Best of Vegan Wine Pairings: Saving the planet 1 wine at a time | Proud Pour

Berlin Kelly and Brian Thurber of the Proud Pour Team | Vegan Wine Maker

Red wine from Proud Pour - Pint Noir

At the start of the New Year, I made a promise to myself to eat healthier by buying fresh foods, organic foods and making more homemade meals. In addition to making healthier choices, I also self-promised to workout daily for 15-30 minutes. Some days I feel less motivated to workout but I try to be physically active in some shape or form – walking, running, yoga or dancing. Since keeping up with this habit my body feels lighter and I have more energy. Now I am searching for healthier beverages.

One of my favorite beverages to drink is wine – Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. But what if I could get a healthier, more refreshing option of my favorite wines? This started my journey to natural wine, vegan wine.

What is Vegan Wine?

How to drink and make a difference with vegan wine 20160809 Proud Pour Berlin Kelly-1

Vegan wine is wine that doesn’t include animal products. You may be asking “Don’t all wines not have meat?” That depends on the wine filtration process. Tiny particles , traces of meat are found in wine when filtered through animal products. With vegan wine you can avoid  animal products altogether without sacrificing the delicious taste of wine. Some common animal products you can find in traditional wines are:

  • Albumin, the protein in eggs
  • Casein, an animal protein found in dairy products
  • Gelatin which from animal skin, bone and cartilage
  • Isinglass which is the gelatin from fish bladders
  • Egg whites
  • Chitosan carb found in shrimp, crab, and crustacean shells

Older wines may also have dried blood powder. If this sounds gross to you, wine lovers have drunk wines with some if not these particles inside. But why are these ingredients in wine? The animal products help clarify, filter, and refine wines and beers. Inevitably small traces of those animal products are found in the final beer and wine products. The wonderful thing about vegan wine is that it doesn’t have to use animal products to clarify, filter and refine. Instead, bentonite clay can refine wines to make them 100% vegan.

If you are wondering whether you can easily spot vegan wines when shopping for wine, you may find it challenging because the refining ingredients are not actually in the wine and not required to be listed on the wine bottle. I recommend going directly to a wine maker or wine retailer to confirm which wines are vegan wines – a high quality vendor will always keep track of wines that are vegetarian-friendly. This is how I discovered Proud Pour , a vegan wine provider committed to pairing wines with solutions to local environmental problems.

Berlin Kelly Gif for Proud Pour

About Proud Pour

Environmentally friendly products are very important to me because I want to be mindful of how my habits and behaviors impact the world around. Doing research on Instagram about vegan wines, I discovered the hashtag#CheersToChange – a tagline Proud Pour uses on their Instagram page @ProudPour. They have two wines available now.

The first wine is The Oyster, a Sauvignon Blanc that restores 100 wild oysters per bottle. It also happens to be the perfect pair for oyster or seafood plates. This is appealing to me because I’m on a chicken and seafood diet now while also enjoying vegan food here and there.

Proud Pour Pinot Noir made in Umpqua Valley.
Photo credit: Webb Chappell Photography

The second wine is Oregon Pinot Noir that saves bees by planting 875 wildflowers. Pinot Noir goes well with salmon, roasted chicken, pasta dishes, casseroles, stews and game birds like duck or quail. It can also go well with chocolate desserts and those with caramel.

Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc from Proud Pour Wine maker.
Order online at or find a distributor near you. Photo credit:Webb Chappell Photography.

No matter your preference of wine type, both are sustainably grown, vegan wines (and soon beer come this summer or summer 2018) to save the environment. Between the Sauvignon Blanc and the Oregon Pinot Noir, I decided to go for the wine that saves the bees. Regardless you cannot go wrong with either because you are making a difference.

I look at the back of the Oregon Pinot Noir wine bottle and read the facts about the importance of wildflowers to bees. Bees pollinate one-third of the food we eat. Native bees are disappearing because of pesticide use, disease and lack of wildflowers and habitat. By buying this vegan wine from Proud Pour, I help ( and you can support too) the bees survive because Proud Pour plants 875 wildflowers when wine lovers buy. That amount of wildflowers is the equivalent of 90 sq ft of bee habitat. Where? Local farms. The project is called Xerces Society.

