Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

5 Common Wine Mistakes

September 30, 2013 Leave a comment

1. Astronomical Prices
Consumers are savvy about wine costs so very high prices turn them off, especially since they can check retail prices on their smart phone before buying. If prices are reasonable, rather than exponential, guests are more likely to order a bottle instead of a glass, or two glasses instead of one.

2. Over Pouring
Wine lovers like to swirl and sniff so don’t fill glasses more than one-third full (a little more if they’re small glasses). White wine will also warm up too quickly if too much is poured. A nice touch is to serve wine from a mini decanter, small enough for just one glass of wine. This is a nice upscale touch and allows wine glasses to be filled on the low side. It also lets customers pour the remainder at will.

3. Wine Preservation
Do not serve wines that are not stored properly. Use a preservation system. If you can afford one, recork the wines, mark them with the date, and refrigerate them overnight—but never more than that. Wines stored overnight, however, are sometimes not up to standard for wine connoisseurs. Less experienced diners might not notice that a wine has lost some of its luster.

4. Poor Glassware
Wine is less enjoyable when sipped from inexpensive glassware. Thick glass means the consumer tastes more glass than wine, and small glasses don’t allow for swirling. Stemless glasses can provide a nice trendy touch, though must be good quality as they can make swirling difficult.

5. Temperature
Serve red wine at around 60º—just below room temperature. If you serve it too warm, consumers will simply taste more alcohol. The serving temperature for whites depends on the style—serve Champagnes or Sauvignon Blancs (lighter bodied whites) colder; fuller bodied varietals like Chardonnays can be poured warmer. However as a rule of thumb, serve white wines at 45º to 55º and typically allow them about 20 minutes to warm up from the refrigerator because if they are too cold, the flavors are muted. A nice touch is offering to leave wine on a guest’s table to warm up. Always ask if they’d like a wine bucket because sometimes these can keep the wine too cold.

Source: September 24, 2013 By: Amanda Baltazar

Categories: Wine

Degassing Wine

July 2, 2013 Leave a comment

It is not uncommon for wine to absorb carbon dioxide, the gas created as a byproduct of fermentation. This especially tends to occur when fermentation slows to the point that bubbles escape the airlock at a rate slower than one bubble every 15 minutes. The positive pressure of CO2 in the headspace between the wine and the airlock bears equally on the wine and the liquid inside the airlock. Some of that CO2 is simply absorbed into the wine. The result is a wine that fizzes when poured. It may not fizz as much as a sparkling wine, but it greatly detracts from a wine that is supposed to be a still (nonsparkling) wine.

There are several ways to release this gas and return the wine to a true still wine. The simplest way is to simply stir the wine with a wooden dowel or a plastic rod. Stir the wine vigorously for about a minute and then replace the airlock and let the wine settle down for 30-45 minutes. Then repeat the procedure several times until the wine stops giving up CO2 gas. I use a plastic rod used to pull curtains closed. I heated one end of the rod in boiling water for a few minutes, layed the heated end on a wooden cutting board, and gently tapped it with a wooden mallet to flatten the end of it into a narrow “paddle” shape. I sanitize it by standing in upright (paddle-end down) in a 22-inch hydrometer test jar for 5 minutes filled with sulfite solution. I then put the paddle end into the carboy and attach the other end to an electric drill. This is undoubtedly safer than using a wooden dowel because the plastic cannot absorb bacteria or mold the way the wooden dowel can.

There are several products out there which are essentially a long rod with spring-loaded folding blades at one end. The opposite end is inserted in an electric drill and the blade end inserted into the carboy. The blades unfold inside the carboy and the electric drill is turned on. The propeller-style blades are raised and lowered throughout the body of wine to degasse a greater volume. After 30 seconds or so, the drill is turned off and the rod is withdrawn from the carboy. The airlock is refitted and 30-45 minutes later the procedure is repeated. This procedure works much faster and better than simply stirring with a rod or dowel, but my “paddle” works just fine for me and so I’m staying with it.

