We’ve mastered iPhone food photography. But wine photos? Let’s face it, those iPhone snaps of a wine bottle on a cluttered kitchen counter could use some love. Here are five items to make your next wine photo a little more instaworthy.
1. Twist Decanter
Aside from making wine look good, decanters go a long way in taking the edge off of a young (or cheap) bottle of wine, rounding out its flavors. Uncommon Goods’ twist decanter is mesmerizing to watch and photograph. As you pour wine into the decanter, it is aerated in a spiraling cascade.
2. Gravity-Defying Wine Stand
If decanters seem a bit formal for your wine consumption, a gravity-defying wine stand is a fun way to showcase special bottles. There are quite a few different versions to choose from — we like this illusion bamboo wine bottle holder from Apollo Box. You can even attempt to make your own stand (but be sure to test it out with some cheap bottles first!).
Illusion Bamboo Wine Bottle Holder – Photo Credit: Apollo Box
3. Statement Wine Towels
Set the stage (and catch the inevitable wine spills) with some photoworthy accessories. These statement-making towels and coasters from Wine Winks add personality to any setting.
4. Sophisticated-Yet-Simple Glassware
. Do justice to your cellared bottles with drinkware worthy of the wine. We love the beautiful simplicity of Riedel‘s swirl glasses. The stemless shape makes them low-key enough for everyday usage. The unique indent is both photogenic and functional, making the glass easier to grip.
5. Stylish Serving Trays
To complete your instaworthy scene, think about where the wine will be served. There’s no need to buy new furniture — all it takes is a beautiful serving platter. This gilded mirror tray from West Elm takes your wine from kitchen counter to bar service in seconds.
Have a favorite instaworthy wine accessory? Share it with us in the comments!
Ayesha Curry has multiple restaurants, a meal delivery service, a cookbook, and even a kitchenware line. When she announced the launch of a new wine, Domaine Curry FEMME31 Cabernet Sauvignon, it just made sense. What better way to wash down all that grilled meat at International Smoke than a bold, powerful Cabernet Sauvignon?
In an inaugural Instagram post, Ayesha describes the wine as “beautifully balanced.” While the wine is ready to drink now, it can also be aged for five years.
While details are still limited, we do know that the wine is made in collaboration with Sydel Curry, Ayesha’s sister-in-law. The trademark was filed by Coup de Foudre LLC, which is a Napa Valley winery known for its Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s likely this wine was made in collaboration with Coup de Foudre.
We’ll continue to share out details as we obtain them.
Jay-Z brought us Ace of Spades. Now, 50 Cent is betting the world could use another opulently-encased Champagne with the launch of Le Chemin du Roi.
While details are still limited, it’s clear Le Chemin du Roi will be a luxury Champagne. Its Instagram account @lecheminduroi states, “We take great pride in delivering a flawless taste of victory with a 14 karat rose gold-plated cross of the king on every bottle.” With gold encrusting every bottle, the wine is bound to command an ultra-premium price point.
Le Chemin du Roi is bottled by Champagne Castelnau, a cooperative of growers across 900 hectares in Reims, France. Le Chemin du Roi is likely blended into a cuvée from press houses within this cooperative. It is then aged for 4 years.
At launch, the focus has been less on tasting notes, and more on the mindset of Le Chemin du Roi. Le Chemin du Roi is French for “The King’s Path”, and its mantra is centered around success. 50 Cent’s Instagram feed states that the Champagne is “for winners only” and that it is “the new wave”.
50 Cent’s new wine will be distributed by Southern Wine & Spirits. We’ll be sure to share additional details as they become available.
Does wine tasting and sheep shearing in New Zealand sound exciting to you? How about tango lessons, an authentic dinner, and local wines in Argentina? Airbnb offers over 5,000 experiences granting travelers inside access to destinations across the world. If you’re a wine lover seeking new adventures, here are some of the most exciting Airbnb Experiences with wine:
Blend Your Own Bottle of Wine
The winemaker of Kason Vineyards will walk you through a tasting of eight Estate-produced wines (including Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris) on a scenic patio overlooking Oregon wine country. Then, you’ll visit the barrel room to taste more wines and blend your own bottle to take home.
