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A Gift For Your Boss

Quick, you forgot to get the boss a gift for his birthday, and the party starts in 30 minutes. You know it’s important that you were invited, and when it gets right down to it, he’s been really good to you. He deserves something special; You didn’t need that extra time off, but he was more than happy to grant it to you, with a smile and a wave. He definitely deserves a good thank you, if not for that, then for the gracious invite! It might be time to bring in the wine gifts. You may have no idea if you gift recipient enjoys a delicious bottle of wine. However, the gift of wine does so much more than just please the receiver; it allows him to also give to others. Rarely is a bottle of wine enjoyed alone. Remember, you’re not just giving the gift of wine; you’re giving the gift of shared experiences, laughter, grand stories told, and more, all from a single bottle of wine. Now, you may have never given the gift of wine before. You may even be clueless when it comes to wine! “The only differences between Reds and Whites are the colors, of course”, you think to yourself as you wander aimlessly up and down the aisles and your nearby wine retailer. You may find yourself struggling to remember what seem like endless lists of rules attached to the drinking of wines. “Do whites go with red meats? Perhaps the other way around?” It’s very easy to become overwhelmed, especially if you find yourself with a limited amount of time to research and look into the wonderful world of wine. Thankfully, the staff at many shops are more than happy to assist in making a more informed decision. To make your task even easier, you may find that they offer the possibility of creating a wine gift basket for you, as a way to avoid having to choose one particular blend or brand over another. Perhaps you want something a little more grand, something that will really ensure that people know you thought ahead, and you truly care. One of the greatest trends in wine culture is membership in a wine of the month club. In a wine of the month club, the recipient will receive a different bottle of wine each and every month for a specified version of time. This may be ideal for your gift idea, as it allows you to give the gift that keeps on giving, and some even have the option of allowing the recipient to choose what he or she wants to receive each month. These are only a few ideas for giving a wine gift to someone you know or care about. It’s important to remember to ask for help when choosing or trying to determine what a person may like. Those who work in wine shops have a passion for wine, and have endless amounts of knowledge on the subject. Use them! And remember, relax: Wine gifts are the best gifts!

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Your Next Birthday Gift

If you are wondering what to give someone for the next major holiday, or for their next birthday, a membership in a wine of the month club can be a thoughtful idea. Even if you just choose a three-month or even a six-month option, instead of a full year, you will be giving this person a surprise that will show up out of the blue. For oenophiles, this can be the ideal gift. Imagine getting home from work and finding a new chardonnay, malbec, or an exciting blend that you have not tried before – but have read and heard about. This sort of gift will endear you to the person who you gave it to for months. If you don’t want to sign up a friend or relative for a club, there are other wine gifts that you can consider. Do they have a favorite chenin blanc or sparkling wine? Many varieties, such as Nicholas Feuillate, are available with a metal gift cylinder or box that makes a fabulous presentation. Instead of buying a pair of gloves or a pewter ashtray that will probably be regifted, if not outright sold at a garage sale, think back to that last party you went to with them, and think about what they were drinking. If they were raving about how much they love pinot grigio, drive out to a local vineyard and find out what they recommend for a pinot aficionado. If it’s not in the right part of the country, in terms of climate, pinot grigio may not be available, but it’s likely that the vintner will have a blend to recommend for you. Then, just get a gift box for your wine and take it along to the party. If you don’t have time to shop yourself, or still want to have the joy of a surprise delivery for your friend or relative, there is also the possibility of sending wine gift baskets as a present. This is fun, because there are so many different shapes, sizes and options that you can work with. If your friend loves red wine and chocolate, then there are many baskets that will include a pinot noir, a merlot, and several boxes of Godiva or other chocolatiers. Don’t be restricted by red wine, though – there are companies that will deliver wine baskets with just about every type of wine, and with a wide variety of snacks or other accouterments that will go along in the basket. Wrapped neatly in cellophane and festooned with bright ribbons or other décor, these baskets are a great gift idea. With wine gift baskets, you’ll want to be sure that your friend or relative lives in a state where shipping wine is legal. You’re in good shape throughout most of the country, but there are still some states where shipping alcohol across state lines is not legal. If you’re using a wine gift basket retailer, they will let you know the states you can ship to. If you’re making your own gift basket to send, though, make sure it won’t get confiscated – and your friends won’t get in trouble.

