Cotton Candy Wine

Glass of Cotton Candy WineWhat’s pink, sugary and fluffy all over?…

You guessed it. Cotton candy!

This classic carnival sweet-treat is now available in WINE (yes, you read that right). And while it sounds too sweet to be true, we’re sharing some of our favorite cotton candy wines in this post.

What is Cotton Candy Wine? 

Turns out, cotton candy wine isn’t actually made from cotton candy. (WHAT?)

Yep, it’s all in the grapes.

This wine comes from Italian grapes called “Schiava” – an extremely sweet grape with a flavor usually associated with cotton candy.

Best Cotton Candy Wines

We’ve put together a list of cotton candy wines, using a sweetness scale of 1-6.

Purple Toad Winery – Cotton Candy

Sweetness Level: 4

This cotton candy wine has a bit more sweetness than you might be used to, but we recommend pairing with a creamy pasta dinner for the full effect.

St. Julian – Cotton Candy Wine

Sweetness Level: 5

St. Julian Cotton Candy Wine is like a carnival in a bottle, filled with aromas and flavors of bubble gum and strawberry. 

Schiava

Sweetness Level: 6

Try out the original cotton candy wine. This wine carries the aroma of roses and hints of strawberry shortcake. 

Urban Vines – Carnival Candy 

Sweetness Level: 5

This wine is made from grapes grown in the Great Lakes region. Vintners slowly ferment the wine to capture the cotton candy taste. 

We hope you enjoy these whimsical drinks! 

And check out other trends on our blog

Cheers!

9 Wine Cork DIYs: Decorations, Projects, and Everyday Use

wine corks in a vaseDo you collect your wine corks? Have you thought about doing something more with them? 

Whether you collect for sentimental reasons or just love a wine cork aesthetic, there are a ton of DIY projects they can be used for!

We’ve put together some of our favorite ways to turn wine corks into functional and fun projects.

1. Wine Cork Game Pieces

Wine corks can make cute, unique additions to any game board. Wine cork Tic-Tac-Toe is a fun, easy game to incorporate in your next game night. 

Paint 10 corks, split into 2 groups, different colors. Use these to play 3D Tic-Tac-Toe, instead of using pen and paper. 

Looking to play chess instead? Simply carve your corks and paint!

2. Wine Cork Corkboard

Why buy a corkboard when you can buy wine?! Using a simple piece of plywood and a hot glue gun, glue wine corks to the board. Let it dry for 30 minutes, and start pinning your favorite photos.

3. Wine Cork Planters

These miniature wine cork planters make for a delightful accent to any desk, table, window sill. Drill a hole into your wine cork and plant your new little friend. 

*This can be tedious, but don’t get discouraged! You’ll have the most unique decor pieces.

wine corks used for planting

Image from Pinterest

4. Wine Cork Wreath DIY

Get started early this holiday season by making your own wine cork wreaths. 

Take a circular base, such as a cardboard or styrofoam cut out, and hot glue the wine corks onto it. Stack them on top of each other until it covers the entire base. 

Once dried, it’s time to decorate! Try incorporating plastic grapes and leaves to give it some holiday flare. 

5. Wine Cork Ornaments DIY

Transform wine corks into mini christmas tree ornaments! Use the cork as the base of the tree, drill a tiny hole, and insert a mini pine piece. 

You could also use the corks to build mini reindeers, or angels. There is a variety of ornaments you can make and hook on your Christmas tree. 

6. Wine Cork Tray DIY

Why buy a tray when you can make them with your wine corks! 

Simply slice your corks into thin pieces, and hot glue them together side by side. You can make them as big or as small as you want and in whatever pattern you want. 

Feeling extra creative? Paint a few (or all) of the corks fun colors and/or add decorations to them!

7. DIY Wine Cork Coasters

Similar to wine cork trays, just smaller. Slice wine corks into thin pieces and create your own designs for your wine cork coasters.

8. Jewelry Organizer

Have you been looking for a jewelry organizer? Look no further than your kitchen!

First, screw a tiny hook into the bottom of your wine corks. Then, hot glue them together in a row. Finally, add a string that connects at both ends so you can hang on the wall. 

If you’re not looking to hang it, try hot glueing it to your corkboard you just made!

9. Wine Cork Keychains

Wine cork keychains are simple to make, cute, and pretty handy.

