A Toast To Wine: Go big or go home!

Did you know that Americans now make up the largest wine market in the world? I didn’t know that either! Check out this wine infographic from SpareFoot highlighting wine offerings and consumption in the US.


Courtesy of: SpareFoot

Corkage Fees for Santa Clarita Valley Restaurants

Ever wonder what the corkage fees are around town?  Well if you live in the Santa Clarita Valley, EveWine101.com has just made an updated listing available to us locals.  If you don’t live in this area, let us know which area you’re interested in getting a list for, and we’ll start working on it!

Reprinted with permission

Santa Clarita Valley Wine Corkage Fees
Updated for 2014
Source: Eve Bushman, www.Eve’sWine101.com

How Wine Tasting Can Change Your Life in the New Year

Have you taken a moment to stop and identify your goals for the New Year?  If you’re like me, you’ve had every intention to set your goals, but somehow you lose sight of them.  So this year, I’ve resolved to make sure that I focus on my goals and start living the life I was meant to live.  Of course, I can’t do this without wine!  Wine plays an important part in my life, it represents my passions and my thoughts, so I turned to wine to teach me what I need for the new year.

There is so much wine, and so little time.  We taste and taste, and then we have difficultly describing what we taste and what it was that we tasted.  This is what it is like for me when I make my new years resolution.  Every year, I make so many of them, that I lose track of what they were or why I made them.  This year, I’ve only made one resolution – I’m going to do things different.  This is my plan…

Setting the Scene

When we are wine tasting, the circumstance in which we taste affect our judgement.  Is it a good day? A bad day? Do you like where you are at?  Do you like who you are sharing this experience with?  If all of the factors are aligned in a positive direction, chances are that you’ll have a more favorable impression of the wine you are tasting.  Conversely, if it’s negative, no matter how good the wine is, chances are that you won’t think of it in a favorable light.  Goals are no different.

When life seems to be going in a positive direction, our goals are more aligned with positive thoughts because they stem from positive experience.  When life is not so great, then our goals tend to revolve around change.  Change isn’t always easy, so set the scene for yourself.  Before identifying your goals, identify what you would like your scene to be next year.

What does it look like?

Setting your scene takes reflection.  Much like wine tasting, we are told to stop and look at the color of the wine.  If you look closely enough, you can get a better idea of the age of wine.  Is it bright and vibrant or is it dull and brown?  I’ll give you one guess on which represents youth vs age.  When you are setting the scene for your goals, what does it look like to you?  Write that down.  Picture it.  Remember it.  Live it.

list-800759_640Get in there and Sniff and Taste

I once read, that life is experienced through our senses, and I believe this.  I like to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. Wine tasting is exactly all of those things.  It’s the look of the wine, the sound of the story behind it, the taste of it, the mouth feel and the aromas.  It is an all encompassing experience of the senses.  So life should be the same.  Get in there and be a part of life, don’t just watch it pass you by.  So what if some of the experiences aren’t what you thought, or are scary, or different.  At least you experienced it, and you lived to tell about it.  I read a post on Facebook this morning that read: “It’s time to start living the life you imagined”.  This year, I’m jumping in and going to start doing just that.  Like you, I have dreams, and it’s time to make them happen.

Good Wines Finish Last

The finish of a wine is the amount of time the aroma and the flavor remain in your mouth after you swallow.  All factors being equal, the wine that is usually the better wine, is the one with a long finish.  It’s memorable, durable, lasting.  Life, next year, needs to be the same.   Build strong foundations and work at making relationships last, whether in business or personal.  Be memorable and plan on making it a lasting finish, because once we start, there is not stopping us!

The End… But Really the Beginning

Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible, and inspiration for this piece, as I’m currently reading her book (again), writes on the art of mastering wine.  She explains that she wrote this section of her book knowing that some would breeze through it looking only for the juicy parts. “But the truth is that a really intimate knowledge of anything necessarily beings with the fundamentals of that thing.  With wine, I’d even go one step further and say that the capacity for pleasure — the capacity to be thrilled by wine — is ineluctably tied to understanding it in all its most basic naked details.  Anyone can drink good wines and anyone wealthy enough can drink rare, super expensive wines.  But without knowledge, the soulful, satisfying part of the experience is lost.”

