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Today is the day for straight talk about end-of-life health care

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Talking about death doesn't bring it on and ignoring it doesn't delay the inevitable, says Dr. Patricia Bomba, a geratric doctor. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

 

Today is National Healthcare Decisions Day, a day in which Americans 18 and over, and teens with serious medical conditions, are encouraged to talk to their families about end-of-life decision making: Who will make choices should you fall critically ill and be unable to make choices for yourself? What if that person isn’t immediately available? What life-sustaining treatments, generally, would you want should they become necessary?

At the very least, folks who haven’t put together a health care proxy are encouraged to do so today. Those who are elderly, particularly those in the throes of chronic or grave medical circumstances, are encouraged to review, and at least start to complete, a Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment, or MOLST, form.

Both forms, and lots of other valuable information and insights, are available online at CompassionAndSupport.org.

Dr. Patricia Bomba, vice president of geriatrics with Univera Healthcare, is the gatekeeper for the website and was the subject last weekend of a Refresh Buffalo blog post and “In the Field” interview, which both can be found here.

Perspective Bomba gave during our recent interview included this:

“We’re going to be going through (death) at some point, so it’s best to be prepared. ... Talking about it doesn’t make it happen. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away.”

Meanwhile, see a recent Harvard Health Blog post below that can give you more insight.

– Scott Scanlon

By Daniel Pendick – Harvard Health Blog

Birth, childhood, adulthood, and death span the book of life. Unfortunately, many people tend to avoid thinking or talking about how they want the final chapter to read. For the seriously ill or elderly – and even those who aren’t – not expressing your wishes and desires about health care at the end of life comes with risks.

“If you’re not clear about that, you may end up getting care that will keep you alive but could render you in a state that you find intolerable or unacceptable,” explained Dr. Anne Fabiny, chief of geriatrics at Cambridge Health Alliance and medical editor of “Living Wills, a Harvard Medical School Special Health Report” that covers advance directives, the health care power of attorney, and other key planning documents.

Families often bear the brunt of delaying or avoiding a discussion about a loved one’s end-of-life preferences. That often leaves family members making decisions without knowing what their loved one would have wanted.

“By not making your wishes clear, the family may have to guess,” Dr. Fabiny said.

Doctors share some of the blame for the lack of end-of-life conversations.

Last July, a group of doctors in Canada took a step to change that. Dr. John You, associate professor of medicine and clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont., and his colleagues published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal a step-by-step “conversation guide” to help physicians talk to their patients about the kind of care they want at the end of life. It explains how to identify who is most in need of this conversation and offers tips for starting and conducting it.

Advance planning

There have been moves for many years to help everyone – even those of us who are still in fine health – to think about medical care at the end of life.

“Ideally, it should happen long before you are lying in a hospital bed critically ill,” Fabiny said. “It should happen in the quiet calm of the primary care setting.”

It’s now fairly straightforward to create a living will or other “advance directive” stating what kind of life-prolonging steps you do and don’t want in case of accident or illness. You can appoint another person, often a spouse or adult child, to assume the role of health care proxy, with the power to make decisions if you are unable to do so.

A conversation about end-of-life care should not focus on running down a specific checklist of medical procedures that you would or wouldn’t want, such as shocking your stopped heart back to life, putting you on a breathing machine, or inserting a feeding tube.

“The most important thing is for the patient, the health care proxy, the family, and the doctor to understand broadly what the patient’s goals of care are,” Fabiny advised.

For some people, having to be fed by someone else or needing a helper for toileting and other personal care would be intolerable. So might being intubated, which involves having a tube threaded through the mouth and into the airway to allow assisted breathing.

A lot of free help is now available for making these decisions. The Conversation Project offers a “starter kit” to help people prepare to discuss their end-of-life wishes with each other, and with their doctors.

Another resource is Five Wishes, a planning document distributed by the Aging with Dignity Foundation. It allows people to create an advance directive that meets legal requirements in 42 U.S. states. The Living Wills guide provides various forms needed to define health directives or appoint a health care proxy.

End-of-life conversations may be difficult and don’t happen as often as they should, but it would be a mistake to assume that people who are ill or older don’t want to have them. In Fabiny’s practice, she asks every new patient what he or she wants and needs from medical care – and what they don’t want.

