Monday, March 19, 2012

5 Truths to Make You Smarter About Wine


Wine is an intricate and ever changing subject. However, there are a few fundamentals to keep in mind that are sure to make you appear more knowledgeable and sound more eloquent when it comes to wine.

1. Sweet wine is not the same as fruity wine. Many people confuse sweetness with fruitiness. If you ask for something ‘sweet,’ wine folks will assume you’re looking for a wine with residual sugar. In wine terms, sweet wine, which is the opposite of dry wine, contains leftover sugar that was not converted in to alcohol during the fermentation process. If what you’re actually looking for is a juicy wine dominated by fruity aromas and flavors, ask for a ‘fruity’ or ‘fruit forward’ wine.

2. There are no blueberries in the wine. You’ve no doubt seen wine notes overflowing with descriptors such as ‘chocolate’ and ‘blueberry’ or ‘cherry’ and ‘floral.’ Maybe you’ve even thought to yourself, “how do they get the blueberries in there?” There is only one basic ingredient in fine wine and that is grapes. These descriptions are simply perceptions of aromas and flavors and they provide a convenient way to have a conversation about wine. Wine notes can get carried away ─ camphor and turmeric?! ─ but they can also help you choose a wine that suits your palate.



Keep Calm and Drink Wine

Wine is art. Wine is sexy. Wine is passion.

Wine is the most intriguing drink created. Wine is part of religious ceremonies. Jesus turned water into wine and even drank wine with his disciples as part of everyday life. Wine is sipped not shot, savored not slammed. Wine is discussed, debated, sought after and collected.


…for many, wine is confusing.

As someone who drinks a lot of wine, I’d like to offer three suggestions to help with your understanding of this mysterious nectar.

1. Drink more
– okay, I realize this may have a controversial insinuation. I’m not encouraging abuse, I’m encouraging “practicing.” The best way to learn anything is keep at it. Go wine tasting, host wine parties, order wine with dinner. The more you try, the better your palate will get and you will notice the “subtle hints of cranberry and tobacco” that you used to read in wine tasting notes.

2. Drink new – I am an advocate for trying something new. Life is too short to drink the same wine every day. Explore, experiment, enjoy; with over 700 wineries in Washington, you can try something new every day for over 2 years before moving on to California or even France and Italy. Get out of your rut of buying 14 Hands or Kendall Jackson Chardonnay and expand your tastes.

3. Drink personal – You may have heard this before but, “drink what you like.” If you like a wine, that is your personal preference. Just because someone grades a wine 94 points doesn’t mean you will like it and it doesn’t always justify a higher price. While I am an advocate of wine reviews and scores, I think they are only a guide. If you drink more and drink new, you’ll discover your likes and dislikes without the influence of “experts.”

Enjoy life with friends, drink happy!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Officially Launched!!

Last night was my launch party!!  I wish I would have remembered to take some pictures- maybe I'll take one of the 6 empty bottles.

On the menu last night:

Petit Cadeau Semi-Seco Sparkling
Lumiere de Vie 2010 Sauvignon Blanc
Talmage T Cellars 2010 Chardonnay
Lumiere de Vie 2010 Merlot
Halcyon 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Ceres Moonlight

Thanks to Diane for driving down from Virginia to share with me her support and expertise.  And, a huge thanks to my amazing friends for coming over and trying Wine Shop at Home wines. I am really excited to host your upcoming parties!

Now it is time to get started!  Please let me know if you would like to host a wine tasting party!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

U.S. is the Biggest Wine Drinking Country in the World

Vino anyone? It seems we have been drinking up — and often — as the U.S. has become the world's biggest consumer of wine.
Statistics released at by Vinexpo and International Wine and Spirit Research (ISWR) showed the United States consumed the equivalent of 3.7 billion bottles of wine in 2011. Americans surpassed the traditional wine-guzzling nations: France, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Germany. China, which is one of the fastest growing markets, knocked England out of fifth place.
According to the New York Daily News, the ISWR predicts that over the next four years, the U.S. will increase its wine consumption by 10 percent. The wine industry is also keeping a close eye on China and Hong Kong. It is forecast that their combined consumption growth over that same period will reach 54 percent. But despite China's population, the U.S. will remain the main market.

Read more.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

iPhone Wine Apps Reviewed

As part of my wine research, I looked into some good wine apps.   I'm looking for free apps, unless I see something that looks really good.  It looks like there are wine apps that help you with Search, Collect, Social/Share, Food Pairing and Events.  I am personally looking for is a way to take pics of my favorite labels to help me create a virtual wine cellar.   I go to the store and see a label I remember....unfortunately I can't remember if I liked it or if I hated it :-)

Hello Vino - free - looks like a good app for Searching and Food Pairing.  This app focused on help you with your wine shopping, pairing, and helps you save and track your favorites.  (Hello Vino has a competitor, Snooth wine pro.  It is $4.99, and doesn't look like it has good reviews).

Vintagechart+ Wine Spectator Vintage Chart - free- Searching.  Pretty cool.  Wine spectator gives you the vintage, rating, and whether your bottle should be held or ready to drink.

Natlie MacLean - Free.   I'm putting this one down for my Canadian family and friends.  Looks like you can scan the bottle and get great info on any bottle from the LCBO.  (note to Americans friends: has the BEST recipes.  Add it to your bookmarks!)

Corkbin - This is the app I REALLY want.   However, my ancient iphone won't let me download.  We have been waiting for the right time to update our phones, I'm ready!  It seems to satisfy what I was looking for- creating my virtual cellar.

WineMob - Free - connect with wine lovers!  WineMob and Letspour seem to offer similar functionality.  I am going to try, I prefer the look of their interface.