Life, is the same.  We are intimately knowledgeable about our own lives, but we tend to focus on the things that, sometimes, aren’t the ones that will let us live the lives we dream about.  So this year, let’s be thrilled by our own lives and remain focused.  Let’s take the time to find somewhere comfortable and reflect on life over this past year and identify the life we want next year.  Be clear, write it down, start living that way right now.  Review notes daily, make changes as necessary and really get in there and live that life with all of our senses.  Let’s leave an impact on not only another’s life, but on our own.  And, let’s remember that when one season comes to an end, it represents the beginning of the next one.

This is my resolution.  What’s yours?

Wine bottles made of Paper.. Wait, What?

Straight from A Toast To Me’s Hot Off The Press section of the web site, today Truett-Hurst Inc announced that they will be producing paper wine bottles .. yup, you read that right!  To learn more, keep reading.  I can’t wait to see what one looks like in real life!  What do you think?  Good idea, bad idea?  Why? Let me know your thoughts….

Read All About It: Introducing Paper Boy!

Truett-Hurst Inc. Transcends “Green Clutter” With First Paper Wine Bottle!

HEALDSBURG, Calif., Nov. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Wine industry leader in innovation Truett-Hurst Inc. wine company of Healdsburg, California, says no tomarketing green-washing. The release of the first paper wine bottle in the U.S. from Truett-Hurst Inc. is the real thing. The paper wine bottle, branded PaperBoy, is a molded outer shell in the shape of a wine bottle, made from recycled cardboard with a plastic liner. The entire package is 85 percent lighter than a glass bottle and is easily recyclable. From production to shipping to recycling, PaperBoy proves the wine business can operate with a significantly reduced carbon footprint.

Pleasanton, California–based Safeway Inc. will partner with Truett-Hurst Inc. in the initial release of PaperBoy nationwide.

PaperBoy contains appellation–based, super-premium wines sourced from the Mendocino and Paso Roblesgrowing regions and crafted by winemaker Virginia Marie Lambrix, also the winemaker for VML. Introductory PaperBoy wines are a 2012 Paso Robles Red Blend($14.99) and a 2012 Mendocino Chardonnay ($13.99). Lambrix is passionate about innovation. She says, “We at Truett-Hurst Inc. believe that if the quality of the wine exceeds a customer’s expectation, then new, cutting-edge packaging will become more mainstream.”

Truett Hurst Inc. Incentive
On its quest to change the way people think about and buy wine, Truett-Hurst Inc. is responding to lifestyle choices–to eco-conscious wine lovers on the go. Paper Boy provides a responsible way to carry wine outdoors. Campers, hikers, and fishermen can carry this lightweight package–only 1.9 lbs. filled–and enjoy premium wine from a 750ml bottle almost anywhere, collapsing it when finished for return to a recycling site. “We’re thrilled to be a pioneer of this earth-friendly, high-quality, innovative package. It could create an entirely new category in wine,” says Truett-Hurst Inc.’s president and CEO, Phil Hurst.

About the Design
Paper Boy is in part, the brainstorm of Truett-Hurst Inc. designer, Kevin Shaw ofStranger & Stranger. Shaw worked with the Truett-Hurst Inc. team and Green Bottle, a UK-based paper bottle manufacturer, to develop this groundbreaking package. Extensive testing has proven the Paper Boy bottle to be superior to a traditional glass bottle. It insulates better, recycles more readily, and is lighter and more transportable, yet it looks and acts like a traditional glass bottle. Shaw added the lighthearted and retro-cool feel of the brand identity. He comments, “This is a product that is unashamedly different and it was important that the name was iconic to own the medium, and that the branding was bright, strong, and fearless.”

Environmental Impact
Packaging waste is a huge and growing problem in modern society, particularly in the wine industry. According wrap.org.uk, 17.5 billion bottles of wine are consumed annually around the globe, producing 8.75 billion tons of glass waste–more packaging waste than any other product in the food or drink sector.

PaperBoy offers a better alternative. The bottle’s cardboard outer can go into mainstream recycling streams, which are used to produce other cardboard products. The cap and neck assembly pieces are also recyclable, and the plastic liner is suitable for “waste to energy” programs. In total, the overall carbon footprint of PaperBoy, from production to shipping to recycling, is significantly lower than glass. Even the 12-pack cartons are produced from recycled paper. Each PaperBoy bottle comes with instructions for how to break the bottle down for disposal. As a winemaker, Virginia Lambrix admires the economic practicality of PaperBoy. She says, “Wines that will be consumed almost immediately do not need a heavy, environmentally and economically expensive glass bottle and cork. We would rather apply the savings that PaperBoy affords toward more expensive, better-crafted wine so that both the customer and the environment win.”