“In all the years that I’ve done this, no one has ever said to me, ‘I can’t believe you’re talking to me about this. I’m offended that you’re doing this,’” she said. “People almost universally say, ‘Thank you so much for talking to me about this. No one has ever talked to me about this before.’”

Daniel Pendick is the executive editor of the Harvard Men’s Health Watch.

email: refresh@buffnews.com

Twitter: @BNrefresh

Signings on tap for book about cousins and friendship

Barnes and Noble at SUNY Buffalo State and the Amherst Senior Center will host book upcoming signings for “Cousins,” a new book by Linda Chalmer Zemel.

Zemel, a Buffalo native, mother of two, and grandmother of six, writes the Buffalo Books and Buffalo Alternative Medicine columns for Examiner.com. She was among students bused to Riverside High School in the 1960s, an inspiration for her stage play, “Reunion.”

Her family inspired “Cousins,” which explores the question for kids: “Why are cousins friends but more than friends?”

The first book signing will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday at the bookstore in the Buff State Campbell Student Union.

A second signing will take place at 12:30 p.m. April 30 at the senior center, 370 John James Audubon Parkway, Amherst.

The book can be ordered at barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com, can be purchased at the signings, or ordered in advance for the signings by emailing writeratwork14226@yahoo.com.

Ovarian Cancer Project president elected to Cancer Institute post

Kathleen Maxian, the president of the Western New York Ovarian Cancer Project, has been elected by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to serve on its Gynecologic Cancer Steering Committee. She is one of two patient advocates on the committee, which includes NCI researchers from across the country.

The committee’s work focuses on research cooperation, priorities and design. Maxian also serves on Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s $11 million Specialized Programs of Research Excellence.

As president of the Ovarian Cancer Project, she works with women and families on cancer detection and treatment strategies, and has fought to prevent biotech companies from holding patents on genes. For more info, visit wnyovariancancerproject.com.

Nursing scholarship applications available for Falls students

Applications are now being accepted for the Ruth and William O. Sass Scholarship to encourage excellence in the field of nursing. Criteria for consideration include academic achievement, community involvement, nursing career goals, personal and professional references and the availability of other resources.

Named in honor of Dr. and Mrs. William O. Sass, the scholarship is awarded annually to one or more qualified applicants pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Scholarship recipients must be a graduate of Niagara Falls, Niagara Catholic or Lewiston-Porter high schools. Scholarship recipients are expected to apply for appropriate jobs at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and accept a position if offered.

Applications are due by May 15 in the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Foundation office. Call the office at 278-4604 for an application. 

Go around the world at Explore & More Museum

Kids don’t have to leave Western New York during spring break this week to take in the world. They can “Come Travel the World Around Buffalo” at the Explore & More Children’s Museum.

Families can visit a different country from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the museum, 300 Gleed Ave. in East Aurora.

Festivities each day include sampling foods, learning languages, making arts and crafts, and experiencing other cultures and traditions.

The culture and tradition of Poland will be featured Monday, Yemen on Tuesday, Burma on Wednesday, Colombia on Thursday, and Congo on Friday.

For more details, visit exploreandmore.org or call 655-5131.

Ultimate Frisbee pros about to launch new season in WNY

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Timothy "TJ" Burns, a former member of the University at Buffalo men's Ultimate Frisbee club team, practices in Bulls Stadium earlier this week as he prepares for the upcoming season of the Rochester Dragons pro team. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)


By Scott Scanlon – Refresh Editor

If you’re looking for a sport to help you forget about the pain of another dreadful Sabres season, TJ Burns has an idea for you.

Ultimate Frisbee.

Those who think it’s some sort of left-coast sport for hippies is lost in the 1970s.

For the last couple of decades, the sport has gained a growing foothold on college campuses and, three years ago, its own professional league.

The third American Ultimate Disc League season starts next weekend. A league that launched with eight teams will this season field 15, split into three divisions: West (Salt Lake City, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Vancouver), Midwest (Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota, Indianapolis and Cincinnati); and East (Toronto, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Rochester).

The Queen City had a team during the inaugural season, the Buffalo Hunters – named in memory and honor of former Bills’ quarterback Jim Kelly’s son, Hunter – but the team changed its name to the Dragons when it moved to Rochester last year in search of a larger fan base.

Burns, subject of today’s "What are you eating?" feature in WNY Refresh, is a software developer who lives in Depew. He’s a captain for the Dragons, and one of several Buffalo-area teammates on the 28-member squad.

