Everything for the Wine Lover. International Wine Accessories (IWA) is dedicated to helping our customers create a rich and cultured wine lifestyle. With decades of experience, our seasoned team of IWA wine and cellar specialists provides our valued customers with unparalleled access to the widest array of quality wine accoutrements on the planet.
Imagine the air saturated with intoxicating aromas of wine, music from every corner of the city, and an invigorating atmosphere. Wine regions of the world hold annual celebrations; whether in a formal square or out in the vineyard, the fun does not abate. In areas such as Germany’s Moselle Valley, the holiday spirit passes from farm to farm throughout the summer. For connoisseurs and admirers of wine, these events broaden horizons and knowledge, allowing easy access to producers and new varietals to experience. Here are a few of the top wine festivals of the world.
Taking place on the South Island, it is the largest wine festival in New Zealand, taking place annually at Brancott, the oldest vineyard in the region. Doors are opened to all comers, with over 50 wineries participating, accompanied by national dishes, pavilion entertainment with music all-stars and “slinky” jazz bands.
About 30 wineries in South Australia open their doors to treat visitors with their finest wines. Fun workshops are offered, such as cheese making master classes, how to blend, and basic winemaking. This exciting series of contests, classes and parties takes place in spectacular scenery.
Most tourists and wine experts focus their attention on visiting wine festivals of the Old World, but Oregon, thanks to its Pinot Noir, has steadily gained popularity. Taking place in midsummer, an easy drive from Portland, it includes local vineyard tastings, culinary delights, seminars, and excursions. There are so many guests, that they are rotated through activities such as alfresco tastings and seminars.
Traveling to Sicily is always a memorable event, with sweeping landscapes and the glistening Mediterranean Sea. The festival moves throughout Sicily, with cultural programs, concerts, excursions to wineries, and cellars filled with Italian and Sicilian wines.
Collecting primarily kosher wines, which are required to abide by a specific set of rules, the festival offers hundreds of different tasting opportunities. The winemaking craft of the country is re-emerging, despite challenging circumstances, and includes food stands for pairings.
This Portuguese festival is a wonderful celebration of autumn; the island is filled with costumed shows, winemakers, live music, exhibitions and attractions, with tasting tables set up lining the streets. A popular story of the origin of Madiera “the elixir” is when a merchant was transporting his wine to the continent and did not have enough room in the ship’s hold. After adding neutral grape spirits for preservation, he placed the remaining barrels on deck, exposed to the searing rays of the sun. It developed a unique taste that came to be known as Madeira.
Founded in 1961, it has been growing in popularity, taking place when the summer heat recedes. The sacred festival is inspired by Dionysus, with dancing, music from traditional instruments such as the bouzouki, grape stomping, and wine tasting from morning till evening.
Spain is filled with a variety of holidays dedicating to the grape harvest in September, but the largest and brightest is the sherry festival in Jerez de la Frontera. Wine flows like a river, along with flamenco dance performances and a magnificent procession when the Queen of the Festival is chosen.
Uniting the tasting wizards with giants of cooking and catering, this gathering of restaurateurs, famous chefs, barmen, winemakers and gourmets has assembled to eat and drink great wine. The festival’s profits go to charity partners, and it has become one of the finest gastronomic events in North America. From traditional American to experimental cuisine, this rich program includes a variety of master classes from culinary legends, lectures and recreational activities.
Despite the onset of cold weather, hundreds of people gather to experience the Bandol wine festival. The mild climate and precipitation levels make it possible to produce memorable wines that age well. Wander through tastings with a special souvenir goblet, while enjoying vibrant street entertainment and French cuisine.
We hope that our wine festivals calendar will help to make a plan for future trips to the wine world. Check the individual festival websites for information regarding dates, as they can shift year to year.
About the Author:
Melisa Marzett is always ready to share her thoughts and fresh ideas in articles. Read her current work at bigpaperwriter.com.
Gather friends and family for a delicious spring meal or prepare an Easter brunch they will love using this airy outdoor table setting inspiration. Layer neutral toned placemats and linen covering for an elegant base, using a gray, pearl and khaki color palette.
Choose fresh flowers in a bright, casual arrangement, low enough that guests are comfortable speaking from either side of the table without being blocked out of the conversation by large blooms.
Gentle candlelight adds an elegance to special occasions. Use empty wine bottles with curled iron Candelabra Wine Bottle Votives and tea lights spaced throughout the table.
Don’t leave guests reaching awkwardly to refill their water glasses. Place plenty of filled carafes within easy access, such as the narrow Stolzle Vulkanos Fire Decanter shown above or delicately etched Lucca Decanter. Add sliced lemon, cucumber or lime for extra flavor and color inside the carafe.
Hearty winter comfort stews should be set aside in favor of lighter foods, such as crunchy chopped salad, smooth deviled eggs, avocado tropical wraps, frittata, and berry tarts.
Ultima Classic Bordeaux Wine Glasses are hardy enough for everyday use and retain clarity and brilliance in formal settings. With a 10-year break resistant warranty, you can rest easy when setting them out among a large number of guests.
Display cheese and other bite-sized appetizers safely covered with a domed antiqued pewter finish Cheese Cloche. It will keep insects away when serving outside, and gives a lovely appearance to the table.
Carve and spread the fromage using stylish White Marble Handle Cheese Knives that are cut in a unique square shape that prevents rolling and includes two planes, a knife, and set of prongs.
We love entertaining—and whether we’re hosting a seated, multi-course meal or just serving casual appetizers, the one constant for us is wine. Depending on the number of guests, we easily go through 6-8 bottles of wine in an evening, and the price adds up. Rather than shouldering the entire cost, sometimes we ask our guests to bring a bottle of wine based on a theme.
