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Spain is a beautiful country, especially for wine lovers, since it is one of the world’s largest producers of wine with over 70 recognized regions. This fall, I went on a trip to Barcelona, where I fell in love with food all over again, like fromage, finely cured Catalan meat, and best of all, great wine.

It is highly unlikely that you will go anywhere in Barcelona without hearing about Cava, the sparkling wine of the locals, since 95% of it is produced in Catalonia. It is primarily comprised of three grape varieties, macabeo, parellada and xarel.lo, and is either sparkling white or rosé. The wine is wonderfully light and refreshing, and goes with just about every meal, including desserts. It has remarkable flavors, ranging from dry to sweet, and leaves quite the impression on your palate. Be sure to pay a visit to Freixenet and Codorníu, two famous producers of Cava in Barcelona, and of course, the region that claims to be the first producer of Cava, Sant Sadurní d’Anoia.

There are many other wines in Spain that are simply too good to miss. Try white wine from the regions of Empordà and Penedès, or splendid reds from Priorat. What makes Barcelona remarkable is that wine is a passion shared by all; traditions are explored and celebrated without pretension. Some of the best places in the city are bodegas you see along the street, which are a combination wine cellar and shop.

Bodega Maestrazgo – This was one of my favourite wine tasting spots in Barcelona, with a remarkable collection from all over Spain, and prices ranging from two digits to four, perfect for any customer. The ambiance is wonderful too, with a charming exterior and a cozy back room, where you can sit amidst crates of wine and sample as much as you like. Pair with the lovely Spanish hams and traditional olive dishes, served at the bodega itself, for the perfect experience.

Vila Viniteca – This is another hot spot for wine lovers, with a fabulous range of varietals, cheeses, confitures, and Iberian ham, often described as an emporium of gastronomy. Their deli is well worth stopping by. Don’t forget to check their calendar, which is full of tastings, festivals and other fun events  throughout the year.

Our Slate Serving Board is perfect for serving your own tapas.

Monvinic – Everything about this wine bar sets it apart, from the atmospheric mixture of contemporary furnishings with farmhouse chic to its sterling reputation as one of the best places to learn more about wine.  Bottles are shipped in from all over the world, and they offer blind flights to explore wine based on taste and aroma alone. Monvinic is an unforgettable experience for wine-zealots to journey through.

Eldiset – This unpretentious and increasingly popular wine bar in the Passeig del Born is perfect for sampling Catalan wine and exploring all its different flavors. Staff at Eldiset are wine connoisseurs or sommeliers with excellent recommendations, and there are tasty tapas to enjoy. If you are looking for an alternative to wine, they also have unique cocktails.

You should be all set for a wine tasting trip to Barcelona. To learn more about Spanish wine, and sample a variety of flavors from different wine and tapas bars, I strongly recommend taking a Spanish wine-tasting tour, so that you can “drink in” the entire experience while being guided by passionate experts.

About the Author: Thalia Bell has always had a passion for writing. She recently took a trip to France and visited Bordeaux, where she fell in love with wine, and has been a fan of cheese from a young age; when she put the two together, she felt a sense of satisfaction, and since then, has attended many wine and cheese tastings.

The post Wine Tasting in Barcelona appeared first on IWA Wine Accessories Blog.

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Following basic guidelines when pairing wine with vegetarian dishes can help you find that “sweet spot” of flavor. With this guide, you will be able to select the perfect wine for a vegetarian meal.

Just as with all food and wine pairing, paying attention to the tones of the food is crucial, keeping in mind its acidity, sweetness, saltiness, tartness, intensity, and so on.

General Trends
  • Brighter whites go with most vegetables.
  • Light red wine, like Chianti, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel can augment the main course.
  • Wines with fruity tones like Shiraz can also pair well, as long as they are not too strong.
  • It is important to keep in mind how the food has been cooked, as this can change its flavor intensity.
  • If you are working with something light, like a salad, pair it with a crisp wine like a dry white or rosé that is equally delicate.
  • A hot, hearty dish like a bowl of pasta or a casserole, pairs well with a deeper bodied red.

Find the Dominant Flavor

  • One of the reasons why pairing food with vegetables can seem more daunting than pairing them with meat or fish is because vegetarian dishes often include more ingredients, which might make pairing seem more complicated. Identify the dominant flavor in a dish and accentuate it with the right wine.
  • Dishes with dominant mushroom flavors taste great with a Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay works quite well too, if you prefer a white wine.
  • For potato based dishes, whites like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc as well as medium body reds like Merlot or Barbera would stand up to the potatoes without overpowering their flavors.
  • Dishes with green, herby flavors can sometimes be overpowering, which makes pairing them with wine complex. They work quite well with whites like Sauvignon Blanc, unoaked Chardonnay, and, with certain distinct herby flavors like that of capers and basil, a Pinot Grigio can work.
  • Dishes prepared with rich ingredients such as olive oil, cream, butter, or cheese, which have an enriching effect on the vegetable, an buttery wine, like oaked Chardonnay, is perfect, blending seamlessly with the fatty veggie flavors.
Schott Zwiesel Tritan Pure Collection

Roasted Vegetables

When vegetables are roasted, they lose most of their earthy tones and take on sweeter, more powerful flavors that need a stronger wine to compliment them. Red wines, like Syrah, Zinfandel, and Chianti go well; if you prefer white wine, try a strong Riesling. Here are some roasted vegetables that are more difficult to pair with wine:

  • Tomatoes become sweet and strange once they have been roasted, retaining only a hint of their natural acidity. These flavors go beautifully with Italian red wines like Chianti, Barbera d’Asti and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. You would also do well to look for a full-bodied, fruity flavor for roasted tomatoes, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Malbec.
  • Broccoli or brussel sprouts hang onto their earthy flavors even after they’ve been grilled. For these, make sure to give white Bordeaux or a Chenin Blanc a shot.