You can learn more about the team at RochesterDragons.com; find out more about the league at theaudl.com.

This isn’t a few guys standing around drinking beer and tossing a Frisbee. The sport is much more intense, Burns said, and the players far more focused, in terms of both training and on game days.

“It’s a passing game. A lot of strategy goes into it. It’s kind of a cross between football and soccer,” said Burns, 27, whose wife, Sarah, is former coach of the University at Buffalo women’s Ultimate Frisbee club team, the Lorax. (That team, along with other college teams from across the Northeast, is playing a tournament today and Sunday in Cazenovia Park).

The team also is a little like light contact hockey would be.

It’s a 7-on-7 game. The object is to move the disc up and down a field and try to score a point by catching a disc in the end zone. Once you catch the Frisbee in the field of play, you have 10 seconds to get it to a teammate. Defenders try to knock down throws and intercept them. When they do – or if the Frisbee hits the ground or goes out of bounds – the disc goes to the other team.

Players themselves officiate the game.

"Ultimate has been played since the beginning by a code of conduct known as 'Spirit of the Game,' where even at it's highest levels players would self officiate and resolve their own disputes," Burns said. "This requires a respect and understanding of your opponent that many sports just don't foster.

"Although the AUDL has introduced refs to the sport to move the pace of the game along and be more accessible to the viewer, that same spirit of sportsmanship is alive and well. We have a specific rule in the AUDL known as the 'integrity rule,' where a player can overrule a call if he feels it was not correct. This rule was even invoked in last year's championship game."

The standard ultimate Frisbee field is 70 yards long and 40 yards wide, with 20-yard end zones on each end. Teams play until the first team scores 15 points.

Pro league teams tend to play on football fields, making for an even more exhausting game. They start the end zones at the 10-yard lines, to double the length of the standard-sized gridiron end zone. They play four 12-minute quarters.

The Dragons start their season next Saturday in Philadelphia. Six of their home games will be played on the Brockport State College football field, including their home opener at 6:30 p.m. May 10 versus Toronto, last year’s league champion – which has drawn as many as 2,000 fans to home games north of the border.

ESPN 3 will stream several of the league contests live online.

Burns and the team look most forward to a contest they will play at 7 p.m. May 17 against the New York Empire at Sahlen Stadium in downtown Rochester.

Tickets for individual games are $5.50 and season tickets for the games in Brockport cost $21; they’re available on the team website.

The playoffs will take place July 19 at various spots across the country – teams play within their division during the regular season – and championship weekend will be July 26-27 in Toronto.

There are no salaries at this stage of the league, Burns said.

“We play for the love of the game.”

email: refresh@buffnews.com

Twitter: @BNrefresh

Planning for death can ease family anxieties

 

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Sophie Bomba, right, wanted to spend the last months of her life with her grandchildren, and did so in May 2007 as she watched granddaughter Stephanie Huston, center, graduate from University at Virginia Medical School. Dr. Patricia Bomba, left, urges all families to talk about end-of-life care to bring more meaning to moments like these. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Patricia Bomba)


By Scott Scanlon – Refresh Editor

When it comes to death, we spend most of our time in denial.

How else would we get through our days?

That’s why a roomful of about 80 reporters got a jolt during a recent panel discussion on aging at the Association of Health Care Journalists conference in Denver. Session leader Dr. Joanne Lynn, director of the Alarum Institute, asked how we journalists would like to die:

  • Cancer? Four people raised their hands.
  • Organ failure? A few more hands went up, slowly.
  • Frailty – prolonged dwindling – was our last choice. Let’s just say the hand-raising across the room was less than enthusiastic.

Some of us will die in tragic circumstances. About 10 percent will die from cancer, at an average age in our mid-60s, Lynn said. About 15 percent will die from congestive heart failure or other organ malfunction, at an average age of 75.

Roughly three in four will die from frailty – in our late 70s or beyond – due to a combination of chronic conditions, Lynn said. On average, we will live three years in need of round-the-clock care, most likely suffering with dementia along with multiple other physical and mental health challenges.

"There is death in store for each of us," Lynn told the audience.

Daunting.

Ignorance of death may be blissful, but it does ratchet up the emotional intensity in even the most level-headed and understanding of families. Most of us don’t live in one of those.

