Category Archives: Basics

How Madeira fueled the American Revolution

Jefferson toasted, Hancock smuggled, and Washington greeted voters with a healthy glass of Madeira.  But how did this tiny island beverage come to be colonial America’s top wine?  Why, the perfect combination of luck, timing, and political prowess – of course!  But to understand the importance of Madeira in American history, we must first start at the beginning.

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Somme Things I Think About: Why do we swirl wine?

Why do we swirl wine?

Everyone does it – people at restaurants, wine bars, tasting rooms -even the Sommelier at that fancy restaurant does it.

We all know it makes you look like you know what you are doing, a clear cry of, “no newbie here!”

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But swirling wine is not just a way to look important; the action of swirling a wine in the glass does several things.

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Somme Things I Think About: How did wine bottles get their shape?

How did wine bottles get their shape?

Take a deep breath in, and now blow it out. The total amount of air you just blew out is the amount that a glass blower needed to make one wine bottle!

A lungful of air from an experienced glassmaker could blow up a bottle to a volume between 700ml to 800ml depending on the person. And if this sounds somewhat familiar, it’s exactly why in 1979, the US standardized the bottle at 750ml.

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The Wayward Zin has come home…

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What did Zinfandel really want to be? Before the late 1960’s, California was all about cheap dessert wines- White Port, Tokay, Sauternes (skid road sweet wines). Only a handful of producers made varietal wines and they were largely limited to Chardonnay (then called Pinot Chardonnay) and Cabernet Sauvignon. When the first varietal revolution began in the late 1960’s, Zinfandel was in the mix. Continue reading The Wayward Zin has come home…