Posts Tagged ‘wine christmas gifts’

Last Minute Gift Suggestions for Wine Lovers

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, ( 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 viagra canadian pharmacy 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

 (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.

(a) The

Ultimate Wine Weekend – International Pinot Noir Festival (IPNC)

IPNC and Hospice du Rhone used to compete neck and neck as my favorite immersion weekend event.

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.”

 (4) The ULTIMATE Wine Gadget – The T38 Corkscrew

I blame Eric Asimov for making me covet this amazing $400 corkscrew. If that sounds expensive, go to their website, also watch this video, and you'll understand why its not.

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.

Happy Holidays – Drink Great Wine, Make New Memories

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.



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Part Two of the '12 Days of Wine Christmas" – Cork Fabric Gifts

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 real pharmacy discount 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 101

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?

  1. Luxurious texture.  Soft and supple, velvety or smooth, depending on the pattern.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. It’s durablefade resistant and lightweight.
  5. It’s versatile.  Use it anywhere you might use leather, plus applications where leather would never work – like an umbrella!
  6. It’s vegan.
  7. 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!


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Part 1 of “The 12 Days of Wine Christmas” – Why not Wine? Some Gift Pack Suggestions

Part 1 of "The 12 Days of Wine Christmas" – Why not Wine? Some Gift Pack Suggestions

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 order female viagra 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!

Winery Specials

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 Vineyards Holiday Packs

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


Tablas Creek

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!


Topel Winery

Topel is offering a special ‘ Toast the Holidays 4-Bottle Wine Gift.’ Take home, or gift the “King of Reds” along with the “Queen of Whites.”

This bundle include  2009 Topel Chardonnay “Classique,”  a well balanced Montrachet style chardonnay.  Plus a wonderful vertical of Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Reserve (vintages 2005, 2006 and 2007.) I have tasted all these wines, and am in love with the 2009 Chardonnay and the 2005 Cabernet.

Normally $143, until Dec 31st its just $99. Pick it up in the tasting room in Healdsburg, or order it online here.


Inman Family Wines: Pinot & Bubbles

I have raved about Kathleen’s Pinot for years. (As well as her Chardonnay, Pinot Gris)

Tomorrow I will announce (as I did 2 weeks ago on my KRSO radio Wine Wednesday sh0w, when she was my guest) that her new sparkling 2009 Brut Rose Nature “Endless Crush” is my wine of the week, and Inman Family Winery is my winery of the month.

Inman is offering four holiday packs, including a two pack of this incredible new sparkling. She doesn’t discount wine very often, jump on it.


Cheers, come back tomorrow for Part 2, as well as my full article on Inman Family Wines.

Part 7 of the “12 Days of Wine Christmas”: Book Review/Recommendation: The New Connoisseurs’ Guidebook to California Wine and Wineries

As someone deeply immersed in Wine Country, I am a big fan and reader  of books on Wine History, Viticulture, and all things wine. I  have been meaning to do book reviews for some time, so I was pleased to receive a Media sample Charles E. Olken’s successor to his best-selling guide to California wine.

I have found a lack of  true insider wine region guides for the more experienced wine aficionado. As of 2009, California  had amost three thousand wineries. Indeed, within a 30 mile radius of where I live in Russian River, there are almost two hundred in the three closest AVAs. No matter how much you travel, taste, explore, there is always unexplored territory.

I try to venture to Paso Robles regularly these days, and am eager to re-explore the Santa Ynez region, and am also wanting to delve more into Lodi and Livermore, and in a few weeks making my first sojourn to the Sierra’s so this book presented a real world case to explore for usefulness, thus I was excited to take the time to review and use it.

A Great California Wine Primer

Before getting into specifics on each wine region and winery, the first 6o pages are a very informative background on California Wine, with excellent reading on History, Wine Making, and a commentary and background of the many wine varietals in California. I read a lot of wine books, and still gleaned a lot new tidbits.

A table of acres planted by varietal, from 1970 to 2010 was especially fascinating, and enlightening. (I had no idea Carignane, a great Rhone varietal being rediscovered, had 27,000 acres planted in 1970, and is now down to 3600 acres.)

The last 30 pages also has excellent reference material: suggested reading, suggested wine blogs (I didn’t make the list, maybe next edition) and an excellent section on the ‘Language of Wine.’

Getting to The Meat

The majority of the book is devoted to wine regions, maps, and descriptions of wineries. I find many winery guides to be poor in this area, and no more useful than if I just went to the website for that AVA (wine region.)

The summaries of each region are excellent, and the short paragraph on each winery is customized and personal, not regurgitated from a brochure. It does a good job covering wineries of all shapes and sizes. It is not 100% complete, as no guide likely ever will be. Many of the small cult wineries are covered, although a few like Wind Gap were missing. I found descriptions and tips to be quite accurate.

It’s still worthwhile looking up website information for a complete list of varietals. Quivira Vineyards for example, is lauded for their Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc, but no mention of their Rhone varietals program, (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and a GSM) which is the main reason I personally frequent them. I do like the personal mention and customized highlights of each winery, rather than the usual generic rattling off of what they make.

But Wait, There’s More: Online Support & Updates

Monthly updates to the book are provided via registration. Subscribers are emailed when an update is posted. Embracing social media, the website also publishes a daily blog, with a recurring theme each week. (Monday is ‘Monday Manifestos’, Rants and Opinions, Friday is ‘Friday Getaway Day, Wine Country Destinations, etc etc)

Where to Buy

The book is published by the University of California Press. It’s also available on, as well as local booksellers.

An enjoyable read and invaluable resource for any wine lover, of any experience level.

Highly Recommend – cheers!

The 12 Days of Wine Christmas

Part 1 of the “12 Days of Wine Christmas”: Wine Road Winter Wineland, Redwood Foodbank Raffle.
Part 2: “12 Days of Wine Christmas” – Gadget Review of the VinniBag
Part 3 of “The 12 Wine Days of Christmas” – The Wine Check (no, its not money!)
Part 4 of the “12 Days of Wine Christmas” Wine Clubs – A Review of Different Types and Benefits
Part 5 of the “12 Days of Wine Christmas” The Wine Soirée aerator & Limited Edition L/S
Part 6 of “The 12 Wine Days of Christmas” Lookout Ridge Winery & Wines for Wheelchairs
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