A word of caution when using an electric drill. Obviously, you do not want to get the electric cord or the electric motor wet, so be careful. Also, when you first insert the paddle or propeller-type device, tap the trigger a few times for just a couple of seconds to see how much gas is in the wine. If there is a lot, foam will erupt from the mouth of the carboy that — at worse — could shoot up into the electric drill before you realize what is happening and electrocute you. Just to be safe, wear heavy duty rubber gloves. At the very least it will be a mess to clean up, and of course will reduce the volume of your wine. Go slowly and be safe — and don’t forget the rubber gloves!

After a wine is degassed, it should sit for a while under airlock to “recover” from the procedure, as degassing a wine tends to “flatten” its taste for a couple of months. After sitting under airlock for the prescribed period, the wine can be bottled.

Source: Jack keller Wine

Categories: CO2, Wine

Do Restaurants Need Wines By The Glass?

March 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Although low cost house wines by the glass have been in restaurants for hundreds of years, in the late 1980s, Opus One, then the most expensive bottle of wine on the US market, had to come up with a clever way to get consumers to try and buy their wine. And the fine wine by the glass was born.

Today, many restaurants have discovered that an upscale wine by the glass program can attract savvy diners and help differentiate them from their competition. But offering pricey wines by the glass has been hampered by the fragile nature of wine. Once a bottle is open it begins to deteriorate rapidly. If it doesn’t sell the same day, the wine quality begins to diminish immediately, rendering some of it below serving quality. Most wine exposed to air for more than a day is seriously compromised, necessitating disposal. The losses can quickly add up.

The way that restaurants have dealt with wines by the glass is to offer a limited selection of what they know will sell rapidly. But what would a diner’s restaurant experience be like if they could order any wine in multiple serving portions?

Armando Luis, New Jersey restaurant owner, President and inventor of Vinfinity Systems FlashVacuum process, argues that there is no need for restaurants to offer wines by the glass.

Although his position may appear to negate the need for his product, he in fact, believes that wines by the glass should be more of the rule rather than the exception. The specialty list should be wines that are not offered by the glass, not the other way around. Wine should be available in the half or third of a bottle. The wine by the glass list should just be the wine list and those not offered by the glass should be known as “by the bottle only” list. By turning the process upside down, he argues that restaurants will strengthen their ability to deliver value and variety to educated wine drinkers and by doing so, significantly increase profit.

“An open bottle of wine is a perishable product and it needs proper storage or the waste from oxidized wine can significantly damage not only your P&L but also your establishment’s reputation,” says Luis.

He continues, “With the advanced wine preservation technology available on the market today, you can open any bottle of wine for a taste, a glass or staff training and not measurably degrade the product. Compromise and loss should be a thing of the past.”

Wine industry consultant Marian Jansen op de Haar, president of Vines 57, comments, “A restaurant grade wine preservation system not only preserves the quality of wines poured by the glass but also significantly lowers pour cost by eliminating waste. Every bottle on the wine list can be poured by the glass without compromising quality.”

Consumers are also putting more pressure on dining establishments to have a wide variety of wines by the glass to choose from, further complicating an already challenging issue. Orange County, California wine connoisseur, Carol McIntyre, who has a 1500 + bottle wine collection, is a frequent guest at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. Fleming’s was the first national restaurant to employ preservation with Vinfinity Systems in all locations in time for the release of their new Fleming’s 100 list, featuring a hundred wines by the glass.

“I love ordering different wines by the glass to pair with each course and I prefer not to go to a restaurant unless I can be assured of the quality,” McIntyre notes.

She encapsulates what many restaurateurs have discovered about their educated wine consumers: they are willing to pay top dollar for a glass of cult cabernet with their prime steak, but not willing to take the risk that the wine might not be absolutely pristine.

And the consequences can be dire.

McIntyre adds, “If a restaurant serves me an oxidized glass of wine, or refuses to let me sample an unknown varietal before I buy it, I may not say anything, but I’ll never return.”

Gabriel Valle, Managing Partner for The Capital Grill, Miami agrees with Luis: “A preservation system allows me to open any bottle of wine for any reason and not worry about loss.

He continues, “If a customer doesn’t like the bottle, we can take it back with out any hassle and repurpose it without waste. Not only does preservation help the relationship between the restaurant and the consumer, but also between the winery and the consumer.” He adds, “If a consumer gets an oxidized glass of wine, they might just think that they don’t like the wine.”

