Wine Cellar Tips for Your Underground Sips

You may have long yearned for a wine cellar, but thought you couldn’t build one because you didn’t have a large wine collection or budget. Not to worry: although cellars are traditionally associated with snobbery and expense, in today’s egalitarian world wine lovers are building them on relatively modest budgets. In fact, there are a range of reasons why wine lovers choose to build a cellar: Do you yearn for the smooth, layered taste of mature wines? Do you like to buy wines upon release, when they’re least expensive, rather than paying top dollar later? Or do you just have […]

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Building a Wine Cellar: Costly Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some mistakes to void when building a cellar. Don’t wait until you have a large collection. You don’t need to amass hundreds of bottles before you consider building a cellar. In fact, it’s best to take the opposite approach: build the cellar and then fill it. You don’t want good wines to cook in the heat of some closet or to freeze over-chilled in an icy basement. And if you do keep your wine in the basement, it may have to rub shoulders with undesirable influences such as harsh solvents or cans of paint. These chemicals break down […]

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Wines + Drinks for Big Parties: How Many, What Mix?

My most memorable parties were not the extravagant affairs with grand cru wines and caviar canapés. Nor were they the celebrations with all the right people in chi-chi black outfits. Rather, they were the get-togethers where the host had invested thought into small touches for our pleasure. If you’re hosting a soiree, here are some entertaining tips that will help make your guests feel pampered. If you’re holding your event at a hotel or resort, the banquet manager can advise you of how much alcohol you’ll need, as can caterers or liquor store staff when you celebrate at home. Count […]

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The Grapes of Gaffe: Social Anxiety + Wine

My friends know that I write about wine for a living; and over the years, they’ve sought my counsel as earnestly as they’d a physician friend for advice about their ailments. Sometimes even the savviest wine lover encounters situations so fraught with anxiety, they make her wish she could crawl into a bottle and pull the cork in after her. So from one who has been thrust into the role of a vinous Agony Aunt, here are some guidelines. These suggestions may not be the classic Miss Manners answers to vexing vinous events, but they might just get you through […]

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Wedding Wine: A Marriage of True Vines

Liza and I chat about wines for weddings and parties on Global Morning Television. I love her gift idea for the happy couple: a wine crate with 3-4 bottles of wine. Notes on each wine indicate the bottle to drink now, the one drink on their first anniversary, fifth and tenth. Add another special touch and buy one wine from the vintage of when they met or got engaged or the wedding year. Here are more tips on planning party wines and drinks for weddings, reunions, graduations, birthdays and anniversaries. When celebrating a wedding, anniversary, graduation or birthday with a […]

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The Worst Wine Mistakes Not to Make: Wine Etiquette

You can watch the full wine video here. The hosts of CTV’s The Social love their wine. We shared a few good glasses together as well as some laughs on wine etiquette — how to avaoid being low-classy with wine ;) You can also read my story on The Grapes of Gaffe. Find out the answers to these “pressing” wine questions: How do I hold a wine glass, by the stem or the bowl? Hold your glass by stem—otherwise your hands will warm the bowl and the wine, and leave unsightly fingerprints. Your wine glass should never be poured more […]

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10 Best Moscato d’Asti Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Moscato d’Asti

Moscato d’Asti is a fragrant and slightly fizzy DOCG dessert wine produced in the Northern Italian region of Piedmont. You’ll find my most recent Moscato d’Asti reviews and ratings here. Surprising Facts about Moscato d’Asti: Moscato d’Asti is produced from the Moscato Bianco (white Muscat) grape in and around the town of Asti. The hub of Asti production being the tiny village of Canelli. Moscato Bianco is the fourth most planted grape in Italy and perhaps the first cultivated vine in Piedmont. Moscato d’Asti is often mentioned in the company of its relative wine Asti. The two have many differences. […]

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10 Best Zinfandel Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Zinfandel

Zinfandel is a vitis vinifera red wine grape that produces deep robust wines, most famously from California. You’ll find my most recent Zinfandel reviews and ratings here. Surprising Facts about Zinfandel: 1. Zinfandel’s high sugar content means it can be fermented into highly alcoholic wines sometimes in excess of 15%.  Zinfandel is generally early ripening as compared to other grapes and grows in very tight bunches. These tight bunches are prone to bunch rot and uneven ripening. Zinfandel grows best in warm climates but there is cool climate Zinfandel. 2. The origin of Zinfandel seems to be Croatia where Zinfandel […]

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10 Best Ripasso Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Ripasso

Ripasso is not a grape variety, but rather a winemaking process, made famous in Italy. This sends the wine into a second fermentation and gives the wine more tannins, body, flavour, and alcohol. You’ll find my top 10 Ripasso reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Ripasso: 1. The wine of Valpolicella, made from a combination of native Italian grapes most commonly Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara, is re-passed over the leftover grape skins and seeds of the wine, also known as its pomace. 2. Some refer to the Ripasso style of wine as a “baby amarone,” more powerful than […]

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10 Best Valpolicella Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Valpolicella

Valpolicella, like Chianti, is a style of wine from a specific region of Italy bearing the name Valpolicella. Valpolicella is not an actual grape variety. You’ll find my most recent Valpolicella  reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Valpolicella: The grapes that are typically used to make Valpolicella include Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. The area known as Valpolicella is a part of the greater wine region known as the Veneto and is inside the province of Verona, in the North East of Italy. Valpolicella labels can give you clues as to what wine you can expect from the wine […]

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