With these tips, pairing vegetables with wine should be easier, and give you an idea of what flavors to look for. Don’t be daunted by the challenge! Exploring new possibilities will give you a chance to widen your comfort zone and knowledge of food and wine.

About the Author: Thalia Bell has always had a passion for writing. She recently took a trip to France and visited Bordeaux, where she fell in love with wine, and has been a fan of cheese from a young age; when she put the two together, she felt a sense of satisfaction, and since then, has attended many wine and cheese tastings.

The post Wine Pairing with Vegetarian Dishes appeared first on IWA Wine Accessories Blog.

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The holiday season is fast-approaching. The mood is set and expectations are high; it’s time to reconnect with friends and loved ones. Do you have the needed home bar items to complete the holiday and make it full of fun? If you enjoy festive alcoholic drinks, you know that the glass, environment and presentation all play a key role in adding merriment. These seven bar tools will ensure the season goes smoothly.

1. Glass Globe Display Rack

Have you ever faced a challenge of neatly storing a wide array of glasses? If you have ever entertained an alcohol drinking party at home, you will identify with this challenge. No matter how big your countertop is, you always find glasses unevenly scattered about. Overcrowded countertops do not look good, and worse still, a guest may accidentally knock and break one of the stems.

Make this holiday completely different by purchasing the glass globe display rack. Not only will this display organize and simplify your glass handling, it will also boost the overall aesthetics of the house. Who doesn’t like to earn a few praises from friends over their taste for art and organization?

2.  Ultimate Pewter Funnel

The Ultimate Pewter Funnel comes in handy when your preferred drink is red wine. Pour through the aerator without wasting a drop. This pewter funnel comes with a filter which will help you eliminate any wine sediments ensuring that you get a clean pour. If you are a wine enthusiast, this is a must-have home bar item.

3. Soapstone Serving Slab

Raise the celebratory ambiance with this one-of-a-kind serving dish. The Soapstone Serving Slab is not only functional, it depicts a sense of art and reflects the harmony of nature. It will add to the convenience of serving and creates the wow moment every party host longs for.

4. Crafthouse Cocktail Smoking Box

From time to time, you will be crafting specialty cocktails at home, especially when hosting big parties. With this smoke gun and box, you’ll be able to give a professional quality experience without leaving your kitchen.

Designed by Chicago award-winning mixologist Charles Joly, it is inspired by Art Deco era cocktails and architecture, with a latching door and polished metal top. Simply place wood chips into the smoke gun and pull the trigger to light them. When the box fills with smoke, it infuses the drink or food with special flavors.

5. Italesse LED Chilling Tub

If you are intending to serve chilled wine or champagne this holiday, then it is helpful to pick up this chilling tub. The Italesse LED Chilling Tub keeps drinks chilled for serving, and the white lights in the rechargeable base create a sparkling effect on the immersed bottles.

6. Laguiole En Aubrac White Bone Waiters Corkscrew

The list of must-have bar items would not be complete without this corkscrew. Hand-crafted in France according to centuries old tradition, it comes with a foil cutter, making it a double-purpose tool. Fashioned from strong smooth stainless steel with an artistically carved handle from white bone, it is guaranteed for life. If you love art and durability, then this is the best corkscrew for your home bar.

7. Milano Tray Set

Surprise your guests by serving snacks and appetizers on these striking serving pieces. Faux crocodile leather lines the top and bottom of the rich wood trays that nest inside each other for easy storage. If you are looking for a spectacular item to showcase this holiday, this is it. Boost the flair of any holiday gathering with these lovely trays.

If you have a great party idea, then you need to equip yourself with essential bar items to ensure a merry gathering that will evoke nostalgia in the years to come. Season’s Greetings!

About the Author: Philemon Mulwa is a freelance writer who loves crafting engaging articles to inform, educate, and entertain his readers. He blogs at Ncenafipost.com.

The post 7 Must-have Bar Gifts for the Holiday Season appeared first on IWA Wine Accessories Blog.