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History of Wine

Wines have a rich history which spans several millennia. Their history is rich and passionate as they are associated with joy, prosperity and fertility. The legends of the ancient Greece have numerous references to wines and their effects, and the Greek mythology has ensured that a God called Dionis is protecting the wine production. Greek Gods lost their power, but, as empires went up and down around the Mediterranean sea, the vineyards have hold their ground and further expanded helped first by the Romans, and further by many others. Gods and mortals, rich and poor, young and old all have been charmed by the taste and perfume of one wine or another. Years have passed and, in recent history, France has pushed wine production to the next level.

For the French, wine became close to an art, with dedicated exhibitions, specialized taster experts, complex wine classifications, a myriad of wine types and an uncountable number of wine collections. The role of the wine itself has also diversified, and now the wine can be an appetizer, a dessert, or it can simply go together with the main entree. As its social role has been steadily improving, wine has obtained a new identity as a social gift. Wine gifts are increasingly more common nowadays. While a single bottle of wine is often the norm, selecting such a bottle poses multiple challenges. Not only the one who buys the wine must be an expert, but one must also anticipate the preference of the wine gift receiver. To avoid disappointment, a lucrative option is to offer wine gift baskets instead. These baskets may include a variety of wines, hence they would likely include several options that match the taste of the gift receiver. In this context, it is important to observe that more and more people prefer to broaden their knowledge about wines. While this can often be done independently, through self study and experimentation, this approach completely ignores the social role of the wine. The wine is not always related to an individual taste, and it is more important to capture and process the opinion of an entire community. This gains traction with wine clubs which are centralized associations dedicated to fill this role. These clubs can provide significant benefit by selecting wines and associated information and sending it monthly. A “wine of the month club” newsletter and selected wine samples are sent to each club member. Learning about wines thus becomes easier than ever. Consequently, it is expected that the role of the wines will further increase in the next years. People tend to spend more time, attention and resources on social activities, and wines are a natural binding factor for such activities. Because social gatherings have often defined historical changes, it is thus expected that the wine, through its social role, its perfume, its color and its taste will also shape the future of humanity. An intriguing conclusion to consider: to be part of history one must not be ignorant about wines.

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I Love Wine As A Gift

I love wine, especially if I receive it as a gift. The wine doesn’t have to be expensive but should be rated at 90 points or more. I like receiving red wines in the winter, white wines in the summer, and Rose’s any time of year. Wine gifts don’t always have to be bottles of wine but can be accessories. Wine accessories as gifts can be bottle stoppers, charms, aerators, glasses, and wine racks. I received a wine journal as a gift so I can record all the wines I taste and rate them. This becomes very helpful when shopping for wine or recording wine tastings and the people you meet at them. It is possible to order wine from just about any winery and have it shipped to ones favorite person. You can personalize wine gifts by attatching labels with the persons name and/or the occasion. The holidays are a great time to present wine as a gift to the hostess when invited to a dinner party. I always present the wine in a decorated box or bag with a note of thanks. Wine gifts are becoming more popular as more people discover wine and prefer it to hard liquors or beer. Along the same line are wine gift baskets, which can be handmade or ordered. I love making my own wine gift baskets, mainly for reasons of cost. I can make my own wine gift baskets for a fraction of ones sold in boutiques or online. Over the course of time, I purchase the baskets at thrift stores and flea markets. I use plastic, shredded grass or straw as a filler. I choose a wine I think the recipient might like or a gift certificate from a local wine shop. I like to include two wine glasses (purchased from a cheap source) which I paint or decorate with crystals. Included in the wine gift basket are gourmet crackers and cheese, gourmet chocolate, or biscotti. Sometimes I add wine accessories which I buy on sale during the year at different stores, sales, and flea markets. I wrap the entire basket in colored plastic gift wrap and tied securely with lots of curles and ribbon. I attached a gift tag or note to complete it. Wine gift baskets can be handmade or ordered online from $20 to thousands of dollars, depending on ones budget and the occasion. But my favorite wine gift to give and also receive is wine from a wine of the month club. There are advantages to subscribing to the wine of the month club. One can try many different wines that might not be available in the immediate locale. The wines usually have literature included depicting the wines origin, rating, food pairings, and other pertinent information. Also when one is a member, all the wine and information can be passed on to friends and family. It is nice to always have wine on hand for that unexpected guest. The cost for joining a club or gifting it can be from $25 a month or more, depending on the plan you choose.Most wine clubs offer free shipping and no sales tax, which is another benefit. For someone who likes wine as much as I do, it is a gift that is truly appreciated.

