Tag Archives: wine

Top Holiday Wine Gifts for Men

Whether it’s a brother, spouse, boyfriend, or friend, we all have those men in our lives that are difficult to shop for. You know who we’re talking about…the ones who either already have it all, or the men who, regardless of your nagging, can never seem to find 5 minutes to write down their wish list.

And then what happens? You end up running out last minute and buying him the same cheesy gift (you know, like a new pair of argyle socks) you bought him last year that he definitely does not want.

This year is going to be different because we’ve put together a list of gifts we know he will love!

So please, put down the grilling spices, that tacky tie he’ll never wear, and what was about to

be the third cordless power drill in his collection, and check out our top ten gifts for wine lovers we know he will enjoy.

 

Winc

There’s no better gift to give a wine lover than superbly crafted wines delivered directly to his doorstep. Give the man in your life the gift of new wine every month with Winc.

In 2012, Winc founded Club W: the world’s first personalized wine club. They made the process of discovering and buying wine easier than ever.

Winc wine experts build personal palate profiles for each club member. Then Winc suggests a list of wines customized to your personal palate profile, ensuring wine lovers get sent bottles of wine they will love.

 

Link to Buy: hi.winc.com/winetrailadventures

Jet Bag Reusable Padded Absorbent Bottle Bags

Jet wine bags are the perfect thing to keep your wine bottles safe and protected when transporting

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wine for a man that’s always on the go. The best part? These bags are also designed to safeguard your luggage by absorbing liquid should something damage the bottle.

Best Price: $17.99

Link to Buy: Jet Bag Reusable Padded Absorbent Bottle Bags

Deluxe Wine Accessory Gift Set tool.png

A man can never have too many tools. So, what better gift than a tool set that allows him to easily consume his favorite Pinot Noir or Chardonnay? This year, give your favorite guy a wine accessory tool kit that will come in handy for years to come.

Best Price: $22.89

Link to Buy: Deluxe Wine Accessory Gift Set

 

BUILT NY Neoprene Wine Tote

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You know how to carry more of something? You add handles to it. So, for the guy who always wants more wine, give him the gift of a neoprene carrying case with handles so he can carry more of it wherever he goes, so you don’t have to.

Best Price: $11.99

Link to Buy: BUILT NY Neoprene Wine/Water Bottle Tote

Other varieties available:

2 Bottle Carrying Case

6 Bottle Carrying Case 

 

Wood Plank Wine Holder

There’s something about the smell of fresh lumber and the need to use power tools that give the male species the desire to work with their hands. But unfortunately, those crafts often tend to look

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more like kindergarten popsicle stick projects by the time they are done. This year, give the man in your life this preassembled wood plank wine holder. No mess, no fuss, and certainly no unforeseen trips to the emergency room to sew a finger back on.

Best Price: $12.55

Link to Buy: Wood Plank Wine Holder

 

Magic Chain Link Wine Holder

If the guy you know is more into metal than wood, this Magic Chain Link Wine Holder makes for a perfect gift. This rack holds one bottle of wine and makes a fun and interesting statement piece for your kitchen or dining room.

Best Price: $9.99

Link to Buy: Magic Chain Link Wine Holder

 

Home Illusionz Magic Rope Wine Bottle Holder

Why store a bottle of wine on a boring wine rack when you can store it on a Magic Rope Wine

Bottle Holder? Help the guy in your life up his cool factor with this trendy and fun wine holder.Note: the illusion becomes even better once the bottle of wine it was holding has been consumed.

Best Price: $10.64

Link to Buy: Magic Rope Wine Holder

 

Fisherman Wine Caddy Bottle Holder

If you have a man in your life who lives for drinking and fishing, this gift is sure to top his gift list this year. Put his favorite hobbies together when you give him the gift of a Fisherman Wine Caddy Bottle Holder.

Best Price: $30.30

Link to Buy: Fisherman Wine Caddy Bottle Holder

 

Monogram Wine Cork Holder

This monogram wine cork holder is the perfect decoration for the guy in your life to hang in his beloved man cave. Nothing beats a man cave art piece that requires drinking wine for assembly.