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‘Tis the weeks before Christmas and all through the land
People are shopping for gifts that aren’t bland.
Stockings are hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes IWA would soon share its wares.
While bottles are nestled all snug in new totes,
Visions of gift-wrapping dance with gift-notes.
And Mama with her Winekeeper faucet of brass,
Had just settled in for a long winter’s glass
When down in the cellar there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the pub table to see what was the matter.
Away to the Transtherm I flew—no, I soared,
Tore open the doors, and pulled out a drawer.
And like the moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Reflected the luster of bottles below;
Then what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a Cork Cage Sleigh, and eight Placecard Reindeer,
With a Collectible-size driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick!
More rapid than aerators, his coursers they came,
As he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now Glasses, Decanters! Now Openers and Stoppers,
“On Wine Charms! On Coasters! On Tags and Cork Poppers;
“To the top of the list! Forget trips to the mall!
“Now click away! Click away! Click away, all!”
(And as dry mouths before Christmas parties do smack,
Until met with libation once foils are cracked…)
It was up to the main house, our family they flew,
With a carrier full of treats – and edibles, too!
Tinkling of cocktail pics was to be heard ‘neath our roof,
among various glassware holding various “proofs.”
We swirled our liquids and wines round and round,
Til up from the cellar came ‘Nick’ with a bound:
Dressed in pajamas, from his head to his foot,
Not one piece of clothing sported ashes or soot;
He wheeled a VinGardeValise close behind,
And look’d at us cheerily “Oh Great! Just in time!…
I heard all the twinkling and laughter so merry,
Might I share in a cocktail with one of those fancy Cherries?”
Then he drew up his mouth like an IWA gift bow
Atop of his beard white as the snow;
A piece of Wine Chocolate he bit down with his teeth,
While standing below our Wine Country Wreath.
“Down you go into my little round belly…”
And next popped in his mouth a flavored Wine Jelly.
Then he refilled our glasses, the right jolly old elf,
So I had another in spite of myself;
(A shake of the Shaker and a twist of fresh lime
A new Moscow Mule in frankly, no time…)
Then he spoke not a word and went straight to his work,
To fill all our stockings; then turned with a jerk,
“I know some look skinny, but they’re e-gift cards, you see
Visit IWA and your gifts are on me!”
Then he sprung to his sleigh and to his team gave a sign,
And away they all vanished, like a downed glass of wine:
We heard him exclaim as he drove further away-
“Happy Holidays to all, from me & I-W-Aaaa!”

Tips for Holiday Shopping with IWA eGift Certificates

Our no expiration gift certificates are available in seven denominations ranging from $10 – $2000. (Apply to any number of purchases until the full balance used.)

Cork Cages

IWA offers a wide variety of decorative cork cages celebrating themes from around the world that are perfect for your holiday party centerpieces.

Full-size cages are available in 37 styles within 11 over-arching themes: Wine, Home, Holiday, Farm, International, Nautical, Fashion, Country-Western, Animals, Technology and Transportation.

Ornaments are available in 20 styles—perfect to match to loved ones’ interests: Wine Barrel, Wine Bottle, Champagne Bottle, Wine Glass, Eiffel Tower, Handbag, Ladies’ Boot, Hot Air Balloon, Teapot, Watering Can, Bird’s Nest, Guitar, Cowboy Boot, Pineapple, Dog, Sleigh, Snowman, Reindeer, and 3-Ornament Assortment.

Stoppers available in 6 styles for stylish, wine-loving & entertaining-types:
Barrel, Watering Can, Cowboy Boot, Pineapple, Dog, Pouf Design

Personalization Deadlines

“Order by” to receive items by December 24:

Dec 3 – Barrel Top Lazy Susan
Dec 7* – Most Glassware and Decanters; Wood Boxes, including Olive Oil & Vinegar gift set in Wooden Box; Most Wood Carriers (WineKeeper upgrade optional)
Dec 9 – Peppermills, Marble Chillers.
Dec 13 – Bourbon Barrel-Top Lazy Susan; Wood Cutting Boards & Serving Trays; Oak End Table
Dec 14 – Most Coasters, Barrel Plaque
Dec 15 – Small Whiskey & Wine Aging Barrels; Oakwood Tray with Iron Base

*NOTE: Some Dec 7 items only apply to East Coast: deadline extends to Dec 13 for West Coast buyers. See product details for specifics.

Gift Wrapping

Available for most “In Stock” inventory.

  • Only $4.95 per item, it includes a beautifully wrapped gift finished with a ribbon and a hand-written card with your message.
  • Please include a “FROM: name” with your message, unless it is Secret Santa!
  • To add: select “Gift Wrap” on item’s page, add your message, then click “Add to Cart.”
More Holiday Articles

Thanks for a stellar 2018 and we’ll see you next year!

About the Author: Seattle-based writer, Lori Stevens, is the author of Wine: A No Snob Guide. Drink Outside the Box. Berkeley, California, Rockridge Press, 2015.

The poem is © 2018 Lori Stevens – All Rights Reserved, adapted from Clement Clarke Moore.

The post Season’s Greetings from IWA – Tips for Holiday Shopping appeared first on IWA Wine Accessories Blog.

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When holidays have landlubbers trading snow for sand and Ho-ho-ho’s for Yo-ho-ho’s, IWA still delivers the goods. Whether that urge to escape lands you on, next to, or surrounded by water, don’t be left high and dry without these sea-worthy seasonal scores. Anchors aweigh!

 

SMOOTH SAILING HOLIDAYS

“I saw three ships come sailing in…” while the wind and waves sent things slip-sliding and soaring. But you can make every bon voyage très bon with these trusty unbreakable mates in tow!

No longer will cramped quarters limit festive cocktailing options: go overboard with pre-prepped holiday grogs in our lightweight canvas cocktail totes. (Two fabric flasks, 8 and 4 oz., with silicon & aluminum shot glasses.)

For shatter-proof class without glass, use Govino! Choose from five styles: red or white wine, flute, whiskey, and beer. You can personalize them, too.

Our new double-wall, sweat-proof Swig Tumblers are durable, great-looking, and keep liquids cold or hot for up to 9 hours. Choose from colors of Pearl, Rose Gold, or Turquoise. Perfect for warm mulled wine or cold holiday toddys!

‘Leak’ is not a good word to hear on board a ship, but at least we’ve got the wine covered—literally! Everyone loves leak-proof Capabunga wine stoppers! Flat tops allow for easy-squeezing and sliding into coolers and tight boat fridges, even sideways.