That’s why Sophie Bomba backed up her daughter, Patricia, a geriatric doctor, on a Thanksgiving day about two decades ago, and insisted the family talk about their final wishes – then and there, and every Thanksgiving going forward.

Dr. Bomba, subject of today’s “In the Field” feature in WNY Refresh, encourages everyone reading this to visit a website she helped put together, and helps run – CompassionAndSupport.org – to help your family start laying the foundation for the inevitable in a more thoughtful way.

End-of-life conversations are in the news this month because Wednesday, the day after income taxes are due, is National Healthcare Decisions Day, in which Americans are encouraged to create advance care plans so that their family members and close friends aren’t in the dark if called upon to help carry out final wishes for loved ones.

It's a story that's been in the news quite a bit lately, including a story in the Harvard Health Blog a few months back and on a New York Times blog earlier this week. 

Bomba encourages families to talk about end-of-life care at least once every year.

Peter Kates, Univera Healthcare spokesman in Buffalo, understands why.

"You have those death bed conversations with a loved one. I’ve had a few,” he said. “You always come away with, ‘Gee, I wish we had talked that openly and honestly before this moment.' That Thanksgiving conversation, is it preferable to have that discussion in an everyday setting than in a farewell setting?"

Bomba said those conversations – along with a health care proxy and, for some in their waning years, a Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment, or MOLST, form – “helps people to close their life.”

“One of the things that’s so important – and I’ve seen it over and over – is that people need to know that their life had meaning, that they did something, that they can be at peace, and frankly that’s what these conversations do. It allows people time to say what they feel and what they want. When people don’t have that opportunity, they struggle."

The conversations you have with family and loved ones help clarify things, Bomba explained.

As we age, the MOLST – a more specific “do not resuscitate” instruction guide – will become an important tool for many of us.

Who needs one?

• People who are in a nursing home.

• People who would be in a nursing home but are getting services at home.

• A provider or doctor wouldn’t be surprised if that person were to die in the next year;

• And people of advanced age who say, “There are things I want and don’t want if I get really sick and need to be hospitalized.”

Bomba speaks from experience. After years of Thanksgiving talk, her mother needed a MOLST form readied about a decade ago.

"She came to live with us 15 months before she died,” Bomba said. "She was having trouble repeating things and was staying with my sister.

"Her doctor knew MOLST and my mom had had so many advance care discussions, she had strong feelings about what she wanted and didn’t want.

The doc said, ‘I’d like to talk with you about this. What’s important to you now?’ And she said, ‘Frankly, not being here in Rochester, because what’s most important to me is my grandkids and my ability to see my grandchildren as long as I’m able to physically, and I know them, and can interact and be engaged in their lives.

“With that in mind, we went back through the MOLST.”

MOLST is a set of medical orders signed by your primary care doctor and rechecked during doctor visits. In Bomba’s house, her mother’s form was  on the refrigerator, or available in someone's purse in case of an emergency. Emergency Medical Technicians are trained to look for the forms, which are pink so they stand out.

Bomba said there are four key questions the form aims to answer for each of us:

  • How will treatment make a difference?
  • How is it going to help?
  • How is it going to hurt?
  • Is there hope of getting better, and if there is hope, what’s life going to be like?’

The answers to those questions can then help you and your health care proxy decide what life-sustaining treatments you’d like and under what circumstances you would prefer a natural death.

 “If my mom went out with us for dinner, we’d bring it with us,” Bomba said.

Sophie "Babci" Bomba got to see Bomba’s daughter, Stephanie Huston, graduate from the University at Virginia Medical School in May 2007 and got to see another granddaughter married in Pennsylvania later that year. She died that December, at age 82.

Here are some other excerpts of my recent interview with Bomba:

Talk about the New York State Family Health Care Decisions Act and what that means.

As of June 1, 2010, families were given a right to make decisions beyond resuscitation ... if a health care proxy has not been done. Why is that important? Without that legal guidance, families didn’t have that ability to make decisions about withdrawing life-sustaining treatment. There’s clinical standards for providers, physicians, to address, and there are standards for the surrogates, which are family members. They have to make sure decisions are consistent with what the (sick) person wants. The problem is, it doesn’t take the place of you making the (earlier) decision to say, ‘I trust you to be the decision-maker and it doesn’t take away the emotional burden from families thinking about it and having to make decisions when they are emotional.