Wine Tasting of the Oregon Pinot Noir

The Oregon Pinot Noir is not only sustainably grown and vegan, it is delicious with supple tannins, earthy tones, and rich notes of red plum, rhubarb, and vanilla. What I absolutely love about Proud Pour is their attention to detail. The wine bottle is beautiful. It has an illustration of a bee with the description “This wine saves bee species.” It also comes with a lovely sack that has  seeds to plant wildflowers which I cannot wait to use when I get my first home. This wine has no eggs, casein or isinglass. I love it – cannot wait for my family and friends to try. Moreover, I am proud that a woman entrepreneur, Berlin Kelly, founder of Proud Pour produce this excellent wine for us to enjoy on date night, at weddings, corporate events and our favorite nights of TV.

Berlin Kelly and Brian Thurber of the Proud Pour Team | Vegan Wine Maker
Founder and CEO Berlin Kelly and Co-CEO Brian Thurber launched Proud Pour to drink and make a difference at the same time.

About the Proud Pour Team

Berlin and business partner Brian Thurber launched Proud Pour because they wanted to drink to make a difference.  How many beverages can you really say make a difference when you go to the bar? Not many. They partner with local environmental group to do just that – and it’s awesome. Check out the list of non-profits Proud Pour supports today. The Proud Pour team encourages their fans to attend the non-profits’ events or reach out to see how they can help. Learn more on how they got started by reading ‘ Paired with Oysters, This Wine is Cleaning Up the New York Harbor.’

Where to Buy Vegan Wines

The great thing about Proud Pour is that it gives wine lovers (and soon-to-be beer lovers) options on how to get their drink on. If you click Where to Buy at you can find a Proud and Pour wine distributor near you or order right online. I love the buy online option because it allows me to buy in advance of special occasions and comes right to my door. Once it’s a habit, it’s easy.

Let me know what you think about Proud Pour by using the hashtag #CheersToChange


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Primanti Bros. Restaurant and Bar is proud of customers giving up for Lent

Best places to eat for Lent

Whether giving up meat  or giving up Lent, Primanti Bros. and Bar is offering a seasonal special for customers. What is it? To honor the start of the Lenten season with the launch of three new sandwiches  – for the pious or the gluttonous – and is proud of its fans for “Giving Up” this season. The new sandwiches will be around until Easter and will be served everyday.

For those observing the season, Primanti Bros. is introducing The Redemption Sandwich – a ten-inch hoagie with spicy shrimp, crispy fish, pepper jack cheese and Cajun tartar and The Offering Sandwich – a 9oz crispy fish filet served with fries, slaw and tomato. For the heathens among us – the restaurant brings The Last Temptation – a meaty mashup of corned-beef, pastrami, Swiss cheese and spicy beer mustard – all topped with sweet-and-sour slaw, tomato and French fries.

“This season – it’s all about giving up – and that sacrifice has never tasted better,” said Toni Haggerty, a long-time icon and manager at Primanti Bros. original place in Pittsburgh. “In fact, we’re encouraging our fans to just, well, give up already.”

For those unfamiliar, Lent always marks an uptick in fish sales – but for those not looking for seafood, Primanti Bros. wanted to be sure to have something new.

“Listen, we’ve never been squeaky clean,” said Haggerty. “We’ve all got a bit of a mischievous side – and this year, we’ve got The Last Temptation Sandwich if fish just isn’t your thing and you’re looking to give in…”

For the latest info on Primanti Bros. Lent specials, check out the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

About Primanti Brothers

In 1933, Joe Primanti opened a lunch cart in Pittsburgh’s Strip District selling sandwiches to the hungry truckers who were coming and going at all times of the night. Encouraged by sales and positive feedback, Joe expanded to a small storefront where he was joined by his brothers Dick and Stanley and their nephew John DePriter. And that’s how the very first Primanti Bros. place was born – Primanti Bros. now has 39 locations, all dedicated to that early notion that folks deserve great food, with no pretense, for a good price.

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New Electric Orange Appalachian Sippin’ Cream from Sugarlands Distilling Company

Sugarlands Distilling Company Presents Electric Orange Appalachian Sippin' Cream

Gatlinburg, Tenn.— Sugarlands Distilling Company, distillers of award-winning spirits in East Tennessee, released its Electric Orange Cream Liqueur. The newest Appalachian Sippin’ Cream is now available at the downtown Gatlinburg distillery and will soon be available in stores and online at

The new spirit combines a bright, fresh orange zest with the smooth taste of vanilla cream. The vibrant orange taste pairs perfectly with the cream to create a taste like frozen cream pops found in your hometown malt shop. At 40 proof, electric orange can be sipped straight out of the jar or added to your favorite float. Moreover, Electric Orange joins an award-winning line of spirits that has won 20 awards internationally since distillation began in 2014. Sugarlands Distilling Company offers dozens of creative cocktail ideas on their cocktail page.

