Israeli wine flows at tasting for seniors


“I need reds,” certified sommelier Laura Winter Falk said as she began uncorking bottles for a wine tasting at Atria Riverdale on June 24.

“Where do you want extras? Do you want to get the white in the refrigerator?” responded Ellen Mancuso, the retirement home’s assistant executive director.

“Yes. We should keep the whites chilled. Let’s do three more bottles of red, each red. Put those up on here.

I’ll get those open,” said Ms. Falk, who holds a Ph.D. in nutrition.

For Atria Riverdale’s first wine pairing event, Ms. Falk emphasized vintages from Israel. While she focused on the wine, the home’s executive chef chose the food to come up with pairings like Golan Heights Winery Gilgal Brut Sparkling Wine with seasonal berries and avocado; Recanati Sauvignon Blanc and citrus salad with mint and chopped walnuts; and Galil Viognier and grilled mahi-mahi topped with mango and papaya salsa.

“The wine they are drinking as well as the food you are eating… can create all new experiences of how the food and wine taste together,” Ms. Falk said.

The food-and-beverage pairings seemed to leave the roughly 50 attendees buoyant.

“I feel less institutionalized when we have a thing like this,” said Atria resident Helen Zimmer. “I feel like I’m more out in the world.”

Throughout the roughly 90-minute tasting, Ms. Falk explained the recent growth of Israel’s wine business, mixing in anecdotes about her parents. She organized the pairing in honor of her mother Henrietta Winter, who still lives at the Atria, and father Don Winter, who died in March. Saturday would have been their 56th wedding anniversary.

“It’s kind of honoring my parents and how much they loved life and appreciated the finer things in life [and] appreciated the knowledge that we gain throughout life,” said Ms. Falk.

Residents at the pairing said it was a fitting tribute to Mr. Winter.

“It was so touching, “said Carla Ryan. “I thought that it was a wonderful idea.”

Mrs. Winter said her husband would have been proud of their daughter.

“He was a very important part of our lives, naturally, and part of remembering him is to have this celebration in his name,” she said.

Toward the end of the first annual Henrietta and Don Winter Wine Pairing Event, Ms. Falk took audience questions on topics like the best place to store wine. The sommelier, who runs a tour company focusing on the Finger Lakes, advised storing the libation in a dry place like the back of one’s closet.

Atria’s executive director said the event complemented her organization’s mission.

“It’s an experience for all of their senses,” said Rena Hyman. “And I think it really promotes the whole philosophy of Atria, which is engaging them in a full life.”

Ms. Falk counted the afternoon a success. “I was thrilled that everyone seemed completely focused and engaged from beginning to end,” she said.