So this allows you to work on the fly, but at the same time, you don’t have preparation time. I advocated for it because there were folks, particularly seniors, who had never regained the ability to make decisions and had never appointed someone, and it was important because without that you need clear and convincing evidence (of the person’s wishes) and were forced to recollect conversations about someone’s last wishes.

This doesn’t replace a health care proxy or decisions with a MOLST. A much higher standard applies…

It’s very important to put it in writing. Nobody else can do a health care proxy on your behalf. So if you think about this, and you think about these forms, we are in control of these documents. So before big events, you want to review them. If you end up in the hospital, you’re very sick and you end up on a ventilator, and you come off, it’s a good time to ask, ‘What’s important to you? How was the health care proxy? Did the health care agent do their job or have trouble? Did they struggle? Do you need to think about changing it?’

I look at the forms in my office once a year. Our family does it once a year, just to say, ‘Is it all the same? Have we changed over that life cycle? What’s important to me? Did that change dramatically?’ You have to start to think about what makes life worth living and has it changed since the last time we had a family discussion about this?

After you fill out a health care proxy, what do you do with it?

Make copies. You keep one for yourself, not locked up. You share with the health care agent (proxy) that you’ve chosen, the backup agents. You want to give one to your doctor. If you’re very sick and you go to the hospital, the hospital ought to have one. Your attorney ought to have one.

Who should start a discussion about how to handle these arrangements: parents, spouses or kids?

In terms doing advance care planning, all of us need to do it and it really is through a family dynamic. When you think about family, it’s not just biological family. Some people have outlived their biological family. Family for them may be close friends. ... If you think, ‘Who’s going to be at my bedside if something happens to me?’ those are the people you need to bring together for this discussion.

email: refresh@buffnews.com

Twitter: @BNrefresh

Before taking your toddler on a plane, read these tips

The following story will run Saturday in the print version of WNY Refresh but I wanted to post it earlier for online readers who might be preparing to take their toddlers on a flight this weekend for Spring Break.

Here's hoping the story makes you're trip a bit smoother:

By Robert Nickell – McClatchy-Tribune

As a seasoned traveler, I know how stressful it can be to fly with toddlers. Don’t get caught up in the stress this year, follow these tried and true tips for ensuring easy travel with your toddlers.

PLAN AHEAD

• Buy some books about flying in a plane, so that your child will understand the whole concept. You also might buy a toy plane that you can talk about with your toddler. Discuss the people who work on the plane, where you enter the plane, where you sit on a plane. The goal here is to get children used to the idea of flying.

• Get a backpack or special travel bag that is just for the toddler, and discuss how the child can help pack their own bag, and talk about what items they’d like to bring with them to play with on the plane.

• Discuss with your child all the steps that come with flying on an airplane, such as: the ride to airport, checking bags, going through TSA, waiting to board, getting on the plane, looking out the window, so they’ll know what to expect when you arrive at the airport on travel day.

15 MINUTES AT A TIME

Estimate the time and length of the trip from beginning to end and make plans in 15-minute increments. For instance, if you’re planning for a five-hour flight you’ll know:

• The first 30 minutes, your toddlers will be excited, as they will have just boarded the plane; they’ll be looking out the window, watching the activity, seeing other planes, and watching luggage being loaded. Then you have the exciting take off to look forward to, too.

• Once the plane passes through the clouds, the show is over for the child and it’ll be time to start to calculate how to entertain your toddler for the remaining 4.5 hours left in the flight.

You’ll want about 16 different 15-minute activities with some backups in mind, too, that will keep your toddler entertained throughout a long flight. My suggestions include the following:

• Start with a book – while they are still excited to fly.

• Bring a favorite toy – doll or action figure.

• Playdough is always a good item to have on-hand.

• Scotch tape can be quite entertaining.

• Don’t forget to factor in snack time – bring a good assortment.

• You can add 15 minutes for a trip to the bathroom or a diaper change.

• Get out of your seats (if the seat belt sign is off) and walk around the plane.

• Coloring book and crayons are definite staples.

• Change seats with each other to get a fresh view of the surroundings.

• Talk to the seat neighbors if they’re friendly.

• Bring some toy cars, or play items that allow for imaginary play.

• Bring some magnetic blocks, or other creative building toys.

WHAT TO EXPECT

You might want your child to nap on the plane, but you need to be prepared because that won’t always happen.

• Parents should remain calm, and listen to the child’s excitements and fears.

