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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 #29: Get Horizontal

 
Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 at 12:42:09 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Modular Wine Rack

One of the most important things when selecting the proper storage for your wine collection is the position of the bottles. We recommend that you store all of your wine bottles horizontally. Why?

With horizontal storage, the cork stays moist by its contact with the wine and any sediment that develops will sit at the bottom. If your wine bottles are stored vertically, the corks are at risk for shrinking and drying out, which means they will crumble when you decide to open the wine. It’s best to store the wine horizontally and parallel to the ground, on an even plane. If the bottle is angled downward the sediment falls toward the neck and if angled upward, you will have the same cork drying issue as if the bottle were vertical! Plus, horizontal storage is the best way to keep your bottles organized!

Thanks to Robert Dwyer at Wellesley Wine Press, for asking this great question!

PolyCarbonate Glasses: A Warm-Weather ‘Must’

 
Monday, April 6th, 2009 at 3:16:41 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

PolyCarbonate Glasses

As the weather heats up, outdoor entertaining and BBQ’s are on the mind. For a successful party, it is crucial to be armed with casual, elegant glassware that will impress your guests and avoid headaches for you! Shattered glassware on an outdoor patio is never fun to clean up. For this reason, we are excited to offer our new, Unbreakable PolyCarbonate Stemware. These glasses are crafted from a sturdy polycarbonate material which is unbreakable yet thin enough to be elegant. We offer them in varietal-enhancing shapes like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet , Champagne and more. These are the stems you cannot live without this season! We put the polycarbonate stems to the test in our video demo, check it out here:
 
 
 

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Wine Wisdoms #28: Terroir Preservation

 
Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 2:18:02 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Terroir Debate

Terroir is a wine term that gets tossed around a lot, but it happens to be an important one. The notion of Terroir means that a wine tastes like it comes from a specific place where the grapes were grown. The climate of every wine region in the world has its own weather, soil, and topography which affects the grapes and ultimately, the style of the wine. A Pinot Noir from Oregon tastes different than Burgundy, for example.

As wine becomes more globalized and advancements are made in winemaking technology, terroir sometimes becomes a fuzzy idea of the past. Because wine can be manipulated in so many ways to please the consumer, producers are less reliant on the natural terroir to produce a certain wine style. For many people, this is an unfortunate development. One of the most special things about tasting wine from different places is that each wine is unique. As such, terroir preservation is important for the future of wine.

Does terroir matter to you?

Find more information on terroir at WineEnthusiast.com/magazine

How-To Shop for a Wine Rack: 3 Factors

 
Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 at 4:56:11 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Cube-Stack Wine Bottle & Stemware Rack SetSpring is here and for many people that means, Spring cleaning. If your floors are cluttered with homeless wine bottles, it may be time to invest in some organization. If you’re not ready to purchase a temperature-controlled unit or if you buy wine for quick consumption, a wine rack will suit your needs perfectly.

There are 3 factors when selecting a wine rack, these are: Price, Material, and Bottle Count.

1) Price is the easiest place to start, since that may determine the other 2 factors. Set a realistic budget for yourself. We offer basic racks for as low as $16 and designer, furniture- style racks as high as $900. It’s up to you how much you’d like to spend.

2) Next, select your preferred material. Most likely you’ll want it to match the design of your home but you are free to get creative. Select wood (pine, mahogany, or natural), wrought iron, stainless steel or go-green with storage containers made of recycled materials. 45 Bottle Wrought Iron Wine Jail

3) Finally, select a bottle count that will allow your collection to grow. People often underestimate how quickly they acquire new bottles. You want to have plenty of free slots for new purchases. Provide racking for at least double the bottle count of your current collection. If you have a case of wine at home, select a wine rack to hold at least 24 bottles, for example.

It’s that simple!

Do you own a wine rack? How did you make your selection?

Wine Wisdoms #27: The Single Vineyard Sensation

 
Friday, March 20th, 2009 at 11:40:23 AM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Single Vineyard

A wine can be blended from different vineyards and locations. Sometimes wines are made from grapes purchased from a variety of growers as well. But a single vineyard wine is made from one select vineyard site, where attention and care is paid to the vines for that wine specifically. Laws designate that 95% of the grapes in the wine must be from that site if the term “single vineyard” is used. So, when a wine is designated as single vineyard it says something about the quality and focus of the wine. Single vineyard wines can demonstrate terroir and place in a significant way and are often thought to be more pure than other wines.

Keep in mind though, that vineyards can be large and topography can vary in even 1 vineyard. Single vineyard is not always an indicator of top quality. Even so, single vineyard wines are often sought-out beyond others.

