4 February Wine Projects

wine organization

During cold and rainy February, the vines are dormant. Few of us want to visit wine country at this time of year (though, you can get some great bargains) —

What’s a wine lover to do?

Here are some timely tasks to sit ‘n sip with:

1. Reorganize your wine collection in a way that makes you happy – i.e., all the wines from your favorite winery in one spot, rather than spread out per varietal.

2.  Start a list of wines you would like to try this year… be daring!

3.  Plan a wine tasting party.  Our favorite is a Varietal Appetizer party. Choose a couple of wine types, say Chardonnay and Zinfandel.  Then ask everyone to bring an appetizer that goes with one or the other.

4.  Choose a wine book to read this year.  It’s fun to go on the web and start exploring wine books past and present.


“Temperature Differential” – Why is it Important to Wine?


Winemakers often boast that day to nighttime temperature shifts in their region are huge, sometimes 50 degrees.

This is important to wine quality, but how?

Here, August “Joe” Briggs, Founder of August Briggs Wines in Napa, gives us his take:

The temperature differential allows the grape to rest.  At high temperature, the vine is respiring and taking up water and nutrients at a fast clip.  In areas where the temperature drops sharply at night, the vines slow way down, and the fruit has the chance to retain acid.   That temperature spike up in the day and drop off at night helps keep the fruit in balance.

Night shift, anyone?


Working nights at a winery?

Harvesting at night has taken hold in California wine country, especially when days are very hot.

We expect to see more of it this year.

How do they do it?


By setting up huge lights in the vineyard and starting in the wee hours, say 4am, it’s cool, and the bees and wasps aren’t awake yet. The conditions are much easier for the harvesters.

Plus, the grapes will definitely come to the winery in excellent condition, since they were picked during chill temperatures.

Now, that’s cool.

Winery Name Game


Most wineries are named after the founders, but there are exceptions. Can you come up with the meaning of each of these names?

1. EOS

2. Pietra Santa

3. Castoro

4. ZD

Here are the answers:

1. EOS = the goddess of the dawn

2. Blessed stone

3. It means “beaver” in Italian – for its “eager beaver” founder, Niels Udsen.

4. Zero Defects, an engineering term (the founders were engineers)


Chocolate + Wine = Valentine’s Day

Deep Chocolate Pudding

Okay, let’s get real. Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be right without something chocolate.

Here’s a little something that will knock the socks off your special someone.

Watch out – it can be addictive!

Vince & Eddie’s Deep Chocolate Pudding

(from the late Vince & Eddies restaurant in NYC)

  • 1 quart milk
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • ½ cup sugar
  • dash salt
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1-2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate, melted (the better the quality of this chocolate, the better the pudding)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • Whipped Cream (Recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped hazelnuts

Combine milk, cocoa, sugar, salt and cornstarch in medium saucepan. Bring to simmer, stirring constantly until thickened. Combine chocolate, butter and vanilla in bowl. Pour milk mixture over chocolate mixture. Mix well. Pour through fine strainer. Distribute chocolate pudding among 6 glass bowls. Chill in refrigerator. When chilled, top with whipped cream and nuts.

403 calories per serving

Whipped Cream

  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar

In bowl, whip cream with vanilla and sugar until stiff.

wine heart

Wine with Dessert

What wine will you serve your sweetheart with your Deep Chocolate Pudding?

We’d recommend a Merlot or a chocolately Cab, maybe even a Syrah!



Give Yourself a Valentine – Every Day

wine sunset

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. How about pledging to give yourself a Valentine every day, with a glass of wine?

What if you sat down to sip for a few minutes, set aside to savor the aromas, flavors and textures – and the moment.

wine fire book

“Embrace what is,” as the saying goes. Why not embrace something pleasurable, maybe memorable, definitely beautiful as it glows ruby or gold in your glass?

Breathe in summer raspberries with a Pinot Noir or ripe cherries with a Cabernet. Visit Tahiti with the tropical flavors of a smooth Chardonnay.

wine book heart

Give your heart a break and get off the merry-go-round of busy-busy-busy with a glass of wine. In moderation, it’s a health trip all by itself.

We dare you!

love wine


Go ahead. Uncork and unplug, and be your own Valentine.