This is a truly exclusive experience — your host is none other than the current owner of SF restaurants Beretta, Lolinda, Delarosa, & Starbelly. She’ll guide you on a tour of Goatlandia Farms to harvest the ingredients for a truly farm-to-table meal (and meet the goats). Then, you’ll receive a cooking class to turn these ingredients into a four-course meal paired with local wines. This is a social impact experience where 100% of proceeds go to Goatlandia Farm Animal Sanctuary. Goatlandia is a home for abused and neglected farm animals. Their mission is to foster animal appreciation by providing an opportunity for people to meet and interact with the animals.
Chianti Wine Jeep Safari & Buffet Lunch
A local winemaker, sommelier, and farm owner will introduce you to the local lifestyle of Chianti. You’ll start with a journey through the rolling Tuscan countryside aboard a vintage Jeep. Next, learn about the Chianti winemaking and aging process in the family’s historic 18th-century cellars. Finally, taste Chianti Classico and Supertuscan paired with typical local food: bruschette, local cheese, cold cuts and housemade extra virgin olive oil. As an added perk, those looking to extend their visit can stay in one of the estate’s rustic country farmhouse apartments.
Be On a Wine Podcast
Star in a live version of the Spanish Wine Experience podcast. Hosts Duke and Roque will take you through 4 regional wines paired with tapas in two of their favorite bars. You’ll start with some Spanish bubbles, move to an eccentric white, and then finish with a tasting of 2 lesser known reds. They’ll bring their mic to catch some moments for their weekly podcast.
Wombats & Wineries
This experience wraps a number of Australian specialties into one trip: wine, wombats, and delicious local eats. The tour begins at Healesville Sanctuary to meet Wombats, Tassie Devils, Emus, and more. After a wood-fired pizza lunch, it’s on to wine tasting. This includes sparkling wines at the renowned Domaine Chandon, and scenic vistas and Syrah at Oakridge Wines. You’ll top off the trip with a sampling of chocolates and ice cream from a local creamery.
Let the Winemaker Be Your Guide
Queenstown, New Zealand
If a regular tour guide won’t cut it, you can now have a winemaker be your guide. A local winemaker will take you behind the scenes to see how wine is made at exclusive boutique wineries in the Queenstown area. Taste over 20 Central Otago wines, sample wines straight from the barrel, and even try your hand at some vineyard practices. You’ll also enjoy lunch in the Gibbston Valley paired with more local wines.
If constant wine tasting has you feeling sluggish, get the blood pumping again with a hike and rosé. A professional hiking guide will lead you up the Massif de l’Estérel. At the summit, you’ll enjoy a picturesque sunset overlooking the sea with the local specialty, rosé de pays. This is a social impact experience where 100% of what you pay goes to Rando d’Azur. Rando d’Azur is an association promoting outdoor activities for all, including nordic walking, tasty hikes, and childrens’ activities.
Wine on the Waves
Cruise along the Barcelona coastline with a glass of wine (or three) in hand. On this sailboat wine tasting, you’ll journey through Catalan Cava, reds, whites, and rosés. A local wine expert will share stories of the region through tales passed down for generations.
Wine & Sheep Shearing
Queenstown, New Zealand
This experience fuses wine with a unique taste of Maori culture. You’ll taste through 16-20 wines, enjoy scenic vineyard vistas, and see live performances of traditional Maori dances. After the tastings, you’ll have the chance to complete the experience with a pit stop for sheep shearing.
Wine & Tango
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Twirl, swirl, and sip. This experience brings you a tango lesson followed by an authentic Argentinian dinner, replete with local meat and wines. Immerse yourself in Argentinian history, culture, and cuisine in a “porteña” house.
While they are vastly different, there’s one thing in common amongst all of the Airbnb Experiences: they offer tremendous value. Particularly when it comes to wine tourism, the cost of just a few drinks will buy you a full experience led by a local. Check out the full range of Airbnb experiences here.
Wine and charity are nothing new. But what if we don’t have thousands of dollars for a wine auction bid? Or, we want more than 10% of each bottle to go to charity? After last year’s wildfires, NakedWines.com launched an innovative kickstarter-meets-wine fundraiser that rapidly raised and mobilized $800,000 for wildfire relief. Now, the community has already benefited tremendously, with emergency financial aid, food for low-income families, and even a school reopening. Here’s closer look at (and taste of) the results.
