General News

February 14, 2011

Finally... Something to Send Your Ex on Valentine's Day

Leper wine.jpg
If you're feeling embittered rather than romantic this year, you might find this tidbit interesting: evidently sending your ex a bottle of wine made by lepers is becoming a trend among jilted Europeans. I LOVE this! You can send a snarky non-valentine and help a leper colony sustain itself. Hmmm... I wonder how we crass Americans might put our spin on this.

Disgruntled lovers are snapping up bottles of one of Europe's most exclusive vintages to send to their ex lovers on Valentine's Day - a secret wine produced entirely by residents of the continent's last leper colony. Hidden for years from the public eye by Romania's former communist regime, the lepers of Tichilesti on the Danube Delta have continued an ancient tradition of wine-making stretching back to the Middle Ages. Now the St Lazarus Leper Wine - named after the patron saint of sufferers of the disease - is being sold world-wide to raise funds for the community and its remaining residents.

The wine was inspired by the late mayor of the colony Cristache Tatulea, who inspired the villagers to become more self sufficient and reach out to the world. "When I arrived there were hundreds of lepers here and it was a desolate place. There were ramshackle wooden huts with mud floors and nothing in the way of any amenities. Together we built proper houses, raised crops to earn extra money for luxuries and restoring the vineyards were a personal project of mine," he explained in his last interview before his death.

Cristache often spent days in the field protecting the vines from birds before leading the harvest of the sweet, red grapes that go to make up the full-bodied wine. Now the wine he produced is available at after his friend David Rogers arranged for it to be sold through shippers in Austria.

via Nothing To Do With Arbroath

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

January 3, 2011

Wine on the Wagon - Vignette wine Country Soda

I don't know about you, but once again I found myself enjoying a fairly gluttonous holiday season. I ate my way through holiday parties and imbibed more than my fair share of holiday cheer. And now that the cold reality of January has set in, I have decided to take a break from the vino--at least for a day. For those of you who are dedicated winos, but are feeling the need for a reprieve, check these out:
Vignette Wine Country Soda is the uniquely refreshing non-alcoholic beverage sweetened only with the juice of California varietal wine grapes. Available in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Rose' varieties, these all-natural beverages are lightly sparkling, not too sweet, and simply delicious.

The Pinot Noir is bright with berries, the Chardonnay is light with subtle fruit, and the Rosé blushes with balanced sweetness. All varieties are sweetened only with varietal wine grape juice from California vineyards.

  • All Natural

  • No Added Sugar

  • Non-Alcoholic

  • 50% Varietal Juice

  • No Added Colors

  • Lightly Carbonated

  • No Preservatives

More info: Wine Country Soda
Buy it:

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

August 23, 2010

Clos Du Val Winery Declares Its Vindependence


I know you're wondering why I'm posting about a piece that was so obviously crafted in July, so I will tell you. For the past 6 weeks I have been up to my eyeballs in moving boxes. Packing them, hauling them and most importantly, unpacking them. I've been a little distracted by all that cardboard and as a result my inbox has been filling up with tasty little tidbits that I've recently been trying to catch up on.

This one strikes my fancy because I just love the message... and the discount is a pretty good incentive too.

When, in the course of events, it becomes necessary to stand up for what you believe in, to bravely swim against the tide, to do what you think is right even if it is contrary to the opinions of others, to not allow yourself to be swayed, bullied or bargained with.
At Clos Du Val, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that our commitment to such principles is at the very foundation of all we do and all we have done since our founding in 1972. That to manipulate these principles in a manner inconsistent with our dedication to balance, elegance and grace would demonstrate a lack of respect for each other, our vineyards and our consumers.
We, therefore, as a winery and as individuals, and in recognition of these principles set forth by our founders nearly four decades ago, on this day in July in the year 2010, declare our independence which, in the spirit of individualism, shall forever more be deemed 'Vindependence.'
To the spirited individuals who share these principles, we ask you to join our revolution and declare your own Vindependence today and, in doing so, you will receive access to exclusive content and giveaways, as well as 15% off any on-line or tasting room purchase through 2010.

