Waerator – a Wine Aerator

If you are in the market for a new wine aerator, look no further. Waerator is an electric, instant aerator, on sale for $59.99 (a $40 savings) with free shipping at Amazon. As wine lovers, we think the price tag is worth the investment.

Instead of decanting your red wine for several hours to let it breathe, this just requires a push of a button to open up the wine’s flavors so it tastes fuller and richer. Waerator provides the equivalent of decanting your wine for more than 90 minutes.
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Border Wine Storage

If you are in the Vancouver area and want to find storage space for the wine you purchase in the U.S. — or if you are in Whatcom county and need more storage room for your wine collection — look no further.

Border Wine Storage is now open in Ferndale, WA, and is offering “grand opening prices” worth checking out.

Throughout 2017, you can store eight cases of wine for $21/month in a temperature-controlled, secure locker, just a 15-minute drive from the B.C./Washington border and a 10-minute drive from the Bellingham airport. Sixteen cases cost $32/month for storage. Other sizes and rates are also available.

“The sixteen-case locker is our most popular size but you can easily trade up or down as your wine storage needs change,” says Chimo Boehm, co-owner of Border Wine Storage. “This allows B.C. wine enthusiasts to order and store wine purchased in the U.S., opening up the vast selection and lower prices of wine, which can be delivered to a ‘real’ address in Washington state that is close to home. We call it ‘wine without borders.'”

This provides people from the Vancouver area the opportunity to sign up for their favorite U.S., South American or European winery’s private mailing list or wine club, or they can order wine from major online retailers.

Wine enthusiasts in Bellingham, Birch Bay, Semiahmoo, Blaine, Ferndale and Lynden might also enjoy the convenience of extra storage space for their wine collections.

Specifically, the storage facility offers:

  • A refrigeration system for a constant temperature of 55-57 degrees (13-14 degrees Celcius)
  • Humidity in a range of 60 to 70% RH and monitored to prevent your corks from drying or your labels mildewing
  • 24/7 professional monitoring service with cellular back-up
  • Two forms of keypad entry and individually keyed lockers
  • Security cameras to monitor every vantage point
  • Locker access seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

More details can be found at Border Wine Storage or by phoning 360.393.4391 (WA) or 604.283.7095 (BC).

In the name of transparency, we recently met Chimo, when we first heard of Border Wine Storage, and we have become wine industry friends.

Cheers!
Margot and Dave

Wine & Halloween Candy, Oh My!

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 3.32.47 PMVivino’s popular guide to decide which wines to pair with Halloween candy has been updated this year — what a fun initiative. And c’mon, who hasn’t thought about a glass of wine while handing out treats or going to a Halloween party?

According to Vivino: “The most important things in a Halloween Survival Kit for adults are wine, candy, and more wine.”

In this year’s “Halloween Candy and Wine Match Maker” list, there are tasting notes on pairings, too, for those who want to “really nerd out.”

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-9-42-42-amFor example, this is from the notes about the pairing of Whoppers and Cabernet Sauvignon: “The huge malty character of whoppers needs a wine with backbone and depth to keep from being overpowered by the malt and chocolate.”

For Hershey Kisses and Zinfandel: “The best wine contrasts creamy milk chocolate with ripe berry flavors. America’s sweetheart, Zinfandel, turns every bite into a raspberry cordial on the palate.”

These notes are just a taste (pun intended) of the fun pairings you can find in the guide. Have a look before, during and after Halloween!

Vivino’s Ultimate Guide to Pairing Wine with Halloween Candy

Yes, we are major fans of Vivino, and back in February, recommended downloading the free Vivino Wine App. We use Vivino to help us find details about wines before we purchase them — either online, from a retail outlet or in a restaurant. We also use the premium feature to organize our wine cellar. Love it!

Cheers!
Margot and Dave

Vivino’s 2016 Wine Style Awards

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 4.01.47 PMVivino, our favorite wine app, recently released its 2016 Wine Style Awards, which “recognize the best wines on the planet in over 100 categories, from Argentinian Malbec to Bordeaux Red to Californian Chardonnay and everything in between.”

The awards were given out to the top-rated wines, as determined by Vivino’s 13-million users and their millions of wine ratings. To make the list, a wine had to generate more than 50 ratings in 2015.

Since our wine of choice typically comes from Washington state, we decided to focus on the wineries that won the style awards for our state’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Blend and Merlot.

We are delighted to see that many of our favorite wineries made the list — congratulations to all!

Cabernet Sauvignon ($15-$220)
1. Quilceda Creek 2010
2. Woodward Canyon Artist Series #21 2012
3. Chateau Ste. Michelle Limited Release Druthers 2011
4. Chateau Ste. Michelle Ethos Reserve 2011
5. Lower East 2012
6. Canvasback 2012
7. Gravel Bar 2013
8. Seven Falls 2012
9. Tamarack 2012
10. Columbia Crest 2009

Red Blend ($22-$88)
1. Figgins Estate Red 2011
2. DeLille D2 2012
3. Col Solare 2009
4. Sheridan Vineyard L’Orage 2012
5. Quilceda Creek CVR Red 2011
6. Efeste, Final Final 2011
7. Mark Ryan The Chief Board Track Racer 2012
8. Gilbert, Left Bank Red 2012
9. Spring Valley Vineyards, Uriah Red, 2012
10. Hedges Family Estate, 2011

Merlot ($11-$34)
1. Northstar 2010
2. Seven Falls 2011
3. Canoe Ridge The Expedition 2012
4. L’Ecole No. 4 2011
5. Skyfall 2012
6. Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek 2011
7. Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells 2012
8. 14 Hands 2010
9. Stimson Estate 2011
10. Chateau Ste. Michelle 2011
Congratulations again!