Of course, for every guest who brings a pricey bottle that’s been lovingly stored for years in a cellar, there’s a guest who races into BevMo and grabs a bottle with a catchy label and on sale. Some guests can’t wait to open and decant a bottle from their recent vacation in France, and other guests who select a bottle based on ratings and reviews. In other words, if guests are left to their own devices, you’ll likely have a bunch of bottles that won’t make sense together.
A better approach is this: Be specific and tell your guests what to bring to your next dinner party. Awkward, right? No, not in the slightest – the secret is to have an entertaining theme that is flexible enough to accommodate wine lovers of all budgets and expertise levels.
Spiegelau Wine Glasses
Vintage / Varietal
Call your guests and ask them to bring a bottle of the same vintage and varietal, perhaps specifying the region, if it is easily available. Dinner parties are supposed to be fun, don’t request wine that is difficult to find. If your guests have to visit multiple shops and wineries to find something appropriate, it may put a taint on their evening.
When we recently hosted with this theme, we asked our guests to bring 2013 Washington state cabernets. Since we live in the Seattle area, they were easy to find and available in a variety of price ranges. We covered all the bottles with wrapping paper and everyone rated them in order of preference in a blind tasting.
Affordable and Delicious
The cost of wine is often more reflective of the winemaking process, rather than the complexity of aroma and flavor. Tasting room managers have commented that they wish visitors would not arrive demanding the most expensive wine, assuming it was the best, rather than judging the wine on its own merits. We once threw a party where we asked everyone to bring the best bottle of wine they could find for under $30.
We planned it a month in advance, so guests had plenty of time to taste, enjoy and experiment before deciding what to bring. Many arrived with multiple bottles, because they were unable to pick a favorite.
Alternatively, explain what courses you intend to offer as a host, and divide them between guests, perhaps suggesting pairing ideas for each dish.
Ask the Wine Steward
This is an exciting mystery bag, because you never know what you’re going to get. Whether your friends tend to buy their wine at a boutique wine shop, shipped from their wine club, or at the grocery store, chances are, they have a staff member who is just dying to talk about their favorite wine. For this theme, your friends will simply purchase whatever the wine steward recommends.
A couple of tips:
– Set a budget, because most of us would not feel comfortable requiring our friends to buy a $250 wine.
– You can also specify color, varietal or region if you wish.
Create a custom wine cellar with IWA Design Center
If you have experienced a vertical library tasting, you understand the thrill of discovering the differences between each year of a particular vineyard block, caused by weather conditions and other factors. Recreating it at home can be a bit more work, because finding several vintages of the same wine/winemaker can be a challenge, since usually only the most recent releases are available, and it can get expensive.
Preliminary research is crucial; talk to your local wine shop or search online to find out what the options are. If you are able to find an appropriate wine with multiple vintages available, it might be easiest to purchase the vertical yourself and ask for donations from guests to supplement the cost. They will appreciate the amount of work you put into presenting a unique evening, and will be happy to contribute!
For the long-term planner, start purchasing a few bottles of a wine you enjoy and set them aside in your cellar each year with bottle tags marked “Vertical Tasting”. Ask the winemaker or staff what a recommended cellaring time is, and plan accordingly. When creating a zinfandel vertical, wait a few years, then host the party. For varieties that age well, such as sangiovese or petite syrah, you can leave in the cellar for much longer. Imagine how exciting it would be to host a ten-year vertical for your friends and family! IWA Design Center can help you find the best way to display and age the wine in an ideal wine cellar environment while it waits.
The possibilities are endless, but by planning a theme, you can make sure that all of your guests contribute equally and have an amazing time. Have more ideas for great wine themes? We’d love to hear them below!
I noticed years of holiday-hosting has taken a toll on a once-robust collection. IWA has page-after-page of glasses and stemware, casual to fancy and everything between! How to decide from so many fabulous choices? They’re just wine glasses, right? First and foremost, glassware is personal preference, period. There’s no ‘naughty’ glassware at IWA that will land coal in your stockings!
Every manufacturer creates designs that inspire them out of materials that please them. They’re in business because customers agreed. If ever you’re offered a glass not aligned with your personal preferences, zip your lip and enjoy those sips! The vessel can’t replace sharing joy.
Frankly, I’m just a ‘regular’ reindeer when it comes to stemware. I personally like clear, smooth, unadorned glasses, but many of my ‘Rudolph and Misfit Toy’ friends enjoy weighty, colored, or decorated glasses; so now I stock both and everyone feels at ease!
Ultima Classic Wine Glasses
Glass vs. Crystal
The gist: crystal is leaded or mineralized glass that can be pulled thinner than ‘regular’ glass, resulting in super-sparkly clarity with thinner bowls, stems, and rims. Lead-free ever-so slightly detracts from that super-sparkly, crystal-clear color profile but still better-resists scratching. However, glass is sturdy and versatile, and modern tech produces no less delicately-crafted or attractive results.
Mouth-or-machine blown possess more structural integrity. Avoid imperfections such as: bends, warps, bubbles, unfriendly shapes or lips, and unsightly seams from being hastily pressed in molds.
Bowl & Shape
Size: comfortable swirling for aroma detection is essential. If the bowl is too small or short, prepare for a burgundy swoosh across the front of your party dress. Too large and you’ll be straining your schnoz face-down in an awkward game of ‘What’s in the glass’?
Thickness is generally inversely proportionate to cost (not to infer inexpensive guarantees a hefty medieval goblet, in fact, terrific quality can be found at surprisingly affordable price points.) But super-premium stemware (designed specifically for wine consumption) will never feature thick, heavy-handed bowls.
Don’t judge weight: ultra-thin crystal can outweigh the thinnest glass; crystal simply weighs more due to lead or mineral content.
