Archive for the ‘Gifts’ Category
The past two years I have published the “12 Days of Wine Christmas” (still worth a look for suggestions.) With my many roles now, and a trip to Europe (I write this jet la
gged awake as I type) this years series bit the dust.
However I decided to share a compilation of some of my top choices you can still get in time for Dec 25th.
Please forgive lack of graphics, hyperlinks. Finishing this up on a iPad mini in Denmark via expensive remote broadband.
(1) A Wine Club Membership
This was a separate article previously, (http://simplehedonisms.com/archives/3244) that is worth looking at again. Consider gifting a partial or full year to a winery you love. You can print out the order and put it in a stocking, oversized box, or card.
Your local wine shop often has a wine club you can join. Or you can look at specialty importers like Kermit Lynch. (To whom I belong.)
Need a winery suggestion? Look to some of last years suggestions or email me or post in comments to contact you – always happy to share a top favorite!
(2) A Wine Book
I receive a number of books each year to review, as well as purchase many. Here are a few top picks, and one of my personal favorites
The Wines of The Northern Rhone
An amazing resource, and easy to read. Don’t let the size dissuade you. If you love Rhone wines, especially the Northern Rhone – this is your book, period.
Only SIX left on Amazon.
Kermit Lynch: Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer’s Tour of France
One of my most inspirational books both as a consumer and a vintner. An easy read, that will make you also love the old world of wine, and be glad Robert Parker is moving on. The paperback is $13. Buy it for yourself even.
The New York Times Book of Wine: More Than 30 Years of Vintage Writing
Eric Asimov’s new book is getting all the press (and well deserved) but this is a great, easy read, (with a lot by Eric) with lots of short soundbytes you can read for minutes, or hours. A steal for a hardback under $20 on Amazon.
I also blame this book, and Eric, for making me covet the T38 $400 corkscrew.
Wines of the Southern Hemisphere: The Complete Guide
A great anthology and resource on wines from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, and Uruguay. A great hardback gift at under $20 on Amazon.com.
(3) Tickets to A Wine Event
Some of my favorite wine memories are spent attending wine events, where you can immerse yourself and be surrounded by fellow aficionados. Make your wine lover jump up and down with a print out of this in their stocking.
Ultimate Wine Weekend – International Pinot Noir Festival (IPNC)
Both are quite different: IPNC is focused solely on Pinot Noir where as HdR covers the gamut of Rhone wines. HdR was a bit more geeky and industry attended, IPNC was a better fit for consumers.
Now that HdR is basically no longer (until they come out of hiding and announce otherwise) that leaves IPNC as the king. I must confess, with 2+ decades of doing this IPNC has this experience down to a science.
This was the first year I attended the entire weekend, and I must say, while its not inexpensive, its worth every penny. The pace and setting is relaxing, the wines and topics well done, and the food is to die for.
There is also special early bird pricing that expires Dec #31st. Make someone delighted by buying them one of the most hedonistic wine weekends there is.
(b) Wine Road Season Pass
For the first time ever, the Wine Road of Northern Sonoma has created a season pass. It includes:
- 1 ticket to Winter Wineland
– January 19-20, 2013
- 2 tickets to Barrel Tasting – March 1-3 & 8-10, 2013
- 1 ticket to A Wine & Food Affair – November 2-3, 2013
- 1 1-day Ticket to the Wine Road – you pick the date that works for you (some blackout dates apply)
- A canvas Wine Road tote bag AND a Wine Road license plate frame.
- Early Bird check in at our annual event – one hour before other attendees.
- AND your name will go in the hat for a Wine Road Get-Away raffle package. Winner will receive two nights of lodging, wine tour, lunch and winery goodies.
(c) Rhone Rangers San Francisco Weekend Pass
With the demise of the April Hospice du Rhone in Paso Robles, the San Francisco March Rhone Rangers event is now your main Rhone immersion experience. The 2011 event was the most widely attended, and the Rhone Rangers have stepped up to make the 2013 the best ever, with some changes to make attendance easier than ever. This year the Winemakers dinner is Fridayb night, and the seminars and Grand Tasting are on Saturday day and early evening. Grab a hotel in San Francisco for 1-2 nights and have a Rhone filled weekend!