About Sugarlands Distilling Company

Since opening in March 2014, Sugarlands Distilling Company has quickly become one of the most celebrated crafters of moonshine spirits in the country. The East Tennessee distillery now offers 14 varieties of award-winning moonshine distilled in the Great Smoky Mountains. Sugarlands Distilling Company combines innovative drinks with a raconteur and thrilling vibe. At the downtown Gatlinburg distillery, craft moonshine and whiskey partners up with live music, moonshine tastings, distillery tours and outdoor adventures in the Sugarlands—an area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, also known as “moonshiners’ paradise”. Each year, nearly 1 million people visit the distillery, making it America’s top-rated distillery experience and the number one “thing to do” in Gatlinburg, Tenn., according to

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What is on the drink menu for millennials in the New Year?

Millennial favorite drinks

New Year’s Eve is only days away but what is on the drink menu? Millennials are great consumers for alcohol corporations, distinguishing their varying tastes and preferences. In fact, millennials make up 30% of the total consumer product dollars that will be spent by 2020  because there are 77 million millennials ( and growing). What do millennials value? They value experience and authenticity; and when purchasing alcohol, it is no different. Additionally, they research brands online, read blog recommendations and taste test in-store to make the best decisions for their taste buds.

Millennials 21-34 represent about one-fourth of adults 21 and over, but they account for 35% of U.S. beer consumption and 32% of spirit consumption. Comparatively, they represent only 20% of wine consumption. Bottom line: they are open to trying different types of alcohol and exploring unique settings for an interesting customer experience. Learn about the types of alcohol millennials prefer drinking when spending time with friends.

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Fun DC date night ideas: ‘Upper Crust Pizzeria’


No matter if it is the first date night with your crush or the weekly date night with your spouse, you want to have a good time and enjoy a great meal. For those who love pizza and a movie, get excited! Boston’s legendary pizzeria Upper Crust Pizzeria will open its doors next at Arlington’s Lee Heights Shops. In Boston Upper Crust Pizzeria is famous for its enormous, crispy pies and farm-to-pizza toppings and recognized as one of America’s five greenest pizzerias for its eco-friendly products and practices. So what brings the Upper Crust Pizzeria to the DC area? The legendary Boston pizzeria is opening at Arlington’s Lee Heights Shops because DC metro residents want to enjoy the crowd pleasing pizza known for being unique, delicious and extraordinary.

Courtesy of The Upper Crust Pizzeria.

In fact, Upper Crust Pizzeria is no stranger to celebrity clientele and blogosphere rave reviews as the Hollywood appeal and cutting edge-advertising campaigns inspire people to try out the pizzeria for date nights, business lunch outings, and play dates with friends and family alike. On the web there’s no surprise when bloggers and pizza fanatics offer stellar reviews about their restaurant experience at Upper Crust Pizzeria, it’s a 4 to 5 star restaurants in the categories of food, customer service and decor. If you are planning for date night, you’ll have plenty to talk about and eat as the pizzeria has its very own top-secret recipe and uses the freshest local ingredients available to truly give couples and overall customers a very unique, delicious and healthy meal any time of the day. If pizza is one of your favorite foods, some things you will enjoy about the restaurant is never having canned or frozen toppings because most of the pizzeria’s toppings arrive from farm-to-pizza within 24 hours.

For DC lovebirds looking for an affordable, unique, fun date night hot spot, this is it. The pizzeria is open 7 days a week and you have the option of dine-in, take-out as well as a delivery service with a full menu of wicked fancy pizzas, calzones, salads, and appetizers. Moreover, the Upper Crust Pizzeria offers free parking and conveniently in Arlington,VA making it easily accessible from the DC Metro. To spot the great date night hot spot, look for the colorful awnings in the 4500 block of Lee Highway between Old Dominion Drive and Lorcom Lane. To check out the menu for your next date night, visit the website at or call (703) 527-9000 to learn about the people, the pizza, and the passion of this new favorite DC pizzeria and date night hot spot. Let the DC Relationship Examiner know how your date night goes by leaving a comment about your date night experience and other favorite date night hot spots.