What’s worse than sailing away with purple teeth? Seeing them immortalized in post-float party pics! Keep your smile snow-white with handy wine wipes.

COASTAL CELEBRATIONS Treasure chest? Try treasure cage! Save special corks with sea glass and shells in exotic cork cages. (Pineapple shown, more coastal-themes available, many in 3 styles: Full Size, Ornament, or Bottle Stopper.)

Traveling with wine? Whether coming or going, IWA’s convenient and reliable carriers, totes, and trolleys make for personal seaside sleighs-full-o-goodies. Amazed companions will say “You fit all that in your bag?” faster than you can say “I come bearing gifts!”

ISLAND HOLIDAYS

TERROIR.
Most of the world’s best wine regions are coastal-adjacent (rivers included,) but only a few islands boast world-class vineyards, so the tropics often leave options lacking. When bringing your own wine on a holiday vacation, start with leak-proof WineSkin bottle transport bags. They fit easily into luggage and keep both your bottles and belongings safe and stain-free.

VinGardeValise Silver Wine Luggage

TRANSPORTABILITY.
Four-wheeling and islands go together like menorahs and dreidels. Our wine carriers are airline-friendly and the numbers have got us singing! Even stuffed with up to 12 bottles, they stay under the checked 50 lb. luggage limit. (Bonus? Checking bags costs less than shipping.)

Go super-deluxe with WineKaddy’s thick, durable and lightweight aluminum shell with temperature-stabilizing styrene interior that protects and insulates wine. (Silver or Bronze.)

Or, the sharp and reliable VingardeValise, which boasts a polycarbonate shell, configurable high-density foam interior, and 360-spinners. (12 or 8-bottle. Multi-colors available.)

Our budget-aware reusable Wine Check Luggage is a no-brainer, featuring a collapsible fabric shell around a cardboard shipper with lightweight Styrofoam compartments and telescoping handle.

Wine Check Luggage Red Set

TEMPERATURE.
Tropical latitudes may chill attitudes, but heat and humidity do a number on beverages. Even Frosty would be safe with these quick, keep-it-cool solutions, if only he could fit!

Pack a Vacu Vin Rapid Ice Chiller in your carry-on, then freeze this bottle jacket as soon as you check in. Once frozen, slip over any wine bottle to chill down in five minutes and stay that way up to two hours.

Extra containers a nuisance? Pour a whole bottle of wine into our unbreakable, earth-friendly, BPA-free, Corkcicle Canteen and go! Clean, stainless steel won’t affect taste, and three layers keep drinks cold (or hot) a whopping 25 hours. (In 2 colors.)

Before you hit the road, throw IWA Wine Bottle Stoppers into your bag. You’ll thank us once tiny flying critters start circlin’ and humidity-swollen corks won’t fit back into that half-finished, over-priced bottle from the mini-bar. Stocking Stuffer deal!

HOLIDAY ROAD TRIPS TO SEASIDE DESTINATIONS

When coastal excursions don’t require boats or planes, the world is your oyster, and IWA is here to help you shuck it! (Don’t forget their perfect pairs: scotch, dry whites or bubbles–and add in our Tsar Nicolai Caviar Sampler while you’re at it!)

First place a fish cork cage center-stage wherever you’re staying to let fellow revelers know you’re collecting cork-and-cap memories (while keeping the place tidy!)

Next, before you get that beach campfire roaring, break out the Schott Zweisel Sangria Glasses for a light, fruity sunset ‘Welcome’ toast. Set of 6.

Sangria Recipe:

  • 1 bottle of dry red wine (750ml)
  • 5 oz brandy or light rum
  • 3 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 4 oz soda water or grapefruit soda
  • 2 slices each: lemon, lime, orange
  • Optional cinnamon stick
  • Serve on ice
Sea Turtle Cork Cage

Rise-and-shine with mimosas and bellinis, then use our Super Seal Champagne Stopper to keep bits o’ bubbly fizzy until you wet-yer-pipes later with a pre-dinner apertif:

French 75 Recipe:

  • 4 oz Champagne
  • 1/4 oz gin
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice
  • Shake the gin, Cointreau and lemon juice with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled flute
  • Top with Champagne and a twist of lemon

No friendly beach volleyball or football match is complete without cold bevys! Our 15L Waterproof Cooler Bag is made from heavy duty tarpaulin—the perfect transportable refrigerator-on-straps for the group’s drinks-of-choice. (So versatile!)

Maybe your romantic getaway left the group behind? Then nothing says R&R like a Picnic. Check out our broad selection of cocktail cases, picnic baskets, backpacks and totes—perfect for walks along winter-wonderlands and sand!

While Mother Nature crashes waves onto rocks and sand outdoors, cozy up indoors and decant a gorgeous bottle (or two) with our charming Ocean Series Puffer Fish Aerator. Placed in wide mouth decanters, it diffuses and aerates wine in gentle cascades. 100% pewter and on sale!

Can’t finish the bottle? Fret not! Repour Wine Savers are another Christmas miracle! Unlike complex vacuum pumps and preservation systems, simply insert. Repour’s special cartridge reduces bottle oxygen to less than half a percent! (Professionals swear by them.) Set of 4.

Dolphin Cork Cage

Whenever non-traditional holidays have you seeing (or feeling) blue, let IWA help tie up loose ends. We’ve got the largest selection of nautical and beach friendly wine wares across the seven seas. Très bon voyage!