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A Visit to Napa Valley

A visit to the Napa valley is a wonderful way to spend the day, especially if you like wine. My boyfriend and I often visit Napa valley as we both love the area and enjoy trying new types of wines. On our last visit we stopped at a local winery that we’d never seen before. We tasted several of their wines and decided to join their wine of the month club. Belonging to this club entitles you to a shipment every month of a variety of wines produced by that windery, and the choice is always determined by what the winery has released lately or considers one of their best wines. My boyfriend is very knowledgeable about wines and often gives wine gift baskets to friends on special occasions. He signed up for the club and we make a visit to the Napa valley each month to pick up his wine club selection, even though the winery will gladly ship each month’s wine to our house. We love to give wine gifts to our friends who also enjoy wine. They are very appreciative as they not only receive a delicious gift but learn about the wine at the same time, since we always include a note with the gift describing the background of the bottle of wine and what kind of “nose” it has. The “nose” of wine is how it smells and tastes, such as hints of black cherry, floral overtones, cedar and blackberry etc. Learning the nose of each wine takes a lot of practice. You have to know how to taste the wine rather than just drink it. This is why you’ll often see wine drinkers swirl their glass of wine, holding it by the stem, then tipping their nose into the glass to take a deep breath. Since smell is a big part of taste, this technique enhances the next step of the wine sampling which is to sip some of the wine. Don’t swallow it right away, but roll it around in your mouth a bit first. For beginners, helps to have a list of the tastes and smells to notice when sampling each wine. One way to get good at this is to attend a wine tasting party with friends. It’s also an excellent time to exchange wine gift baskets to learn about wine from each other. A gift basket should not only include at least one bottle of wine but can also include accessories to wine such as a decanter, a cork puller and aerator. These make the whole wine experience even more enjoyable. With heavy red wines, adding dark chocolate to the gift basket is a great idea because dark chocolate and heavy red wine compliment each other. A sip of wine, then a taste of chocolate then another sip of wine and you’ll find the wine tastes different on the second sip. This is why paring certain wines with certain foods enhances both the taste of the food but also alters the taste of the wine.

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Wine of the Month Club Organization