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4 great ways for Gardeners to have tasty fun in the kitchen

Are you a gardener searching for fun do-it-yourself projects to do in the kitchen? As gardeners gather the harvest of the year, this is the perfect time to have a little extra fun in the kitchen – from cooking and canning to even more imaginative projects. Claudia Marshall, spokesperson of Gardener’s Supply Company says “There’s a natural progression from the garden to the kitchen so it makes sense that Gardener’s Supply Company would offer a line of DIY Kits.” The kits the company offers are part of a new collection of products called “Gardener’s Pantry,” an expansion on earlier products for DIY kitchen projects.  In other words: “New and Improved!” Marshall adds, “the great thing about these kits is that you don’t have to have any previous experience or special equipment.” Here are some ways you can spice things up in the kitchen with homemade hot sauce:


    • Gardener’s Pantry “Homemade Hot Sauce Kit.” This DIY kit has everything you need to craft three different 5 oz. bottles of spicy goodness, including spices, vinegar and bottles, plus an exclusive pepper puree bases for ultimate flavor.  Surprise your favorite hot sauce lovers with gifts they’re sure to enjoy.  Made in the USA  $29.95
    • Gardener’s Pantry “Deluxe Homemade Hot Sauce Kit.” Deluxe kit makes six different hot sauces.  Made in the USA  $39.95
    • Make Your Own Zesty Mustard with Gardener’s Pantry “Homemade Mustard Kit.  This is an easy way to whip up your own delicious mustard with the DIY kit.  It includes all the ingredients you need to make three different varieties.  Moreover, it is a fun family activity that offers delicious results. Three 4 oz. jars included.  Made in the USA $29.95

Fun in the kitchen ideas with diy pantry kits

  • Make your own Artisan Cheese- Just Add Milk
    • Gardener’s Pantry “Mozzarella & Ricotta Homemade Cheese Kit.  Proudly serve fresh, natural cheeses with flavors and textures that far outshine mass-produced supermarket fare.  Kit contains instructions and recipes plus enough ingredients to make 30 batches of cheese.  Made in the USA  $29.95
    • Gardener’s Pantry “Deluxe Cheese-Making Kit. Make your own favorite cheddar, Gouda, Colby, Monterey Jack, cottage, feta, ricotta and parmesan cheeses.  Kit contains enough ingredients to make 20 lbs. of cheese.  (Use our Cheese Waxing Kit, sold online, when making hard cheeses.)  Made in the USA  $39.95
  • Make your own Pickled Vegetables
    • Gardener’s Pantry “Homemade Pickling Kit.  Whether they’re served as a condiment, side dish or salad, homemade pickled vegetables bring bold flavor and satisfying crunch to everyday meals.  This DIY kit includes everything you need to craft one batch each of three types of pickles using your vegetables.  Includes three, 16 oz. canning jars. Made in the USA  $19.95

For more conventional harvest keeping, Gardener’s Supply Company also offers beautiful supplies for canning, fermentation and cold storage – including our vegetable storage racks and more.  Check out for more harvest season ideas and free advice. And hashtag #GardenersPantry and #Fg2G to show us how much fun you end up having in the kitchen!


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How do I know when alcohol goes bad?

So now and then we like to enjoy an old bottle of alcohol. There is no harm in doing so, right? Sometimes we just bottles of alcohol that are a few years old while other times it may only be a few months old. But it’s important to know not all booze are created equal – some alcohols have tremendously long shelf lives, while others have shorter ones. Here are the bottles you can keep as long as you like:

  1. Spirits. You can stock on as much gin, vodka and whiskey as you like because unopened bottles of spirits can never go bad because they are distilled ( no contact with oxygen and they are good to drink). This is not the case for wines and beers as they include organic materials. With gin, vodka and whiskey, the exposure to oxygen will dull the flavor if you keep for too long after opening. For safe keeping, try to keep your open bottles of gin, vodka and whiskey at 55-60 degrees F to slow done the process of evaporation.
  2. Liqueurs. If you have liqueurs that include herbs, fruits, creams and spices, you can keep them for a while when not open. Bailey’s is one of our favorite liqueurs but they expire faster than spirits because of the sugar included.

And don’t ask about wine, because wine should never be wasted. If you open a good bottle of wine, you better drink it all in that sitting. Take care and be well.

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Shipping down from Boston: Legendary Boston Pizzeria to open at Arlington’s Lee Heights Shops

Best DC pizzerias  for date night.
If you are searching for a perfect date night restaurant, try this delicious and cozy pizzeria.

Exciting news! Boston’s legendary Upper Crust Pizzeria will open its doors next week at Arlington’s Lee Heights Shops. The pizzeria famous for its enormous, crispy pies and farm-to-pizza toppings,and named one of America’s five Greenest Pizzerias for its eco-friendly practices and products will make a home in the DC metro area.

