Winston's Wisdoms - A Blog
Where Our Passion for Wine & Accessories Is Shared
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About Winston's Wisdoms
Winston, the endearingly drawn gent you see raising his glass, has been the Wine Enthusiast logo for nearly 30 years—and the symbol of unsurpassed expertise in wine accessories and storage.

Winston's Wisdoms Blog is the place where our experts share their knowledge and answer some of the most commonly asked wine-related questions. It's the place where you can ask questions and share insights from your own wine experience. We welcome your feedback and invite you to offer your wisdoms to wine lovers everywhere!

Wine Wisdoms #5: The Pivotal Judgment of Paris 1976

Monday, November 17th, 2008 at 12:11:41 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Judgment of Paris BookThe Judgment of Paris was a pivotal moment in the history of California wines. In May 1976, a British wine merchant arranged a blind tasting of French and California wines (Cabernet vs. Classified Bordeaux and Chardonnay vs. top White Burgundies) to be judged by France’s foremost wine industry experts. The results launched California wines onto the world stage as Stag’s Leap Cask 23 was chosen the top red over, Mouton-Rothschild, Haut Brion, Montrose and others and Chateau Montelena Chardonnay was the number one white ahead of Batard-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles, Beaune Clos des Mouches and others. The Judgment of Paris was also the focus of the feature film “Bottle  Shock,” which released this Fall.

Read more about California wines at Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s West Coast editor Steve Heimoff’s blog, UnReserved

Wine Wisdoms #4: Oxygen, Your Friend and Enemy

Friday, November 14th, 2008 at 3:51:35 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies


In the world of wine, oxygen is both your friend and your enemy. Wines are decanted or aerated so that friendly oxygen can slip into your wine in small doses. The oxygen, in effect, allows your wine to breathe and release newly developed aromas and flavors.

Oxygen is your enemy when you let an open bottle of wine sit on the counter and heavy doses of oxygen attack the wine, stripping it of its essences. Everything in moderation.

Find oxygen-related tools like decanters, aerators and preservation tools at 

Wine Wisdoms #3: What is a Meritage?

Thursday, November 13th, 2008 at 3:39:46 PM
by Josh F., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Opus OneThe term “Meritage” is a combining of the words Medoc and Heritage. It refers to American (mostly California) wines that are a blend of Bordeaux grape varieties, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, for red wine. To use the term on a wine label, wineries must license it from the Meritage Association and adhere to guidelines such as: it must be produced in quantities not exceeding 25,000 cases in a vintage and it must be one of the two most expensive wines that a winery produces. Before the term was coined many wineries created their own proprietary names for their meritage style wines and many of those names still remain. Some of the more famous names are; Dominus, Insignia, Opus One, Cask 23, Cain 5, and Rubicon.

Find top Meritage wines at

Wine Wisdoms #2: How to Cook with Wine

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008 at 12:22:13 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Cooking with WineCook with quality wine. It seems logical that one would use a cheap wine for a recipe- what a waste, right? Not so. Of course you don’t want to use a first growth Bordeaux to make a reduction, but it is never a good idea to use a cheap wine when you cook either. If you don’t want to drink it, why would you want your food to be slowly simmered in it? Go with a decent, mid-range wine. Typically dryer, less aromatic wines are better for cooking. Chardonnay is always a safe bet for white wine because it’s the least aromatic grape and is typically dry. If your recipe calls for red wine, Cabernet is a good choice. When your meal is ready, serve it with a similar wine to what you used in the dish otherwise you risk a clash of flavors. Keep it simple.

For more information on Wine and Food pairing, consult our newly released Wine Enthusiast Wine & Food Pairings Cookbook.

Wine Cellar Design Stories: Problem Solving with Style

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 at 1:27:16 PM
by John T., Wine Enthusiast Companies

The prospect of starting a new wine cellar design is always an exciting one. Each customer has their own individual needs and taste, and it’s my job to exceed their expectation. Sometimes we need to do a bit of problem solving, like in my project for Mr. Lippert.