Drill a hole into the bottom and add a hook. Loop the keyring in the hook and voila! 

wine corks used as keychains

Image from Pinterest

Congrats on making your wine cork DIY project!

Wine corks are super easy to repurpose and incorporate into your everyday life instead tossing in the trash can. 

If you feel like you might not have enough wine corks for your creation, don’t worry, you can buy a bag of wine corks here.

Happy DIYing! 

 

Summer Time Wine: The best way to enjoy wine in the summer

It’s summer time! What better way to celebrate warm weather than with a refreshing glass of wine?

This year has been pretty crazy, so kick off your shoes, lay back, and enjoy a heavy pour or two. (We don’t judge.)

Summer Wine Pairings

Wines are great by themselves, but can be even better when paired with the right food.

Food and wine go together like sand and the ocean. Let’s dive into the must have wines for this summer and their perfect pairings.

White Wines

White wine has a nice refreshing taste perfect for hot weather. Here are our favorites that are guaranteed to have your taste buds singing!

Pinot Grigio: This wine fluctuates in flavor depending on the region it’s fermented, but always pairs well with seafood. We recommend fresh boiled lobster or garlic lemon creole shrimp to compliment the wine.

Chardonnay: because this buttery wine is subtle in nature, it is important to pair it with mildly flavored food. Chardonnay is best paired with roasted chicken or a creamy alfredo.

Red Wines

Red wine is typically a bit more heavy than white, so people tend to shy away from it in the summer. However, there are great red wines that are just as refreshing in the hot weather.

Pinot Noir: This versatile wine is nice and light for a refreshing taste. It pairs great
with meats such as grilled pork chops.

Carménère: This is perfect for those red wine and steak lovers. The rich cherry flavors make it an absolute dream to sip on. Carménère is best served slightly chilled with a thick and juicy steak.

Rosé Wines

Rosé wine has the perfect pink color to really get you in the summer mood. With a variety to choose from, there’s always a delicious taste inside each bottle.

Grenache Rosé: This wine has a refreshing aftertaste for those extremely hot
summer days. Keep it light with a nice house salad or a caesar salad wrap.

Sangiovese Rosé: This bold wine is best served chilled to taste the layers of peach,
melon, and rose. It’s very versatile and can be paired with anything you want! We recommend orange chicken or even thai.

Summer Activities

Not only does wine pair well with food… it can taste that much better during one of your favorite summer activities.

Here are our favorite outdoor summer wine activities.

Backyard Picnic

If you’re still not ready to go out to a public restaurant, bring the restaurant to you! Set up a cute picnic in your backyard and order food from your favorite eatery.

Grab a picnic blanket, napkins, two glasses, and a bottle of wine. Even a boombox with some summer jams to set the mood.

Make sure you’re pairing the right food with the wine you choose. We suggest a rose wine to give you that summer feel and cool you down while you’re outside in the hot sun.

Wine Tasting

Another fun idea at home is a DIY wine tasting. Invite your friends over, and set up a nice wine tasting in your kitchen or outdoor space.

Grab a variety of red and white summer wines and try guessing the fruits and flavors that make up each wine. Make sure to have light snacks on the counter too for a proper tasting and pairing.

Beach Day

Sun, sand and six feet apart… the beach never sounded so good!

Grab your friends and your wine cooler. Sipping wine blissfully on the beach is hard to beat. After riding the waves, or building sand castles, make a toast to social distancing while having fun.

Don’t forget the sunscreen! Excessive UV rays are great for grapes, not necessarily you.
Whether you’re at home or outside, summer wines are the way to celebrate great weather, tasty food and fun activities.

Have a great summer!

Find Your Perfect Match on Valentine’s Day

Wine with Valentine's dinnerIt’s hard to believe that Valentine’s Day has been celebrated for over 15 centuries, and most of us are still searching for our perfect match.

We’re talking about the perfect wine pairing, not soulmates. Cupid has that covered.

Whether you’re dining in or hitting the town, we have some easy tips to impress your date, but more importantly, your tastebuds.

Breaking the Rules

For years sommeliers and connoisseurs alike have preached “rules of engagement” for wine and food pairings. Before wine was truly mass produced, these guidelines made sense.

But today, there are more options from regions across the world to experiment with. It’s time to break away from those stubborn standards!

But we know Valentine’s Day might not be the best time to take a risk, so we’ve put together some loose guidelines to help make your night special.