Pros prefer a thin lip. It feels better and prevents wine from collecting. Pros also like tapered tops (narrows towards the opening) versus flared tops (opens out) because tapered keeps aromas milling about in the glass instead of spreading into the air around it. But does that matter if wine remains in your glass for less than an hour? Not likely. So never deny a glass love just because it’s a rebel!
All-purpose / everyday use ($6 – $10 per stem): Look for something like the Schott Zwiesel Tritan Forte line. Even though they’re constructed of lead-free crystal, titanium insures they are highly resistant to breakage, chipping or clouding (and IWA is currently featuring value packs: 8 for the price of 6!)
Mid-range / weekly or monthly use ($10 to $50 per stem) thinner enhances wines, and the refined look and feel of the Spiegelau Vino Grande sprinkles guests with snowflakes of TLC.
A small, intimate dinner of six guests pairing multiple varietals calls for six mouth-blown, lead-free crystal, universal Gabriel Glas stems: showcase wines without having to dirty 3X the glasses!
A twelve-guest gathering would do well with two sets of (6) of the more practical, no-less elegant, but incredibly lightweight Italesse stems.
By comparison, Ultima Modern glasses with their ten-year breakage warranty are the way to go for a bustling buffet of 20 or more revelers, especially if you take advantage of IWA’s current Value Offer: Buy the Glass Globe Rack with 42 Ultima Classic glasses and save $145 on an absolutely stunning party centerpiece with plenty of beautiful, durable glasses for all your guests!
Or throw formality out the window and try playful styles that switch easily from bubbles to liqueurs or cocktails. ‘Tis the season with colorful and tactile Fiesta Flutes; or cool, retro Black Coupes; or the zany, fun Mardi Gras textured flutes, all of which make for festive departures.
Lucca Etched Crystal
More Factors to Consider
Stem length should be long enough to avoid touching the bowl while drinking, but not so tall they topple with the slightest disturbance. Taller than 3-4″ may look stunning on a table, but probably won’t fit in storage areas or the dishwasher. *NOTE: Filter by desired Height at IWAwine.com.
Base Circumference is also important: ‘wide’ hinders toppling, but also catches edges of plates and dishes on busy tables or bountiful spreads. *NOTE: Filter by desired Width at IWAwine.com.
Matching Decanters – Appreciate coordinated aesthetics? Many IWA high-end decanters match stemware sets, making quite a statement when displayed together. The Stölzle Revolution line is just one example and it’s available in two sizes!
Varietal-Specific – Got storage space and cellar selections? Enhance nuanced characteristics of varietals with lines that love to match-make. IWA exclusively carries the Lucca line, plus Riedel, Schott Zwiesel and more!
Al Fresco, Super-Casual, or Crowd-friendly – ‘No glass’ doesn’t have to mean ‘no class’! Check out our Italesse line of Polycristal Stemware or the infinitely popular Govino Stemless non-breakables with their infamous ‘handy’ thumb-nub. Great for the outdoors, boats, pools (and wintry hot tubs!)
Glassware Cleaning Supplies
Glassware Care & Cleaning
*Keep your collection looking brand-spanking-new for years!*
Many crystal glasses are top-rack dishwasher-safe, (glasses should not come in contact with other glasses and especially not metal), but it really depends how much manhandling your stemware will endure overall. Proper care preserves and lengthens their life. Narrow openings benefit greatly from hand-washing with crystal-friendly stemware brushes that IWA sells: choose from Decanter, Flute, Goblet, and Stemware.
Always wash and dry glass and crystal gently but thoroughly. To remove water spots, smudges, and enhance sparkle, never hold the base in one hand while twisting around the top, you’ll snap thin stems. Hold the glass by the bowl and hand-polish with Riedel Microfiber Polishing Cloths.
Naturally, IWA also sells other Crystal Drying Kit and a plethora of Drying Mat tailored for streak-and-spot-free Decanters and Glassware. Store those squeaky-clean stems upright on their base, unless, of course, you’ve bought IWA’s Exclusive Barrel Stave Hanging Stemware Rack, handcrafted from reclaimed barrel staves. (It holds up to 35 Bordeaux-size stems!)
Ho-ho-hope the only tinkling or shattering you hear at your next holiday event comes from the icicles outside!
About the Author: Cin-Cin! Lori Stevens is a former wine magazine food editor who has worked in multiple wineries and traveled throughout many of the world’s wine-producing regions. She currently lives in Seattle. Bottoms up!
This time of year, with its crisp air and the holidays just around the corner, always makes me think of the South of France, and it has me wishing I could be walking the picturesque Christmas market in Aix-en-Provence sipping a cup of vin chaud.
After taking a road trip through this beautiful wine country, my love for France and it’s culture has flourished. There are some wonderful vineyards to visit and wines to taste. You can follow in my footsteps to start on your wine tasting trip through Provence and Southern Rhône.
Le Verger des Papes
First you need to fly into Marseille or to Paris and then take the TGV high speed train to Avignon. It is necessary to rent a car, just be ready for a lot of traffic roundabouts if you have not driven in France before. Visiting these wineries should be broken up into a couple days, which adds to the adventure by staying in the magical cities of Aix-en-Provence and Avignon (or somewhere in the countryside if that is more your speed). It is best to call or message ahead of time to arrange a tasting and tour of the wineries, however some of the wineries listed below are open to the public year round and you can drop in for a taste of their wines.
The Southern Rhône wines are grenache, syrah, cinsault and mourvèdre dominant blends, usually with the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation, which allows up to 15 different grape varieties. Many of the vineyards in Châteauneuf-du-Pape are covered in large stones called galets, or “pudding stones”. The majority of the wine in the Southern Rhône is bottled under the Côtes du Rhône Appellation, which is a step up in quality with 20 villages allowed to add their names to the bottle.
