15 Tips for Attending a Wine Tasting

Thomas Pellechia, Vivi’s resident wine industry veteran, has generously provided some wine tasting tips to help our readers 

Enjoy the Wine Life!


Fifteen Tips for Attending a Wine Tasting – In Fun Of Course, with a serious side to it…

by contributing author Thomas Pellechia

1. After receiving your pour, get out of the way – don’t shuffle, walk.

2. Do not wear white.

3. If you must wear white, and you spill red wine on it, immediately splash the stain with white wine. And don’t forget to get out of the way, preferably in the method described above.

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WineHacker – Supercool water for quick chill on White

This WineHacker tip I picked up from Alconomics, a professional consultancy to the alcoholic beverage industry (bartenders, etc…) that is based out of London.  I tried it and it works!  Leave it to the pros that teach the pros to come up with this one.

To chill a bottle of white wine quickly, put the bottle in a bucket with ice, water and a large handful of salt. The salt reduces the freezing point of water and will allow it to become superchilled, which will in turn chill the bottle of wine in six minutes flat!  Don’t believe it?  Try it out, its 7th grade chemistry at its finest (and you thought that science in school was a waste of time).

Enjoy the Wine Life!

Wine Blogging Wednesday #9 – Think Pink!

The ninth edition of WBW is being hosted by the Bay Area’s very own Becks & Posh is this week!  The last few virtual wine tastings have been dominated by red varietals so Sam at Becks and Posh threw us a curveball and went with Rose!

Just to review, Wine Blogging Wednesday is the Internet’s premier monthly Virtual Wine Tasting event.  Bloggers post their tastings on their sites and let the host know who, in turn, posts the summary on their site.  Its open to bloggers and non-bloggers alike.  For any non-blogger, you can either e-mail your tasting directly to the host or go ahead and post a comment here and I’ll post it with Vivi’s entry to the wine tasting event.

Blackball Blackwell on Long Island?

Lenn over at LENNDEVOURS has some pretty harsh words for Blackwell’s in eastern Long Island in New York.  The problem he experienced boils down to restaruant managers losing the plot when it comes to running a restaruant, particularly in the wine life.  We live in an “experience” oriented world.  People go out to nice dinners and wine bars in order to create a certain feeling – romantic, celebratory, whatever.  They want to create a sense of “getting away” for a little while.  When managing a place if you don’t act like one bad experience will turn away many people you’re in for a long, tough career.  The rule used to be 1 bad experience loses you 10 customers for life.  With the Internet, wine blogging, food blogging, etc… the damage could be far far worse…

Is Dry the Opposite of Sweet?

by contributing author Thomas Pellechia

You know that sensation you get when you take a little of that wine in your mouth and your tongue starts to stick to your cheeks? We call that “dry.”

How about that marvelous late harvest wine that has the intensity of a wallop of honey? That’s “sweet.”

“Dry” is the opposite of “sweet,” right? Well, it is, and it isn’t.

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WineZap – Wine Search Engine Worth a Look

Sam over at WineZap.com alerted me to their site.  WineZap is a search engine for wines that helps consumers find, price, and compare wines from around the country. 

I use, and have used for a long time, Wine-Searcher.com.  That site is very extensive and been around for a while.  It actually has wines from retailers all over the world and since its easy to have wine shipped in CA its been great.  I put WineZap through my initial filtering process – I have gotten pointers to a couple of wine search engines and they usually fail simple searches.  WineZap has passed the initial test.

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Spring has Sprung…I guess

May not seem like it for most of the US (for our International visitors, its been rough going all across the US this winter) but Spring has sprung.  An hour more of daylight, flowers blooming, buds breaking, picnics, and my favorite, grilling dinner outside.

To that end I just wanted to point out a tip I got.  At the Food&Wine website, Ray Isle published a Grilling and Wine Guide.  Short, simple and too the point I decided to post the link for readers because I really like his recommendations.  Burgers and Zin, Steak and Cab.  The only thing I might add is to the shellfish part I find that Conundrum  (CA white blend) is an excellent pairing.

Enjoy the Spring Wine Life!

Back From Vegas – Discovered Vinoce!

Whew!  Fun trip!

I’m back and fairly well unburied from the work I left behind.  Vegas is a blast if you do it with the right people (i.e. folks who can loosen up and have fun during a time when you are actually away from work).

While I assumed I wouldn’t get to taste and note any wines I just can’t help myself.  I’ve been introducing my friends and family to New World blends.  Typically referred as Red Table Wine, for years they got little attention – Red Table Wine sounds like its barely a notch above boxed wines.  Recently (1988) CA vineyards have put the effort in to publicise and market a new name “Meritage”, which is derived from “merit” and “heritage” and pronounced the same way.

Anyway, aside from having a blast I discovered “Vinoce” while having dinner at the Charlie Palmer Steakhouse in the Four Seasons hotel.  The dinner was solid but the wine was outstanding. 



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Vegas Baby!

I’ll be on a short Vegas vacation starting in about 3 hours.  So my posts this weekend will either be non-existent or non-coherent.  I’d love to say that I’ll be drinking many fine wines and writing up tasting notes but I don’t think that would be realistic

.  You see, this weekend is “guy’s weekend out”.  Once a year we head down to Vegas for “golf”.  The trip is three days long and we generally get about 9 holes in (they serve Vodka Tonics on the snack carts

).  Now everyone should calm down, Kelly gets her girls weekends with her friends and 99% of the time there is never anyone I would ever want to do anything with more than Kelly.  Beyond being my wife, she truly is my closest friend.  But there are some things that you need to do with “the guys”


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Aussie wines a hit in US

So ABC News is reporting that Aussie wines are supplanting Italian wines as the number one exporter to the US. 

I guess this really isn’t a surprise given the similarity in style between Aussie wines and US wine, in particular CA wines.  If you think about it the big, fruity CA wines that most Americans learn to love are very analogous to Aussie wines.  In fact, if you’re into CA wines and are thinking of expanding to another region I definitely recommend checking out Aussie wines and even some South American wines as places to start.  Get to know the region, weather, history, etc… then taste wine and compare them to similar CA wines.  Try a Chilean Chardonnay versus a CA Chard.  Or an Aussie Cab versus a Napa Cab.  That is a big upside to knowing the varietal – you can ‘reverse engineer’ the tastes and get to know the region!  Great way to learn about the wine life!

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