Tracing the Impact of a Bottle
The NakedWines.com crowdfunding campaign was able to quickly make a positive impact by preselling wine, rather than having to wait for blending and bottling. An affordable $20 ask for three bottles of wine made deciding to donate easy. At that price point, many felt compelled to add larger side donations along the way. Ultimately, 100% of proceeds will be deployed towards wildfire relief. By the numbers:
$500,000 helped reopen The Anova School, a non-profit for children living with autism in Santa Rosa. The Anova School burned down during the wildfires, but now has class back in session at a temporary location with the support of the NakedWines.com donation. Proceeds went to purchasing servers, computers, desks, chairs, and even musical instruments
$150,000 provided food, supplies, and cash assistance for low-income families and farmworkers, via the Napa Valley Community Foundation, Community Foundation Sonoma County, and Latino Community Foundation. The Latino community was particularly hard hit by the wildfires. Their Fire Relief Fund spread donations and support across three organizations in the North Bay Area — The North Bay Organizing Project in Santa Rosa, La Luz Center in Sonoma and UpValley Family Center in Calistoga. These organizations provide resources for the farmworker community, which is the backbone of the wine industry.
The remaining funds are in the process of being deployed by summer 2018.
Of course, let’s not forget wine: the spark that started the outpouring of donations. The completely sold-out Cellar Crew Red Blend is truly one of a kind. It was made by the “Cellar Crew Cru”, the team behind every grape processing, fermentation, and blending at nakedwines.com. The team saw an opportunity to use their inside knowledge of each lot for a good cause.
The resulting Texas-California wine combines lots from each state at peak condition for blending into an innovative “Wine of America”-appellated blend. It’s 18% Texas Mourvedre, bringing ripe, dark fruit, 50% Lodi Shiraz and Merlot, for rich texture and tannin, and the remaining from the Sierra Foothills, El Dorado, and Sonoma for added complexity.
On the nose, the Cellar Cru American Red Blend offers a lively burst of bright red raspberry, plum, blackberry, and toasty oak. This is underscored by warm, toasty baking spices. On the palate, bold, juicy flavor is tempered by subtly textured tannins. Its medium body and acidity make this the perfect companion to barbecued meats, pulled pork, or even a Greek-style roast lamb with kalamata olives.
Missed out on the Cellar Cru American Red Blend? At this point, the wine is completely sold out, with the remaining bottles given to NakedWines.com Angels in thanks for their overwhelming generosity. However, the Cellar Cru team and NakedWines.com are blown away by the tremendous support from the community, and are determined to continue giving back. Stay tuned to catch the next Cellar Cru endeavor in 2018.
BottleRock proved that the bucolic Napa Valley could also be home to a wildly successful music festival. Now, its producers hope to give Sonoma a fest of its own. BottleRock Presents will launch the first Sonoma Harvest Music Festival at BR Cohn Winery from September 22-23, 2018.
While BottleRock and Sonoma Harvest Music Festival have the same producers, the experiences they offer are entirely distinct. Here are some of the key differences:
Sonoma Harvest Music Festival
Total attendees: 3,000
The vibe: A small, intimate “private party without the usual crowds.” The festival promises a stage within clear view for all guests.
The music: Ten indie and folk rock acts. The festival’s headliners will be the Avett Brothers on Saturday, September 22, and The Head and the Heart on Sunday, September 23.
The wine: Exclusively B.R. Cohn wines. Primarily small-lot Cabernet Sauvignon, along with some Petit Syrah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Malbec. Don’t expect sparkling wine or a wide range of white wines.
The food: Fresh, farm-to-table cuisine from five of the top names in Sonoma, including The Girl and The Fig, Glen Ellen Star. Zazu Kitchen + Farm, and Sonoma Mission Inn.
Ticket price: Two-day passes are $235 for general admission resale ($255 thereafter while supplies last), $500 VIP, and $1200 for a Platinum pass
Traffic forecast: Decent
BottleRock Napa Valley
Total attendees: 120,000 (that’s 40X the Sonoma Harvest Music Festival!)
The vibe: Action-packed and crowded. There are four stages with performances occurring simultaneously, along with a culinary stage, silent disco, art exhibits, and even spa stations for those who need to detox mid-fest.
The music: Over 80 of the world’s top artists and emerging stars. This year’s lineup includes Bruno Mars, Snoop Dogg, The Killers, Muse, The Chainsmokers and more.