Back to Basics

Let’s start with some general pairing rules:

Hors d’oeuvres

Appetizers are meant to be an invitation to your delicious courses, and your drink should reflect that. Sparkling wines or Champagnes usually go well here because of their airy body. It’s easy to drink, never overpowering, and a festive start to the evening.

The main event

If you’re having multiple courses for dinner, you can build up to fuller bodied wine. Different courses bring out different flavors, so feel free to switch up your sips to compliment each.

On a budget? Changing wines between courses is not a necessity. Pick a wine you feel compliments most of your meal and stick with that for ease.

Dessert

Sharing a sweet treat with your Valentine? Pair decadent dishes with ports or wines with very concentrated flavors. Your wine should be sweeter than the food to avoid bitterness.

Raise a glass for a toast. You’ve just completed Wine Pairings 101!

Still need a little more guidance? We’ve got you covered.

All in the Details

Now that we’ve got the basics covered, let’s talk about specific food types.

Red Meat vs Fish

Traditionally, people have sworn by the “red meat, red wine” and “white fish, white wine” rule. This can be a good start, but there’s a better approach. Pair your wine to compliment the most dominant flavor – the sauce. Often times, sauces are the secret behind bold flavor.

So go crazy and pair a Zin with your tuna!

Spicy vs Creamy

There’s a delicate balance between wine and spicy/creamy foods. Not everyone experiences the same tastes, so lean into your intuition here.

Fatty or dense dishes can mesh well with lighter options such as Cava. Spicy entrees are balanced by Riesling or deep Rosé. And creamy dishes are heightened by buttery Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.

Best of luck finding the perfect match for your Valentine’s Day dinner, and share your favorites with us.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Cheers

 

 

The Grape Debate: Natural vs Nurtured

Natural wine is a huge buzz word in the wine community lately. You may have heard it at a winery, seen it in restaurants, noticed it in your local wine shop, or even tried it. 

But what is it really? Lucky for you, we’ve got some answers to that.

A Tricky TimelineNatural Wine

Modern winemaking has become convoluted, scientific and technical. Let’s take it back a couple thousand years…

The earliest recorded evidence was discovered in Armenia and Italy around 6,000 years ago. Pouring a glass was a simple, slow process. Pure grapes were handpicked, and there were no additives involved. 

In the mid-1900s this method resurfaced, piquing the interest of rural French winemakers. This sparked the modern natural wine movement, led by French pioneers Beaujolais, Chauvet and Lapierre. The first natural wine tasting event was held just twenty years ago by La Dive Bouteille in France.

This inspired smaller winemakers to begin producing and importing into the United States. The momentum is slow but steady, and has continued to pop up on more shelves in recent years. It’s good to note that since natural wine is still relatively new to the market, there is no official certification for wineries or vineyards to use.

What is Natural Wine?

Natural Wine: Pure, untreated, naturally fermented grapes. In other words, it’s unbridled, unfiltered, chemical-free goodness.

Pros:

  • Everything is 100% found in nature 
  • Vineyards are not sprayed with pesticides or herbicides  
  • Grapes are hand picked 
  • Natural yeast is solely generated by the grape itself 
  • Little to no extra sulfites added
    • The natural reduction in sulfites (approx. 10 – 35 parts/million) can make wine better for those who may have reactions to sulfite in other wine (up to 10x more). 

Cons:

  • Long, manual process for winemakers
  • Challenging to store without sulfites
  • The wine may appear cloudy and/or have a sour taste depending on your palate
    • Not to worry, there are different varieties and flavors to explore, just like your average bottle.

Organic vs Biodynamic

As of today, it’s still difficult for mass producers to distribute. The solution? 

Enter organic and biodynamic wine stage right.

Organic Wine 101

Organic wine in the US can have two different implications: 

  1. “Made with organic grapes”
    • Grapes grown without the use of pesticides or synthetics. There is also a limit on the number of sulfites that can be added.
  2. “Certified organic” 
    • Produced with organically grown grapes with no sulfites added. This is pretty rare as many winemakers still insist on adding sulfites. 
    • This doesn’t mean other things aren’t added to your wine… 

Biodynamic Wine 101

Biodynamic wine takes a more holistic approach to winemaking. There is an emphasis on overall health of the vineyard, lunar cycles, and the entire farm ecosystem (beyond the grapes). 

There are no synthetics used in growth or production, and no additional yeast, sugar, acid, etc. However, they will often still include added sulfites. 