- FULL WEEKEND PASS: Friday, March 22, 2013 & Saturday, March 23, 2013. BUY TICKETS. $275/person. Includes all events: the winemaker dinner (on Friday) plus two seminars, and VIP admission to the Grand Tasting (on Saturday). The seminar topics are: “Old World Inspiration, New World Innovation” and “Mourvedre, A Rising Star in the World of American Rhones.”
- SATURDAY ONLY PASS: Saturday, March 23, 2013. BUY TICKETS. $150/person. Includes two seminars & VIP admission to the Grand Tasting. The seminar topics are: “Old World Inspiration, New World Innovation” and “Mourvedre, A Rising Star in the World of American Rhones.”
Literally hand machined, its a stunning gift a true wine aficionado will go nuts over.
No they won’t get it in time for Christmas. Print out a pic, show them the video, watch the drool. I ensure you I would.
A special warm thank you to the readers and loyal followers of Simple Hedonisms. Your support and feedback has made this a great labor of love and enjoyment.
Life is short, drink great wine this holiday season, try new things, explore and live a little, and if you can, share it with someone.
Part 5 of "The 12 Days of Wine Christmas" Wine Seminar Last Minute Stocking Stuffers for Wine Event Lovers & Rhone Hounds
I can't think of a better gift you can buy tonight or tomorrow to put in a stocking or under the tree: Seminar passes to two of my most beloved wine events of the year: Hospice du Rhone and the Rhone Rangers March Grand Weekend.
If you have a loved one that lives in the Bay Area or Paso Robles, is already into wine, or keen to learn a lot more, these two weekend events, and their seminars, are an amazing experience.
Hospice du Rhone – 20 Year Anniversary. April 26-28
You will here me gush more as this event gets closer. Held every in Paso Robles, this event is a complete immersion of Rhone education of tastings, pairings, and seminars. This years event looks like it will trump all others. HdR is different from the Rhone Rangers event in a number of ways, one being its focus on International as well as domestic producers. Its a global event, literally.
The Seminars usually are not sold a la carte, and this is only the second year, and in limited quantities. Seminars so far are:
Seminar One: Why Spain (continues to) Rock!
Seminar Two: The Return of the Bionic Frog
- Christophe Baron of Cayuse will take us through his wines of Walla Walla, Washington.
Seminar Three: A Collective Quest
- Pierre Gaillard, Yves Cuilleron and Francois Villard take the stage to share their wines of Les Vins de Vienne
Seminar Four: Research, Revelations and the Art of Being Different
- Chester Osborn of d'Arenberg, Australia will take the guests on an in depth tasting and discussion of his wines and research.
These seminars are $155 a piece. Or show them you REALLY love them and but the whole weekend experience, seminars and tastings, for $795
Tickets and info are here.
The Rhone Rangers: A Weekend Celebration of American Rhones. March 24-25th
Each year Fans of American Rhone wines gather for the Annual Rhone Rangers San Francisco Tasting.
This event has grown in scope and success and is the largest American Rhone wine event in the country. Over 2,000 consumers and members of the trade attend for the opoortunity to taste over 500 of the best American Rhone wines from more than 100 Rhone Rangers member wineries.
While many thin
k of the event as just the Ft Mason Grand tasting, its actually evolved into two days with three seminars, a winemaker dinner, the Grand Tasting, and a live and silent auction. Tickets can be purchased a la carte, or for the best pricing use the weekend daytime events pass.
SEMINAR #1: RARE WINES, COME TASTE THE UNUSUAL, Saturday, March 24, 2012, $45/ticket
SEMINAR #2: WINE & SWINE, A PAIRING OF RHONE VARIETIES WITH BACON, Saturday, March 24, 2012 $65/ticket
SEMINAR #3: AMERICAN SYRAH FROM A VARIETY OF REGIONS, Sunday, March 25, 2012, 11 AM, Fort Mason $55/ticket
Tickets information and purchase is here.
Happy Holidays and Rhone On!!
Part 4 of "The 12 Days of Wine Christmas" A gadget for geeks and tasting rooms – Vinassure Wine Preservation System
As a wine reviewer, geek, and consumer, wine preservation is one of my largest challenges. I regularly have 2-4 bottles of wine open at a time, often special ones I want to keep preserved.
Over the years I have tried many techniques and gadgets, with varying success. Fodder for another article, but let me just say, air is bad for wine and that vacuum pumps don't cut it.
