Van Ruiten Family Vineyards has been setting the standard for exceptionally grown wine grapes for over fifty years! Located midway between the Sierra Foothills and the San Francisco Bay Delta, this celebrated family winery is nestled in Lodi off of Highway 12. Since the winery's inception, the Van Ruitens have been producing award-winning wines and have become especially well-known for their Old Vine Zinfandel. While this varietal can be delicious on its own, Zinfandel is also a wonderful wine to pair with food. Here's a sneak peek at one of the recipes presented from Van Ruiten Family Vineyards....a great idea for these cooler winter months, and the perfect choice for pairing with a bottle of Zinfandel! Enjoy! Coby Van Ruiten's Zinfandel Beef Stew Ingredients: 3-4 lbs. boneless beef stew meat cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch cubes Cooking oil 24 pearl onions (braised) 2/3 cup sliced carrots 12 halved small red potatoes 3 cups quartered sauteed mushrooms and juices 5 to 6 cups Zinfandel (or 1 bottle of wine plus beef stock or broth) 2 or 3 large unpeeled cloves of garlic, smashed 2 cups canned, chopped tomatoes 1 bay leaf 1 tsp. thyme Salt and pepper to taste 3 Tbs. flour and 2 Tbs. softened butter, blended to a paste, for the beurre-manie sauce Browning the meat: Dry the meat thoroughly. Add a 1/4 inch of oil to the bottom of a Dutch oven and set over high heat. When hot, brown as many pieces of the meat as will fit in one layer without crowding. Turn frequently to brown on all sides (about 3-5 minutes); remove and set aside until all meat is browned. Pour a cup of the wine/broth into the Dutch oven, swishing and scraping up any coagulated juices. Add the meat, garlic, and four more cups of the wine/broth into the casserole; fold in the tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. You should have enough liquid to almost cover the beef; add more if needed. Stew the beef for 2 hours at 325 degrees. After 2 hours, add the vegetables and continue to cook until tender. Cook at a slow simmer, either on top of the stove or in the oven, stirring occasionally. To finish and thicken the stew, stir in butter-flour (buerre-manie sauce) paste to desired consistency. Serve and enjoy with a bottle of Van Ruiten Zinfandel!