About the author: Seattle-based writer Lori Stevens loves being on or near water almost as much as wine. Learn more about her book, Wine: A No Snob Guide: Drink Outside the Box Berkeley, CA: Rockride Press, 2015.

The post Coastal and Seaside Holiday Entertaining appeared first on IWA Wine Accessories Blog.

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She’s the glue that holds the family together, the one who always remembers little details and makes everyone feel special. If your mother loves to entertain, consider these 11 gifts that will help her host charming parties, from book club gatherings to family potlucks. Some of them are customizable, so you can put your own personalized stamp on your holiday gift to let her know just how much she means to you.

Under $200 Artisan Cheese Knives Piega #75-345

Artisan Cheese Knives
Where there’s wine, there’s cheese (or at least there should be). If you need one more stocking stuffer to surprise your mom, consider this artisan cheese knife set, which comes with three stainless steel knives. Whether she prefers parmesan or gouda, these rustic knives can get the job done while looking elegant on a serving platter — there’s one for semi-hard cheeses, one for soft cheeses and a serving knife.

Spiegelau Vino Grande Champagne Glasses
The next time you have something to celebrate, whether that’s a birthday or ringing in the New Year, she’ll definitely want to break out these Spiegelau Vino Grande champagne glasses and pour some bubbly. This four-glass set is made in Germany from lead-free crystal. The glasses are durable and chic, plus they’re dishwasher safe.

Teapot Cork Cage
If she loves to have a glass of wine with dinner, then chances are she has quite a few corks around the house — why not use them to decorate? This whimsical teapot cork cage can help you do just that. The white paint and soft patina will match any decor color scheme, plus the multi-colored glass accents add a bit of intrigue and playfulness.

Reindeer Place Card Holders
Throwing a holiday dinner party soon? Make good use of these adorable reindeer place card holders, made with an antique metal finish. Their prancing design will add a bit of whimsy to your holiday place settings, as well as tell your guests where to sit. They’ll look perfect next to your red and green napkins, festive dishes and, of course, your wine glasses.

Crafthouse Bar Tools and Shaker Set
This elegant bar tools and shaker set has a timeless design, which means she’ll be able to use it to mix yummy beverages for years to come. The commercial-grade set was designed by Chicago mixologist Charles Joly and creates a feeling of nostalgia for the Prohibition era. It features a Boston shaker and Hawthorne strainer, as well as a muddler and a multi-functional jigger.

Arabesque Marble Coasters
These arabesque marble coasters are both adorable and affordable, making them the perfect stocking stuffer for your better half. She’ll love the intricate patterns and bold gem tones used on these durable stone coasters (they look especially great with a glass of deep red wine on top of them, though they can hold any beverage of your choosing). Plus, the base is made from cork, so they’re sure not to slip and they won’t cause scratching on a coffee table.

$200-500

WineKeeper Personalized Serving Station
This personalized serving station definitely needs to be on your gift list. You can completely customize it, choosing between vintage, modern and wedding for the overall design. Then, select which icon you want to appear above the text — a circle with a letter, a fleur de lis, a crown, a circle with grapes or no icon. You can also enter the text that you want to appear on the side of the serving station. It’s super functional, too, featuring four stopper faucets, a four-way manifold, a disposable argon cylinder and a single-stage regulator. Plus, the carrier itself is made from recycled wood, so you can feel good about giving her something sustainable.

Schott Zwiesel Tritan Pure Punch Bowl Set
Whether it’s a graduation party or a family reunion, this Schott Zwiesel Tritan punch bowl set will add a little beauty to any occasion. It’s both sophisticated and modern, with a simple and elegant crystal design. In addition to the punch bowl, the set also comes with a ladle and six tumblers. The best part? It’s dishwasher safe, so after everyone goes home, your mother won’t have to worry about handwashing it.

Glass Globe Display Rack – Bordeaux Bundle
Hosting a ladies book club or brunch? An easy way to decorate your kitchen or dining room is with this sophisticated glass globe display rack. It holds up to 40 glasses and is designed to hold most types, even oversized burgundy glasses. When guests arrive, simply grab a glass from this waterfall-style rack and pour.

Barrel Stave Wine Flight Set
This elegant wine flight set is perfect for impressing guests at a holiday party or an intimate gathering. It comes with four glass mini decanters and a wood base made from a recycled wine barrel, which makes it perfect for serving your guests their individual pours. The curvy design of the wood is tasteful and classy — it’s sure to make an impression friends and family no matter what varietals are being poured.

Laguiole En Aubrac Turquoise Waiters Corkscrew
This handcrafted Laguiole En Aubrac corkscrew is both decorative and sturdy — and it looks great opening any bottle of wine during a dinner party. In addition to being easy on the eyes, it was functionally designed with ultra-strong Sandvik stainless steel metal components, a contoured turquoise handle and a serrated foil cutter. Plus, it comes in a gorgeous French oak gift box so you won’t have to worry about getting pretty gift wrap for this one — simply place it under the tree or in her stocking and wait for a huge smile.

About the author: Sarah Kuta is an award-winning Colorado writer and editor who regularly writes about travel, food, nature, education, personal finance and other topics. Her favorite wine is cabernet sauvignon and she visits Napa Valley at least once a year.

The post 11 Holiday Gifts for Mom appeared first on IWA Wine Accessories Blog.