The wine: Over 20 of Napa’s top wineries, including Silver Oak, Schramsberg, Stag’s Leap, Rombauer, Domaine Chandon, and The Prisoner. Enjoy a huge range of wines, from buttery Chardonnay to rich, brooding Cabernets.
The food: A wide selection of global cuisine from over 35 Napa restaurants, including Bouchon Bakery, Oenotri, Mustards Grill, and Morimoto.
Ticket price: (currently sold out, tickets available secondhand only) Three-day passes are $349 General Admission, $749 VIP, $1500 Skydeck, or $3900 Platinum Pass
Traffic forecast: Expect extreme delays
Ultimately, Sonoma Harvest Music Festival and BottleRock Napa Valley are drastically different. Each experience reflects the unique nuances of its location — Sonoma as a more local, intimate wine region, and Napa as a more travelled wine region catering to visitors from around the world. BottleRock Presents has a great track record of managing large-scale events, so we expect this one to sell out rapidly and see great success.
All too often, wine and food pairings rely on indulgent, unhealthy dishes. This Creamy Tahini, Avocado, and Parmesan Kale Salad with Chardonnay is part of a series sharing how to pair healthy, plant-based, and even vegetarian dishes with wine.
Our first set of recipes works with a staple dish for the health-conscious that’s rarely seen with wine: kale salad. This particular recipe shows how kale salad can pair with New World Chardonnay.
Old World Chardonnay’s lean profile and crisp acidity help it stand up to any salad. But lush, creamy New World Chardonnay can be overpowered by tangy vinaigrettes or bitter kale. Fortunately, it only takes a few “bridge” ingredients to marry crunchy kale to a smooth, creamy Chardonnay. The primary rule: Add ingredients with a high fat content and mild flavor to help this crucifer meld with the soft aromatics and rich mouthfeel of the wine.
In this salad, the bridge ingredients are ripe avocado, parmesan, and smooth tahini dressing. The fats take the bitter edge off the kale salad, giving it richness and a more mild flavor. Plus, the fruity, nutty flavors added by the parmesan play nicely with fruit-forward California Chardonnay. You can also add a light protein, like chicken or tofu.
We made a few modifications to the tahini dressing to help it pair better with the wine. Tahini dressing normally contains garlic. We omitted this to avoid overpowering the more nuanced Chardonnay. We also reduced the amount of lemon juice, as California Chardonnay is riper and less acidic than its Old World cousins.
Tip: Pick lacinato kale specifically for a New World Chardonnay pairing. It has a slightly milder flavor and is less fibrous than curly kale.
Creamy Tahini, Avocado, and Parmesan Kale Salad Paired with Chardonnay
5 leaves lacinato kale, washed, ribs removed, and thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup parmesan
2 tbsp slivered almonds
Optional: sliced chicken or tofu.
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
For the dressing, combine tahini, lime juice, water, and sea salt.
Toss dressing with kale. Top with avocado, parmesan, and almonds. Add chicken or tofu if desired.
All too often, wine and food pairings are reliant upon rich, indulgent ingredients. So, The Wine Daily is starting a series sharing ways to pair wine with ingredients and dishes that are actually healthy.
First up: kale salad. This cruciferous veggie has many wine lovers daunted due to its bitter flavor — especially in its raw form. So, we’re creating four easy, healthy recipes showing how to pair kale salad with your favorite wines.
Our first recipe tackles the challenge of pairing kale with red wine. Appetizer and salad courses are usually dominated by white and sparkling wines, but there’s no reason for red wine lovers to stick to convention.
Salads can be adopted to pair with red wine with just a few “bridge” ingredients. For kale salad, the “bridge” to red wine is a hearty or meaty element, such as mushrooms or bacon. Our solution is this Crimini Mushroom Kale Salad with Aged Balsamic Vinaigrette, which pairs easily with Pinot Noir.
The ingredients: Crimini mushrooms are sautéed in aged balsamic to tenderize and bring out a slightly sweet, almost caramelized note. The mushrooms’ meaty, umami flavor nicely compliments the earthy Pinot Noir. Note that aged balsamic is key, as it has a milder, less astringent flavor than young balsamic. Similarly, we lightly sautéed the tomatoes to temper their flavors and match the warmth of the Pinot Noir. We also recommend lacinato kale specifically for a red wine pairing, as it has a slightly milder flavor and is less fibrous than its curly kale cousin.
