Category Archives: Uncategorized

Washington Wines in the spotlight

We LOVE data at Because we track all of our orders and sales, we have great numbers to show what’s trending in wine. Each year, we take a look at the top growth varietals, wineries and regions. This year, there was a theme: Washington State. Both our Winery of the Year (Chateau Ste. Michelle) and our Wine Region of the Year show that Washington wines are on fire. It’s about time, right? Like many regions, the state produces a range of wines, from cellar collectibles to everyday values. Here are some great fun facts about the great state of Washington!

- The majority of vines in Washignton State are grown on their own rootstock, not grafted like most wine regions. This is because the state’s dessert-like conditions have kept the region phylloxera-free.

- The primary grapes grown in Washington are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Riesling. Between white and red varieties, it’s split pretty much 50/50.

- There are currently 12 AVAs in Washington, though more are always petitioning to be added.

- Washington is the 2nd largest producer of wine in the US (after California) and has over 740 wineries in production and producing 12 million cases of wine.

One of my favorite things about Washington is that I think the wines of the state truly show a sense of place. And THAT is what makes wine unique and special.

It seems we’re not the only one thinking #wawine is on fire. Seems there will be a Twitter tasting this Friday, January 13th, featuring the wines of Washington. What do you have to do to participate? Simple. Open up and drink some great Washington Wine. According to Cliff Brown (@cliffordbrown3), the organizer of the tasting, people starting drinking about 6pm Central Time, and gets into full swing around 6pm PST. So join in by stocking up on some great Washington wine and use the hashtag, #WoWDay to follow along and share what you’re tasting.



Italian Wine & Food

One of the best pieces of advice I give to those looking for a perfect food and wine match? Pair region with region. Nature knows what it’s doing in that regard. One of countries most prone to this perfect match is Italy. Italian wine is diverse, delicious and terribly food friendly – not only with its own regional dishes, but also with a myriad of foods.

Two reasons to mention this:
First, we are featuring one of our favorite gifts today, Viva Italia, a collection of 6 of the most popular wines from 6 of the most popular regions in Italy, at a lovely discount.
Second, we are excited to be a part of a weekly sweepstakes with Buitoni USA, a delicious Italian-based food company that makes pasta, sauces and frozen foods. Check out their facebook page to enter to win a $25 gift certificate. The sweepstakes runs every week for the next few months so you’ve got a great chance of winning!

Check out our food & wine pairing suggestions, enter the Buitoni sweepstakes, and grab the Viva Italia gift for your friends and family!


Bottle sizes and wine names

The other day, to celebrate the office move and 13th holiday season, we all opened up a Methuselah of Champagne. A what? A Methuselah. That would be six literes (there are about 40 of us after all). Of course as we watched our founder open it, hoist it and try to “gently” pour it into our glasses, everyone wanted to know, what do you call this bottle? Though I know all the names, I’d already fogotten which size goes with which name. I’ve posted on bottle sizes before, but to re-cap for the holidays, in case you need something extra bit to impress…

A few numbers: A standard bottle holds 750mL and is the most common bottle size you will see.
A magnum holds 1.5 liters or 2 bottles

After the magnum, the names of bottle sizes come from the names of kings noted in the Old Testament.

Bottle – 3 liters/4 bottles in Champagne & Burgundy (as well as most New World). In Bordeaux this size is called a Double Magnum.
King – After the death of Solomon, Jeroboam led a revolt against Rehoboam and became King of a newly independent kingdom of Israel.


Bottle – 4.5 liters/6 bottles (in Bordeaux this size is called a Jeroboam, just to confuse you).
King – King of Judea after the death of his father, Solomon.

Bottle – 6 liters/8 bottles (in Bordeaux this size is called Imperiale).
King – Here is an exception, as Methuselah is not a king, but rather the oldest man cited in the Bible at 969 years old.

Bottle – 9 liters/12 bottles
King – King of Assyria, also known as Shalmaneser. Mentioned in 2 Kings, Chapter 17.

Bottle – 12 liters/16 bottles
King – In the Book of Daniel, King Belshazzar (or Balthazar) was the last king of Babylon.

Bottle – 15 liters/20 bottles
King – King of Babylon (before Balthazar) who conquered and exiled many Jews. Also built the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon).  Seen here in painting by William Blake.

There are larger bottles said to be out there – Melchior for 24 bottles and Sovereign for 34 bottles. These are rare.

The largest wine bottle made so far was commissioned by Morton’s Steakhouse in 2004. At 4.5 feet tall, the bottle held 130 liters (173 bottles, 1200 glasses) of wine. The wine itself was Beringer Vineyards 2001 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.

What’s the biggest bottle you’ve drunk?

Wine & Chocolate Pairing

I write about this during the holidays every year, since wine and chocolate are two of life’s greatest pleasures, and two items we often pair up in our gift sets. But sometimes they are hard to pair together. We often reach for red wine and sweet chocolate – a dangerous pairing as the sugar in the chocolate can make the tannins in the red seem ultra bitter.

Here is a quick guide to styles of chocolate and matching wines:

White Chocolate
Lots of sugar here, and very little cocoa, so pair white with white – try Ice wine, sweet Muscat or a sweeter style Riesling.

Milk Chocolate
Try a ripe and juicy Pinot Noir from California or a dessert wine, like an Australian “sticky.”

Dark Chocolate
The one that pairs best with red wines, try Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon (preferably ones that are not too tannic, unless your cocoa content is high).

Chocolate desserts
Yum… chocolate dessert. From cake to mousse to souffle, chocolate desserts are popular and delicious. Port is a classic for all types of chocolate – truffles, cakes, etc. All sorts of port, but particularly tawny port, due to the nutty flavor, matches well chocolate desserts, particularly those with nuts in them. Try also Australian Muscat, Banyuls or another fortified wine.

Also, if you know someone who loves chocolate and wine, check our our new gifts with BRIX chocolate. These chocolates have been specifically blended to pair with particular wine styles. We have two gifts for the BRIX pack of 4 chocolates: Bordeaux & Pinot and Zinfandel and Port. Great package, delicious wine and yummy chocolate. Enjoy :)