Transportation Savings
Case weight for normal glass bottles with liquid is 36 lbs. versus the paper bottle at 23.6 lbs. A pallet of 56 cases prepared for shipping is reduced from 2,000 lbs. to 1,322 lbs.–a weight reduction of 34 percent and a savings of more than 7 tons per truckload of wine shipped.

About Truett-Hurst Inc.

Truett-Hurst Inc. (NASDAQ: THST) is an innovative and growing super-premium and ultra-premium wine sales, marketing, and production company based in the acclaimed Dry Creek and Russian River valleys of Sonoma County, California. Our corporate website is www.truetthurstinc.com. Our principal executive offices are located at 4035 Westside Road, Healdsburg, California 95448. Our telephone number is 707-431-4423. We are an “emerging growth company” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act), enacted on April 5, 2012. We are a small reporting company as defined by Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act and a controlled company as defined by the corporate governance rules of NASDAQ.

For more information on PaperBoy go to:  www.paperboywines.com
or contact: info@paperboywines.com

SOURCE Truett-Hurst, Inc.

Copyright 2013 PR Newswire

A Toast To Our Veterans

It’s easy to lose track of time, just yesterday I was wondering what day it was myself. But today I woke up knowing that it was Veteran’s Day. Why? Because I love my Country, no matter how screwed up it can seem at times, and I appreciate EVERYTHING that our Soldiers do to make our country safe. Politics aside, it is our Soldiers who provide us with peace of mind when we go to bed at night.  I raise my glass to you dear Soldier for having the courage to fight for our freedom.  Thank You!

This got me thinking though of the connection between our Veterans and wines, so I did a little research. Did you know that there are quite a few wineries who were founded by, or are run by our Veterans? And, as if their time serving our country wasn’t enough, they now continue to bring us solace and joy through their wine.

I’ve listed a couple of wineries below. If you know of more, please leave a comment and let me know so I can add them to the list. Also, when you are in there area, thank them and support their efforts. After all, it is because of them that we are able to freely go where we choose and do what we do!

images* Valor Winery: Located in Livermore, CA, “Valor Winery was established with the passion to provide job security and camaraderie for Veterans while producing exceptional wines. Valor Winery is located in the Bay Area in Livermore, California. [Their] goal is to sell and distribute the wines we produce throughout the nation.” Learn more about Valor Winery at www.valorwinery.com

* Proud To Serve Winery: With two tasting rooms, Proud To Serve Winery “is dedicated to helping Veterans, making great wines at great prices, and supporting other organizations that support the men and women of our Armed Forces.” Learn more about Proud To Serve Winery at www.proudtoservewinery.com

Five Dollars, That’s How Much A Cork is Worth at Gallo Family Vineyards through Every Cork Counts

Corks, those little compressed wood chips that keep our wines safe are pretty valuable this Holiday season. Gallo Family Vineyards is offering a $5.00 donation to Meals On Wheels for every cork that is mailed to them through December 31, 2013. This years goal is to receive a maximum of $100,000.00 worth of corks in their mailbox before the end of the year.

Why are they doing this? Because our parents and grandparents mean a lot to us! Did you know that one in every six seniors faces the threat of hunger? Makes sense, if you consider that our Government sometimes is too busy making sure that their jobs are secure rather than taking care of The People. But that’s an entirely different blog, right? Anyways, bottom line is that our Senior loved ones deserve better. Thank you Gallo Family Vineyards for making a difference by having raised over $225,000 over the past three years through the Every Cork Counts program!

So how can you help? Here are a couple of ways:

1. Take a few minutes away from Candy Crush and play a fun, interactive game at EveryCorkCounts.com . For every cork caught in their cork catching game, $0.10 will be donated to Meals On Wheels Association of America

2. When you open a bottle, or 10, save your corks and mail them to Every Cork Counts, P.O. Box 3017, Grand Rapids, MN 55745-1154. Participants are encouraged to use a padded or bubble envelope or tuf-pak to mail cork(s) with sufficient First Class postage. All corks must be postmarked between August 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013 and received by January 11, 2014.

Easy right? Go ahead, make a difference this season. Don’t forget to leave a comment when you do.

