How To Be THE Wine Guy At A Party

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It’s a predicament we wine collectors have all faced at one time or another: how do you casually represent yourself at a party and show off your passion for wine at the same time?  Everyone will be looking at you to be THE wine guy, especially those who don’t know much about wine.  You want to talk wine and show off those rare bottles, but you don’t want to turn folks off or come across as THAT arrogant wine snob. What do you do? We’re have some great suggestions for you below

WHEN IN ROME, DRINK AS THE ROMANS DO…

First, remember that it’s not your party. Sure, you’re a collector ready to show everyone your impressive knowledge and the unique bottles you have brought from your collection, but be careful not to upstage the host. Check beforehand what kind of wine they’re providing. You don’t want to be the person showing up and looking like you’re trying to be better than everyone else. Bring some wines that are similar to the what the host is providing, whether or not it is up to your standards.

ONE COLLECTOR’S JUNK IS ANOTHER’S TREASURE

Have you noticed recently that you have numerous bottles sitting your collection that no longer get looked at due to lack of interest or simply because you have too many? Maybe you were a Bordeaux collector five years ago, but you’ve since switched to Burgundy. Bring those bottles to the party! Other people will enjoy them and it’s a great way to impress the crowd and not let wine go to waste. You loved those wines at one point someone will appreciate you bringing those high quality wines, even if you’ve long since moved on. Now you have the opportunity to replace those California wines you’ve been itching to get rid of and replace them with something better or different.

BRING OUT THE BIG GUNS

Bigger is better? Well, in this situation it most definitely is. Many serious wine collectors acquire their wine in larger format bottles and take it for granted. But to the casual wine lover, the big bottle is a sight to behold. Bringing the large format bottles is always a good way to make a splash. You may have bottles that range from five to fifteen liters. People love these bottles. Something about that much wine in one bottle gets them excited! Serve them at the party and not only are people impressed, but more people have a chance to try the exquisite wine you’ve provided.

CONDUCT A MINI TASTING

If you’re the one hosting the party or the if the host does not mind, bring several bottles from your collection, perhaps from the same collector, but different varietals. You can then have a mini wine tasting for the guests. You can even make it a blind tasting. Bring the wine in brown bags to hide the labels and allow people to figure out what it is they are tasting. We know brown bag at a party sounds bad so another way to do this and make it look much prettier and fancier, is to put each wine in different decanters. It will provide a beautiful display and everyone will be intrigued. Have them match the wine to the decanter and it’s a fun little game and tasting all in one.

SURPRISE AND EDUCATE

Surprise people by bringing unique wines from unfamiliar regions or lesser known varietals. The casual wine enthusiast might be locked into the California cab circuit as this is your chance to break them free! The guests will be impressed with your wine knowledge and it’s a great conversation starter. You can show that you’re not a typical wine collector, but that you experiment with new varieties of wine and have the dedication of a true collector. Perhaps, you can inspire them to do the same if they haven’t started yet.

BE READY FOR SHOW AND TELL

Be phone or tablet ready! Using a quality online cellar management tool allows you to expand upon the wine you brought and take your fellow partiers on a deeper dive into your collection. Before you hit the party, make sure that your cellar management software is up to date and reflects your latest prize acquisitions. At the party, show your fellow wine lovers what you have in your personal collection and provide them with tasting notes, years, values, and so on. Teach them about your cellar management software, VinCellar, and how you know exactly when you can drink your wine or have it delivered directly to you when it is at it’s prime for drinking. It’ll show your dedication to your collection and that you’re software savvy!

HAVE YOUR OWN HOUSE IN ORDER

If you’re hosting the party, have your physical cellar tidied up and ready to show off. A lot of times people will be interested to see your personal collection so make sure it’s displayed well. Cellar too cluttered? Offload your excess bottles to Vinfolio storage. With Vinfolio’s full-service storage services, you can have your wine taken to our Napa warehouse and we’ll bring it back to you whenever you want. With this service, we help you create more room in your cellar and have it ready to be organized. You’ll have a wonderfully curated cellar and your wine will thank you for the proper storage. Not enough time to organize your cellar? We have a solution. Have our collector services team come in to help you! We’ll send what we like to call a wine librarian to you cellar and they will clean, polish, curate, and organize your bottles and collection. By the end of it all your cellar will look so good, you’ll be excited to show it off and your guests will be impressed!

