​Where to find the good stuff, pt. 2

In my spare time, I like to check out local wineries and wine shops for wine tastings.  There’s nothing more fun than trying it before you buy it!

Often, the producer of the wine is there to talk about the process and what inspired the wine they’re featuring that day.  If you’re like me, you’ll get a kick out of getting to know that bottle inside and out.

I’ve found some pretty interesting selections at wine tastings, and keeping in touch with the winemaker keeps you abreast of new releases (and more wine tastings).  They can also give insight to pairing with your favorite meal, something that I could never stop hearing new things about.

I’ve also personally fount tons of little tips and tricks for wine etiquette at tastings, as well.  This can help when you go on that nice date to that expensive restaurant and finally get to order that amazing steak with a fabulous glass of red.  Wine etiquette is just as important when entertaining at home as well.  Nothing spells impressive like presenting your friends with a perfectly chilled glass of white with some cute hors d’oeuvres!  Share the good stuff and have some fun out there!

​Where to find the good stuff, pt. 1

I’d like to preface this entire conversation by saying I am nowhere near a wine snob; I prefer wines that are boutique, and I enjoy them from almost everywhere.  There are brands that I don’t enjoy as much as I used to, as my tastes have changed and I have learned more.  Typically, if you can find it in the supermarket or drug store, it comes in a box, or its labeled “wine product,” it’s not for me.  Again, I am not yucking on anyone’s yum, I’m just framing my preference.

Depending on who you ask, good wine can be found anywhere.  Just like there are people who are satisfied with buying shoes at Payless, while others go for boutiques with price tags in the 3- and 4-digits, what you consider “good” may be different from what I consider “good.”  Again, all a matter of preference.

As for me, I tend to buy my wine in bulk, and I also utilize subscription services, also known as wine clubs, as I find it exciting to discover hand picked selections.   I also frequently attend tastings at local merchants and wineries  and sometimes I’ll purchase the whole bottle if I like it enough.

Wine Clubs

When it comes to joining a wine club, there are quite a few available to choose from.  While they all are based on the same premise, “we pick the wines and ship them to you at some regular predetermined interval,” they all have their pros and cons.  Lucky for you, I have tried a few wine clubs, and assembled a chart that highlights some of their best qualities:

Wine Club Comparison Chart

I wish I could narrow down a favorite, but to be honest, I really enjoy them all in the following ways:

Wine Insiders

 


I happened upon this company through Groupon. I was able to get a case of 15 bottles of white and red wines, for an amazing price (plus shipping).  Just seeing the UPS guy wheel this huge box into my office on a hand truck gave me butterflies!  The selection is mostly hits, but with anything, you’re gonna catch a few duds.  Luckily, customer service is phenomenal, so just give them a shout, and they’ll make it right. If you end up with a favorite, you can order it again, too.

When I need a huge case of Rosé, or pretty much anything over 6 bottles, Wine Insiders is my go-to.  They are one of the few that feature rosé and sparkling selections.  Their wine club is pricier, but has the best value because it comes quarterly, in the biggest amount (12-15 bottles).

Winc, formerly known as Club W

I wanna say Winc is one of the OG’s of the wine club game (I could be wrong).  I’ve had them clipped to my Evernote since they were called Club W, and what drew me in was the overall look.  I really love the aesthetic of Winc.  It reminds me of my cool best friend that always knows where it’s at.  Winc allows you to choose your initial shipment, from their favorite selections.  Then, monthly, they check in about your upcoming shipment.  If you approve, you’ve got wine!  You can always suspend the month’s package (but why would you want to?), and there’s absolutely no commitment.  Winc also has a reorder option if you need an encore.  I absolutely love wine clubs that let you shop as well as get a surprise shipment each month.  Whats also cool about Winc is that you can get credits for sharing with friends!  Speaking of which, here’s $20 off your first shipment!  Oh, and the best part of all?  Winc ships lightning fast!

VINEBOX

The only option for single glass selections, Vinebox holds a special place in my heart.  There’s nothing like opening a bottle and rushing through it so it doesn’t turn into vinegar.  Vinebox solves that problem by sending you a single glass of wine.  Imagine a vial the size of a really long screw top bottle neck.  I think it’s genius, and beautiful too.  Vinebox is about 10 bucks a glass, but for the fancy packaging and exotic selections,  I find it worth it.  I absolutely adore my Vinebox selections, and if I really love it, I can order it again.  For a limited time, they’re featuring a rosé pack.  Usually they carry reds and whites, but I have gotten a rose in my box, too!