Find single vineyard wines like this this elite 2003 Brunello at WineExpress.com

Wine Wisdoms #26: How-To Achieve the Perfect Pour

 
Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 at 10:38:09 AM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

As basic as it may seem, people are often confused about how high to fill a wine glass. Many customers ask us what the proper etiquette is, and the answer is very simple:

A perfect pour is a wine glass that is filled to the widest part of the bowl, no higher and no lower. If the wine is filled higher than this it will be difficult to swirl and any lower is less than a full glass. One exception is a Champagne flute which is narrow and straight, in which case the Champagne is filled until there are a few inches left from the top of the glass.

Too high:

Too High Wine Glass

Perfect Pour:

Perfect Pour Wine Glass

P.S. When you order wine by-the-glass at a restaurant, they should always give you a perfect pour!

Wine Wisdoms #25: I Don’t Mean to Drone, But This is a Clone

 
Wednesday, March 11th, 2009 at 5:19:00 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Vineyard Clone

Without getting too technical, a Clone is basically a sub-species or mutation of a grapevine. There are many species of grapevine (Vitis Vinifera being the most common for wine), and each has many clones within the species. The behavior of each clone varies in everything from fruit productivity to vigor and acidity levels. Certain clones are thought to produce better grapes and are grown together to produce an even better vine. Many vineyards have place markers that designate the particular clone in each row. Clonal selection is an important part of the growing process and it’s important that the clone fit the needs of the vineyard site and the winery.

Also featured in the March issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, available now.

Preserving Wine Labels: How Do You Do It?

 
Thursday, March 5th, 2009 at 12:02:36 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

 

Serious Grape: Preserving Your Wine

Recalling a wine label can bring back wonderful memories, not just of the wine itself, but of the moment, the special place, and the people with whom the wine was shared. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have photographic memories so we often forget the image of a label only minutes after the we’re done with our wine.

I read a lovely piece on Serious Grape, in which the author shared her joy in receiving a gift from a relative, it was a a wine book of labels and notes of wines she drank in the 1970s. Flipping through the pages she relived her family’s wine experiences, through labels pasted on notebook paper with handwritten notes beside many.

Customers often ask us how to remove and preserve wine labels as a keepsake.  I’ve heard of some very creative methods:

  • soaking bottles in hot water and then peeling the label off
  • the oven method, in which you place an empty bottle in a hot oven, remove carefully with oven mits, and then peel the label off.
  • applying packaging tape to the label and then peeling it off
  • using a hairdryer to dry the glue from the back of the label and then removing the labelWine Enthusiast Label SaverThese methods may work, but to me they sound like a hassle compared to using our easy label savers, which remove and laminate labels in a pinch. No heat, soaking, or tape required! They work by separating the adhesive back from the front-printed surface of the label. They come in sets of 10.

Confused about how they work? We explain in this brief video tutorial.

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How do you preserve your labels? What do you do with them afterwards?

Toast of the Town 2009: 10 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss It

 
Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 at 6:34:36 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Toast of the Town San Francisco

In just three short weeks, our exciting, annual wine and restaurant tasting event, Toast of the Town, will hit San Francisco (March 26th), followed by Atlanta (April 16th), Chicago (April 30th) and New York (June 15th).

We realize this year it may be tough to indulge in a night such as Toast of the Town, so let us offer you 10 reasons why it’s worth every penny:

10) The Early Bird Discount. Though Toast of the Town sells out every year, this year we are offering an exclusive discount to early buyers. Secure your tickets now and take $20 off the cost of a grand ticket and $25 off the cost of a VIP. We like to reward the early birds.

9) 500 Wines. Rather than splurging on one bottle of wine at a restaurant with a high markup, you’ll be free to experience hundreds of unique tastes in one room.

Wine Wisdoms #24: Predicting Ageability

 
Thursday, February 26th, 2009 at 1:55:54 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

cellartime.jpg

A great majority of wine is made to be enjoyed right away and does not need to be aged. However, wines of supreme quality can evolve with time in the bottle, offering a rewarding experience to the patient cellar keeper. The two major factors that determine the ageability of wine are its tannins and its sugar content. Tannic reds and dessert wines can typically age longer than whites (though there are exceptions), because these qualities preserve the wine over time, allowing further development without spoilage.

A wine’s ageabilty can vary greatly depending on the producer, style, and quality but the following is a handy starting point:

15-20+ Years: French Cabernet-based wines and tannic Italian reds like: Bordeaux, Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello di Montalcino
10-15+ Years: Sauternes, Late-Harvest Riesling, Tokaj, Vintage Port
5-10+ Years: New World Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti Classico, Rhone Valley, Grenache, Rioja
3-5+ Years: Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Zinfandel, Napa Valley Merlot
1-3 + Years: Chardonnay, Dry Riesling, White Burgundy, Gewurztraminer
Will Not Age: Beaujolais, Rose, Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay, Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc


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