Peter Jackel, the developer of VinAssure Argon wine Preservation, is a wine geek and love, we chatted live prior to this article.
VinAssure grew out of a simple desire not to waste wine, and a practical business need to make good use of every last drop. For years Peter was the owner and proprietor of a small wine store and tasting bar. One day he calculated the dollar cost and waste of tossed wine that had just become an accepted sunken cost of the business. Even with a small program the numbers were staggering, as he realize he was pouring potential revenues down the drain.
Ditch the 'Can'
Peter first took the 'band-aid approach', and started using the disposable gas-in-a-can for preservation. This method was pricey for the low quality of preservation, but Peter was complacent with my hasty preservation solution., Then one day when a regular customer sitting at the tasting bar happened to see me gassing a bottle with the disposable can stuff. This sparked an in-depth lesson and virtual tongue lashing on how gas-in-a-can was a mixture of gases including Nitrogen and Carbon Dioxide that produced a drastically inferior barrier of protection against oxidation.
Peter quickly learned that experts and industry professionals resoundingly agree the best method is to seal in the aroma and flavor of wine by creating a layer of 100% pure argon gas, the heaviest and most dense of all colorless, od
orless gases that can be used to preserve wine. This conversation peaked my interest, and sparked what would become a three year journey to discover and develop the most effective, efficient, and affordable wine preservation system possible.
VinAssure is Born
One of the first high-pressure systems developed saw daily use in Peter's wine shop and tasting bar for over three years. It was so simple and economical that they decided to develop variations of the basic system for use in both home and commercial settings. Using the finest quality industrial parts, they have created a lightweight, hand-held device which holds a great deal of argon gas under high pressure. This allows VinAssure™ to last much longer than other systems, lowering the per-use cost to a fraction of some comparable preservation systems.
VinAssure is simple and easy to use, check out this video in action.
The Perfect Gift for the Wine Lover (Or your Tasting Room/Wine Bar)
I bought one for myself I was so hooked after seeing it in action at a local tasting room. Its a biggest investment than the small cans, yes, but its a superior solution, refillable, and more environmental. Your wine aficionado will love you for it.
I have been amazed how many tasting rooms use the little cans…spend a bit more now to save money long term, and preserve your wine much better and long. The ROI on this should be pretty short.
Other Geeks Agree!
Part 3 of the "12 Days of Wine Christmas" THE Instant, Perfect, Holiday Gift: Wine Road Winter Wineland Tickets
As my children have become adults, I have more-or-less stopped being the traditional Ms. Santa Claus, and even this morning, the eve of Christmas Eve, am still pondering just those perfect gifts for the special friends and loved ones in my life. Amazon warned me two days back that it was pretty much ix-nay on timing for Christmas delivery unless I hurried it up.
So, Holiday Procrastinators, appear to be thoughtful Plan-A- Headers by purchasing the perfect, instant gift, one that you can give and share with enthusiasm: tickets to our 20th Anniversary Winter Wineland. Easy to purchase, instant in delivery, and you can go along, too. The proverbial “Gift that Keeps on Giving the Whole Year”- and no, I do not mean the Delicious Recipe Collections – New Cookbooks 2012
c-gift-that-keeps-on-giving” target=”_blank”>Jelly of the Month Club, Randy Quaid.
A trip up to Wine Road for Winter Wineland continues Christmas and the Holidays right into January 2012!
Wrap it up, Wine Road!
Here's looking at you, kids.
Guest Post by Diane Thompson.
I asked Diane to share information these amazing products, all of which would make an amazing gift for a wine lover. We had one of the wine totes made with our new wine brand, Two Shepherds, logo added, and it looks wonderful! Cortizza sells fashion, business, wine and travel accessories, all made from sustainable cork fabric.
Learn about how these products are made below, then check out their website and products. These items are great as gifts, and also available wholesale to wineries for tasting room merchandise.
Cork – It’s Not Just for Wine Anymore!
I’d like to introduce you to cork. But, you say, you already know cork? Sure, it’s that cylinder that you pop out of a wine bottle. Maybe you’ve seen cork flooring or a cork bulletin board, but, how about cork fabric? No? Well, you’re in for a treat!
