Posts Tagged ‘video’

Interview with a Vintner

January 11th, 2011 No comments

Dave Breeden discusses the art and science of winemaking from Scienceline on Vimeo.

During the harvest season, I got the chance to interview New York winemaker Dave Breeden. Dave is a chemist and a philosopher who makes award-winning wines at Sheldrake Point Winery in the Finger Lakes area. The question I came to Dave with was, “Is winemaking an art or a science?” His response was fascinating. Watch the video above and read the full profile here.

How to Gift Wrap a Wine Bottle

November 28th, 2010 No comments

With the holiday season comes dinner party invitations.  And with dinner party invitations come gifts for the host.  There’s no more traditional dinner party offering than a bottle of wine–and why not?  Wine is a crowd-pleaser: with it, you really don’t have to worry that your hosts are smiling on the outside, but thinking on the inside, “Now what are we going to do with this?

But if you’re going to go to the trouble of picking out and purchasing a bottle of wine for your hosts, you don’t just want to plunk it down, unadorned, in the center of the table.  Gift wrapping a bottle of wine adds an appropriately festive touch.  But how to do it?  Wine isn’t box-shaped, after all (Well, some is.  But you really shouldn’t be giving that kind as a gift).

The simplest method for gift wrapping wine is this: set the bottle in the middle of a large square of tissue paper or colored cellophane.  Gather the edges up at the top of the bottle, and tie with a pretty ribbon (you can also hang a nice tag from the ribbon identifying yourself as the awesome gift-giver).  This method is pretty, and totally simple (sorry men, you can’t get out of wrapping this present).

You can also wrap a bottle this way in brown paper or even newspaper.  It looks artsy-chic, and it’s eco-friendly.  Just make sure to use a nice ribbon so it won’t look like you dug your wrapping paper out of the recycling bin (even if you did).  For another cool way to wrap wine in newspaper, check out the video below:

Another method is to just wrap the label.  This makes for an elegant presentation.  It also allows you guests to easily identify the gift, while still being surprised by the kind of wine in the bottle.  To do this, use ribbon edged with wire, wrap several times around the label, and secure the end with a small-stick on bow in the complementary color.

Do you have any great bottle-wrapping techniques?  We’d love to hear your ideas!

New San Diego Wine Law Swirls up Controversy

October 7th, 2010 No comments

Video courtesy CBS 8 News

In a move that has stirred up some controversy, a new law has passed that will allow boutique wineries producing 12,000 gallons or less to operate tasting rooms. They’ll also be able to sell directly to buyers and hold events such as weddings. Winemakers and wine lovers in San Diego see this as a good thing: it will help boost the local economy by supporting small businesses. And rolling hills covered with grape vines aren’t too bad to look at, either.

Some people aren’t welcoming the new rules with open arms (and empty glasses), though. A group of property owners, mostly in the Ramona area, has filed a lawsuit demanding that the ordinance be annulled and re-examined. They claim that proper environmental studies haven’t been done, citing a specific worry about the amount of water that will be needed to water the crops.

Supporters of the law like Supervisor Dianne Jacob see the objections as unnecessarily standing in the way of a good thing.

“Vintners worked very hard with the county to develop an ordinance that worked for all parties,” Jacob said. “In the end, we found a way to spur the economy by taking measures to enhance an agricultural use, in agricultural zoned areas, while doing our best to preserve the community character of these rural areas.”

She added, “This is an unfortunate attempt to create an obstacle that would hurt many others and sputter an emerging industry seeking to further promote the county as a successful wine-producing region.”

Please share your thoughts on this new law in the comments!

How to Pop a Champagne Cork…with a Sword!

August 31st, 2010 No comments

Ok, ok, there are many reasons that you should never try to “saber” (as it’s called) a champagne bottle.  Just off the top of my head: it’s dangerous, it’s sort of silly, and since it isn’t easy, you’ll most likely to get a carpetful of glass shards and spilled bubbly.  Yes, logic would dictate that we always use the tentative twist method.  But this is just so much cooler!

Sabering became popular just after the French Revolution, when Napoleon and his fearsome army were fighting their way across Europe and earning victories at every step.  Their success gave them plenty of reason to celebrate, and they would hold parties that involved many bottles of champagne, which Napoleon’s cavalrymen would open with their sabers.  In fact, Napoleon, who almost certainly supported the practice, once said:

Champagne! In victory one deserves it; in defeat one needs it.

If you want to impress your friends at your next (preferably outdoor) party by casually sabering a bottle of bubbly a la Napoleon, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the bottle of champagne is very chilled–it’s best if you let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.  Some sabering experts recommend using only real, French champagne, which they say opens more cleanly.
  2. You’ll need some kind of sword-like object.  You can use a special champagne saber made for the purpose, but in a pinch, a big kitchen knife works fine too.  Of course, if you have an old French cavalry sword laying around, using it would bump up your cool factor considerably.
  3. Remove the foil from the cork, and take off the wire cage that surrounds it.
  4. Locate your target point.  You’re looking for one of the two vertical seams that run the length of a champagne bottle.
  5. Hold the bottle correctly: with a firm grip at the base and at a 45-degree angle pointing away from your kids, windows, and priceless art.
  6. With the blunt side of the saber (or knife) facing towards the cork, practice running the saber down along the bottle, aiming for that target point.

    We hope this kid isn't going to drink the champagne after he sabers the bottle.

  7. When you’re ready, in one fluid motion, draw the saber down along the seam, and pop off the cork.  Be sure to follow through, fully swinging your arm.  Don’t be timid–you need some real force here.
  8. Success!  If you did it right, the cork and the small ring of glass around it should have come cleanly off, and you should have lost no more than an ounce of champagne.  For the ultimate finishing touch, pour a round for your guests like the feat you just performed was no big deal.

Remember, this is an art, not a science.  If you didn’t do it right the first time, try try again.  (Or go back to the trusty manual way.  You coward.)