Biodynamic wine has two levels of certification: 

  1. “Biodynamic certified estates” – Label always located on the back of the wine. 
  2. “Biodynamic certified wines” – Label always located on the front of the wine.

Where to Buy Natural Wine

City dwellers may have an easier time accessing the right wine shop, but there are plenty of online options. Any new trend is is difficult to mass market, but there are still ways to get your hands on these wines

Here are three general rules to start your search:

  1. Educate yourself on all your options
    • Hint: You picked an excellent place to start 
  2. Ask questions
    • Hint: Find employees to speak with at your local wine store
  3. Have fun! Natural wine tasting is the same “regular wine” trial-and-error journey.
    • Hint: Don’t let one bad wine deter you from finding your natural wine soulmate.

Can Natural Wine Defeat My Hangover?

Ahh… the age-old question.

There is no scientific proof on whether natural wine can cure all, but it can be a great place to start your own experiment. We all know hangovers and headaches are due to dehydration. Drinking alcohol depletes a lot of key nutrients from your system. 

There are plenty of articles that explain why we feel so bad after a night of indulgence. But one stands out in particular – excessive sulfites. 

Excessive Sulfites

Some folks recall feeling better after a night of drinking natural wine or wine with low sulfites compared to wine with higher levels. 

Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not. 

If reducing sulfites is something you want to try out, I recommend being mindful of labels and giving natural wine a taste test. 

You’re now ready to dive into the world of natural wines!

Cheers!

Our Favorite Wine Memes from Around the Web

Whether your newsfeed is flooded with them on Wine Wednesday or you’re constantly tagging your friends in them on Instagram, wine memes are everywhere. Since we love wine so much, we’ve selected our top ten favorite wine memes for your enjoyment!

 
 
 
 
 
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The Ultimate Wine Pairing Guide

Not sure what wine to serve at your next dinner party? Check out our brand new wine pairing infographic for help selecting the right wine for the right meal. Throughout the month of July we will be featuring various recipes and suggested wine pairings for each food category, so keep checking back!
Ultimate Wine Pairing Guide by Adventures in Homebrewing

5 Foods You Should Never Pair With Wine

A good wine will have beautiful facets and notes that bloom from the glass and inspire the palette as it glides across the tongue. Pair it with the wrong foods, however, and all of those lovely nuances will be destroyed – tangled in unpleasant ways with the natural chemicals and PH balance of your vintage or situated in a way that blocks delicate notes from reaching their perceptual destination. When you keep these tipsy pairings on your no-go list, your next dinner party will escape the sour taste of a wine faux pas.
1.) Eggs and Dairy: Using these ingredients in a dish gives it a tendency to coat the tongue and block components of wine from reaching the drinker’s palette. The thick consistency of the milk fat and egg yolk resists washing away with bites of food or sips of wine, unlike thinner-consistency fare.
2.) Salty foods: Wines with pronounced tannic notes pair poorly with salty foods like prepared ham because these two strong characteristics “argue” with each other in the mouth. When serving dishes are heavy in salt, tannic wines should actually be swapped out in favor of lighter, acidic choices to ensure that no clash occurs.
3.) Vinegar-laden sauces: As editor Ted Loos notes in a piece for Epicurious, vinegar sauces will diminish the fruity flavors of a Pinot Noir and provide an unpleasant finish. Vinegar and pickled dishes will “flatten” normally complex wine flavors, leaving even the most intrepid wine taster disappointed.
4.) Fish: Offerings such as smoked fish will overpower some lighter wines, while the flavor profile of more delicate fish will be lost when stacked against complex bouquets and strong note groupings.
5.) Baked Goods: While some wines actually do pair well with sweet treats, don’t reach for a brisk bubbly with these confections. The tart flavors of champagne do a disservice to even the finest icing, ruining both treats before they have a chance to impress an eager partygoer. Opt for a gentle white wine in lieu of a glass of sparkling bubbly and you’ll save dessert for everyone.
Bear in mind that none of the foods on this list are necessarily “bad” foods, nor are any of the cautioned-against wines less than delightful to vino enthusiasts. They simply don’t play well together. When you select the right dishes and sauces to accompany your favorite wines, however, your choices will elevate your fare to a true harmony on the palate.
Have you found particular wines that don’t pair well with your food? Let us know what those are so we can share with others!