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The “I” in our name stands for ‘International,’ so to celebrate our superior hand-picked products sourced from around the globe (plus our international shipping,) we’re bringing a handful of the world’s holiday traditions to you! We’ve got everything you need to pull off the perfect Around the World Holiday Party. Just follow these three easy steps to make mouths merry with cultural mixes of nibbles, nosh and libations sure to un-grump the grumpiest Grinches as they dance from station to station.

IWA offers a wide variety of decorative cork cages celebrating themes from around the world that are perfect for your holiday party centerpieces. 1. GUESTS CHOOSE COUNTRY IN ADVANCE

Feel free to start with our six handy country-helpers below, but customize and add your own favorites! Once your list is final, divvy up one country per guest, couple or group. Each prepares and sets-up their country’s Tasting Station at the big event.

2. HOSTS, REMEMBER THE BASICS

GLASSES & WINE MARKERS

IWA’s set of twelve mini wine glasses conveniently packed in slotted wood crates provide the perfect sip-size for country-hopping. To avoid separation anxiety, let guests personalize glasses using handy, washable wine markers.

PLATES

Re-usable buffet plates come with a hands-free glass cradle so guests can pop tasty morsels into fun-loving faces without juggling. Choose from 7 styles in two sizes. (Single Plates in Let It Snow, Happy Holidays, Be Merry, Happy New Year, Plain, & Vineyard Grapes design; or as a Set of Clear Oval plates.)

3. SET-UP

Arrange tasting stations with each country’s bites & bevys around a large table; or in different areas of multiple rooms! Each Tasting Station can be decorated in cultural traditions or feature fun factoids about celebrating the holidays there.

And now, the fun…

ITALY

 

Countless regional customs occur starting December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, through January 6, the Epiphany, but deluxe Nativity scenes and unique mercatini di Natale, (holiday markets) are everywhere. A light seafood meal is shared among close family Christmas Eve before the belly-busting gang’s-all-here feast on Christmas afternoon, plus another on the Epiphany. To welcome the Big Day, Northern Italians get to choose between contemplative Midnight Mass or adventurous skiing down a mountain bearing torches.

Wine Choices
Arneis from Piedmont: look for labels: Vietti, Ceretto, Bruno Giacoso, or Castello di Nieve.

Holiday Food Pairings
Venetian bacaros (wine bars) offer Cichetti (chi-KET-ee): small bites just right for parties.

  • Slice up loaves of rustic bread. Spoon Artichoke Dip onto half of the slices and arrange for easy-grabbing on our handsome, waterproof, large Milano serving tray of rich wood and faux-crocodile.
  • Place the remaining slices on the smaller tray with a bowl of Baccala Mantecato (whipped salt cod spread) and a spreader.
  • View the full recipe.
ARGENTINA

Houses are heavily decorated with lights and wreaths of green, gold, red and white flowers. Red and white garlands are hung around doors. Trees are liberally decorated with cotton balls to simulate snow. On Christmas Eve, adults dance and party with friends at homes or boliches (discos) while children watch multitudes of fireworks. After midnight, the sky fills with floating ‘Globos’ much like colorful Chinese lanterns.

Wine Choices
Argentina boasts the largest Malbec acreage in the world & Sauvignon Blancs are showing strong, too.

Holiday Food Pairings
A typical Argentine Christmas feast includes a variety of barbecued meats, (Asado or Parrillas.) Country ambassadors can prepare their choice of grilled proteins and pair with another staple, Stuffed Tomatoes. View the full Recipe.

SPAIN

In the land of flamenco guitar, most Spaniards attend Midnight Mass—La Misa Del Gallo, or ‘Mass of the Rooster’—an homage to the rooster that crowed when Jesus was born. Meanwhile, every village, town, and city explodes with completely different spins on base holiday traditions. Gifts aren’t opened until January 6th, honoring the 2000 year-old visit by the Three Kings with their gifts to the baby Jesus.

Write directly on these versatile slate serving platters with chalk.

Wine Choices
Garnacha Blancas and red Riojas are excellent options with holiday bites.

Holiday Food Pairings
During the winter, the land of tapas (not pintxos of neighboring Basque,) turns into a dessert-lover’s paradise. Here are two wine-friendly ones, along with two of Spain’s tastiest wine-friendly cheeses:

NETHERLANDS

 

The last Saturday in November, Sinterklaas arrives by boat dressed in red bishops’ robes, then travels across the country on a white horse called Amerigo. However, Sinterklaas doesn’t live at the North Pole; he hails from Spain! Good children leave a shoe out for him to fill December 5th, along with carrots or hay for his horse; and naughty children are left to worry whether they’ll have to return with him on his boat back to Spain.

Place these celebratory cork coasters under glühwein to protect from warmth & wetness.

Wine Choices
Delicious traditional Dutch Glühwein is significantly more peppery than other mulled wines:

  • 2 bottles fruity red wine (such as shiraz)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • ½-1 teaspoon each, freshly ground nutmeg & black pepper
  • 1 to 2 cardamom pods or 1-2 aniseed stars
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar

1) Heat wine in large pot over very low heat (do not boil) 10 to 30 minutes. Add spices. Gradually add sugar, whisking very gently. During last 3 to 5 minutes of mulling, place orange rind in an herb infuser (or tie in cheesecloth) and add to pot.

2) Cool to a safely warm sipping temp; ladle into glass with thin wedges of orange or an aniseed star.

