Why Wineries Need to Provide (S)elf Care On Social Media

A human in an Elf on the Shelf costume is one of the best things I’ve seen on a winery’s Instagram account. While some brands out there try to educate or inspire, the social media posts I’m talking about offer pure entertainment with a focus on (s)elf care. And damn, they’re (mostly) funny – real laugh out loud belly shaking funny!

(S)elf Care. Posted with permission from Alexandria Nicole Cellars.

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Get to Know Seattle Urban Wineries

It is my mission to get wineries on social media and a bottle of wine on every dinner table. I am excited to announce that this quest is one step closer to being realized! A group of over 20 wineries has reached out to me to help take their social media to the next level. Read on and get to know Seattle Urban Wineries.

Get to Know Seattle Urban Wineries
Photographer Richard Duval and Cascade Cliffs Georgetown Tasting Room Manager Sylvia during a visit in early March

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Let’s Talk About Putting Ice in Wine

Is it okay to put ice in wine? I recently asked the question on Instagram. Oh boy, is it a divisive topic! So let’s talk about putting ice in wine. Read on for some of the responses in addition to some great suggestions for keeping wine chilled on hot summer days.

My question:

“Dare I ask, would you rather put ice in your wine in or drink it too warm? It’s a tough call. Who wants watered down wine, right? Then again, I’m reminded of the refreshing afternoon weinschorles of Germany. It’s a mix of wine and a carbonated beverage, typically sparkling mineral water. It’s one way to cool down on a warm day without overindulging.”

Additionally, I took a poll on Instagram stories simply asking, “Is it okay to put ice in wine?” The results are nearly evenly split, with 48% replying, “Sure!” Nevertheless, the “No way!” vote won by 52%.

The thing is, when wine – red or white – is served at the wrong temperature, it just doesn’t taste the way it’s meant to. Not only are subtle nuances lost, the alcohol is enhanced. Not to mention, if it’s a scorching summer’s day, warm wine isn’t going to be the least bit refreshing. Take that bottle on the patio or deck, and the temperature of its contents isn’t going to stay at serving temperature on its own.

Nevertheless, comments on my post indicate that people tend to have very strong opinions about putting ice in wine – unless it’s in the form of Sangria. They also have some suggested alternatives.

Six Ways to Keep Wine Chilled

Water Bath

This suggested technique is one I use when the wine hasn’t been chilled at all. Simply fill an ice bucket almost to the top with a combination of ice, water, and salt. Immerse a bottle of wine, and in about 10 minutes it will be chilled. If you don’t have an ice bucket, use whatever you have. Depending on the number of bottles you need to chill, anything from a large mixing bowl to the kitchen sink can work! These days, it’s all about using what you have on hand, right?

Ice Bucket

After the wine is chilled, whether it’s done via the aforementioned water bath or in the fridge, maintain the desired temperature by keeping the bottle(s) on ice.

Whiskey Stones/Stainless Steel Ice Cubes

While some people suggested whiskey stones or stainless steel ice cubes for keeping wine cool without diluting it, someone commented that it makes the wine taste funny.

Frozen Grapes

This seems like another great idea for sangria!

Ice Pack

Wrap a soft ice pack around a bottle.

Ice Cubes

Of course, let’s not forget this solution. Haters gonna hate, but is a hot glass of wine really better?

What are your thoughts on the great ice debate? It’s not too late to head on over to Instagram and talk about putting ice in wine. #LetsTalkAboutWine

Or maybe you’d rather peruse some recipes to pair with your summer wine! Try my easy tomato salad on herbed yogurt, or chilled cherry soup.

Celebrate Cabernet Franc Day

December 4th is Cabernet Franc Day. It’s a way to prove that this variety is “More Than a Blending Grape!” Plus, I suspect that some of my readers will be celebrating. After all, my top post is all about Pairing Cabernet Franc with Food!

Wine Geek Info

Cabernet Franc Day was founded by Lori Budd of Dracaena Wines. Why? In short, she was disappointed that there was not a designated day for her favorite wine variety. Not to mention that Cabernet Franc is one of the parent grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon. So, if Cab Sauv gets its own day, shouldn’t Cabernet Franc as well?