From Avignon it is a 25 minute drive to Domaine de la Solitude, a large and historic estate just outside the town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Château de Beaucastel is a world renowned wine estate. Call ahead to make an appointment, and they are closed on weekends. Their Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge is made of primarily mourvèdre with all permitted grape varieties in the blend. There is also a tasting room, La Cave Famille Perrin, in town that is open to the public (closed Sundays).
Domaine de Cristia is an organic third generation producer. They are one of my favorites with classic Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines.
Next up, continue for 50 minutes to La Verrière.
Call or message La Verrière to arrange a tour and tasting. Their Chêne Bleu wines are organic and you can expect excellent hospitality during your visit. The estate is tucked away up in the mountains bordering the Gigondas Appellation and Côtes-du-Rhône village Sablet.
Provence is known for it’s wonderful rosé, which is delicately colored, crisp and perfect for a leisurely picnic. The Provence rosé is made from grenache, cinsault, tibouren, mourvèdre and syrah grapes. It can only be made in the Saignée method, which involves quick contact with the skins and seeds during the winemaking process.
Fontaine de la Place de la Rotonde in Aix-en-Provence
Chateau Paradis an organic, gravity fed winery that is about 20 minutes north of Aix-en-Provence and produces delicious traditional rosé. It is open Monday through Saturday (closed for lunch).
Aix-en-Provence is a charming and lively city with superb dining and shopping. The Musée Granet, which includes a Paul Cézanne exhibit, is a must see; many of the paintings depict the surrounding countryside. If you are planning a trip in December, indulge in some warm vin chaud while walking in the holiday market, where I fell in love with mulled wine after trying it for the first time. It may sound strange to drink a hot wine beverage, but it is a wonderful treat, especially at a holiday party on a cold evening. The spicy mulled wine fills the air with a festive aroma of clove and cinnamon.
Mulled Wine Recipe:
Traditional Vin Chaud
What you’ll need:
1 bottle of medium bodied French red wine (a simple Côtes du Rhône or Languedoc red blend in the lower price range and lower alcohol range will do)
½ cup sugar plus a touch more depending on tastes
⅛ cup cognac or brandy (optional)
3 Cinnamon sticks
1 Tbs whole cloves
Cheese cloth or large tea ball
Medium size pot
Pour wine into the pot and turn on medium high heat.
Zest half the orange.
Juice the whole orange and stir in along with lemon juice, sugar and brandy.
Add spices and orange zest tied in cheesecloth or tea ball.
Keeping wine below a boil and steep for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
Remove spice bag and turn down to low heat.
Ladle into small coffee cups or wine glasses, serve while warm.
A crockpot on ‘low’ is a great way to keep your vin chaud nice and warm for the evening, but this recipe is probably going to need to be doubled because it goes quick! For an added festive touch you can garnish with thinly sliced orange wheels. Sante!
About the Author: Schuyler Cox is a Native Virginian with a penchant for travel and the finer things in life. A gourmand by nature, Sommelier by training.
For collections small or massive, IWA’s extensive no-brainer wine storage solutions run the full gamut: there is literally no collection on Earth our wine storage Masterminds can’t accommodate! Whether temporary, short-term, or long-term; from self-contained units to systematic organizers; natural temps or power-controlled—we’ve got you (and your wine) covered!
Denotes an IWA Exclusive!
Quick Primer: Wine Storage Basics
Liquid temperature counts, not air temperature.
Ideal storage temp range: 52°F to 58°F. Once chosen, must not fluctuate more than 4°F
Ideal serving temp range: 60°F to 65°F (Whites may go lower.)
Wine stored below 50°F:
Throws sediment in form of tartaric acid crystals, (tasteless grit.)
Freezes between 15°F to 20°F. Cracked bottles obvious, compromised corks aren’t: Sticky corks or wine stains under the capsule are signs of leakage—no way to tell if wine is affected but to open and taste.
Less=Best. Takes considerable time to damage unless near source. NO direct sunlight! (Total darkness ideal for long-term storage.) NOTE: Fridge units not always UV-resistant glass: short-term, not a big deal; long-term, problem.
Place vulnerable units in normally-dark locations, or
Purchase anti-UV film made for windows from home improvement stores.
Aluminum foil also works, but ain’t pretty…
Ideal relative humidity: 60% – 70%.
(Higher not ideal for long-term storage: labels may mold or fall off.)
Wine needs to be kept in an odor-free environment. Don’t store near highly-volatile chemical compounds (solvents, cleaners,) or aromatic foods like onions and garlic. Watch garages and basement pantries or workshops. Some air will always get in via the cork, therefore, odorous molecules can and will get in over a couple years or more. (Don’t fret about weekender paint jobs or few months’ remodeling.)
BOTTLE ORIENTATION Short-term: Upright or horizontal. Long-term: Horizontal. (Some experts say Champagne OK upright or upside-down.) Very old wines: slanted angles that minimize ullage along body OK.
Current debate du jour; but generally None = Best.
THERMOMETER / HYGROMETER (IWA sells them!)
Your fridge/ cellar/ storage area’s best friend.
LED Chilling Tub – 4 bottle cap. Highlight the goods at any party with our glowing, hip, sleek, break-resistant acrylic tub made in Italy. Charge LED light base before inserting into tub; illuminates up to 4 hours. Indoor/ outdoor. Removable/ rechargeable.
Black Ceramic Bucket & Chiller – Our stylish chiller cools a bottle as much as 30˚F – naturally! Simply rinse and, as the water evaporates, it cools your wine. Matching Champagne bucket is available, too.