On the typical restaurant wine list, the highest by the glass wine price, on a per ounce basis, is lower than the average bottle price. For many fine dining restaurants, the average bottle price is more than $100. With 4-6oz glasses per bottle, the average glass price if purchased by the bottle is more than $25.

However, many restaurateurs are concerned that consumers may not pay above a certain amount for a wine by the glass. The most expensive wine by the glass is typically cheaper than the average bottle on a per ounce basis.

But a recent survey by Napa Technology, makers of the enterprise-level WineStation preservation system, indicates that consumers are more willing to splurge on an expensive glass of wine that would otherwise be cost prohibitive to order by the bottle.

“Providing you have some kind of effective wine preservation system, you can offer your entire wine list and allow guests to decide how they want to consume the wine,” says Luis.

He concludes, “By giving guests the option of a taste, glass or half bottle it reduces their risk of ordering an expensive bottle of wine and can improve the restaurant’s overall profitability,” concludes Luis.

What would your restaurant’s wine program look like if spoilage wasn’t a factor?

Source: Running Restaurants

Categories: Wine

Wine and ‘Sliders’ at the Castle

February 23, 2012 Leave a comment


LAFAYETTE, Ind.—The wine list at the White Castle here proposes a thoughtfully balanced varietal selection, from a pétillant Moscato to a quite approachable Merlot.

Jeanette Merritt stopped by one lunchtime for a tasting. Ms. Merritt isn’t new to wine; she’s the Indiana Wine Grape Council’s marketing director. Wine, however, is new to White Castle. Since December, at this one location, the hamburger chain has been pairing some elegant aspirations with its rather unpretentious “sliders.”

At the counter, Ms. Merritt ordered three cheeseburgers and the full complement of wines: four, in seven-ounce bottles. The burgers cost $2.49, the wine $18. A staffer carried the wine to a booth, twisted open the screw-tops and set out clear-plastic glasses. Table service enhances the ambience (and is required by state law).

Ms. Merritt began with the Merlot, from Barefoot Cellars, and deemed it “good.” Of the Chardonnay, she said, “The fruit’s there instead of the butter.” The Moscato was “fun.” Then came the “sweet red,” a blend. “It’s red,” said Ms. Merritt. “It’s sweet.”

The Merlot, she decided, paired best with the burgers. She ate two. Eyeing the leftovers, she said, “At some point that was a cow, I guess.”

White Castle, a fixture in a dozen east-central states, is the Motel 6 of fast food. A family business since 1921, with 421 stores and sales last year of $632 million, it gets credit for initiating the masses to 100% ground beef in a bun.

White Castle hasn’t sold beer—also newly on sale in Lafayette—or wine up to now, but for those who missed the movie “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle,” it is famous as the place where fervid “cravers”—drunk, stoned or just gluttonous—go to pig out.

“I have never in my mind combined the idea of wine with White Castle,” says Richard Crosby, a music professor at Eastern Kentucky University who says he eats there 300 times a year.

Neither has David Hogan, an Ohio historian whose book on White Castle describes it as a “socioeconomic ‘common ground’ where truck drivers eat alongside physicians who eat next to the homeless.”

“Wine?” Prof. Hogan says. “It seems wholly illogical to me. If Wendy’s did it, it would be less startling.”

Or Burger King, or Starbucks, or Sonic. All three are also in the midst of booze tests at a handful of their stores. Yet if Prof. Hogan cheers White Castle for learning to “celebrate its own anachronism,” fast-food experts toast this experiment’s shrewdness. As restaurant adviser Malcolm Knapp says, “They’re always right in sync with the zeitgeist.”

“Slider,” for example, is a slur dating to the 1940s on the alleged ease with which White Castle burgers slide in. Now hip bistros serve ahi tuna sliders, foie gras sliders. At the Little Owl, in New York’s Greenwich Village, the “gravy meatball slider” ($15 for three) made the cover of Bon Appétit.

The chef and owner of Little Owl, Joey Campanaro, was at his bar one recent day, contemplating a stack of White Castle sliders brought in for a dégustation. “Those onions were cooked forever,” he said, after taking a bite and making a face.

“Disgusted?” said his friend, Josh Ozersky, author of “The Hamburger, a History.” Mr. Ozersky grew up eating White Castle sliders in New Jersey. “It’s still a beautiful thing,” he said, “a talisman, a one-of-a-kind craveable object.” Between pronouncements, he ate three.

