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Archive for August, 2012

Five Ways To Use Empty Wine Bottles

August 28th, 2012 No comments

 

I’ll admit it: I go through a lot of wine bottles. I love drinking the wine, but there’s something I really hate about tossing all those bottles in the recycling bin. Luckily, creative people all over the web are one step ahead of me. They’ve found tons of creative ways to transform old wine bottles into cool crafts and works of art. Here are our top five favorite wine bottle projects from around the web:

1. Turn your old wine bottles into backyard tiki torches with a modern flare. From Design Sponge.

 

 

 

 

2. Use a wine bottle to create a feeder that will draw hummingbirds to your backyard. From Allie Makes.

 

 

 

 

3. Turn wine bottles into a gorgeous chandelier for a trendy rustic look. From Oregon Live.

 

 

 

 

4. Cut the bottoms of of your wine bottles to turn them into romantic candle holders. From Emmaline Bride.

 

 

 

 

 

5. Pour paint into cleaned wine bottles to give them the look of expensive enameled pieces. From CBC.

 

How Much Alcohol Remains In Cooked Food?

August 21st, 2012 No comments

We’ve all heard that when you cook with wine, all the alcohol “boils off,” rendering your final dish innocuous. But is the conventional wisdom true?

In short, no. It is true that alcohol boils at a much lower temperature than water (173 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with 212 degrees Fahrenheit), but all that means is that the alcohol in a dish will begin to evaporate (“boil off”) before the water does. How much alcohol is left in your finished dish depends on three things: heat, time, and the concentration of alcohol you started with. All three factors have a role in evaporating the booze from your dish. So, for example, a flambéed dessert will end up with more alcohol than will a long-simmered tomato sauce with red wine.

A 1992 study by food scientists from Washington State University, the University of Idaho and U.S. Department of Agriculture cooked with wine and sherry (all in the name of science, of course!) to find out exactly how much alcohol is evaporated during normal cooking. Here’s a chart that summarizes what they found:

The take-home message? It can take up to three hours to simmer almost all the alcohol out of a dish. But don’t worry–there’s still not nearly enough to get anyone tipsy, unless you’re pouring bottles of wine into your food, and eating huge portions. Wine is only about 13% alcohol or so. If you’re adding a cup of your favorite red to a pasta sauce, then simmering it for an hour, your finished dish has only 1.56 teaspoons of alcohol in it. Divide that into four servings, and each dinner guest is imbibing in a mere 0.39 teaspoons–hardly enough to accidentally get them drunk. As for the wine you serve with dinner, that’s another story!

Four Perfect Summer Pairings

August 14th, 2012 No comments

Photo credit: Le Grande Farmers’ Market, Flickr.

The hottest summer months are upon us. Rather than wishing for fall,why not embrace this time of year with the best produce of the season–and wines to match? Here are some top picks for summer wine pairings.

Corn and Chardonnay

Nothing says summer like sweet, tender ears of corn from the local farmstand. Grill them and coat with salty butter for a classic treat, or grill, then cut the kernels off the cob and toss them with basil, lemon juice, salt, and  drizzle of good olive oil for a crunchy, fresh corn salad. The perfect wine to pair with sweet summer corn? A buttery, fruity California chardonnay, of course! Everything about these two is complementary, down to their matching golden-yellow hues.

Tomatoes and Pinot Gris

Foodies nationwide wait in eager anticipation of perfect summer tomatoes all year. Eat enough juicy, sweet summer tomatoes with their unmistakable fresh-from-the-garden perfume, and you’ll never go back to their mealy grocery store relatives. The best way to eat perfect summer tomatoes is raw: try them simply sliced, with salt and olive oil, or paired with a good mozzarella, in a caprese salad. Finding a wine to pair with tomatoes is notoriously difficult. You need a wine that won’t overwhelm tomatoes’ delicate sweetness, and that can match their intense acidity. A pinot gris, with its crisp, clean acidity, is a great match.

Peaches and Gewürztraminer

The best kind of peaches are those that are so juicy, you have to eat them over the sink. Sweet, fragrant summer peaches are at their peak for only a few weeks, and we won’t see them again until next summer. They’re great baked into peach pies, but who wants to turn on the oven right now? For a simple summer treat, sprinkle peach halves with brown sugar, then put them facedown on a sheet of foil on the grill. When the sugar starts to caramelize, take them off and fill the middle with vanilla ice cream. Pair with an earthy, floral gewürztraminer and enjoy outside.

Watermelon and Port

Ruby-red and insanely sweet, watermelon needs no preparation other than a chill in the refrigerator before eating time. Carve into large wedges and serve with a spoon for easy eating. The sweetness of a great summer watermelon can stand up to a glass of dessert wine, such as port. Drink slowly, admire the sunset, and wish for summer to hang around a little longer.

 

What are your favorite summer wine pairings?

Wine DJ: a Fun app Combining Music & Wine!

August 7th, 2012 No comments

Wine DJ IconHave a good bottle of wine?  Need the perfect music to set the proper mood?  Have no fear; Wine DJ is here!  Wine DJ is an iPhone app designed to help you build the perfect playlist based on your desired mood, coupled with the Liberty School wine you’re drinking.  Simply enter the type of wine you’re planning to drink, use a variety of fun controls to customize and fine-tune the desired mood, and discover the perfect playlist for the occasion!

Though the wines featured are those by Liberty School, the app is still fun to use if you substitute other wines.  For example, if you’re opening a nice Cab, no matter the winery, simply select the “Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon” from the wine list.

Though other programs with “intelligent” playlist-generating features do exist, Wine DJ’s mood sliders allow you to add a more refined level of selection to generated playlists based on personal choices, in addition to your chosen wine.  (The algorithm, created by Grooveshark, has produced some compelling playlists, indeed!) And if a song appears that you don’t own (but want to), all you need to do is click the “Download on iTunes” button.  Simple!  Playlists can be saved, too, so you can relive the memories of any night, anytime.

For a free app, Wine DJ is certainly entertaining.  Wine DJ is available from the iTunes store.  It is compatible with all iPhone models, plus iPod Touch.

 

Wine DJ Screenshots

Wine DJ Screenshots

Announcing the WhisperKOOL SC Series

August 1st, 2012 No comments

WhisperKOOL SC replaces the WhisperKOOL XLT series
Vintage Cellars is pleased to announce the new WhisperKOOL SC series. The WhisperKOOL SC cooling units replace the WhisperKOOL XLT series, a long-time popular product for wine connoisseurs looking to provide their wine with the most consistent environment possible. The new WhisperKOOL SC series maintains all the features of the WhisperKOOL XLT products, with additional tweaks and adjustments based on years of customer feedback. The WhisperKOOL SC series is also housed in an all-new casing.

WhisperKOOL SC cooling units, like their XLT predecessors, come in five sizes to suit wine cellars up to 8000 cubic feet. The smallest SC cooling unit is designed for cellars up to 300 cubic feet, allowing you to select an efficient model for your smaller cellar.

If you have a WhisperKOOL XLT cooling unit in your wine cellar now, rest assured that you will still be able to purchase WhisperKOOL XLT parts and accessories for the foreseeable future. When your XLT cooling unit is in need of a replacement, the WhisperKOOL SC series cooling units are direct replacements for WhisperKOOL XLT cooling units, so the upgrade should be low-fuss.

If you have any questions about your cooling unit needs, please don’t hesitate to call or email us. The Vintage Cellars team is always pleased to work with wine lovers to get the ideal wine storage environment, whether you’re looking for a new WhisperKOOL SC unit, parts for your existing WhisperKOOL XLT cooling system, or other wine cooling needs.