Think outside the bowl: Tealights under these fondue pots will keep your Babi Ketjap warm while guests use long bamboo skewers to spear pieces from the pot. Stir & refill occasionally.

Holiday Food Pairings

Indonesian cuisine is second-nature to the Dutch, and Babi Ketjap delivers for a crowd! Substitute whole mushrooms, tofu or tempeh for a vegetarian option. Babi Ketjap Recipe.

FRANCE

The Franche-Comte region is about twenty minutes from the Swiss border. The city Montbéliard hosts Lumières de Noël, one of the most enchanted and illuminated Christmas markets in all of France, absolutely drenched and dripping with lights. Themes rotate each year and the town really gets into Santa’s arrival.

Decorate with our 4 large wine bottle party lights to capture Montbeliard’s illuminating essence.

Wine Choices
Try one of Jura’s famed “straw wines” (yellow-tinted whites.) Prefer reds instead? If favorite retailers don’t carry Franche-Comte options, swap in neighboring Burgundy’s pinots. (Franche-Comte is also known for eau de vies, absinthe, and kirsch.)

The stone slabs showcasing fish at Montbeliard’s old market are splendid for sausage, too!

Holiday Food Pairings
Montbeliard’s famous pork sausage is smoked in large pyramids, called tuyés, using different types of fir sawdust from nearby Jura mountains. If you can’t procure near you, substitute other heavily-smoked sausages, but at least cook them the French way: first un-pricked in milk with potatoes and thyme or bay leaves, then oven-warmed or grilled. Slice. When looking for delicious comte cheese, look for “AOC” and a bell on the label; it ensures authenticity.

If you can’t find smoked sausage, use the Crafthouse Cocktail Smoking Cloche with Smoke Gun to infuse flavor right in your home kitchen! JAPAN

 

Family gatherings and presents dominate the New Year, a much bigger deal in Japan than Christmas Eve, which is treated more as a friends-and-couples’ holiday, (kind of a New Years-meets-Valentine’s Day.) With ‘lite’ gambling now legal, revelers have even more ways to celebrate! That said, Japan loves its December “illuminations”—elaborate public light displays throughout the country’s cities. Tokyo’s own Christmas Market is so popular, it’s actually sponsored by the German Tourism Association and German Embassy!

Wine Choices
Assuming you don’t have a secret stash of the latest sommelier phenomena, Koshu wines, premium sake makes an excellent pair for Japan’s Christmas bites. As a special occasion, stick with just two premium types: Junmai-shu, which is pure rice sake, or Aru-ten, which adds alcohol during fermentation. Leave the table varieties for less festive gatherings.

Present Japan’s delicious whiskeys in style. Includes cork, glass stopper & wooden stand.

Of course, if you’re just not into sake, Japan turns out whiskeys that rival the best whisky in the world! There is nothing like a few sips of special spirits to toast the holidays.

  • Holiday Food Pairings
    Believe it or not, Kentucky Fried Chicken has been a Japanese Christmas tradition since the 1970s! Bring buckets of the Colonel, or better yet, whip up fried chicken bites of your own.
  • “Kurisumasu keki” is sold as ‘Christmas Cake’ everywhere in Japan. Essentially, it is strawberry shortcake made with a light vanilla sponge sheet-cake. Just layer real whipped cream and fresh strawberries between two pieces of yellow spongecake cut into finger-friendly squares and top with the same.

There are ten articles’ worth of holiday traditions but we have to stop somewhere! Hopefully we’ve got you thinking about your own Around-the-World Holiday Party and how easy it is to count on IWA to deliver the decor and entertaining accessories you need. We’ll close with a few inspirational ideas, but don’t be shy – we’d love to hear about your ideas, too!

  • Christkindlestmarkt, Nuremberg, Germany
  • Viennese Christmas Markets, Vienna, Austria
  • Advent Season, Zagreb, Croatia
  • Portugal’s obsession with oranges and desserts, such as Bolo Rei
  • Hungary’s Forralt Bor
  • Sweden’s Glogg
  • England’s Christmas addiction to Port with Stilton & Cheddar cheeses, or Oloroso Sherry paired with Sticky, Treacle, & Figgy Puddings. (In Victorian England, a spot of tea added to a glass of mulled wine was dubbed “Christmas tea.”)

Seattle-based writer, Lori Stevens, has traveled the world’s wine regions and concludes that Northern Hemisphere wine countries offer unparalleled holiday sights; but the Southern Hemisphere’s wine regions offer unmatched holiday weather!

The post Hosting Tips for an International Holiday Party appeared first on IWA Wine Accessories Blog.

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Fall means Harvest-time in Wine Country; but once grapes are safely fermenting in their vats and tanks, wineries turn their attention indoors where caves often feature prominently in a variety of spectacular holiday events: tours; elegant and educational food pairings; barrel and library tastings; even live performances.

Caves + Wine go together like Jingles + Bells
Caves offer a mix of romance and utilitarian purpose that provides everything wine loves: controlled moisture, stillness, darkness, and a consistent chill between 52°F-58°F*—perfect for aging wine. * (Below 50°F hampers natural fermentation; above 60°F accelerates it.) People have used naturally cool subterranean caverns to store and age wine for millennia, as many historical landmarks worldwide attest.

Unfortunately, unless you’re the Flintstones, caves-and-houses rarely a marriage-make; so if you’re pondering practical solutions to store your quaffable investments properly, of course International Wine Accessories is at the ready with a multitude of options: wine cellars, wine jails, wine racks, wine refrigerators, and wine preservation systems. Let’s review just a sample of our goodies across multiple budget and space considerations:

BIG SPACE. BIG BUDGET.