Sometimes called cork leather or cork skin, cork fabric starts out the same way as those familiar wine corks, but develops into an entirely different form factor. Cork fabric is a beautiful, exotic and sustainable alternative to animal leather.
Cork is a unique and sustainable material, regardless of its final form factor. Most of the world’s cork oaks grow in the Mediterranean basin. Cork oaks typically have a lifetime of about
200 years and play a major role in maintaining the health and biodiversity of the environment. 25,000 species are supported, including endangered birds, plants and wildcats. Cork is actually the outer bark of the cork oak and is harvested every 9-10 years without any damage to the tree itself.
How Cork Fabric is Made
After harvest, the cork is boiled and then made into a slab. For “natural” cork fabric, the cork is very thinly sliced and laminated to a fabric backing using a very specialized process. An almost unlimited variety of cork fabric patterns can be made by combining different slabs in unique “recipes” to create a cork block that is subsequently sliced and laminated. Sometimes dye is used to add color, as well. Different fabric backings can also vary the appearance of the cork fabric.
What Makes Cork Fabric Special?
- Luxurious texture. Soft and supple, velvety or smooth, depending on the pattern.
- It’s unique. Cork fabric can be made in an almost unlimited variety of patterns and colors. When most people first encounter it, they are puzzled – is it leather? It feels like leather or suede, but has more visual interest.
- It’s water resistant. Water beads up and rolls off. Easy clean up with mild soap and water. It can actually be washed in the washing machine in warm water. Don’t try that with animal leather!
- It’s durable, fade resistant and lightweight.
- It’s versatile. Use it anywhere you might use leather, plus applications where leather would never work – like an umbrella!
- It’s vegan.
- It’s hypoallergenic. A substance in the cork bark called Suberin prevents the cork from absorbing water, dust, dirt, mold and mildew.
I have been so intrigued with the possible applications for cork fabric, that I have built a business around it. Cortizza sells fashion, business, wine and travel accessories, all made from sustainable cork fabric.
Our products make great gifts for both men and women and they always get a “wow” from the recipient. Most of our items can also be personalized with a logo or custom text, which we do with laser engraving. If you’re curious about uses for cork fabric, spend a minute or two looking around our website!
Welcome to Simple Hedonisms second annual “The Twelve Days of Wine Christmas” – a series that was a big hit last year. The goal of the article is to share ideas for wine related gifts.
We are off to a late start, and I may be out of pocket in a week, so lets get started, and we may have 2 posts many days.
It’s getting close but its not too late to buy wine and have it shipped as a gift for the holidays, Of course, one can also always treat yourself to a special gift as well.
Tomorrow is officially the ‘last day’ to ship wine and guarantee for Christmas, but if you are a day or too late, don’t fret, especially in California. Besides anyone I know, would be ecstatic to receive great wine a few days after Christmas as well!
Like many industries, this is the biggest sales volume time of the year, and wine is no exception. Many wineries are offering bundles and Holiday packs, that represent a great value for small lot wines – great for a gift, or for your own holiday enjoyment.
I am going to feature a couple of great picks, but do also check your favorite local winery or wine shop.
Wineries – feel free to post yours in comments.
Bonny Doon, American’s trailblazing Rhone producer, and one of our picks for Winery of the Month this year, has a fabulous assortment of holiday bundles.
There are many bundles to choose from ranging from their iconic Holiday Pack ~ Le Cigare Volant Vertical, (including one with Magnums! Feel free to send me a thank you pack!) , the Holiday Pack ~ Le Cigare Blanc Vertical, mixes of both. Is there a Syrah lover on your list – go for the Holiday Pack ~ Syrah Vertical. Send your green friend the Holiday Pack ~ Biodynamic.
Bundles start as little as Holiday Pack ~ Fireside.
Another Winery awarded Winery of the Month and second to none in Rhone wines is Tablas Creek. Right now they are offering a limited holiday package includes a bottle each of two newest signature wines: the 2009 Esprit de Beaucastel and the 2010 Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc in a special decorative gift box.
In addition, the offer includes shipping at no extra charge on the gift packs to any address in any of the 32 states they ship to.
Just $95 per pack, and just $76 per pack for VINsider Wine Club members, shipping included.
Esprit de Beaucastel is their flagship, premier wine, you can not go wrong with this is a gift. Click here and hurry before they take it down!