They don’t ship as fast as Winc, but for good reason; in the warmer months, they have refrigerated trucks that drop ship your wines to FedEx #theycare.  See more info about that here.

Another company that believes sharing is caring, they also allow me to give you $10 off your first order!  Just click here!

Wine Awesomeness

Not gonna lie, the name got me.  Anything with the word Awesomeness in the name has got a be well, awesome, right?!?  My favorite thing about WA is that not only is their monthly box expertly curated, it’s also themed.  You get these awesome info cards about your wines and what ties them together.  It’s really an adventure every month.  There’s opportunity to reorder, but it’s limited to availability, so if you happen upon one you like, you should act fast.  Their monthly subscription features reds and whites, “with a chance of bubbly.”  Sounds like the perfect forecast for fun!  Give it a try for $10 off by clicking here!

Direct Cellars

direct-cellars-logo-wineclub-300x300Direct Cellars is a very unique wine club.  First off, this is the biggest club I’ve seen that sends almost everybody the same wines every month, making it easy for all of us to get together and talk about it.  So far, it’s the first wine club I’ve ever seen where you actually make money for sharing wine with your friends!  You can join for a 2- or 4-bottle monthly shipment and get reds or whites from all over the world.  Direct Cellars also sends over tons of info about your selections every time you get them.  As a complete wine nerd, I love finding out all the facts  about what I’m enjoying.  As a wine club member, you can refer 3 friends and get your next wine shipment for free! All you have to pay is shipping.  As an associate, you can run your own business sharing wine with your friends.  For more info, here’s the FAQs.  To join, click here. My only lament is they take longer to ship than the other clubs, but for premium wines, its kinda worth it 🙂 .

Whichever wine club you choose, you’re guaranteed new wines at your door (depending on your state, of course).  You can start out with whichever one peaks your interest, but you don’t have to try them all.  Do what makes you comfortable and works for your wallet.  Personally, since wine is my hobby, I have a personal budget for this stuff and its what I look forward to as a form of self-care.  With the discounts I’ve shared above, feel free to give some of them a try.  Cheers!

The Key to Enjoying Wine


When it comes to enjoying anything, the best things about it are completely up to you.  Some people enjoy wine for the sensory experience, some for the buzz, some for the connections you make while enjoying it with friends.  Whatever you make it about, always remember that the major key to enjoying wine is to have an open mind.

Enjoyable flavors vary from culture to culture, and what you may be used to may be hard to find in even the finest of wines.  For example, most people enjoy drinks that are sweet, and expect that since wine comes from grapes, it should be  sweet in every instance.  Sweet wines are only a fraction of what’s out there, and don’t always fit every occasion.  Some meals are well-complimented by something dry (which means not-sweet), earthy, or even spicy.

Enjoying the many flavors and aromas in wine may require some retraining of the palate.  Like I mentioned, you may be accustomed to certain flavor profiles and wine might not fit within that.  All the more reasons to start new adventures!  Your best way to start retraining the palate is to keep an open mind about what you expect wine to taste like.  What helped me tons along the way was just getting out there and trying new things.  The reading I’ve done (Including this scratch and sniff book I found, lol) was a great start.

After a while, reading about flavors was confusing without engaging my sense of taste.  Once I got my hands on some of the good stuff, I did what I read the pros do: swirled it around in my glass, sniffing for aromas, I took my time tasting and really reflecting on what came through on my palate, and I even had fun with pairing with foods I enjoyed, to see if it was indeed a good match.

There’s a whole world out there to discover drinking wine, especially if it’s something new to you.  The best place to start is in a glass!

​The Right Way

Wine just so happens to be one of those things that has a right and a wrong way to do it.  Doing it wrong can ruin the experience completely, and wine is all about enjoyment.

There are many things to consider when enjoying wine, including the temperature of the wine, type of glass, and food pairing.

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Temperature

Red, white, rosé, and sparkling wines are all enjoyed different ways.  Red wine is typically served at room temperature, or sometimes slightly cooler.  Rosé, white, and sparkling wines are usually enjoyed chilled.  Drinking a cold red wine or a warm white can distort the flavor.  Recently, I tried a white wine for the first time at the wrong temperature, and got a completely different impression of it once chilled.