I can't honestly remember the last time I had a Clos du Val wine, so I'll have to do my due diligence and get back to you on that one. I do remember the price point being just over our Cheap Fun limit (in the low 20s?) so perhaps I'll save them for a Swanky Wine Friday... nothing wrong with a little budget-friendly swank, right?

Sign the Declaration of Vindependence

Check out Clos du Val Wines

p.s. I signed the declaration just prior to posting this and I already received a discount code to use for the remainder of the year.

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

August 13, 2010

Friday the 13th actress unveils 'Crystal Lake' bottle tonight at the winery

fri13th wine.jpg

If you are a wine loving fan of Friday the 13th, you should check out Crystal Lake Wines, a private label offering from Valley View Winery in Oregon. And enjoy this piece, courtesy of the Mail Tribune:

The original Final Girl pulled a mauled and blood-caked hockey mask from an old box Thursday and proudly displayed it in Valley View Winery's otherwise cheery tasting room.

Adrienne King, the star of the first cult classic, placed the mask beside her artwork, which features eerie snapshots of her character just before a young Jason Voorhees tears out of Crystal Lake and drags her under the surface during the film's final sequence.

The horror of Crystal Lake has returned once again -- on a bottle of high-end wine.

"This combines all my passions," King said. "My acting, my artwork and wine."

King is promoting Crystal Lake wine, named after the spot where Jason slaughtered armies of sex-obsessed teenagers for three decades.

Valley View Winery will host a showing of the original "Friday the 13th" tonight -- which just so happens to be Friday the 13th -- to celebrate the new vintage and the 30th anniversary of the film's release. A showing of the slasher classic will accompany a fan meet-and-greet with King. The proceeds will benefit Applegate Valley Fire District 9.

Crystal Lake wine sells for $20 a bottle and includes a personalized autograph with each bottle.

by Chris Conrad. Copy and Image via Mail Tribune. Read the full article here.

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

August 6, 2010

Swanky NYC Restaurant Replaces Their Wine List with an iPad


Well, this is just another reason why I love New York. This already-swanky spot ups its cool factor with iPad wine lists... Check it out. From Chip Chick:

Looking for a cool way to dine in NYC - especially during restaurant week? Well the South Gate restaurant is the first New York City restaurant to launch custom designed iPad wine tablets. The iPad is now being offered as a way for customers to navigate South Gate's extensive wine list of over 650 bottles. Their new iPad "wine tablet" provides customers with detailed information about the major wine regions and varietals, and it also automatically updates the wine list as labels sell out, so that the inventory is always accurate. South Gates' sommelier will use the iPad "to educate patrons on over 650 bottle wines available or invite guests to instantly access the information themselves from the iPad's fully customizable SmartCellar application with the touch of a finger." If you ask us, with the iPad doing all of this work now, who needs the sommelier? But anyway, yes folks, it's happened! Get ready to get wasted, courtesy of your iPad.

via Chip Chick

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

January 6, 2010

USB Wine Cork - Cheap Fun Wine Data on the Go


The Cork USB Memory looks exactly like a wine cork but conceals a whopping 2 gigabytes of memory under its realistic shell. Built using the USB 2.0 standard, this flash memory stick will cost you 4,750 yen ($52) here. We love the styling, but we also love the feel of cork anyways - so this one's a winner.

Via DVICE at Wine Cork USB Memory Stick

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November 30, 2009

Cyber Monday - The Reader's Digest Version

All you really want to know is where to get the best wine, the best deals on wine and the coolest wine gifts, right? Well, we're here to weed though the Cyber Monday email mess for you... and to give you our our two-cents as to the best deals of the day.
One of my favorites for overall wine quality and price points. They have a limited inventory that is constantly changing, but it is all good and mostly in our $20 or under/bottle price range. You'll notice they offer the most choices today... not just your basic CyberMonday shipping offers:

Save 15% off Gift Baskets! Use Coupon Code: MWGBCM09

CyberMonday Blowout Dozen - All Red pack: 12 Red Wines for $99! Regularly priced at $180, you save $80. With our everyday $0 Shipping, this amazing value cannot be beat.