For wine-lovers who like to take their pass to the next level, joining a wine of the month club can be an enjoyable investment. The original website touts this organization as being established for roughly forty years, and joining online makes things easy. There have been a host of shows and magazines that have featured the wine of the month club organization, and according to the main site, there are a lot of good reasons to join. Those with a taste for wine and culture can join for just over twenty bucks a month, plus the cost of tax and shipping (which ends up being just over thirty dollars). The most expensive membership – reserved for serious wine lovers – ends up being about eighty dollars per month after the added expenses. While this might seem extravagant, wine is more than a mere interest or hobby to those kinds of members. Rather, it is a cultural treasure. Being a member has its guarantees. For example, if a member receives a wine they dislike, they can have another mailed to them without a hassle. This allows people to gain a greater appreciation for wine while still staying in the comfort zones of drinks that they actually enjoy. Wine gifts are another reason to investigate sites like this one. Rather than giving plain old cash or a check, gift certificates for wine can be purchased. Such a present shows the desire to bestow culture and sophistication on the recipient, and there are lots of things that such a certificate can be used to buy! The wines offered on the site vary in subtleties and flavors; there is a wine for every taste. Another wonderful option is to purchase a wine gift basket. While ordinary gift baskets are nice, a wine-themed basket is sophisticated and specific. These baskets are make for fantastic birthday presents, but they can be used anytime: to celebrate a wedding anniversary or engagement, a retirement, a holiday, or the ever-popular housewarming party. They can also be used as the starting point for a nice spread for having company over. On this particular website, customers can browse gift baskets by price, product name, rating, reviews, brand, best seller, etc. There are accompany pictures that show the exact contents of each basket. One of the more extravagant baskets is about a hundred dollars and the included items rest in a reddish woven basket. This wine basket has two wines, coffee candy, cookies, chips, snack mix, sausage, cookies, caramel corn, crackers, nuts, and more. A basket of this sort is impressive, but those who wish to spend a little less have lots of options, too. For just forty dollars, customers can purchase a basket containing wine, almonds, cookies, and candies. Members of the wine club can make dinners based on what kind of wine they receive that month. Certain wines go better with some types of dishes than other wines, so wine drinkers are encouraged to research the foods and recipes that the wines best compliment.

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Finding a Wine Club

If you’re interested in finding a new wine club-especially if you are looking online there are a few things you should know about.

First, not all reviews are real.  That’s pretty simple right-if you pay commissions, people will rank sites in a certain order to receive those commissions. It’s called affiliate marketing if you’re interested.  It’s not all bad, but it’s not all good either!

Anyway, while I don’t love what Google and other search engine’s do on a regular basis, I do realize that they give us a pretty good idea about what’s out there in terms of available wine club choices.  Start there and then move on to other social media and in less than an hour, you’ll reasonably know about every wine club available anywhere!

Facebook is another good to place to check, but Wine Spectator and other industry magazines also have pretty extensive lists available of the different wine club choices.

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Future of Zinfandel in California

Hi guys. Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures. Happy Monday to everybody from what is a cold, rainy, and wet San Francisco today. Late last week I talked about the feature of Grenache in the state of California and so today I wanted to talk a few minutes about the future of Zinfandel and kind of what we’re seeing in terms of plantings and what we can expect going into the future.

First, I think Zinfandel is a really interesting grape. If you go back and look at the history of Zinfandel, there’s always been a lot of conversation and talk about where did the grape come from, where is it native to. Is it native to California? Is it native to Italy where it’s called Primitivo? UC Davis, not surprisingly, has been at the forefront of a lot of the genetic research. In essence, what I think they’ve come to the conclusion of, along with some other research based in Europe, that Zinfandel and Primitivo are almost like different species of monkeys where they share a common ancestor but they were largely allowed to create genetic diversity on the two continents simultaneously. Common ancestor. Not one derived from the other in a lab like some other grapes would be,

Secondly, I also think it’s an interesting grape because it’s the one grape where here in California, if you were to ask somebody within the wine industry, “How do I pick a Zin?” Almost everybody would tell you, “Pick an old vine Zin.” The problem with that though is that old vine is a marketing term. There’s no legal ramifications for it and some vintners do a good job about saying this is what an old vine is and this is why we think it’s an old vine and some just slop it on the label after a few years.

Here’s kind of the way vines and the way I think of it usually works. It usually take about 5 years for a grape vine to start producing fruit in sufficient quality enough that it’s going to be anything but bulk wine. That’s in essence because the roots need to get established. You don’t want to have to be watering it so much so it’s not watered done et cetera, et cetera. A standard grape vine also only produces for about 30 years. Zinfandel, of course, can go significantly longer than that into the century, century and a half. I’ve had wine from grapes that are sitting on vines that are 125, 130 years old and they taste just great. There’s kind of that whole back and forth.