The dressing: Pinot Noir and other red wines are less acidic than the crisp, dry whites normally paired with salad. For salad dressing not to overpower the Pinot Noir, it simply needs to be less acidic. Ensure the amount of oil is greater than or equal to the amount of acid in the dressing. In this recipe, we recommend a 1:1 ratio between extra virgin olive oil and the balsamic reduction.
Crimini Mushroom Kale Salad & Aged Balsamic Vinaigrette Paired with Pinot Noir
8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
6 oz cherry tomatoes, sliced
3 tbsp aged balsamic
1/4 c gorgonzola
1 bunch lacinato kale, washed and thinly sliced
Sea salt to taste
Optional: sliced chicken or bacon
In a small saucepan, simmer mushrooms and balsamic on stove on low heat until tender, 8-10 minutes. Add in tomatoes and simmer for 4 more minutes or until the skins are are wrinkled but have not lost their entire form.
Remove mushroom-tomato mixture from heat and drain the liquid into a small bowl. This will form the basis of your vinaigrette. Add an amount of olive oil that is equal to the amount of liquid in the reduction. Season sea salt to taste.
Toss dressing with kale and top with mushrooms, tomatoes, and Gorgonzola. Optional: add chicken if desired.
We have A.M. coffee, and P.M. wine. But when is the time for coffee-infused wine? For the first time, Apothic is fusing wine and cold brew coffee into one bottle, Apothic Brew.
Bear in mind this is no strong cuppa joe. Apothic Brew has “less caffeine than a standard cup of decaf”, which is only about 10 milligrams. On the flip side, low caffeine content makes Apothic Brew a wine one can enjoy even at night.
The inspiration? After seeing demand for cold brew coffee jump 430% in the US between 2015-2017, Apothic wanted in. Winemaker Deb Juergenson started to experiment with blends that seamlessly married coffee and wine.
The final blend incorporates the dark fruit elements of red wine with the smooth chocolate flavors of cold brew. Apothic Brew can be served at room temperature, or lightly chilled if you want to enhance its cold brew nature.
Apothic appears to be the first of its kind in the coffee-infused wine space. A few brands have experimented with steeping coffee grounds in wine, but the result is non-alcoholic. For example, Molinari Private Reserve and Uncommon Goods both carry wine-infused coffee grounds.
Apothic Brew will be available in limited quantities starting April 1st. To find Apothic Brew near you, simply visit apothic.com/wines/brew.
Still longing for your invite to Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s royal wedding? While you might not be one of the lucky guests, you can still enjoy a taste of the wedding with a glass of Chapel Down.
Via Food & Wine, rumor has it that Chapel Down will be the wine of choice at Prince Harry and Megan’s royal nuptials. This English wine was also served at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011 as well as a recent Kensington Palace event hosted by Prince Harry.
Since its start in 2001, Chapel Down Winery built its name on sparkling wines grown in Kent. Kent is one of England’s prime wine growing regions. It boasts the same chalky, limestone-rich soil as Champagne, creating the perfect growing conditions for sparkling wine. Now, as interest in English wines grows, Chapel Down Winery is rapidly becoming an industry leader.
The winery is also seeing growing success with emerging varietals. In particular, a white wine made from the Bacchus grape is being touted as “England’s answer to Sauvignon Blanc”. Bacchus is a hybrid of of Riesling, Sylvaner, and Muller Thurgau, and boasts the same tropical aromatics and crisp acidity as Sauvignon Blanc. Additionally, their Union Red is a blend of Pinot Noir, Regent, Rondo, and early Pinot Noir.
Now, onto the real question. How can one obtain Chapel Down wines? The brand is readily available in the U.K., but not in the U.S.
For U.S. residents, online seems to be the key. We were able to find two Chapel Down sparkling wines on wine.com: the non-vintage Brut Classic ($45) and the non-vintage Brut Rosé ($53). To note, this is a significant markup from the cost of buying the wine in the U.K., where the Brut Classic is just £23 per bottle ($32). You can also order the wines directly from ChapelDown.com. However, their website states that there will be a significant shipping cost.
Tip: U.K. residents, stock up now. Prices are bound to rise again as Chapel Down continues to grace more royal tables. Prices have already risen compared to just two months ago, when Food & Wine cited a price of under $18 per bottle.
We’ll be keeping an eye out for Chapel Down when Prince Harry and Megan Markle tie the knot.
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