Luma’s Resident Wine Expert

When Cara Cown was in college, the only glasses she was interested in were beakers and test tubes. After getting degrees in biology and chemistry in hometown Atlanta, she took a job waiting tables while studying for her master’s degree, and a love affair with wine was born. Now 31, Cown is the wine director of Winter Park’s Luma on Park, which has 4,500 bottles in its cellar. In an interview with dining critic Joseph Hayes, Cown shares some of her knowledge about wines.




Oenophile Cara Cown

Photo By Norma Lopez Molina

Does your background in science give you any advantages when it comes to wine?

“There’s an immense crossover of knowledge. When I come across a wine that has faults, I know what caused them. Champagne stored in the light gets bitter, and when a wine tastes or smells moldy, that’s cork taint, which is produced by a fungus. It’s all simple science.”

Casual wine drinkers like to stick to one grape. Is that wrong?

“It’s always a good thing to explore new wines. Spain’s climate is a lot like Florida—it has a lot of grapes that are perfect for what we eat here. And there are some fabulous Greek wines, like Agiorgitiko and Roditis, that are fantastic bargains.”

Can you recommend a food/wine pairing that might surprise people?

“Sure. The whole ‘white wine with fish’ rule doesn’t really work. Salmon with Pinot Noir is amazing; with Chardonnay, not so amazing.”

What are you drinking right now? Any favorites?

“The vineyard Descendientes de Jose Palacios in the north of Spain makes Petalos del Bierzo. It’s made from an obscure red grape called Mencia— that’s lighter than what most people are drinking. Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria from Sicily is a red blend that you can drink just about any time. Faiveley, from the Burgundy region of France, makes a very nice, crisp, inexpensive Chablis that I really like. Elk Cove is a pretty spectacular rosé made of Pinot Noir; you can’t dispute the beauty of rosé.”

And what do you see in your crystal ball that people will be drinking this coming season?

“The craze for Malbec will continue, I know that for sure. I’d like to see a throwback to Old World style of winemaking, where you can really taste the fruit. For example, Italian reds like Sangiovese are lovely and will be very hot. And there’s some wonderful Pinot Grigios coming out of Santa Barbara that everyone should be drinking.”

Edit Module
Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

Premier Realtors

Let Orlando's best realtors help you find your dream home!

Wedding Resource Guide

Find the best wedding vendors in Orlando.

Summer Getaways 2015

Summer is finally on its way and now is the perfect time to plan your getaway. Check out some of these great deals and special destinations just a short drive from Orlando.

Shattering Myths of Better Business Bureau

2015 Best Lawyers

When you need an attorney, you want someone with a strong reputation and a proven track record. The annual Best Lawyers® list provides the names of Orlando-area attorneys most recommended by their colleagues in the field.

Orlando's Top Dentists of 2015

Our annual list featuring 216 of the area’s finest dental professionals.

Dentists Q&As

We selected 4 dentists to weigh in on questions related to dental health.

Guide to Private Schools 2015

Our annual guide to private schools will help you chart an educational course for your family.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

Weekend Happenings in Orlando June 19 to 21

Find the best events in and around town for the weekend including a Father's Day Sunday guide.

Weekend Happenings in Orlando June 12 to 14

Find the best events in and around the city for the weekend.

2015 Father's Day Gift Guide

Check out local shops Cloak & Dapper, Uncle Tony's Donut Shoppe, and Lure Design Inc. to find the perfect gift for Father's Day. (Video)

Weekend Happenings in Orlando June 5 to 7

Find the best events in and around town for the weekend.

Weekend Happenings in Orlando May 29 to 31

Find the best events in and around Orlando for the weekend.
Edit Module