• Make each activity last as long as possible. Take a diaper change, for example: walk slowly and explore on the way there and on the way back.

• Don’t rely on the airplane for a meal. Pack plenty of food for your child.

• Do not even think about yourself; consider yourself lucky if you get to glance at a magazine or close your eyes for a few seconds.

• Try to avoid taking out your computer, unless your child is napping.

• Always have a “Def Con 5” item at your fingertips. What I call the Def Con 5 item is a toy you can pull out when your child is reaching meltdown mode, and you still have 30 minutes trapped inside a plane.

• I try to keep our iPad hidden as a last resort, and not as a first choice item. I’ve used the iPad as a reward or something to look forward to.

TODDLER HEALTH

• Upon takeoff and landing, children under 3 have trouble clearing their ear pressure. You can help by ensuring they over-exaggerate yawning, drink lots of water, or chew on some Goldfish crackers.

• If you’re able, I suggest wiping down your airplane area with cleaning cloths. Wipe down the trays, arm rests, front and back of seats and window shades to protect your child from harmful germs.

• Have your toddler wash his or her hands after going through TSA.

• If the child is under 2, bring a car seat that they’re already used to and comfortable in.

• If you are going to bring an iPad, make sure you also pack a pair of headphones that are comfortable and easy for the child to use.

The bottom line is the more relaxed and prepared you are, the easier it is for the child to learn to fly. The more you fly, the more comfortable everyone will become.

Robert Nickell is a father of seven. Read more parenting tips at blog.daddyscrubs.com

 

Open house for East High School nursing program set for Thursday

East High School’s Certified Nursing Assistant program will host an open house from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the school, 820 Northampton St.

Students in grades 7 to 9 interested in medical careers can learn more about the program, whose partners include D’Youville College’s Nursing program, the University at Buffalo Liberty Partnerships Program, and Say Yes Buffalo.

For more information, call 816-4520 or 308-8344.

Two new conspiracies on the Niagara Wine Trail are worth savoring

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Freedom Run Winery will start labeling Conspiracy Red and White bottles as early as today. (Courtesy of Freedom Run Winery)


By Scott Scanlon – Refresh Editor

The impending release of two new blends from Freedom Run Winery is shrouded in a bit of mystery – deliberately.

What would you expect from wines called Conspiracy Red and Conspiracy White?

The “wine design team,” made up of a half-dozen staffers, has spent the last couple years developing and nurturing the taste of the new wines, said Lawrence Manning, owner of the seven-year-old winery on Lower Mountain Road in Cambria.

“We don’t allow one person to make decisions here,” Manning said.

Conspiracy White combines Cayuga, Pino Grigio, Chardonnay, Reisling, Semillion and Sauvignon Blanc varietals.

“It’s good with roasted vegetables and garlic, great with chicken,” Manning said.

The red mixes Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Pinot Noir and Syrah grapes. The combination gives the wine a smoky, leathery taste that pairs well with most meats, including barbecue.

“Try drinking some of the red wines with tuna,” Manning also advised.

Many of the varietals used in the blends are grown in the vineyard behind the tasting room, next to a historic barn that has been renovated and is used for weddings. Some of the grapes come from other sources in nearby wine regions.

Which ones, and what are the percentages of each variety in the pair of new wines?

Manning isn’t saying.

“It’s top secret. It’s a conspiracy.”

I spoke with Manning on Sunday at the winery, during a fundraiser for the Western & Central New York Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Why am I writing about wine?

Because it’s healthy, say researchers and doctors, some of whom helped me with this story last year on the health benefits of wine.

Manning looks to get the labels for the two new blends as early as today and start selling them in the winery for $14.95. The wines will be available at local wine retailers in the coming weeks.

My tip: Conspiracy Red is well worth the price. Manning is having second thoughts about that price point, understandably, but vows to stay with it during the first vintage.

He also plans to grow hops in a “hops hut” out back of the winery this summer, and maybe do a bit of beer tasting.

It’s all part of a growing Freedom Run operation on the growing Niagara Wine Trail.

email: refresh@buffnews.com

Twitter: @BNrefresh

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About The Refresh Buffalo Blog

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon is an award-winning reporter and editor who has covered various topics in his quarter-century as a journalist in South Florida, Syracuse and Buffalo. He is aiming to pass along what he is learning these days about health, fitness, nutrition and family life.

@BNRefresh | refresh@buffnews.com

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