Last year, White Castle registered “The Original Slider” as a trademark. From there, it was a hip-hop and a jump to Moscato.

“We’ll muse occasionally on metaphysics, but we’re only selling a 2½-inch-square hamburger,” said Jamie Richardson, head of corporate relations, when asked for the rationale.

Mr. Richardson, married to a great-granddaughter of Billy Ingram, the founder, was in Columbus, Ohio, the company’s hometown, at a board members’ cocktail party—being held in a White Castle.

There’s a new taste sensation at one White Castle in Indiana. The hamburger chain is serving up wine and beer, along with its signature sliders. WSJ’s Barry Newman reports from Lafayette.

“Our customers wanted beer, so we thought, why not try wine, too?” said Lisa Ingram, chief operating officer. She was drinking a Sprite. Her father, Bill Ingram, president and chief executive, held a bottle of Budweiser. “I don’t think we’ll do scotch,” he said.

At another White Castle, in downtown Columbus, opinions varied among the staff on the wisdom of adding spirits to the menu.

“We got all kinds of drunks already,” said Dominic Williams, tending the grill behind bulletproof glass. Aqueelah Smith finished mopping and disagreed. “Wine? At White Castle?” she said. “People would try it, eagerly. It’s ironic.”

For now, the ironies are confined to Lafayette’s one White Castle, off I-65 between Chicago and Indianapolis. Arby’s, Chili’s, Denny’s, McDonald’s, IHOP and Burger King are within a five-minute drive. There is a Starbucks across the road and a Dairy Queen next door, now re-christened “DQ Grill & Chill.” It sells burgers.

Still white and crenelated, the White Castle has been dolled up and subbranded as “Blaze.” The menu has extras, mainly meat, pulled and stewed. The wines stand in a glass cooler, except the Merlot, which is served unchilled.

Hours went by this day with no wine orders. “It isn’t Bordeaux, it’s Indiana,” said Dave Dore, the regional manager, who was passing through. A man sat nearby behind a pile of cheeseburgers. Mr. Dore called, “Some wine with your White Castle?” The man said, “Sliders would go better with Wild Turkey and Peppermint Schnapps.”

The Andouille sausage was dropped a short while ago for lack of sales, but White Castle is giving the wine test here at least a year before deciding if it should let any other White Castles dip in. “Who would have known in 1921 that the hamburger would last?” said Mr. Dore.

It was 10 p.m. before Lauren Reed finally walked in and caught sight of the bottles. “I thought it was a rumor,” she said. A chef at Purdue University in West Lafayette, she ordered three regular sliders, two cheese sliders—and a Moscato.

“I find that people who know wine will choose the Moscato,” said the counterman, Ryan Parrott. Retiring to a booth, Ms. Reed said, “I just wanted something kind of sweet to go with my White Castles.”

The place was empty by 11 p.m. In a blink of the flat screens above the counter, the alcohol suddenly was off the menu. White Castle doesn’t want drunken cravers coming in late to get drunker. But, like every White Castle, this one was staying open all night, in case they came in hungry.

Source: WSJ

Categories: Food Pairing, Wine

Who’s Drinking Wine? A Look at the Wine Market Council’s Latest Survey

February 9, 2012 Leave a comment

by Deidre Woollard (RSS feed)
Jan 25th 2011 at 2:00AM

The news is good for winemakers according to the recent presentation by the Wine Market Council. The council’s sixth annual U.S. Wine Consumer Trends presentation on Friday confirmed that this new year marks 17 years of consecutive growth of wine consumption in the U.S.

John Gillespie, president of the Wine Market Council revealed that wine consumption continued to grow through two recessions, albeit at reduced rates. In 2010, U.S. consumers downed 276 million cases of table wine. But it is the core wine drinkers that really keep the numbers high. This group, defined as those who drink wine daily, several times a week or about once a week, is about 20 percent of the population (approximately 46 million U.S. adults). This dedicated group accounts for 91 percent of all wine consumption. Marginal drinkers defined as those who drink wine less often than weekly represent 31 million U.S. adults.

