Tag Archives: wine accessories

10 Stocking Stuffers for your Favorite Wine Geek

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I always seem to put off buying stocking stuffers until the last minute – I suppose it’s because it’s so hard to think of fun items that aren’t too big and don’t cost too much. So, here’s a list of things you can find very easily online, at your local wine shop, Costco or even maybe a hardware store.I’ve added a couple of items to last year’s list:

1. Foil cutter(s): Life would be far more difficult without it – a bloody battle between you and the metal capsule or, even worse, plastic!

2. There’s this wonderful product called Wine Away that removes the stains if you swirl your Zinfandel just a little too enthusiastically which, for me, is just about every day 😉 It works! There’s even a purse-size bottle – very handy.

3. There’s also a wine-away, of sorts, for your teeth. It’s called Wine Wipes. It happened to me again last week – I went to a tasting without thinking to grab my toothbrush and toothpaste before I ran out the door. Don’tcha just love that dingy, slightly purple smile? These wipes fit in your purse or pocket very easily and they work! Caution: My dentist said to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water before brushing after drinking wine. If you don’t, you’re just brushing the enamel-destroying acid right into your teeth. A good rinse will get your oral pH back into the safe zone. Continue reading

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Wine-Related Wedding Gift

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Question from Sheila: My sister is getting married in September. She and her fiance have really gotten into wine recently. They go wine tasting on weekends and are beginning to collect it. What would be a nice wine gift for them as a wedding present that wouldn’t cost too much?

Reply: Thanks for writing, Sheila. I always love to hear about new converts! Maybe they can work on you…

My go-to wedding gift for wine lovers is wine glasses. Whether serious collectors or budding enthusiasts everyone needs wine glasses because they break. And, sometimes they just want a change.

The good news is that you can find very nice stemware in all price ranges.

Unless you know their habits – for instance a preference for Champagne – I’d stick with buying all-purpose glasses. The classic all-purpose glass became a classic because it’s functional (and beautiful!)

It should be between 10 and 18 ounces and, as you see above, the bowl is always bigger than the opening. The bowl provides the surface to air contact that helps the wine to release its aroma, and also gives you room to swirl without spilling. The narrowing at the top is to help capture the aroma so that when you pop your nose in the glass you get the full impact!

For those of you who are going to write back and say “What about those Riedel glasses that hold over 20 ounces?” I’d say those can be beautiful and very good for quality red wine. The intensity of a red can want more room to breathe than a white. But, we’re buying all-purpose glasses and a glass over 20 ounces might kind of eat up a lot of whites and low-end reds. Perhaps they won’t show well. 

Even though it’s called a red wine glass, for all-purpose use, Riedel “Overture red wine glass” is a great choice. It’s the right shape and it’s just under 13 ounces and $12.00/stem. The Riedel name carries panache and shows that you were thoughtful about the gift – you did your homework. If you decide to shop for Riedel, do a search because many websites carry Riedel at a discount, which you won’t often find on the Riedel site.  

But, I know that can $12/each can add up, assuming you don’t want to buy just two. I have had very good luck at Crate and Barrel and World Market for every-day glasses. Look for thin glass and no lip on the rim. Please don’t buy the colored ones. Wine lovers like to enjoy the wine’s color.

Awhile back, I found some very nice Riedel knock-offs at World Market. They’re very much like the Riedel Vinum Bordeaux (large, Cabernet/Merlot wine glass) but it’s no tragedy if I break one because it was only $6/stem. They don’t always have them. You should really go to these places in person because the online photo won’t always show that the glass is thick and clumsy or that it has a lip. 

If you decide you want to give them a specific type of glass – for sparkling wine or a Pinot Noir glass, for instance – go to the Riedel website. Not, necessarily, to buy their glasses but for a quick education on the “proper” shape. Then, you’ll know what to look for when you go to Crate and Barrel or wherever. 

Happy shopping! I’m sure you’ll find something that gets big smiles form the newly weds that also matches your budget. Cheers! 

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Is it Necessary to Swirl the Wine?

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Question from Jess: In your last post you referred to swirling the wine. Is that really necessary? What difference does it make? I feel really silly and pretentious doing it.

Reply: Hi, Jess. Thanks for writing! I don’t know that it’s necessary, but it can certainly add to your pleasure.

You be the judge. Try this experiment: Pour yourself a glass of any sort of wine, preferably not too cold (cold wine doesn’t have much of a fragrance, as we discussed in that last post). Don’t fill it too full. A half-glass is fine. If the wine has been in the fridge, just take it out and wait 30-45 minutes to do the experiment.

Smell the wine. BTW, when you smell the wine, you should actually put your nose in the glass – no long-distance sniffing! Smells good? Now, set the glass down on the table and grip the stem, close to the base. Swirl briskly to get the liquid really moving in the glass. After swirling vigorously for several seconds, smell the wine again. Notice the difference? Continue reading

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