Best Price: $16.99

Link to Buy: Monogram Wine Cork Holder

 

Shopping for the men in your life doesn’t have to be as complex as the flavors in a bold Grenache. A few fun wine gadgets, a trendy new wine rack, or some time enjoying each other’s company over a bottle of wine is all you need to make him happy this year.

So, quit “wine-ing” and start shopping today. Happy Holidays!

For more ideas, follow us on Facebook where we are always posting links to great new products that we find.

 

Cooking with Wine: Yes, You CAN Use It For Something Other Than Drinking!

Using Wine When Cooking

I think the picture says it all – “I love cooking with wine… and sometimes even put it in the food”.  It’s a fact that wine and food are MEANT to go together!  Sure, we often drink a glass of wine with a meal, but it is also very easy to incorporate wine into your meal preparation as well.  By adding wine while cooking, it will not only add flavor to the food, but it will also help enhance the flavors that are already there.  That being said, there are some DO’s and DON’T’s when it comes to cooking with wine.   Here are a few tips that we found useful when we first started using wine when cooking

You Do Not Have To Use Cooking Wine

Did you know that cooking wines sold in the grocery store usually contain salt and are horrible to drink? Keep in mind that a more concentrated flavor is present in the dish so if something tastes nasty before cooking, it will carry its flavor to your dish. Common advice is to stick with a regular drinking brand and avoid those marketed for cooking.   Stick with the wines that you like and use them for cooking as well.  This way you will always know that the flavors you are adding to your dish, are flavors that you already like.

Use the Type/Varietal of Wine That Pairs Well With The Dish

A common question people have is “What type of wine should I use for a particular dish?”.  Honestly, there is no right or wrong answer to that question.  If you want a good rule of thumb to go by, try cooking with the wine that would best pair with that particular dish.  If you are looking for a quick cheat sheet, here are some common pairings for wines

Pairing Your Favorite Food and Wine

Common pairings for food and wine

Pair White With Light and Red With Dark

This certainly isn’t set in stone, but when you are first starting out it will help you easily recognize what wine to use. White for light dishes and light colored meats such as chicken or fish and red for more full flavored dishes and darker meats such as beef and duck. You’ll learn though that both can work well with many meats so you’ll need to experiment and once you get more experienced, you’ll get more adventurous and learn which will do well in your favorite dishes and you’ll just “know” which ones to try for new recipes.

It’s Not About The Price of The Wine That You Use

By this we mean that you don’t have to use an expensive bottle of wine for your dish to taste good. Focus more on the taste of the wine that you are using versus the price. If it is a wine that you enjoy, then you will more than likely enjoy it in the meal. Believe it or not, boxed wine is a great choice for cooking with (at least most of them). They’re inexpensive yet work nicely as a recipe ingredient. As long as it doesn’t smell, taste vinegary or taste off, you can use it.

Don’t Wait Until The Last Minute To Add Wine To Your Dish

In order to really bring out the flavors of the wine and your dish, you need to cook off the alcohol that the wine contains. The earlier you add it to the dish, the more enhanced the flavors will be and you will taste less alcohol… the later you add it, the more prominent the wine flavor will be and so will the alcohol. It’s always best to follow the recipe instructions, but if you feel like adding it to a dish that doesn’t call for it, you can play it safe by adding the wine a minimum of 7 minutes before the dish is done cooking.

Cooking with wine, and having a glass of wine while cooking are all part of the experience. You will be surprised by the way wine can completely transform the flavors of a dish when properly added during cooking. The good news is that as long as you are using a bottle of wine that you know you like, you can’t really screw it up! So try experimenting with some recipes that call for wine… you just might find some new favorite recipes 🙂

Wine Trail Adventures Hits the Columbia River Gorge

Wine Tasting in the Columbia River Gorge

Prior to our trip to Oregon, neither of us had been to the Columbia River Gorge, so we decided to spend a full day exploring Hood River and Mount Hood.   Whenever we travel, I always try to research the area to see what the cool things are to do and what makes it unique… I had no idea that Hood River, Oregon was a world class wind surfing area!  We also didn’t know that Hood River has a nice cluster of wineries that surround the town with several tasting rooms right in town.