In-home Cellars are closest to replicating cave conditions and IWA’s Design Center offers examples from around the world. The best part? Our design services include free consultations; often no-charge architectural drawings; and thermal load calculations to make sure the right cooling systems (or units) are protecting your important investments. With a myriad of sizes and styles, racking systems, layouts, materials, and wood stains you can get a jump on Santa and visit IWAwine.com or call 800.527.4072 “tout suite” !

Just four simple steps bring your vision into reality in as few as six weeks, (up to twelve for elaborate, custom jobs.)

Once that cellar’s underway, consider refreshing nearby areas, too. IWA’s large array of home furnishings fit both formal tasting environs and or pure entertainment purposes, such as our wine barrel pub table and stools with legs made of barrel staves. Prepare for ooh’s and ah’s as you remove pristine sets of Riedel Sommeliers Tasting stems for each guest, a deluxe Laguiole En Aubrac opener, a special cork cage bottle topper, plus a can of Private Preserve—from right inside the barrel!

SPACE-AWARE or MID-BUDGET

These days, cooling wine cabinets are all the rage: professional storage conditions with a manageable footprint. For premium cabinets, we love both the sleek and modern Transtherm and the heirloom-worthy Le Cache brands. Both keep wines nippy while you stay warm and cozy the whole winter long.

AMBIENT TEMP, DIRECT SUNLIGHT, & VIBRATION NOT AN ISSUE?

Free-standing storage racks and wine jail cages may be more your speed: no electricity required.

WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT OF CAGES

Ever hear of a Cork Cage? These clever wire-framed sculptures resemble bird cages, but inside these beauties, you won’t find any turtle doves or partridges, just corks.

The barrel shaped cage fits the mother lode at 170 corks. (Now that’s what we call celebrating!) And a slew of other fantastic shapes hold a third or half that amount. In fact, our cork cages are so handy, you won’t limit them to just corks; and they’re so appealing, you’ll want to display them everywhere!

Once filled, dump that cage and get to assembling a great-looking wood-framed trivet or an even better-looking push-pin bulletin corkboard with IWA’s easy-peasey cork kits! Each kit includes everything you need and impatient elves can order extra corks, too.

Just when you thought you couldn’t top that, you can, literally, because many cork cages are also available as a Bottle-Topper or Ornament. Pop in a keepsake cork from a favorite experience and remember that bottle over and over again. Great for stocking stuffers!

 

TIGHT SPACE. TIGHT BUDGET.

IWA always carries wine fridges in a range of shapes and sizes, but did you know wine preservation systems offer affordable and practical storage alternatives?

If you entertain often, consider the Winekeeper: it inserts inert nitrogen (or argon) to prevent oxidation and keeps wines fresh for weeks. Available in both single-bottle units and deluxe multi-bottle bar systems, you can open multiple bottles at a time, worry-free!

Or perhaps you dream of enjoying one, simple, very nice glass with dinner every night. In that case, we recommend Coravin: the consummate professionals’ way to taste from expensive, sealed bottles without pulling corks or disturbing natural aging (terrific for sampling library wines).

So with your home storage challenges solved, why not get out and celebrate by stocking up? Nothing breaks up routine and refreshes the collection like a holiday wine country visit. And caves mix it up, adding interest and fun to any tasting itinerary. For inspiration, a few personal favorites below.

EXPLORE WINE CAVES

ALONG ALSACE’S ROUTE DU VIN, France’s oldest wine route.
Check out the Cave Historique des Hospices de Strasbourg where a 14th-century wine cellar (boasting a barrel miraculously preserved since 1472) sprawls beneath a modern hospital.

BURGUNDY: BEAUNE
Caves Patriarche: A magnificent staircase, labyrinth of tunnels, and vaulted rooms tucked away under town showcases the most prestigious Burgundies: Meursault, Corton, Beaune, Pommard, Nuits-Saint-Georges… and on and on.

PARIS
Not technically subterranean caves, but Caves à Manger or cavistes have popped up all over Paris, offering biodynamic wines accompanied by French-style deli snacks, oo la la. (A special license allows on-premise drinking only if customers order edibles.)

SPAIN: CODORNÍU
East of Barcelona is home to many of the biggest Cava producers. Tour vast underground aging cellars that offer various combinations of tastings, food pairings, and activities.

TURKEY: UÇHISAR
Dramatic, cave-like architecture built into an ancient hillside monastery, Argos in Cappadocia is near centuries-old civilization and Turkey’s lesser-known Syrah, Muscat, and Kalecik Karasi (like Pinot) winemaking region.

ARGENTINA: CAFAYATE
Not as developed as Mendoza, and another ‘not exactly a cave’ per se, but El Porvenir’s extensive barrel collection housed within very old stone adobe walls, instead? Umm… okay! (Don’t forget the Municipal Handmade Market.)

CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY:
Keepin’ it local? No problem! As a former Napa resident, Pine Ridge always hosted a holiday cave event as did Clos Pegase, Domaine Chandon and countless others. This handy resource from California’s Wine Institute lists more holiday wine cave festivities and will have you shouting EUREKA! in no time.

Seattle-based writer, Lori Stevens, loves to tour & taste in wine caves around the world.

The post Winery Caves and Cork Cages appeared first on IWA Wine Accessories Blog.

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