WINEKEEPER LINE (for open bottles- 4-14 days)
Practical for designated ‘bar’ or service areas and consumed within a few weeks. Three models:
1. Basic Keeper – Uncork free-standing bottles, insert stopper faucet, and serve. Choose disposable Nitrogen or Argon. Quick-connect fittings with multiple faucets protects multiple bottles.
2. Vintner – Display bottles in a handcrafted wooden case. Looks great on the bar while concealing the Nitrogen or Argon gas canister.
3. Monterey – Configurable deluxe model maintains a variety of storage and serving temperature zones (42° F –64° F) to accommodate reds and whites. Wood or metal finish. (Refillable gas cylinders separate.)
45 Bottle Wine Jail
Beautifully displays wine and Champagne: constructed from solid iron, with durable black powdercoat finish. Sliding bolt closure accommodates small padlocks. (Padlocks not included.)
96 Bottle Wine Jail
Same as 45-bottle jail above, but adds versatile racking sized to fit up to 96 individual Champagne bottles plus a metal plaque with your choice of letter initial.
Solid Wood Racks
Durable Bamboo or Pine hardwood 110-Bottle Tasting Rack has 3 ½” openings to fit most Champagnes:
Three brands, three top-most leaders in the category. Bottle capacity ranges shown. All vary in options: sizes, internal configurations, roll v. slide drawers, temp ranges, and finishes. (Highest-end may extend storage):
Don’t forget Bottle Tags! Hang tags from bottlenecks to read details without disturbing.
Custom Wine Cellars And Cabinets
IWA’s Long-Term Storage Solutions – For Life
Why Cellar? Unlike whisky, wine lacks the alcohol to preserve indefinitely. Whenever stored outside ideal ranges, it is subject to greatly-reduced aging time. For example, an age-worthy wine that normally requires 10 years’ aging could degrade in a few months if subjected to a span of 78°F thanks to a fridge malfunction or fluke power outage.
As the environment warms or cools, wine and air in the bottle expand or contract. The only thing that can give? The cork: it either moves slightly, or else some air/wine seeps past it in either direction. Multiple temperature fluctuations cause quite a bit of air to actually replace evaporating wine (thus low fill or ullage seen in older wines; oxidized flavors in others.)
Don’t let your investments prematurely pass their prime! Let the pros tackle your cellaring… IWA highly recommends—it’s simple and free to get started, and you have a say every step of the way.
Don’t Judge: Some people like aged wines for the secondary flavors, and some don’t, preferring primary fruit flavors. Let all guests drink what they enjoy so you can enjoy each other’s company, instead!
About the Author: Sante! Lori Stevens is a former wine magazine food editor who has worked in multiple wineries and traveled throughout many of the world’s wine-producing regions. She currently lives in Seattle. Bottoms up!
Holidays and numbers go together: 12 days of Christmas; 9 reindeer, 8 days of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa is just shy of a week… Whoa! December’s got more one-off holidays than a bowl of mixed nuts: Swedes have St. Lucia Day; Mexicans have Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe; Boxing Day covers Australians, Canadians, English and Irish; the Prophet’s birthday for Islam and Muslim traditions; Omisoka for the Japanese, Saturnalia for Pagans…
I’m not even counting the slew of weird and wacky holidays, such as December 4th, “Wear Brown Shoes Day” or December 8th, “Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day”, lest not we forget “Festivus for the Rest-of-us”, December 23rd. (All true, I swear!)
Point is, that’s a lot of gifts to cover. The good news? More reasons (or excuses) to stock up with great small gifts from IWA! Make this season brighter for everyone on your list and a few new ones: buy in bulk to bust those stockings without breaking the bank! Just don’t wait until December 31, “Make Up Your Mind Day” or the partridge may have already ditched the pear tree… Hurry to IWAwine.com today!
Cork Pops – Simply insert the needle through the cork, press the top, voila! Cork released!
After removal, put corks to work with cork kits to make useful bulletin board or trivet kit. (Pre-assemble on Sunday, December 3, “Make a Gift Day” to give as gifts!) Need more corks? We sell those, too.
If DIY’s not your thing, stash used corks out-of-the-way in decorative, useful, conversation-starter Cork Cages or Cork Catcher Boxes or fill ‘em to gift to a crafty friend instead!
Next you’ll need somewhere to put your wine between sips: Personalized Coasters are made from distressed, naturally-absorbent sandstone. An impressive gift! Order by 12/11.
Convenient Wine-Saving Ideas
Save partial bottles using any of these three cost-effective, minimal-footprint options that work great. (I’ve seen all three at our favorite restaurants and bars.) Vacuvin Gift Set – Vacuum pump extracts air from opened wine bottles and seals them with reusable rubber stoppers.
Vacuum Bottle Stoppers – A sleek combination bottle stopper/ vacuum pump keeps bottles fresh up to 10 days. And the ol’ standby, Private Preserve prevents air from oxidizing opened wine bottles with a quick spray of inert nitrogen. Protects up to 120 bottles.
Fun Dining Combo
Personalized Lazy Susan with Salt & Pepper Shakers! The generous 18” lazy susan is handcrafted of the highest-quality oak with an outer iron rim reminiscent of a wine barrel head. It is personalized with a surname, year, and location. Order by 12/12 – And don’t forget to tack on a set of our whimsical, inexpensive 4” glass salt and pepper shakers shaped like a wine bottle and glass. (Salt and pepper not included—add your own premium picks for a complete gift package!)
The Ultimate Pewter Funnel features a deep mesh screen and 5 soft-launch openings at its base to achieve maximum gentle aeration and sediment removal without bruising. One screen included.