As far as selecting the date goes, Lori explains, “Cabernet Franc is believed to have been established in the Libournais region of southwest France sometime in the 17th century, when Cardinal Richelieu transported cuttings of the vine to the Loire Valley. December 4th is the anniversary of Cardinal Richelieu’s death.”

Although Cabernet Franc thrives in France, it can also be found in the new world. Here in Washington State, some producers I favor include Brook and Bull and L’Ecole.

Celebrating #CabFrancDay

Like most wine holidays, join the celebration by uncorking a bottle and sharing the experience with fellow wine lovers on social media. Simply take a picture of the wine you’ve chosen for the day (bonus points if you include your food pairing!) and post it on social media using the hashtag #cabfrancday. See what other folks are drinking, comment, and ask questions. Maybe you’ll discover a new wine to seek out! At the very least, participating in the conversation will help bring attention to Cabernet Franc.

While most of the activity will likely take place on Twitter, there are sure to be related posts on Instagram as well. If you’re based in Washington, you may recognize Damsel Cellars among participating wineries.

I look forward to seeing how you celebrate Cabernet Franc Day. #LetsTalkAboutWine

If you feel so inclined, learn more about the establishment of this wine holiday on the Dracaena Wines Blog.

How to Pair Chardonnay with Food

Chardonnay is one of the most popular wine varieties in the world. In fact, it is the most widely planted white grape variety here in Washington State. This food friendly white wine also happens to complement a number of my favorite dishes! To create the ultimate match, here are some easy tips to pair chardonnay with food.

Chardonnay Food Pairing
Shrimp Risotto and Chardonnay are a great match

Flavors in Chardonnay

Match Chardonnay with food using similar or contrasting flavors.
♦ Pear ♦ Lemon ♦ Apple ♦ Pineapple ♦ Vanilla ♦ Butter

Base Ingredients

Select a base ingredient that is likely to match with the variety.
♦ Crab ♦ Shrimp ♦ Scallops ♦ Mussels ♦ Halibut ♦ Salmon
♦ Chicken ♦ Turkey ♦ Quail ♦ Lobster

Bridge Ingredients

And/or use these bridge ingredients:
Tip: select one or just a few. A dish that’s too busy competes with the wine rather than complements it.
♦ Apple ♦ Pear ♦ Fennel ♦ Citrus ♦ Corn ♦ Dijon Mustard ♦ Vanilla
♦ Dairy ♦ Roasted Garlic ♦ Parmesan ♦ Swiss Cheese

Suggested to Pair Chardonnay with Food

When we’re in a celebratory mood at our house, I make a batch of crab cakes and break out a lightly oaked chardonnay. This pairing is THE way to celebrate a special occasion! Buttered corn makes a terrific side.

Food Pairing for Chardonnay
Crab Cakes and Chardonnay are the ultimate celebratory pairing

Riff on risotto and drizzle it with truffle oil for a decadent pairing. Or, keep it classic and top that risotto with some shrimp. Either way, you can’t go wrong with Chablis. Chablis hails from the Bourgogne region in France where the Chardonnay is known for its bright acidity and minerality. Translation:  it’s the opposite of buttery California Chardonnay.

Alternatively, try dishes such as lemon chicken, corn chowder (chilled or warm), roasted salmon, or Thanksgiving fare. It is also a nice pairing for my Light Weeknight Macaroni and Cheese Recipe.

Chardonnay Day

One of my early experiences on Twitter involved participating in wine chats. Initially there was Taste Live. Then, Rick Bakas founded Chardonnay day in 2010. It gave us the perfect excuse to gather with friends over food and wine. Of course, it also meant posting impressions of the wines and pairings on Twitter.

Chardonnay Day still takes place annually on the Thursday before Memorial Day. Either Twitter or Instagram are great places to share your experience. If you’re celebrating on this day, be sure to use the #ChardDay hashtag and tag me so I can see how you choose to pair Chardonnay with food!