Mold Cleaning

Before I could begin on a wine cellar design for Mr. Lippert we had to address a problem: his old cellar had mold.  See, Mr. Lippert already had a wine cellar in the room but the previous installer didn’t protect the walls. This caused moisture to build up in the walls, creating a mold problem. What good would a beautiful custom wine cellar be if the room was not built out properly to be a wine cellar?  We had to remedy the problem and prep the walls, before doing anything else. This is done by taking the existing walls down, placing vapor barrier (6- mil polyethylene plastic) in between the studs, rigid foam insulation, and covering the interior walls with a moisture-resistant drywall.  With the mold issue resolved, we were ready for the fun part!

Wine Wisdoms #1: Burgundy Vs. Bordeaux Blending

Monday, November 10th, 2008 at 4:41:25 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Bordeaux and BurgundyUnlike Burgundy where grape varieties are never blended (100% Pinot Noir or 100% Chardonnay), Bordeaux wines are almost always blends. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot are blended in Red Bordeaux, and Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion are blended in White Bordeaux.

Find Bordeaux and Burgundy Glassware at

Find Top Rated Bordeaux and Burgundy at


Announcing: Wine Wisdoms

Monday, November 10th, 2008 at 4:40:49 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Wine Enthusiast TipsIn an effort to bring you more exciting wine information on a regular basis, we are introducing a new feature here on the Winston’s Wisdoms blog: Wine Wisdoms. Drawing on Wine Enthusiast Companies’ expertise, we will be featuring frequent mini-posts that answer some of our customers’ most common wine questions. Anything from: how to taste wine in a restaurant, useful wine terms, and the various classifications of Bordeaux will be tackled in our Wine Wisdoms. Follow these tips and you’ll be an expert on all things wine, in no time! Stay tuned…


Talking Tannins

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 at 3:19:38 PM
by Josh F., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Grapes from From Grape to WineTannins are an often-discussed topic when it comes to wine. You hear about how the bitterness in wine is due to tannins, and how you need to aerate wines to soften the tannins, and how you need to wait ten years for the tannins to subside in some wines. So the question becomes, WHY? Why do wines have tannins? Why do wines need tannins? Aside from the fact that tannins are antioxidants and an important contributor to the health benefits that wine provides, the answer, like the answer to many wine questions is both very simple and very complicated. Let’s take a look.

Built-In or Recessed Wine Cellars: What’s the Difference?

Monday, October 20th, 2008 at 3:24:45 PM
by David M., Wine Enthusiast Companies

One of the most common and important questions we are asked is the difference between a recessed and a built-in wine cellar. People want to be sure that the cellar will fit in the space they have allocated for it, but of course it needs to function properly. If a unit is built-in and it’s unable to exhaust the warm air, it may cause excess heat to be trapped behind the unit.  If this happens, the unit won’t be able to maintain proper temperature and your wine may be effectively, ruined. Therefore, it is just as important to determine the correct size and features, of your cellar, as it is to decide on the right application. This is where these terms come in handy:

We Stand Behind Fusion Stemware: The World’s Most Break-Resistant Glasses

Thursday, October 16th, 2008 at 10:43:18 AM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Fusion ClassicIn these trying economic times, the last thing anybody wants to do is re-purchase broken wine glasses because you knocked one over and broke it. When you purchase a vessel for your wines, you want it to be elegant and long lasting. Our popular line of Fusion stemware certainly fits that bill. The glasses are so elegant in their design, that they’re often mistaken for more expensive brands. Yet the glasses are so strong, they can handle any knockdowns by clumsy guests. We even recommend that you put them in the dishwasher. Fusion is European crystal fused with super-strong magnesium to form a durable, lightweight, graceful wine glass.  As we say, Fusion is truly “science meets sophistication.”

Fusion Infinity

We’ve always been proud of our Fusion line, but with our new 10-Year Limited Warranty, we have something to stand behind.

We promise that if you purchase our Fusion stemware and it breaks within 10 years, we’ll replace it for free, you just take care of shipping and handling. In the unlikely event that this occurs, we have a Fusion Hotline, waiting to assist you at 800.648.6058.

Are you tired of broken glasses? We hear your frustration! Leave a comment, and fill us in!