of sustainably-farmed, estate vineyards in Paso Robles, Monterey County’s Arroyo Seco and Santa Lucia Highlands appellations, and St. Helena in the Napa Valley. Offering an expressive range of styles, J. Lohr produces four tiers of signature wines showcasing its estate grapes – J. Lohr Estates, J. Lohr Vineyard Series, J. Lohr Cuvée Series and J. Lohr Gesture.

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