My Wine Cellar is a wine bar restaurant and retail shop in Ahwatukee Arizona near Phoenix. Our annual wine festival held in the fall is one of the area’s premier social events attracting everyone from wine aficionados looking for bottles to serve with holiday dinners to friends getting together for a relaxing afternoon before the hustle and bustle of the season. Sample dozens of
When tasting wines (especially a lot of them), there’s nothing wrong with acting like the pros and spitting. Getting ‘buzzed’ does not help your ability to taste wines. Here are some ways to get comfortable with spitting and why it is good for your wine-tasting experience.
A brief look at the evolution of wines in America. Despite trouble getting vines established and prohibition pausing America’s progress in winemaking, over the past 30-40 years America has finally proven itself as a valid player with the winemaking legends of Europe.
While Australia and New Zealand are both relatively new to the wine industry, they are catching up fast. Despite their remote location, they have both made an entrance on the world market with wines that demand to be noticed.
South Africa has a great climate for growing grapes and is recognized as a new world wine contender.
There are myriad varieties of grapes and blends used to make wines in the world. So what exactly is a varietal? This article explores the differences between varietal wines, wines categorized by appellation and what this tells us about a wine’s personality.
Wines are described by how dry, acidic, oaky, and tannic they are. What do those words actually mean? Learn how to identify and describe wine personality.
Wine labels can be full of confusing terms. This guide will help you sort some of them out.
There are three basic steps to wine tasting. Sight is only secondary. While some experts may think this is an important part of the experience, I believe that it is not as critical in smelling and tasting.
While rules for matching food with wine are not absolute, they can certainly improve your enjoyment. A bad pairing can still be a good experience, but a great pairing can bring out the best in both the food and the wine.
Wine and cheese have long been a traditional combination. It is important to pair the right wine with the right cheese.
The best wine to cool a spicy meal is a slightly sweet white wine. Off-dry Riesling is one of the best wines for the job, but there are several considerations to take into account.
Navigating German wines can be intimidating at first but with these tips you will be able to decipher labels and know what you’re buying and drinking without taking any language lessons.
Italy is split into numerous wine growing regions. Wine is a way of life in Italy and is served with most meals. This is a good start for navigating some of the Italian wines out there.
Brunello is a special wine in many ways. It can be rich and perfumed, yet brawny, and also elegant all simultaneously. You probably wouldn’t pick a Brunello for simple sipping. Depending on the producer and the style, the flavors can come out quite different. It is a complex wine.
Dessert wines are especially sweet wines, usually from late harvest grapes. Fortified wines are wines that have extra alcohol added. There are several kinds of each of these wines.
Who invented Champagne? The French say it was Dom Perignon but others have suggested that it was actually the English who invented it.
A quick guide to storing, handling, and opening wine.
Rioja and Cava are popular exports from Spain but there is so much more that Spanish wines have to offer. Learn about the main regions and grapes of Spain and their designated marks of quality.
Port may be the most famous wine produced by Portugal, but it is in no way the only worthy wine. Notably, Madeira, another fortified wine like Port, is also from Portugal. Portugal also produces other varieties of red, white, and rose wines.
Ordering wine at a business meal can be a challenge. There are a few things you need to keep in mind but most of all keep it simple and middle of the road.
The wine list of a restaurant can give information about the quality of the wine program at the establishment. There are clues that can tell you which restaurants are good for exploring new wines and which you may want to avoid.
People enjoy wine more when they think it is more expensive. As long as the wine is a good wine, most people can’t tell the difference between a $10 bottle, a $50 bottle, and a $150 bottle.
So how do you know at what temperature a wine needs to be served? My philosophy is to keep it simple and do what works for you. There are some rules of thumb but you really don’t need to be too concerned about degrees and numbers.
Aging wine can be a bit of a balancing act. But if you can leave your precious little bottles quietly resting in your cellar long enough, you will be delighted to see how the wine evolves and which subtle flavors and aromas come out at the right moment.
The four methods for keeping an open bottle of wine from going bad are to keep it cool, keep it with less air, pump the air out of it, or use preserving gases.
Thanksgiving can be tough to pair foods and so many different taste choices with your wines. Here are some tips to make your family members happy before the tryptophan from the turkey kicks in.
Sparkling wines are usually reserved for festive occasions. There’s no reason why it must be this way. Bubbly drinks can be enjoyed through a meal, and there are many reasons to try it.
Salads can be confusing when it comes to deciding which wines goes best with them. Learn how to select wine for salads and the best ways to make a salad dressing that goes well with wine.