We started the day out by driving up to Mt Hood, which is an awesome drive up the mountain side from Hood River.  Along the way you pass about a dozen wineries, and even more fruit farms.   We just happen to pick a day that it was snowing on the mountain, so about ¾ of the way up, we hit some pretty heavy snow (we have mountains in Pennsylvania, but seeing a 25 degree drop in temperature from the bottom to the top was pretty crazy).  Even if you are not into skiing, it is absolutely worth the trip up the mountain to see Timberline Lodge.  It’s a really cool, and historic lodge that is actually tied to the movie The Shining (if you remember that movie, do a quick Google search about it).   After exploring the lodge, we had to get back on the road to do what we came to do… some wine tasting!

Mt Hood's Timberline Lodge

timberline lodge at the top of mt. hood

Coming back down the mountain, we stopped at a couple of places before grabbing lunch – Wy’East Vineyards, Pheasant Valley, and Mt Hood Winery.   They all had some outstanding wines, but the one that stood out the most for me was at Mt Hood Winery.  It was a pear wine, which we had never had before.   We were expecting it to be sweet, but it was a really nice wine that wasn’t sweet or dry and was very refreshing (something you could really envision drinking with a group of friends on a summer day).

After a couple of stops, we headed into town for lunch and to try to stop at one or two more wineries before heading to our next hotel in Willamette Valley.   After grabbing something to eat, we headed to Naked Winery right downtown, which may have been the highlight of our trip.  Part of what we enjoy about wine tasting is meeting the owners, hearing their stories, and taking in the unique atmosphere that each winery has to offer…  well, Naked Winery excelled at all of them.   First of all, the place was PACKED!  They had a piano player, three tasting rooms full of people, and everyone was having a great time.  They did an outstanding job in terms of marketing, creating a brand, and making it fun… from the décor of the tasting room, down to the names of the wines.  After a couple of minutes, Dave who is one of the owners, came over with two reserve wines that he was pouring besides the regular tastings that they were offering (huge plus in our book).   He took the time to talk to us about each wine, how he got started, and where his passion for wine came from.  Before we knew it, we had been there WAY longer than we had planned, but yet didn’t want to leave.    Some of our best stories/memories from going wine tasting are from meeting people like Dave, who was down to earth, loved to share his story, and really enjoyed making wine tasting fun.  Oh, yeah… and the wines were GREAT!  We liked them so much we had several bottles shipped back to us so that we didn’t have to carry them.

Naked Winery- Where They Aim to Tease!

Naked Winery in Hood River, OR

If you are going to Hood River, the Columbia River Gorge, or Mt. Hood, we HIGHLY recommend stopping in Naked Winery and see for yourself what Dave and his team are up to.   The one place that we really wanted to make it and didn’t, is Marchesi Winery which is also right in Hood River.  We heard some GREAT things about this winery as well, but simply ran out of time before we had to head towards Willamette Valley.

Here are some of our other recommendations if you are planning  a trip:

Where to Eat

Double Mountain Brewery – The Portland area is known for having a HUGE number of breweries, but we would drive out to Hood River again just to go to Double Mountain.   We love beer almost as much as we love wine, so we definitely had to try their hand-crafted beers.  Awesome! On top of that, the food was really good as well.  They make pizzas and some other creative sandwiches which were really good.   On top of the great food, and great beer, the atmosphere was also great.  It was busy but not over crowded, and everyone was super friendly.

Where to stay

When trying to find somewhere to stay, we always try to find somewhere that is unique or has character.  We ended up staying in North Bonneville at the Bonneville Hot Springs Resort.  The lobby has a massive fireplace where everyone was sitting around enjoying the fire.  As you might guess by the name, the resort has natural hot springs in the pool (which we didn’t try).   The other unique thing about the resort is that you can get  a  room with a private hot tub on each balcony.  This was perfect after a day of driving and wine tasting!

 

To read more about our trip, what wineries we visited, and what our reviews were, head over to http://www.winetrailadventures.com and create an account.  You can friend us and see all of our wine reviews.  You can also follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/winetrailadventures