LET YOUR HEART BE LIGHT

Last and most important – have a good attitude about everything. Don’t be snooty. A lot of people are intimidated by wine collectors and wine knowledge. Be self deprecating. Now is your chance to introduce someone to your passion, rope in a new wine collector, not turn them off. If you get a sense that it’s not a wine party, take a break for a night and just have a beer – nothing wrong with that.

Pro Tips For Drinking Champagne

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Champagne is not just a drink of celebration. The sparkling sensation is appropriate for any occasion. So whether you’re going to be serving it at your Christmas dinner, partaking in it at your annual New Year’s Eve party, or simply enjoying it with friends on a quiet evening, Vinfolio has champagne to offer for every occasion. We’re also here to help guide you through the proper etiquette to store, open, consume, and enjoy the bubbly. 

Store It Cool, Serve It Cooler

First off, as with all fine wine, it’s important to handle your champagne correctly before you ever open the bottle. Champagne should be stored between 50 to 55 degrees in a humid environment. The bottle should be placed on its side to prevent the cork from drying out and ruining the champagne. When it comes to serving champagne, people often serve it much too cold, ruining the bubbles and leaving you with less aroma. Champagne is ideally served between 44 to 48 degrees., leaving you with abundant scents and flavors.

Don’t Pop It!

Popping the cork is always a dramatic and fun way to open a bottle of champagne. Of course, always be careful as to where you’re aiming when you do this. The issue with opening this way though is that it can get messy and you can lose a lot of the champagne and be left with a sticky floor. The best way to open a bottle is as follows: set it on a surface, remove the foil covering, untwist and remove the metal cage wire, keep a hand over the cork so it doesn’t unexpectedly fly off and potentially hurt someone, twist the bottle not the cork, and wait until you hear the sigh of the cork releasing from the bottle. By using this method, you will avoid loss of bubbles, champagne, (maybe a little fun), and gain a better tasting experience. After the bubbly has been opened, store it in a metal bucket with half ice and half water. This will keep it at the cool serving temperature.

The Classic Mistake

Once the bottle has been opened and ready to serve, we advise to not pour it into the traditional flute glass. They make the champagne look nice, but these glasses cause for less aroma. The coupe glasses also create problems for the champagne, as the large width of the glass causes the bubbles to disappear too fast and once again you’re left with less aroma. The best glass for serving champagne would be one with a tulip shape. It expands in the middle of the glass and has a smaller width at the top. It is the glass that produces the most bubbles, fine scents on the nose, and crisp, refreshing flavors.

Set It, Don’t Swirl It

Swirling your champagne is an easy way to let your friends know you are an inexperienced champagne drinker – so don’t do it. You may want to do it out of habit from swirling wine, but sparkling wine is different. Swirling causes the bubbles to release and you will be left with a flat champagne. After pouring the champagne slowly down the side of the glass and not creating too much foam, let it sit for a few minutes. Test it on the nose and sip for taste, but no swirling.

Pair It Like a Pro

You may have wondered, when is the best time to serve champagne? Before, during, or after dinner? Although it is mostly based on preference, we can suggest that perhaps you serve it before or during dinner, but not with dessert. The sweetness of a dessert and champagne combined can ruin the flavors of the sparkling wine and create a poor experience. If serving before dinner, champagne pairs wonderfully with cheeses and other salty appetizers. It is always delicious during dinner as well, as it does go well with meat, seafood, creamy pasta dishes, etc. The acidity cuts into the fattiness of the foods, creating a fantastic balance.

Unlikely Leftovers

So you’re dinner party is over and midnight has come and gone on New Year’s Eve, but you still have half a bottle of champagne leftover. Can you store it? Yes! But only for a few days to a week. Simply purchase a bottle stopper for it and you keep the bottle in the fridge. The champagne can stay good for a while, but of course the less time it spends chilled and half-full, the better.