Wine is frequently blamed for causing headaches. While scientists are not sure exactly what the direct cause may be, there are several theories. Contrary to popular belief, sulfites are likely not the problem. There are several things you can try to avoid a wine-induced headache.
If you know how to make the right connections, you can enjoy wine and chocolate on a whole new level. Learn which wines do the trick and how best to highlight chocolates without putting the pucker in your wine.
People describe wine using words like “spicy” and “earthy.” The meaning is just a description of what the taste and smells remind you of. Read this article to learn how to describe wine like the pros.
A wine’s legs refers to the way it drips down the inside of the glass after you swirl the wine. In the past this was used as a measure of the quality of the wine, but the belief has lost favor. Don’t ogle the legs, but focus on taste and smell.
Argentina and Chile are both good climates for wine grapes. Both countries are renowned for their reds, while also producing several notable white wines. While Argentina produces wine on a similar scale to the U.S., Chilean wines were nearly unheard of outside of Chile until very recently.
As a seemingly “low-profile” wine, Rosé often gets a bad rap. What is a Rosé? Why have some European producers fought to preserve its legacy? Why I believe Rosé is so versatile.
French wines are considered the best in the world. One reason is because they have standards that wines must meet in order to be allowed to have certain titles on their labels. They also have a wide variety of grape growing climates. Each region of France has its own wine characteristics.
Chateauneuf du Pape is one of the biggest wine growing locations in France. Named for the move of the Pope to Avignon in the 14th century, it produces exceptional red and white wines.
If you don’t have the right kind of corkscrew, even a pro can be let down if the right tools aren’t used when opening a bottle of wine. You don’t have to spend a fortune; you just have to know what works best and how to use it.
It’s the third Thursday of November. Wine drinkers around the world are celebrating the release of the Beaujolais Nouveau. Where is it from, what is it and why is it celebrated?
A lot of people like to stick with only the wines that they know. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying what you like, but in order to more fully appreciate wines and discover their hidden qualities, step out and try something new.
Getting a bottle of Schramsberg brings me back to memories of visiting the winery and meeting the people there who work so hard to preserve their traditions and legacy. And having spent the past month reliving so many moments from my travels over the years, viewing old photos and blog posts, I cannot think of a better way to celebrate these memories than with my Schramsberg.
A change in the season is a reason to try new wines al fresco; features white bordeaux and a very young malbec.
It was last month during a road trip to Napa when I learned to never again question the motives of my sometimes confused, often snippy navigation system (I call her ‘Nav’). Sure it provides directions, but it just might lead you to a fantastic experience! As we trekked through wine country on assignment taking photos for my new wine travel guide, we were doing great on time (made it from LA to Napa in record time on the 5). We were on our way to Hess Winery; southwest of the town of Napa up into the hills of Mt. Veeder. Then we went off course; almost off road. Somewhere after the 29, the Nav sent us on a small winding country road. Not that unusual in Napa really. And heck we thought that this could be a shortcut. Cautiously hugging the two lane road we kept on going and going through dense woods and careful to mind the flora and fauna as we drove. (Does she know where we are going?) After a 20 minute ride, the road then ended at a large gate with no trespassing signs everywhere. So we had to head right back to where […]
Mother Nature is shining on Texas vineyards this year. Thanks to a great Spring with no frost, just the right balance of moisture and low temperatures, Texas wine makers are enjoying a fantastic year.
Hi Y’all! It’s been a while since my last post here at the Bliss Blog. For the past few months, I have been working on some exciting new developments and I can’t wait to share them with my fellow wine lovers very soon!!!
So, you’ve misplaced your saber and now you’re wondering how you’re going to open that bottle of bubbly without shooting your eye out tonight. Here are 5 tips on popping the cork (and pouring) like a pro!
Our Senior Editor, Heidi Butzine was asked to be interviewed for Grape Encounters Radio with host David Wilson. Listen to the interview where she shares some of her own wine experiences, talks about her passion and provides inspiration for others to learn about wine.
For some, Earth Day means that they may clean their local beaches, get involved with a local tree planting, a habitat preservation society or drive to a fair of some kind to learn more about being green. Beyond these activities, you may want to take a look at some of the things you may already be doing to make an impact every day. You might be more eco-conscious than you think!
The wonderful pink salmon colors of this wine from the Rhone Valley add to its aesthetic appeal as a true French rosé. The first sniff reveals terroir notes of rocky mineral soils balanced with floral rose petal-like qualities. If you could smell a warm spring day in a wine this may be it.