For more information, please visit the following sites:

1. Gallo Family Vineyards® Invites Americans To Help Fight Hunger This Holiday Season
2. Gallo Family Vineyards
3. Meals On Wheels Association of America

Wine for Beginners – Infographic

Being a newbie to wine can be intimidating, I know, I remember it well. But, wine can actually be very easy as well. First and foremost, remember that if you tasted it and you like it, than that’s the perfect wine for you. Don’t stray from that premise. Believe me, everything after that is just a bonus!

Original Source: Different Types of Wine


Pairing Wine with Halloween Candy

Tonight millions of children will be out collecting treats from their neighbors in hopes that their parents will actually let them enjoy each and every one of them over the following days.  But, as an adult, I think it’s time to change it up a bit and send those little munchkins out to collect our next wine pairing treat, don’t you?  Ok parents, listen up.  When your kids are finally passed out from that sugar high tonight, tear through those bags and pick out some of your favorites.  No, they won’t notice, just don’t tell them!  And then grab that opener and enjoy your new treat with a delicious bottle of wine.

Still feel guilty? Just remember, you gave them life — you can take a piece of candy or 10 from their bag, it’s ok, I promise!  Here we go:


Starburst A light style, sweet wine like a Moscato d’Asti
Almond Joy Madeira, Sauterne
Brach Mellowcreme Pumpkins Port
Milk Chocolate Merlot
Dark Chocolate Port
Candy Apple Buttery Chardonnay (oaked)
Caramel Buttery Chardonnay (oaked)
Candy Corn Tawny Port, Champagne
Peanut M&Ms Cabernet
Junior Mints Port
Chocolate Covered Raisins Syrah
Snickers Port
Baby Ruth Cabernet
Peanut Butter Cups Cabernet
Truffles Pinot Noir
Lollipops Champagne, Sparkling Wine


What’s your favorite candy? Maybe I can help you pair it.

Remember, Absolutely No Guilt!  Happy Halloween, grab a treat, you deserve it!

Beer vs. Wine – Vote Now!

I love Wine.  I love Beer.  Given the option to choose between one and another, I would choose… BOTH!  Let’s face it, it’s not fair to have to pick just one.  Life is short, let’s enjoy both!
Which do you prefer? To vote, leave a comment!
Facts and figures comparing popular wines and beers such as Estonian Beer and Malbec Wine as well as the most well-known festivals, like the Fete Des Vendages Wine Festival.
Republished from www.financesonline.com | Follow our Youtube and Vimeo

The Great Decanting Dilemma Continues…

Matt Kramer wrote a great article on winespectator.com titled The Great Decanting Dilemma where he speaks of all of the reasons one would want to decant wine.  Here’s the thing, I still have no idea when I should bust out my decanter.  From what Matt was saying, it looks like the main purpose of a decanter is to aerate the wine.  But then he goes on to mention the size of our wine glasses and he’s right, some of these wine glasses are huge! So why dirty the decanter?  And let’s not even discuss cleaning it, because that can just be a pain!

Growing up, my Dad used to buy wine by the jug.  Every night, he’d transfer some of the wine into a carafe to be served at the table.  Based on what I’ve read on decanting, my Dad probably should have poured that table wine into a decanter rather than a carafe.  Why?  because, let’s face it, it wasn’t the highest of qualities and letting it “air out” would probably have made it taste that much better — but hey, I never head any complaints from him, nor my Abuelo (Grandfather).  They no longer drink, but if either did, I’m sure that the carafe would still be gainfully employed!

Ok, back to Matt’s article…  I do appreciate where he writes that there really aren’t any steadfast rules to decanting.   For example, he compares the need for decanting wine to that of raising children; He states “Like raising children, you size ’em up as they come along and decide what you think will work best.”  This, in my opinion is a great theory, because you really never know what’s in the bottle until you open it.   Once opened, you can decide whether it needs a little air or not.

I’m a realist, so I’m sure that hard-core decanting enthusiasts will disagree with Matt, and myself, and state that there are absolute rules to decanting.  But, until you can convince me that the the wine from a decanter is better than the wine I have poured in my beautiful, large, wine glass, which has been aerating between appreciative sips – then I’m going to leave my decanter in the box and bust it out only when you come over for dinner.  Oh, bring food.. and someone to clean the decanter, if you don’t mind.