Personalized Wine Carrier of solid wood is beautifully crafted from recycled wood, with metal handles and a center divider to safely transport and display up to 8 bottles of wine. Personalize with anniversaries and special dates. Order by 12/11 (Blow their minds and fill it with their favorite wine or miniature gifts in each slot!)
Coravin Bonus Pack Taste wine from a sealed bottle without pulling the cork or disturbing the wine’s natural aging process. Multiple systems available.
Wine Tasting & Whisky Aroma Kits help above-average fans learn to identify specific aromas most commonly present in wine and whisky. Each kit includes 54 aroma vials, 54 illustrated cards, an instructional book and a beautiful cloth-bound case. (Not a novelty, these are the real deal!)
Now pets can get in on holiday toasts! Dog and Cat Wine is one of those unusual ideas for wine-and-pet-lovers’ pets. Organic beet juice with all-natural, organic ingredients. Each set includes (2) 8 oz. bottles of non-alcoholic dog and cat “wines” to delight felines and canines alike, despite the cute labels.
Sparq Wine Pearls or Whisky Stones – No more embarrassing ice-cube-in-your-drink moments! Simply freeze and pop flavorless stainless steel drops into a glass of wine, bubbly, even a delicate martini! And same goes for the stones: freeze a few hours, and get ready to chill your drink without diluting it.
Then again, if you prefer a little slow and methodical spirit dilution, the Corkcicle Whisky Wedge is an artful way to take the edge off and chill out with a unique design that melts slower than traditional cubes.
Le Creuset Waiter’s Corkscrew – No such thing as ‘too many wine openers’! This patented little number is sure to be a quality gift that will be put to good use by anyone who drinks wine.
Bottle Tags Another staple that almost everyone with a wine fridge or cellar can use! Hang tags i.d. wine bottles without having to constantly shuffle your bottles around to see what they are.
Dress up your gifts with these quirky wine bottle gift tags (available all-season or holiday.) Also, carry them around with you for last-minute gifting emergencies! And for extra-special gifts, (or extra-special wines), use Cork Cage Ornaments as gift tag-décor or holiday décor. Recipients will enjoy saving a special cork and decorating their tree, table settings, or bottles of wine with them. Or gift yourself a set instead! Includes 3 ornaments. Multiple styles available.
(Holy drummers drumming, Santa! That was a full plate o’ holiday treats!)
About the Author: Lori Stevens is a former wine magazine food editor who has worked in multiple wineries and traveled throughout many of the world’s wine-producing regions. She currently lives in Seattle. Bottoms up!
“Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe…” can be downright boring on their own. So spruce up that tree, then spruce up your spread! IWA makes it easy with unique and superior serve ware, trays and platters, plus edibles that transform traditional holiday meals into a rotation of mouthwatering morsels as pleasing to look at as they are to taste… (Now go ahead and enjoy that mistletoe; you’ve earned it!)
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Start the Party Right
Spillage? Bah humbug! Guests won’t have to toggle wine and nibbles all night with our Wine ‘n Dine Party Plates featuring a nook cut into the plate you slip a wine stem right into. Or use your own plates with the handy Stemware Plate Clips of brushed stainless steel. The firm rubber grip protects your plate while holding a wine glass, too.
Say ‘Cheese’: The party staple. But IWA’s got more ways to show off those curds than Clark Griswold’s got Christmas lights!
Perfect presentations start with good foundations:
IWA’s Mini Marble Cheese Boards made from pristine white marble won’t muck up or stink up: perfect to serve individual cheeses too stinky or gooey to share space with neighbors—and clean up in a jiffy.
For smaller, softer cheeses, our fun and quirky Cork Cheese Knives let you attach a stainless steel blade to your favorite wine corks. They’re great for special occasions and make unique gifts. (Corks not included—just like the cheese—we couldn’t possibly pick your favorites for you!)
Bored with boards? Make it melty! IWA has added a gi-normous version of our Boska Fondue Set to our already five-strong lineup. Not just for fondue, these easy-cleanin’ earthenware pots are perfect for serving warm appetizers or desserts, too.
Complement France’s “Holy Trinity of the Table”, (wine, bread, and cheese, silly) with our gourmet Italian Olive Oil & Vinegar: Extra-virgin from Tuscany with Italian barrel-aged IGP balsamic. While you’re at it, buy sets for your favorite guests and add the Personalized Gift Boxes!
And the Piece de Resistance of apps: our all-inclusive Tsar Nicoulai Caviar! This extravagant upgrade to any starter lineup includes delectable Select, Estate, and Reserve caviars exploding with flavor. We even include the Crème Fraiche, fresh Blini, and a Mother of Pearl serving spoon, but you must order no later than 12/15 to guarantee 12/24 arrival.
When the starter course has expired, these terrific additions expand your entertaining repertoire:
Everyone knows our lead-free glass Mini Decanters are good for the grape stuff, but these versatile containers can also be used as visually varied and appealing options for tip-able snacks like nuts, pretzels, Chex mix, and breadsticks. Or pour in the ‘‘sweet’ with our Wine Lover’s Chocolates, specially blended to complement Port, Zinfandel, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet; also Vineyard Sweets Wine Candies made with real wine, including Cabernet Sauvignon, White Merlot and White Zinfandel.
Just like snowflakes, but prettier: our Petrified Wood Platter is made from gorgeous rounds of petrified wood, but each polished slab’s surface features a distinct shape, size, and unique characteristics!
And nothing beats our non-porous and naturally cool Soapstone Serving Slab for serving up cured meats, smoked fish, moist crudités, or buttery bites cooked in puff pastry. Hand-cut from 1-inch thick solid slabs and standing proud on four squat, stable legs, it always rises to the occasion.
