The Souper Bowl at Fenestra Winery

by | Jan 31, 2023 | Entertaining, Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups

For several years Fenestra Winery in Livermore has kicked off the new year with their soup and wine “Souperbowl” where they pair soups with wine. Last weekend the Calhoun Sisters were at the Souperbowl serving Country Pea Soup from our Holm Family Cookbook. Gloria Retzlaff Taylor of the Retzlaff Winery had given my sister, Nancy Calhoun Mueller, the recipe several years ago and both of my sisters have been making the soup for years without incident. I guess preparing soup for hundreds of people can push you to the limit and I can tell you we had plenty of problems making it this time. The morning of the first day of the event was one of those times that I felt like we’d had a train wreck (click here to read about another train wreck). Fortunately, lots of Chardonnay wine, cayenne pepper, and bacon added to the soup helped get it back on the right track.

The Souperbowl was a really fun event. People came in groups and they spent the afternoon tasting the wine, eating soup, and chatting. It was like a really big party and we had a great time seeing old friends and meeting new people. I am a red wine drinker and Fenestra was pouring some really great red wines that day. Even the moderately priced True Red table wine that they were pouring was great and seemed to be very popular. 

There were some really good soups that day too. Besides our soup, Gimanelli’s Deli from Pleasanton and Blue Sage Catering in Livermore provided the other soups. Blue Sage Catering also supplied an outstanding Chili Con Carne.

Fran Replogle, co-owner of Fenestra Winery, and Nancy Calhoun Mueller

Susie Calhoun and Merry Calhoun Carter at Fenestra Winery’s Souperbowl

Gimanelli Deli’s Italian Sausage Minestrone

The recipes for all of the soups were there for the taking and Fenestra has the recipes from several of their Souperbowl and other events posted on their website (click here). The recipes also include some of the recipes from their wine and chocolate event. In October my sister Nancy posted Gimanelli’s vegetable minestrone recipe from a previous Souperbowl that calls for a cup of Fenestra’s True Red wine. One of my favorite soups at this year’s Souperbowl was Gimanelli’s italian Sausage Minestrone. Below is the recipe for the soup, which should be paired with Fenestra’s Syrah. I highly recommend drinking some of the Syrah while you are making the soup.

Gimanelli’s Italian Sausage Minestrone


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds Italian Sausage
  • 1 16-ounce can of garbanzo beans
  • 1 16-ounce can of cannolini beans (white kidney beans)
  • 1/2 cup peeled fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 celergy stalks, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch green Swiss chard, washed and chopped
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 3 pints chicken stock
  • 1 cup Fenestra Syrah
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dry basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat. Remove sausage from casings, and add sausage to pot, cooking 12-15 minutes. Add garlic, onion, bell pepper, celery, and carrots. Cook 8-10 minutes. Add Swiss chard and cook 4-5 minutes. Add wine, tomatoes and juice, chicken stock, beans and all of the herbs and spices. Lower heat, partially cover with lid and simmer 25-30 minutes.

Serve with Fenestra’s Syrah.

Oh yeah, we heard our share of soup Nazi jokes at the Souperbowl.

“You’re through, Soup Nazi. Pack it up. No more soup for you. Next!”

~Elaine Benes, Seinfeld Soup Nazi episode