Wine drinking is on the rise in the Millennial group (ages 17 to 34). Six percent are drinking wine daily, 26 percent are drinking wine several times a week, and 19 percent drink wine once a week on average. Generation X (ages 35 to 46) and Baby Boomers (ages 47 to 65) are also consuming wine more regularly. The over-65 wine drinkers have the largest proportion of daily wine drinkers, perhaps because of doctors’ recommendations.

The results also reveal some interesting figures on varietals. Baby Boomers are drinking Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and leaving behind Dry Rose and White Zinfandel or blush wines as well as drinking less Champagne and sparkling wines. Overall wine drinkers are still conscious of their wallet and looking for good value wines but there are also signs of slow growth at the mid and higher ranges.

Another intriguing part of the survey is the social media results. Two-thirds of core wine drinkers and 40 percent of marginals use the Internet to get information on wine,” Gillespie said. More than half of all wine drinkers are on Facebook and 41 percent of core wine drinkers use a smart phone and, of those, 39 percent said they have wine, food or restaurant applications on their phones whereas only 25 percent of marginal drinkers use a smart phone.

Source: Luxist

Categories: Wine

America is drinking more wine than ever

August 29, 2011 Leave a comment

For the first time ever in 2010, wine lovers in the United States sipped more of the grape than any other nation — including France.


Aren’t we getting sophisticated? The United States last year, despite wars, government deficits and a punky economy, overtook France to become the world’s biggest consumer of wine.

We drank 330 million 12-bottle cases in 2010 compared to 321 million for the French, according to California-based industry consultants Gomberg, Fredrikson & Assoc.

We’re not ahead per-capita, of course. The average French aficionado drinks five bottles a year to every one downed by an American. But we’re going up – at least 1 percent a year for the past 17 straight years. And they’re going down – by 14 percent since 2006.

Full Article at Miami Herald

Categories: Wine

Who’s Drinking Wine? A Look at the Wine Market Council’s Latest Survey

April 11, 2011 Leave a comment

The news is good for winemakers according to the recent presentation by the Wine Market Council. The council’s sixth annual U.S. Wine Consumer Trends presentation confirmed that this new year marks 17 years of consecutive growth of wine consumption in the U.S.

John Gillespie, president of the Wine Market Council revealed that wine consumption continued to grow through two recessions, albeit at reduced rates. In 2010, U.S. consumers downed 276 million cases of table wine. But it is the core wine drinkers that really keep the numbers high. This group, defined as those who drink wine daily, several times a week or about once a week, is about 20 percent of the population (approximately 46 million U.S. adults). This dedicated group accounts for 91 percent of all wine consumption. Marginal drinkers defined as those who drink wine less often than weekly represent 31 million U.S. adults.

Full Article

Categories: Wine

PA Walmart stores getting CCTV-enabled, breathalyzin’ wine vending machines

December 10, 2010 Leave a comment

it’s illegal to sell alcohol in grocery stores in Pennsylvania, but it’s not illegal to install a vending machine that dispenses wine: as long as the user is asked to take a breathalyzer test, swipe their state issued ID or Driver License, and then show their mug to a state official sitting somewhere in Harrisburg, who is keeping an eye on the proceedings via CCTV.

Read the Article

Categories: Wine

Overcoming the ‘Chile = Cheap’ Myth

November 12, 2010 Leave a comment


Some seemingly rhetorical questions actually have answers (Is it possible to be too rich or too thin?), while others require a good bit more pondering (Why do fools fall in love?). Chilean winemakers have long puzzled over a rhetorical question of their own: Why is Chilean wine considered cheap? Though the quality of Chile’s wines has risen dramatically recently, the world, by and large, still regards them as bottom-rung, at least in terms of price.

Read Lettie’s full WSJ article

Categories: Wine

How the Moon Affects Wine

November 9, 2010 Leave a comment

“The theory has its origins in the biodynamic movement, which Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, began in the early 20th century. The ideas are simple, albeit eccentric. Biodynamic wine is created from grapes grown in harmony with nature. This means that the wine is not only organic, but also crafted with a heightened awareness of stars and planets—that is, the forces of cosmic energy. Because such wine growers view the vineyard as a living organism, they presume the grapes are affected by the moon, like other living things. Similarly, consumers should be mindful of when they drink such wine, as the phases of the moon affect the taste of the vintage.”

Visit Serious About Wine‘s blog

Categories: BioDynamic, Wine