Heidi Butzine, author and senior editor at Wineopolis Press, is going to do a little celebrating and it will certainly involve wine as this month marks the one-year anniversary of the Wineopolis® Wine-travel Guidebook series. Since releasing the first book on Amazon twelve months ago, Wineopolis has over 8,000 Facebook fans, a few hundred readers and now three guidebooks featuring Napa/Sonoma, Oregon and Temecula Valley with more on the way. Featuring the best of wine country– hand-picked by Heidi herself– the Wineopolis books are packed with winery reviews, wine-tasting tips, a wine journal and loads of info on restaurants, activities and local wine history. Heidi a self-proclaimed wine-loving entrepreneur business chick started Wineopolis Press with the vision of combining her 12 years of experience on the corporate and small business side with her passion for wine. “Luckily, with my professional background and the encouragement from friends, launching the business was the easy part. Now the hard part is trying to be patient as I watch it grow.” Her inspiration to launch was sparked by a trip to Tuscany. “Seeing how food and good wine were enjoyed in Europe – as a way of life and a way to connect with […]
If you have ever started a business, launched a new venture or taken a new direction in life, it probably didn’t feel exactly comfortable at first. Now imagine if you could actually bring out your inner risk-taker by kicking it up a notch and drawing a nude model? If you’re feeling a little uneasy with this idea, that is partly what Jan McCarthy, head of Ladies Who Launch Los Angeles and Cyndi Finkle, owner of Art Works Studio had in mind for guests at their latest networking event which I was able to attend. Now, I must admit that this outside-of-my-comfort-zone concept was already working even when I signed up. Just the thought of me sitting in an art studio drawing something was different for me. The extent of my experience creating paintings or drawings pretty much peaked in grade school by putting crayon to paper and coloring within the lines. My head would surely explode smudging charcoal on an empty page but luckily Jan had paired a nice white wine to go along with the drawing experience that evening. Created specifically for women entrepreneurs and business launchers, Jan kicked off the event with the focus for the evening, “We […]
Part of our “Fun Ways to Taste Wine” series… I’ve always seen wine tasting as a form of therapy, so when I heard about a Group Therapy event hosted by South Coast Winery in Temecula, I had to see what it was all about. For those looking to get in touch with their inner wine geek, this online live-streaming event takes viewers through a guided wine tasting hosted by the winemakers. And the best part is you can taste along at home…
Read all about our wine tasting adventure on the rails to Santa Barbara wine country with Grape Encounters Radio. Part of our “Fun Ways to Taste Wine” series.
Even if you’re not in Paris to celebrate Bastille Day, you can have your own Fête de la Bastille wherever you may be, with some great French wines! In France, Bastille Day is a national holiday to celebrate the storming of the Bastille – a medieval fortress-prison in Paris, symbolic of the harsh rule of the monarchy. Bastille Day represents the eventual fall of the monarchy and forming of a republic that is celebrated each year by the French with parades, military demonstrations, fireworks and beaucoup parties with wine bien sûr! Here are some of my favorite French wines that I especially enjoy in the summer and are perfect for serving at your own Fête de la Bastille this year. Champagne There’s no better way to make any occasion special than drinking some bubbly – especially from the Champagne region. You’ll have to spend a little extra for actual Champagne versus sparkling wine. Moët et Chandon, Piper Heidsick, Pommery and of course Dom Perignon are some of the more recognized Champagnes, but don’t be afraid to try some of the other Champagne houses you haven’t heard of before. Champagnes are priced based on their vineyard class (Grand Cru, Premier Cru, […]
Inspiration from the Old World can be seen and tasted at wineries today along Rancho California Road and the De Portola Wine Trail. Now the latest ode to the Old World is the recent opening of the tasting room at Europa Village – a milestone for what promises to become a premiere wine destination for Temecula wine country.
Wine drinkers seeking Bordeaux-style big red wines need look no further than Temecula to find them. Located just seven miles off the 15 Freeway, Wiens Family Cellars has been making wines of the Bordeaux variety here for the past six years. “Known for Big Reds,” Wiens differentiates itself by concentrating on producing Bordeaux blends with big intense flavors, rich colors and long aging life to equal those of Napa and Sonoma.
It’s finally here – bottling day. Time to get the wine into bottles and one step closer to my glass. With my repurposed clean wine bottles ready, I set up a small assembly line to fill the bottles and cork ‘em. If you’ve ever thought about making your own wine at home or becoming a garagiste yourself, here are a few tips from my first experience.
In honor of the holiday season… We’re sharing some of the cool gifts on our wish list for wineaux and wine geeks like us.
Dear Heidi: My wife and I are making our first trip to Napa this upcoming weekend. I was wondering if there is a ‘must do or see’ list for first timers?