CyberMonday Blowout- Mixed: 4 Reds, 2 Whites for $69, plus $0 Shipping

CyberMonday Blowout - Whites: 6 Whites for $69, plus $0 Shipping

Today only 1 cent shipping on $49 or more. Enter code cybermon in cart.
This is a great site that offers an interesting deal of the day, assistance with wine selection based on your personal tastes and some really cool gift ideas.
FREE SHIPPING on all orders today

we_logo.jpgWine Enthusiast
If you're looking for a wine accessory, chances are you'll find it at Wine Enthusiast. I've picked a few of my favorites that are on sale today, but do yourself a favor and check out the rest of the list. From bottle stoppers and t-shirts, to glasses and wine refrigerators, there is bound to be something for someone on your list... and at a hefty discount until 11:59 (ET) tonight.

33% off Nuance Wine Finer

50% off Weekend Wine Bag

37% off Wine Essence Kit

Happy Shopping!!
Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

November 7, 2009

Wine Tasting Coming Soon at

wine tasting.jpg

That's right - it's coming soon and you'll be able to join us for wine cool will that be?

Stay tuned...

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April 16, 2009

Drink, Reuse, Recycle. Repeat...


The number of empty wine bottles we produce in my small household is obscene. So I am constantly looking for new ways to reuse our bottles, corks and other vinous waste. In honor of Earth Day, I'll be spending the next week sharing some cool ideas and products that will make use of our tasting trash... And I suppose I'll sample a few organic and biodynamically farmed wines. Feel free to chime in if you find a good one too.

Photo of the Earth taken from Apollo 17 from Wikipedia

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

November 24, 2008

Volute Wine - Premium, Portable Vino

medianl.jpgFinally! A picnic wine that you can actually take to the park or the beach or an outdoor concert venue -- or just about anywhere you CAN'T take a glass wine bottle. Super convenient and dare I say, super cute, Volute wines might be the best thing to happen to tailgating.

We source our wine from small, independent Bordeaux wineries that posses the same values and views as we do. Our wineries also believe passionately about - and employ - green practices, and do not use any artificial additives.

Not sure yet if they live up to their story, but I just received a bottle of each, so I'll expound once I've popped the tops.

In the meantime, check out Volute Premium Portable Wines

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

October 26, 2008

My Kind of Chemistry - Washington State Periodic Table of Wines

substancewines1.jpgIn a clever twist on the periodic table of elements, Wines of Substance from Walla Walla, Washington have caught my eye. They offer an interesting menu of varietals--and they teach you a little something about each on their site. It doesn't hurt that the concept, the website and the packaging are fresh and fun.

There is something infinitely elemental about wine... winemaking is chemistry after all... and I just love a periodic table I can actually remember.

Prices are in the $14 - $18 range. Stay tuned for more info about how they taste and where to buy.

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

September 30, 2008

Missing Wine Writer Found in Sleepy Florida Town

My apologies for going AWOL these past few weeks. I left town rather suddenly due to a death in my family and though I have been out of touch, and trapped in the cocoon that surrounds a grieving family, wine was on my mind quite a bit during this hiatus. So before we resume our Back-to-Wine-School lesson plan, I would like to share with you why.

You see, the person I lost was the first to introduce me (at the tender age of 12) to the world of wine and its unlimited fascinations. By all accounts he was rather snobbish and old fashioned with regard to wine, and until very recently maintained the opinion that a decent bottle could not be had for under $20. He relished the idea of wine as a luxury item and thinking of it as such increased his enjoyment. This was only one of many of our differing philosophies.

