What’s a Wine Lover To Do? ~ This great guide by fellow Austinite, Wes Marshall, is a perfect stocking stuffer. It’s informative (very useful index) yet light hearted approach makes it a must for you and your friends. Take Wes’s description of Pinot Noir Styles. Oregon Pinots are described as being “lean, cool, and intelligent,” like Cate Blanchette while California Pinots are depicted by Angelina Jolie, “earthy, lusty and more direct.” Quick…serve me a Pinot!
Wine Barrel Decor ~ We found Alpine Wine Design at a Farmer’s Market in Colorado and later at a Christmas Affair in Austin. While many people make barrel furniture, it’s the small things Alpine creates that are in our home. Look for Serving Trays, Lazy Susans, Coat Racks, Candle Holders and our personal favorite and often used, Sushi Board ($40).
Wine Lover’s Chocolate ~ Chocolate and red wine, a heavenly match. While traveling in San Francisco we found local favorite, Wine Lover’s Chocolate. Sold in collector tins of chocolate drops, WLC makes six different chocolates designed to pair with specific wines from Port (54% Dark) to Zinfandel (72% Dark). You can purchase individual tins ($6) a selection of three ($19) or all six ($38).
Wineopoly ~ Bundle up in front of the fire and pull out Wineoploy, a wine lover’s take on Monopoly. While the game includes buying and selling grapes and winemaking, it becomes more complex when you deal with import taxes and serving faux pas. A fun and educational wine game.
Smart Phone Wine Apps ~ A little something for you? There are many wine related phone apps but our two favorites are provided by Nat Decants and Snooth. Both put a ton of wine information at your fingertips, really too much to describe here. I do like the Snooth’s photo capability. Take a picture of the label and up pops the reviews and retail price. Having the retail price handy gives you the inside track when looking for that restaurant wine list bargain.
Have a Wine Yard Party ~ Break out the pink flamingos ($11) and take your wine out on the lawn, to the beach, or just a romantic picnic. Here we found wine glass holders ($12), wine bottle holders ($15) and even a bamboo wine table ($22) all with in-ground stakes. What could be more fun?
Support Small, Family and Artisanal Wineries ~ This holiday season when buying wine for yourself and loved ones, try something different. It’s easy to get in a wine rut and grab the old favorites at the neighborhood store. It’s time to break out and make a unique wine purchase. Remember that small winery you visited a few years ago and loved their wine? Look them up on the web and order the wines you so enjoyed. It will be a happier holiday for both you and the winery.