Okay, I LOVE mushrooms, especially with a great Oregonian Pinot Noir. But, now these delectable little fungi are serving a higher purpose – in wine shipping.
Read this guest post by Bettie Infante about her trip to O’Brien Estate Winery in Napa Valley.
Our Senior Editor, Heidi Butzine was asked to be interviewed for the local live television program, Our Town Pasadena with host Jan McCarthy. Check out the appearance to learn some tips about why we swirl when we taste wine, how to choose a wine and what to do if you don’t like the wine you ordered. PLUS, hear about some of the clues that can still be found around Pasadena which tell us about its wine history.
In honor of Oktoberfest, we thought we’d spend a little time talking about German wines. We know that this is a tradition celebrated with beer but we wanted to give the wines of Germany their time in the spotlight. Learn the top German grapes and how to remember all 13 wine regions.
The juice has arrived from Italy and we’re getting our wine making lab ready to make our second annual garagiste wine.
Guest post by Bettie Infante. Our family is planning a trip to Italy in the spring. Not knowing anything about the wine regions in Italy, I decided to delve into learning about the diversity of the different wine regions, its terroir, varietals and styles. Italian wine is one of the most widely exported wines in the world with the U.S. being one of its largest importers. Italy’s terrains, from lengthy coastlines to hilly slopes provide ideal vine-growing conditions. The abundant sunshine, sea breezes
Special thanks to The Wine Layman for his interview this month with our Senior Editor, Heidi Butzine. Says Heidi, “It was a pleasure to do this interview for The Wine Layman. Any time I get an opportunity to talk wine, of course I just love it. But it’s even better when you can have fun with the questions.”
The fourth annual Organic Wine Festival in China was held in the city of Wuwei known as “China’s Wine City”. The 2014 China-Hexi Corridor Organic Wine Festival was held on August 15-18. This event is hosted by Gansu Wine Industry Development Leading Group, Gansu Wine Industry Association and Wuwei Municipal People’s Government and China Wine News. The goal of the event was to promote Chinese wine regions and Chinese wines unique characteristics. The Wine Festival was an international event, attracting wine professionals from around the world. It not only effectively enhanced the international image of Wuwei wines, but also played a substantial role in giving impetus to the local wine industry for integration into global wine industry and acceleration of development. Mr. Andreas Pierotic, Counsellor of Economic and Commercial Counsellor, Office of Chilean Embassy in China highly commended the wine event. Take advantage of this opportunity, he fully understand the local wine industry’s development situation and characteristics, “Wuwei has a long wine history and great heritage, and this makes me very surprised.”
Today at Wineopolis HQ we held a mini contest to find the best wine pairing for sushi. We’re seriously in love with the whole intoxicating, zen-like experience of eating sushi — using your digits and chopsticks to eat, or feeling the retronasal burn of wasabi, and it’s just so darn pretty to look at. Eating sushi recruits many of our senses just like enjoying wine. But choosing a wine for sushi isn’t about deciding between a Merlot or Chardonnay. Serving a bold full-bodied red or big buttery white wine could totally take over a lovely delicate piece of sushi and you wouldn’t want to deny your taste buds the blissful enjoyment of melt-in-your-mouth awesomeness that sushi brings. Sushi has a variety of different flavor components and textures. So finding a wine that plays well with the acidic vinegar of pickled ginger, is not too high in alcohol to make the heat of wasabi even hotter, and can stand up to the umami-ness in soy sauce can be a bit of a challenge. Our panel of judges was presented with salmon and tuna “tokyo rolls” — a sushi/roll hybrid. Inside the rolls was a sheet of nori (seaweed) and a small piece of: […]
It seems that everybody drinks wine today. This wasn’t the case just 10 years ago. Maybe wine became popular thanks to Two Buck Chuck or just greater availability and greater variety, for whatever reason it makes us happy. The more people who drink wine the more wine that will be made and the greater the varieties will become. So, are you a typical American wine drinker? What types of wine do you prefer and where do you purchase your wine? How much do you spend on a bottle of wine in a restaurant? These and other questions are addressed in a new annual survey that researchers at Sonoma State University Wine Business Institute have recently designed. The online survey was launched in early 2014 with a total of 1028 wine consumers responding to the questions. The data was gathered by a third party market research firm supplying panel data of household wine consumers in America. All fifty states were represented, with more consumers responding from states with higher wine consumption rates. For example, 12 % of the sample were from California, 9% from Florida, 7% from New York and Illinois, and 6% from Texas. Demographics showed 49% male and 51% female respondents; 59% had […]