So I was surprised--no, shocked--to learn that earlier this year, he decided to make his own wine. And not at some hoity-toity wine estate, but at local place, a store-front, no less, where he made wine with a group of strangers over the course of a few months. And I was honored to have been asked to bottle and label his wine.


And that is how I came to find Vines to Wines, one of many micro-wineries cropping up in cities and towns across the country. This one is smaller than I imagined, but I think just the right size for the Village of Wellington, Florida. I only participated in the bottling part of the process, but I'll try to give you a brief run down of what you get for your money.

The first step, of course, is to choose your wine. They have an interesting list of regional varietals--Washington pinot gris, Stag's Leap merlot, Argentine malbec, South African pinotage, to name a few. The juice arrives, already pressed, in bags. Some of the reds, such as the malbec and pinotage, are bagged with the skins, which in theory adds more depth and interest to the finished wine.

After you choose your varietal, you are partnered with someone who chose the same. You collaborate through the fermentation stage and, depending on the varietal, you share a barrique for several weeks. In the meantime, you choose your desired bottle shape--or you bring your own recycled bottles if you're feeling green--and you decide on a label. They have pre-designed versions that you can customize, or if you prefer, you may create your own original art.

Much to my surprise and delight, I handled the malbec. After fermentation and a little time in the barrique, I arrived to work the bottling machine. The bottling process was pretty basic. You place six bottles on a machine (two at a time) that is pre-calibrated for your bottle type and the bottles are filled automatically. Once your wine is bottled, you are instructed on the finer points of the corking contraption.

A little elbow grease and a steady hand will see you through corking and then you choose a capsule color and style for your wine. After that, you affix your label and are sent home with 30 bottles and strict guidelines on how to store them and when to enjoy them.

Though my experience was limited, I can tell you that Vines to Wines does quite a bit of repeat business. They have a lot of corporate customers who brand the bottles and distribute them as gifts, as well as wine-loving families who keep coming back to try new varietals. Many of them say you just can't find anything better in the $8-$12/bottle range.

If you live in the West Palm Beach/Wellington area, you should check it out. Ask for Molly or Danny.

12020 Southshore Blvd
Suite #400
Wellington, FL 33414
561.792.6922 (p)

Tues, Wed, Thurs Noon - 7pm
Fridays 3pm - 9pm
Sat. 11am - 6pm

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

August 27, 2008

Drip Ruff - Renaissance Fashion Meets Function for Your Bottle

dripruff2.jpgI first saw this drip catcher on NOTCOT, but the following is excerpted from Red Dot Design Awards:

Drip Ruff's design is based on a honeycomb structure that is shaped into a 360-degree ring. It is made entirely from Indian paper - an absorbent material normally used in traditional Chinese painting. The folding method used in its construction provides the elasticity required to "grip" the neck of a bottle. Drip Ruff is disposable after use, and the paper used is recyclable, which makes it environmentally friendly, hygienic and convenient to use.

Obviously depending on price and availability, these could be really nifty to have on hand when you are hosting a dinner party or wine tasting and lots paws will be handling your bottles. Of course, if you're looking for a re-usable alternative check out this Drip Stop Ring

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

June 26, 2008

Have Wine Will Travel - Gallo's New Wine Purse

While it is certainly a novel idea, I'm not sure the wine handbag (or wine in a box that looks like a handbag) is the wave of the future. A little too kitchy for my taste--though I am a rose fanatic--and I'm sure I would not settle on White Grenache as my rose of choice. A resounding, YIKES! But check it out for yourselves:

gallo_handbag_2.jpgThis package won best design and packaging prize at the 2008 Drink Business awards, for its clutch-style handbag box. Now perhaps I am just not the right kind of woman, but I found the strapline "White Grenache - loved by women almost as much as they love their handbags", a tad condescending. "Appealing directly to the rosé wine consumer" - does the love of rosé equal a love of handbags? Apparently so; according to Tesco, where it is being sold, the package has been "incredibly successful". Posted on TheDieline by Natasha Chetiyawardana

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

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