For the winners in all wine styles in many more regions around the world, here is the full list of Vivino’s 2016 Wine Style Awards.

For more on Vivino, please see our previous blog post.

Cheers!
Margot and Dave

Recommendation: Download this free wine app!

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 3.32.47 PMOur favorite app these days is Vivino. Its slogan is  “Never Pick Another Bad Wine” — and the process is very simple.

All you have to do is download the free app, and then use your smartphone or tablet to take a photo of the label on a bottle of wine. Vivino then scans through its database, and in seconds you will be shown details about the wine, including ratings, reviews and prices.

The information comes from Vivino’s 13-million users – making it the world’s largest community of wine drinkers. The app is easy to navigate, and also offers articles, regional guides and suggestions about where to buy wines nearby.

We use Vivino in so many ways; here are some recent examples:

  1. During a December trip to Washington, D.C., we wanted to pay corkage for a nice bottle of wine to celebrate a special event at an upscale restaurant. We went to a liquor store near our hotel and found a few bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon from four wineries we recognized. But we hadn’t tasted any recent vintages from those wineries, so we didn’t know which wine to buy. We took photos of the labels of all four bottles, read and compared the Vivino reviews and voila, it was easy to make a decision.
  2. Our friends had us over for dinner and poured several excellent wines. We wanted to remember our favorites, so out came Vivino. We took photos of the bottles, rated them and wrote notes to refer to later on. We will never forget another bottle of wine, thanks to Vivino.
  3. We were at Costco and decided to buy a few bottles of our favorite good-value red. We had enjoyed the 2012 vintage, but this time Costco only offered the 2013. So we took a photo with Vivino and found that the 2013 vintage was rated higher than the 2012. Out came our wallets!
  4. We went out for dinner with friends and didn’t recognize some of the offerings on the restaurant’s wine list. (We know many wines from Washington state, Oregon, California, British Columbia, France, Australia and New Zealand, and several from Italy, Spain, Argentina and Chile, but we’re not as familiar with wines from Germany, Portugal, Austria, South Africa and other countries.) So we scanned the restaurant’s wine list to see the ratings and reviews, and then made a decision about which ones to pair with our meals.
  5. Vivino also works with U.S. wine retailers to provide exclusive, discounted offers on high-quality wine to its users. We recently ordered four bottles of an excellent Cab Sauv from Napa Valley at a good price point. An extra bonus: shipping is often free when you purchase a few bottles.

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 4.21.15 PMVivino also has social media attributes, so you can follow friends who use the app and see what they are drinking and enjoying. You can even like or comment on their reviews.

Of note, Vivino has excellent label recognition software and mostly gets labels immediately correct. But occasionally a different vintage or a different variety might be displayed from that same winery — when that happens, there is a super easy way to change it, and the correct label quickly shows up. And if the app can’t automatically identify a wine, Vivino’s team will manually do so for you — although it takes more than a few seconds.

You don’t have to wait as long if you upgrade to Vivino’s paid premium feature ($49.99), which fast-tracks the manual process for your unidentified labels. Another plus of the premium feature is cellar management. If it’s hard to remember where a specific bottle is located in your cellar (or in your wine coolers or wine racks), Vivino can help you out there too.

So whether you are an expert, enthusiast or simply enjoy wine, Vivino can help you find the best ones and remember them.

Vivino also recently released its 2016 Wine Style Awards, which you can read more about in our next blog post.

Cheers!
Margot and Dave

Wine Lover’s Gift for the Holidays

Is this the year when you want to give your friends who love wine a different type of gift for the holidays? Maybe you’ve given them a nice bottle of wine in the past, but want to surprise them this year with something else.

Look no further than VinoGrotto Premium Wine Cellars, where Black Friday specials are underway.

For example, if you have wine-loving friends who enjoy golfing, skiing or maybe even rodeos, VinoGrotto offers a number of novelty items: a 3-bottle recycled snow ski wine rack ($59.95), a golf club wine balancer ($28), a rodeo wine holder ($18) and a 6-bottle Eiffel Tower wine rack ($42.95).

Or check out this 24-bottle wine rack – it also makes a nice table for wine collector’s items such as our mini-wine barrel. And it’s short enough to be an end table too.
Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 10.27.35 AM Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 10.27.13 AM

You can even use it as a centerpiece for your holiday decorations.

Winston wine shelf

This redwood 24-bottle table rack, also comes in clear pine, and is on sale now for $99.

It has a deep 12-inch design, with wide 3¾” openings to fit all 750ml bottles. The wine rack stands 26.31 inches high and 18.56 inches wide.

And it’s easier to assemble than you might think — no glue or nails are needed.

Read the reviews to learn more.

Even Winston, one of our Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, loves to admire our wine rack.

But if you think your friend might prefer other types of wine racks, VinoGrotto has several to choose from: a wine cube for 12 bottles ($68), 24 bottles ($81) and even 120 bottles ($219).

You can also find barrel stave wine racks, scalloped racks, countertop racks and decorative racks.

Many items are up to 30% off for Black Friday savings.

You might even want to get one for your home, to keep all your wine bottles in one decorative location when guests come by to visit over the holidays. Think about it. We’re using ours to hold the wine we’re taking to festive parties in the next six weeks.

Many thanks to VinoGrotto for providing us with a sample. Winston says thanks too.

Cheers,
Margot and Dave