For me, if somebody’s going to be true about what an old vine is, I think if a Pinot vine can only last 30 years, to be an old vine, it has to be older than 30. There are some Sonoma vintners who are slopping on labels after 5 years which I think is doing a disservice to both the grape itself and to the general public who’s buying their product but that’s a story for another day. That’s the problem with Zinfandel though. If I wanted to plant a few acres of Zinfandel in Napa today, it would take me 35 years before I could realistically start to recoup the maximum amount of money from that vineyard, as opposed to say Cabernet, Pino, even Grenache, where you might be able to start recouping it after 5 years so there’s not a lot of incentive there.

That’s why you’re seeing … This is Black Rock and Black Rock is something that we’ve shipped both to our premium wine club members as well as to some folks on different wine club levels. Black Rock I think is interesting because it was made by Kirk Venge who his dad Nils Venge is famous in the wine making community in large part because Robert Parker gave Nils a bottle made by him at least the first hundred point score on Napa wine.

Kirk went through the UC Davis viticulture program and now he makes wine in a number of places himself, mostly high acclaimed. Including places like B Cellars and Venge Vineyards itself, the family namesake winery. They also own this, or at least they make the wine here, Black Rock which is up in Lake County. I think this is where you’re really going to see Zinfandel kind of gain exposure.

I talked to Mark Grenache and they’re kind of needing to be planted in not prime vineyard spots but slightly further away. I think that’s true with Zinfandel as well although Zinfandel can grow in kind of the same Bordeaux kind of climates that others can as well as hotter conditions. Lake County is a good example. You have a natural offshoot for Napa wineries and Napa winemakers who can no longer can afford to buy places in Napa for themselves. Kathy Corison quite famously bought herself a spot off Highway 29 for Corison Winery. An equivalent skilled winemaker, i.e. one of the 10 best winemakers in the world, may never make enough money these days to buy an equivalent site.

That’s kind of sad but that’s also driving people to other wine regions and Lake County is one of those regions that is benefiting now and will continue to benefit in the future. It’s also a place that has the largest fresh water lake in California so there’s kind of that ocean, not ocean breeze but there’s that cooling effect from the lake over the winter and that’s something that winemakers really like to see from their vineyard sites. I think that’s where you’re going to see Zinfandel. You’re going to see people who are industry veterans or people that have perhaps a little bit more patience than somebody who made a bunch of money in tech or silicon valley who wants a wine to give to their friends tomorrow. Instead, you’re going to see people who are part of the wine industry and they want to make Zinfandel because I think you do hear a lot about Zinfandel in the wine industry circles, perhaps more than other grapes, as far as compared to what you hear from the general public.

Places like Lake Country are even further off the beaten path than say Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, and even like the end of Valley. You’re going to see plantings there where people can say, “You know what? We’re building this business. We’re going to build a Zinfandel vineyard and the goal is my kid is going to make the wine there,” and he’s four kind of thing.

I think that’s where Zinfandel is going. You’re going to see a very small number of plantings with it. You will see … There are some projects that have old vines inNapa and elsewhere and I think those are going to continue to garner even more greater attention because it takes 35 years for it to really be an old vine, I think you’re going to see a greater emphasis on the ones that are truly old, past a century. They’re kind of a great vine to look at too. These old marled. They’re shorter, they’re thicker. They look like a grape vine kind of should look like, I think. I think you’re going to see more and more marketing plays on the ones that are older and for good reason.

Once again, Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures. If you’re waiting for a shipment, please check your email and your spam. It’s probably out already. I look forward to speaking with you. If you have a few minutes, take a look at the gift baskets. We’re in the process of updating those. Thanks.