While its celebrity clientele, Hollywood appeal and cutting-edge advertising campaigns are certainly inspiring, it’s the stellar reviews across the web and blogosphere that really set them apart. Impressively, they consistently land 4 and 5 star reviews in every class including food, customer service and decor. The company was founded in 2001 in Boston’s historic Beacon Hill neighborhood, and since then it’s been serving crowd pleasing pizza to people who “crave something unique, delicious and extraordinary.”

Its pizza has won several awards, received many accolades and has enjoyed continuous international acclaim. “Our top-secret recipe is one of the keys to our success – but it’s no secret that we always use the freshest local ingredients available,” states the pizzeria. Pizza lovers come back for more after their first visit because the food is “Never canned and never frozen, most of the toppings arrive from farm-to-pizza within 24 hours.” Best of all the pizzeria is open 7 days a week and The Upper Crust offers dine-in, take-out and delivery service with a full menu of “wicked fancy” pizzas, calzones, salads, appetizers and much more.

The Lee Heights Shops offers free parking and is conveniently in North Arlington for those taking the metro. Look for the colorful awnings in the 4500 block of Lee Highway between Old Dominion Drive and Lorcom Lane to find this new DC treasure. Visit The Upper Crust Pizzeria website to check out the menu and learn more.

The Upper Crust Pizzeria
Lee Heights Shops
4514 Lee Highway
Arlington, VA 22207
Tel: (703) 527-9000

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Briana Booker’s Food Travels begin Fromgirltogirl style


My name is Briana Booker and I live and work in the DC Metropolitan area, but the nation ( and world in some instances) is becoming my playground.

In less than a year, I’ve been taking big risks to find my calling.  I went from health care and tech to fashion and luxury. I am now a National Weddings Columnist and business  influence and leadership columnist. Now I am taking on travel journalism as well as food travel.  Baltimore, DC, New York, Miami, Chicago and LA are cities I am growing to love as  Fromgirltogirl expands its outreach.

As a social good twenty-something, I love being in the business of helping people and exploring the world around me. One thing I’ve always had a love for: food travel and trying out incredible restaurants and bars to write about.

And as of my recent trip to Miami, Florida, I’ve decided to share my experiences with you.

Although born in Baltimore city and educated in the nation’s capital, I have an international feel to me [especially with food and my taste buds]!

Growing up my mother told me never fear trying something new in the kitchen. Learning her Filipino culinary fair and blending it with American Cuisine has developed me into an international food lover.

In no time, I was planning brunch gatherings, dinner parties and baking to my heart’s content for friends and loved ones. To me, one of the greatest pleasures in life is seeing those I care about sharing a meal I created for them.

I love cooking. I love digital and content marketing, but food travel and community social good are my passions.

My storytelling skills and love photography has led me to become a go-to-source for friends, family, peers and acquaintances who need specific recommendations for business, travel and food.

My taste in food varies as there is nothing I won’t try at least once. I like the adventure of trying something new and I’m not afraid of bold flavors. Invite me to your restaurant or family gathering and I am happy to try any option on the menu.

On that note, I am very big on healthy eating/ cleaning eating. Yes, I love rich food, but I know there’s always a way to make a meal healthier. You don’t have to restrict eating when you know how to balance healthy eating with regular fitness.

At the end of the day, my food travel is about the restaurant experience, the family experience. I help review the atmosphere, service and vibe of restaurants so you know where to go for amazing food. Though I am devoted to DC, MD, Virginia metropolitan areas, I do my best to spice it up with restaurant reviews from all over the country and world. If I visit your town, I’m here to give you nothing but the truth… Fromgirltogirl style as I know there is nothing better than having affordable and good food recommendations when traveling. I am here to give you informative and valuable restaurant reviews.

I hope you enjoy my culinary adventures and honest restaurant reviews … the world is my play ground and our first food travel is to the beautiful and diverse city of Miami! Like the Instagram or Facebook to learn all about! Let me know if you are curious about any particular restaurant reviews? I am here to serve you.

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Eat Clean Tips from Panera Dietitian Katie Bengston


Panera Salads

Briana Booker, Chief Editor of recently interview Panera Bread dietitian Katie Bengston on clean eating. Are you wondering can you introduce clean eating to your lifestyle? Then read on about the 7 ways to Eat Clean for Weddings & Lifestyle: Panera Bread Dietitian Wellness.

The article covers eating clean for breast, lunch and dinner. There are even snack ideas you can get from Panera Bread while you are on the go or enjoy right at home.

Let us know which eat clean recipes you like best by following us on Facebook.

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