Personalized Marble Chillers and Peppermills are a fantastic way to dress up any table! Chillers are made from natural marble that keeps wine or Champagne bottles cool for hours, naturally. The peppermills are made from hardwood shaped like Burgundy or Bordeaux bottles (fancy!) All are laser engraved with your choice of color fill, Chateau or Domaine picture, name and year. Order by 12/11.
And for smaller, intimate groups, have a little interactive fun with Barrel Stave Flight Sets. The scaled-down Wine Carafes or Beer Carafes are presented on an authentic oak barrel stave which add graceful architectural interest to table displays.
While we have you – don’t forget to peruse our extensive collection of superior wine and spirits decanters. They make stunning spreads spectacular, cut down on mess, and coddle your bevys the way they should be.
Hard cheeses go with the broadest varieties of wines.
High-acid cheeses need high-acid wines (i.e. goat cheese with Sauvignon Blanc.)
Matching the regions of your wines with your cheeses usually means complementary flavors.
Blue cheese – least likely wine-friendly pair unless you go dessert. (Avoid Danish blue at all costs!)
About the Author: Slainte! Lori Stevens is a former wine magazine food editor who has worked in multiple wineries and traveled throughout many of the world’s wine-producing regions. She currently lives in Seattle. Bottoms up!
While Jack Frost nips at your nose, you can take the edge off with a little ‘nip’ of your own! IWA offers an extensive selection of classic and beautifying bar essentials and accessories, most of which can be personalized: see catalog for pricing and options. Order by date guarantees delivery by December 24.
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Lift Holiday Spirits
…figuratively and literally whenever you use one of IWA’s absolutely stunning, to-die-for whisky and spirits decanters made of the highest-quality materials by the world’s most recognized and respected brands:
Nachtmann Punk Whisky Set
Schott Zwiesel Hommage Set – If plaid can be an elegant texture, they surely succeeded with this line made from mouth-blown, lead-free titanium crystal. (Set includes 2 glasses and stopper.)
Eisch Circo Decanter – Who needs five golden rings when you’ve got the mother of all Rings? Serve guests from a true work of art made of mouth-blown, lead-free crystal. Includes crystal stopper.
Nachtmann Punk Decanter Set – Thank Central Saint Martin’s Art & Design college in London for these textured asymmetrical patterns bursting with attitude. (Includes matching stopper and 2 tumblers, mouth-blown in Europe from lead-free crystal.) Tumblers also available separately in sets of 2: orange or black crystal.
Tall Orsay Decanter – A classic cylindrical shape made of mouth-blown, lead-free glass from Europe highlights the pure clarity of premium distilled spirits. (Available in 2 sizes, includes fitted glass stopper.) Personalized Orsay Decanter: order by 12/11.
Don’t forget non-purists who appreciate a little fruit or spice with their sumpin’-sumpin’! Literally mix it up in the Schott Zwiesel Tritan Pure Punch Bowl Set. Made in Germany of Titanium-based lead-free crystal, it’s highly resistant to breakage, chipping, and clouding: as clear and beautiful as it is resilient. Set includes dishwasher-safe bowl, 6 tumblers, and ladle.
Glass it Up! IWA’s known for wine glasses galore, but we’ve also got beer, cocktail, and spirits covered to fit any price point—far too many to list, so the elves have highlighted this year’s favorite martini and whiskey designs here:
Riedel Sommeliers Martini Glass
Of course, no holiday gathering is complete without the old standby. Elevate yours to hoity-toity with the Riedel Sommeliers Martini Glass made of mouth-blown, lead-free crystal which features a thinner rim to showcase each tasty sip… Or forego the classic shape and funk it up with the fantastic Nachtmann Punk Martini Glasses for some rip-roaring holiday rebellion instead!
If you rather fancy yourself a fan of delicate, refined sophistication, perhaps you’ll prefer Lucca Stemware: made in Europe of lead-free crystal, each beer, martini, and whiskey glass is encircled with a delicately pantographic-etched scroll design. (Hand wash recommended.)
Intimate gatherings are one thing, but if your crowd leans raucous and rowdy, then you’ll require more practical options. Try the Govino Shatterproof Glasses – sure, everyone knows they’re great for wine, but did you know they have whisky options too? BPA-free PETG: abuse, re-use, eventually recycle. Personalized Govino Glasses: order by 12/11.
Raise the Bar
…with fun, unique, and unusual ideas to entertain or gift favorite people:
Crafthouse Smoking Box Cocktail with Smoke Gun
For starters, every bar needs a comprehensive Bartender’s Bible mixing guide. Then ditch the mismatched, hand-me-down tools for our gorgeous Prohibition-inspired Crafthouse Bar Tool Set. Designed by world-renowned mixologist Charles Joly in collaboration with Fortessa, these barware tools are built for professionals and include a stainless steel jigger, hawthorne strainer with Boston shaker, and solid walnut muddler.
Kick it up another notch by adding three leather bar tools you’ll want to unwrap: a stainless steel Cocktail Shaker, double-walled champagne-friendly Wine Chiller, and stainless steel Hip Flask, all enrobed in gorgeous, genuine leather.
Classic Sodamaker Kit
Why stop there? Create fizzy handcrafted cocktails and spritzers using the retro-cool Classic Sodamaker Kit made from unbreakable BPA-free acrylic and stainless steel mesh.
And for that ‘special Scrooge’ who is impossible-to-buy-for, our dynamic duo of sophisticated flavor-infusers just may jingle their bells after all:
Hands-off: Personalized Oak Barrels gracefully age wine and whisky. Experiment with 3 flavor essences: Kentucky Bourbon, Tennessee Whisky, and Highland Malt Scotch. Order by 12/10.