 

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Glass

Different glass types affect how your wine is meant to be enjoyed.  For the most part, wine is enjoyed in stemmed glasses.  Not only does this make for an elegant look, but it also assists in maintaining the temperature of the wine by keeping your hands off the bowl, the part of the glass that actually holds the wine.  Holding on to the stem keeps the body heat from your hand from warming up your wine.

multicolored-wine

Glasses for red wine typically have a large, round bowl.  This helps the aromas circulate inside the glass before you smell them.

White wine glasses are similar to red wine glasses but slightly tapered at the top to keep the wine cool.

Rosé glasses look like white wine glasses, but sometimes have a slight flare at the lip of the glass, for flourish.  Same principle applies: it’s slightly tapered to keep things cool.

Glasses for sparkling wine tend to be much slimmer and taller than white wine glasses, and this is to keep the bubbles in.  A narrow bowl leaves less surface area for bubbles to cling to and escape along.

Stemless glasses have been all the rage lately and are basically just the bowl of the glass with a flat bottom.  They’re usually used at casual parties where knocking over your glass may be a concern.

I’ve seen people enjoy wine in anything from a coffee mug to a plastic cup.  Whatever your fancy, always consider the effect your vessel may have on your experience.  Personally, I take care to ensure I am enjoying my wine as intended.

pexels-photo-370984Food pairing

Pairing with wine is a whole conversation on it’s own.  On a basic level, always consider what you’re enjoying your wine with and how it can also affect it’s flavor.  Read here at my blog for an experience I recently had with a white wine that was chilled appropriately, but just didn’t tickle my fancy.  Once I poured a glass with my dinner, it took on a whole new character after it played with the flavors in my food.

Getting the most out of your experience includes taking the proper steps to do it the right way.  There’s no use counting out a good bottle because you couldn’t wait to chill it or because it didn’t taste good by itself.

Happy tasting!

But first, a story…

pexels-photo-290316Recently, on two separate occasions, I’ve watched someone cry out in sheer boredom at the lack of stimulation everyday life was giving her.  Stress was everywhere; at home, at work.  All work and no play was making her a dull girl and her entire spirit yearned for something new.

I can’t say I’ve never been there before. Getting restless with the same old routine, going straight home after work, to veg out on Netflix until I fell asleep.  Trying to link with friends became a chore; if it wasn’t our schedules that had trouble syncing, our wallets just couldn’t see eye to eye.  I started to wonder, “do I need new friends?”  Where’s my popping ass crew of super savages?   My A-team that stayed ready so we never had to get ready?  My Entourage who was never a minute away from the turn up?  In the meantime I waited around for something new to be a part of, I happened upon a hobby.  

As simple as it seemed, finding something to keep my hands (and brain) busy got me thru the slump and into my new favorite thing to do.  Once I got a hold of my “thing” *pause* I started to seek out other saavy sistas like me.  And to my surprise, they were right here waiting!  Completely over the typical club hop or speed dating event, me and my girls have ventured into a not so new frontier that not only brought us all together, but brought us into new spaces, new places, and new faces.

What could this great new pastime be?

Believe it or not, it was wine.

pexels-photo-66636.jpegNow, we’ve all enjoyed a glass of vino at dinner, so that’s nothing new.  Venturing into the world of wine as an enthusiast has taken me beyond a booth at my favorite restaurant.  It’s got me speaking a new language, meeting new people, and having more fun than I ever thought could fit in a glass.  Even when I’m at home enjoying a cool glass of cab on the couch, my mind drifts to a rocky plane in Italy, or some grassy hills in California, or a dank cave in France (and that’s before the buzz sets in).  With friends, we can chat for hours over what we smell and taste, and what foods would taste even more amazing beside a glass of the good stuff.

Boredom is a word that just doesn’t exist in my vocabulary anymore.  Even on a date, my glass becomes the conversation.  You’d be surprised what you learn about a person by their taste in wine.  All of a sudden, you’re the most interesting girl in the world 😏.

Please accept my personal invitation to something new in your life.  Have fun with me and my friends as we sip, discover, travel and fall in love with what’s been right under your nose this whole time.

Don’t worry, I’ll bring the wine. 💋💋💋