Friday, December 28, 2012

Champagne Primer

'Tis the season for bubbly! For many of us, though, this is one of the most daunting areas of the wine section. To help make your choice easier, we've assembled some basic information and ideas. Champagne or Sparkling Wine? Just as some wines and cheeses are only produced in a specific geographic area, only sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France can be officially labeled "Champagne." Other European countries use other names for the sparkling wine they produce: Cava in Spain, Prosecco, Asti or Spumante in Italy and Sekt in Germany. Bubblies from California, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the several wine-producing countries of South America are generally referred to as sparkling wine or sparklers.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Party Planning


  •  Determine whether your event will be a sit-down affair, a casual cocktail party or a wine tasting event. The amount of food and time involved in a function will affect the amount of wine that you need.
  • Plan for a half-bottle of wine per guest for sit-down dinner.  This doesn't include dessert wines or wine for a toast. This could mean allowing for a full bottle per guest, or more for a long party or heavier drinkers. Once you have your estimate, add a couple extra bottles to be sure you don't run out.
  •  Estimate two glasses of wine during the first hour of a cocktail party and one glass each subsequent hour. You can reduce this amount if you are also serving beer and mixed drinks.
  •  Follow a traditional wine-tasting format by estimating one bottle for every 10 guests, serving 1 ounce per guest of each wine. For a small group, pour larger servings or set aside the leftovers for guests who want seconds of their favorites.
  • Cases of wine are an excellent idea for a party. If you only serve one kind of red and one kind of white, it will be easier to refill glasses as the party progresses.
  • Don't forget to have soft drinks, coffee, water and fruit juices available for everyone, and especially all of the designated drivers.
  • Make sure guests are safe to drive or have a designated driver.