 Let Us Help

If you need suggestions which champagnes you want for the holidays check out Vinfolio’s Holiday Champagne Guide. Whether you need something now, or by Christmas, or if there is no rush, we have some of the most exquisite champagnes available to browse and buy this holiday season.

 

Perfect Gifts For Wine Lovers

The holidays have arrived and it’s that time of the year when you have to start thinking about gift giving. Still don’t know what to give your friend that’s a wine lover or collector? Here are some great suggestions to get you started.   

 

A BOTTLE MATCHED PERFECTLY TO THE COLLECTOR

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As a wine gift, there’s nothing like the simplest gift of them all: a beautiful bottle of wine. Vinfolio is here to recommend the ideal wine for your friends, whether they be collectors, connoisseurs, or just someone who occasionally enjoys a fine wine. This year’s wine gift guide offers suggestions for each of one of them. Give them a wine from one of our collections and you’ll make an outstanding impression at your next holiday soirée.

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Essential Reading: Books for New Wine Geeks

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Whether you’re a new wine aficionado or a seasoned collector, these five picks – three reference guides and two “just for fun” books – are a great starting point for building a wine library.  If you’ve been bitten by the wine bug, reading about wine can be just fun as drinking it!  (Okay, almost.)  Any other must-have titles you recommend?  Leave us your essential reading lists in the comments below and be entered to win a copy of “The World Atlas of Wine”!

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The Future of Wine Provenance Is Bitcoin

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Digital Provenance: How Wine Bottles Will Be Tracked Using Bitcoin

Introduction

Bitcoin is going to revolutionize the way that wine provenance is understood in the digital age.  Imagine a world in which you hold ownership of both a physical bottle of wine and a unique digital record that verifies exactly who owned the bottle of wine before you – traceable all the way back to the original producer.  Bitcoin has created a platform that enables digital asset transfers across the internet.  The wine industry is now presented with the opportunity to leverage an emerging technology to make digital provenance a reality.  By associating each physical asset (a wine bottle) with a digital asset (a minuscule fraction of a bitcoin), one can create a traceable, pseudo-anonymous, decentralized, permanent historical archive of wine transactions.

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7 Great Tasting Rooms for World Travelers

Truly passionate wine lovers know that tasting wine involves all the senses.  A beautiful glass of wine can pair well with innovative architecture, eye-catching vistas, relaxing accommodations, and of course, first class food, so we’re bringing you seven of our favorite wineries where tasting is an experience to behold.  We know there are dozens of stunning wineries out there to see, so if we missed your personal favorite, give us your recommendation in the comments below!

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The Grand Chai at Chateau Mouton-Rothschild

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild (Pauillac, Bordeaux, France)

One of Bordeaux’s jewels, Chateau Mouton-Rothschild received “first growth” status in 1973. A tasting here is not simply a tasting – it’s an event. The tour begins with a short film on the history of the estate, and continues with a stroll through an elegantly designed, state-of-the-art vat room, Grand Chai (Great Barrel Hall – designed by architect Charles Siclis), and private museum of carefully curated wine artifacts, culminating in a tasting of several of their world-famous wines.

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The iconic Opus One Winery

Opus One (Oakville, Napa Valley, USA)

A collaboration between the Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Robert Mondavi, this winery was founded in 1980 and merges old and new world styles into a harmonious Magnum Opus. The iconic winery, designed by Scott Johnson, has beautifully sculptural archways, halls of classic French-style furniture mixed with more contemporary pieces, and a stunning semi-circular barrel room (if one can call a chai “stunning”, this one is!), not to mention the wonderful view of the vineyards from the terrace. The tasting room itself is quite intimate, but just the right atmosphere for enjoying a glass of their ultra-premium wines.

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Self-Storage Wine Lockers: The Hidden Costs

Storing your wine in a locker is not the bargain that you might think. There are many people in the wine collecting community that have chosen to store their wine in self-service wine locker facilities, as shown by the rise in recent years of ‘do-it-yourself’ locations popping up across the U.S. These are often viewed as the most-cost effective way to store your wine collection. But what collectors often fail to take into consideration are three major factors that, in the end, can cost them far more each year than storing with a full-service wine storage operation.

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