Hands-on: Charles Joly, (mixologist and superfan of rich, peaty spirits,) is at it again with last year’s best-selling Crafthouse Smoking Box. Try your own hand at smoking ice, glasses, individual ingredients—even entire cocktails! The appealing and intriguing box includes a smoking gun with both Hickory and Apple wood for maximum experimentation.
Save Frosty! Don’t forget to throw in a few cost-effective boxes of freezable Whisky Stones to chill all those fancy drinks without diluting them!
Holiday Sign-off Pairing Tip:
Handcrafted in small batches, our all-natural McReas Tasting Caramels are specially designed to pair with whisky, wine or spirits. Three gift tubes contain 18-20 pieces of each flavor: Deep Chocolate, Classic Vanilla, and Single Malt Scotch.
About the Author: Lori Stevens is a former wine magazine food editor who has worked in multiple wineries and traveled throughout many of the world’s wine-producing regions. She currently lives in Seattle. Bottoms up!
Once stores break out the firewood and chestnut displays, you know holiday season has arrived, and holidays mean travel. So this year, whether you’re going across town or cross-country, let IWA help your liquid assets arrive in-tact and drama-free with friendly solutions for plane, train, and automobile—even that one-horse open sleigh ride to Grandma’s!
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Roving the Party Circuit
Transporting a handful of bottles short distances? Our elves have assembled a number of ‘handy’ options that prevent bottles from rolling around your vehicle and make them a snap to carry: our handmade Leather Wine Bags, luxuriously supple with interior padded dividers that hold one to four bottles; or try the handsome, sturdy, drop-panel Mahogany Totes. Our stylish, durable 2-bottle Leather Wine Tote looks great and holds your wine, or bump up your BYO with our range of wine bags and totes.
For gatherings taking place on boats, in barns, or the outdoors, our triple-walled Corkcicle Canteen is made of food-grade, non-reactive stainless steel won’t affect wine’s flavors—and at 25 ounces, everyone can tread off the beaten path with practically a full bottle to sip for the duration!
Really want to show your appreciation? Make it personal! We promise no one will be offended when you deliver them bottles in our Personalized Gift Boxes, laser-etched with your choice of design or custom message. (Of course, any of our carriers may be gifted with your quaffable goods—just don’t be surprised when your hosts bust out the mistletoe!)
The Long Haul
WineSkin Bottle Travel Bag
Trekking long-distances? IWA’s snow patrol is pleased to provide a slew of terrific wine packers. Never has it been easier to bring your hard-to-find favorites from home (or bring new ones back with you.)
WineSkin leak-proof single-bottle carriers make sneaking a couple 750s into any standard luggage Nice instead of Naughty. They’re affordable, easy to use and secure!
If long drives or train rides are in your future, the cool, sleek-strapped Built NY Cooler Travel Bag of puncture-resistant, leak-proof fabric will keep up to 6 wine bottles chilled for days. The BPA-free, food-safe construction means you can even throw in some snacks for Hanukkah Harry or Santa!
VinGardeValise Wine Luggage
And thankfully, the days when flying offered painfully few vino-friendly options are long gone. Now IWA’s solutions treat your bottles to personal space, temperature consistency, and low-maintenance transport, (more than we can promise you—but at least you’ll be spared excess baggage fees, back strain, and disapproving looks from the FAA):
The Wine Check is an FAA-approved bag on easy-roll wheels with a Styro shipper/carton/ cold pack-combo that stays under the 50-pound checked baggage weight limit, even fully-packed with 12 bottles.
The lightweight-yet-strong, WineKaddy is made of 1/8″-thick aluminum with styrene inserts, a removable telescoping handle, and sturdy roller wheels. (Available in two sizes.)
Connoisseurs and divas alike are drooling over the primo-deluxe VinGardeValise which sports a hard-shell outer case over a high-density foam interior and features corner protectors, safety straps, 360-spinning wheels, a telescoping handle and FAA-approved locks.
Le Creuset Waiters Corkscrew
Has this ever happened to you: You roll into your cozy cabin-in-the-woods, light a fire, and break out a couple favorite bottles to go with your cheese and charcuterie board only to discover there’s no wine opener. Now you’ll never need to push-in or pry-out another pesky cork with a rickety screwdriver or butter knife handle again!
Toss the Le Creuset Waiter’s Corkscrew with its no-nonsense patented 2-step system for smoother, easier cork removal into your bag and keep it there for good!
Don’t forget to save a tiny space in your luggage for our Vacuum Bottle Stoppers! They won’t sneak those partially-drunk bottles of the good stuff back to your room, but they’ll certainly preserve it once it’s there.
And speaking of luggage-friendly convenience, our Wine Bottle Gift Tags are a quick and quirky way to dress up last-minute Thank You gifts for hosts or surprise Secret Santas. Keep a pack in your bag—everyone will appreciate your stylish thoughtfulness.
Last but not least, sentimental folks who love holiday visitors have a knack for breaking out special bottles. IWA makes it extra-easy for you to take the best kinds of trips down Memory Lane with LabelOff Wine Label Removers which remove and laminate labels you can store back home in your very own Tri Fold Leatherette Wine Journal. (Or save the cork instead and stash it in one of our Cork Cage Ornaments to create an enduring whimsical holiday keepsake.)
Remember, traveling with wine doesn’t have to be stressful and utilitarian; IWA makes it a fashionable no-brainer!
Holiday Sign-off Pairing Tip:
Chestnuts, (especially fire-roasted ones) pair well with New World wines, noticeably-oaked wines (or aged in fired-barrels), and varietals that use the descriptor ‘smoky’ in flavor profiles and tasting notes.
About the Author: Lori Stevens is a former wine magazine food editor who has worked in multiple wineries and traveled throughout many of the world’s wine-producing regions. She currently lives in Seattle. Cheers!