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Hosting a Wine Party-Happy Hour

It doesn’t matter if you are throwing a party in the summer or winter as long as you have the right drinks and food to nibble on your guest will be happy. Recently a couple of our friends (Dana and I) have been throwing some fun happy hours on Friday evenings and inviting friends over. Its a great time to unwind and relax with friends after a long work week. This inspired me to write a post for our readers who want to have a happy hour of their own or perhaps just a causal get together.

Here is the beauty of throwing a happy hour or just a quick get together you don’t actually have to cook anything. All items can be purchased at the store, wine shop, or cheese shop.

Tip #1-This isn’t a dinner party. Set a time for your friends on the invite if you must. If you are hosting a happy hour its important to note that the party will happen between 5pm-7pm, you know before dinner time.

Tip #2-Get a nice combo of high end and not so high end wine. Lets face it not all of your friends know good wine. However if they don’t tell them to read this blog we can help! But don’t feel obligated to supply the party with all of the beverage options tell your friends to bring some wine over too.

Tip #3-Have some food to nibble on for your guest. This doesn’t mean go out and get them food but snacks only. Dana has already given you the skinny on cheese and wine pairings. If you haven’t read it now is a good time..click here. But I’ll make it easier for you by providing a list

  • Cheese
  • Olives
  • Hummus
  • Veggies
  • Crackers-Water Cracker, Whole Grain
  • Fruit

Totally optional but I love a nice plate of Prosciutto. If you’re feeling a little fancier cut up a nice melon and wrap the Prosciutto around it. Its tasty.

Tip #4-Have fun! The beauty of wine is that you sip it and enjoy the company of your friends. Remember to relax and enjoy yourself.

If you want to make your party/happy hour a little fancier light some candles around. It’ll look beautiful.

Enjoy your happy hour or casual get together!

Cheers!

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Sangria: The Adult Version of Fruit Punch

Sangria

Now that summer has hit and my apartment temperature resides right around 75 degrees on a normal day and between 80 and 90 on a hot day, I’m finding my normal wine habits just aren’t cutting it. I love red wine, but in the summer heat, it just isn’t that refreshing. Roses and whites are perfect for this type of weather, but often I find myself craving Sangria. For those of you that are not familiar with Sangria it is kind of like the adult version of Fruit Punch. Sounds amazing right?

On a hot day Sangria can be incredibly refreshing. So what exactly is Sangria? Simply put, it is wine punch. It is usually made with a light, dry wine high in acidity, chopped fruit, and some sort of spirit like Brandy or Triple Sec. Sometimes a sweetener like honey, simple syrup or orange juice is added and some recipes call for seltzer water or lemon lime soda. Like all kinds of punch, there are a billion different recipes.

Sangria is derived from the Spanish word sangre, meaning blood.  Traditionally, Sangria is made from red wine, but there are many white Sangrias as well. I recommend making your own or ordering it in a restaurant rather than buying a bottle of pre-made Sangria.  I’ve tried a few bottled Sangrias and have never been impressed. Read the rest of this entry

10 Tips for Enjoying Wine Festivals

Summer is officially here and with summer comes festival many of which are wine related. So Wine With Me wanted to give you 10 tips to help you maneuver your way around these big wine outdoor festivals.

  1. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes-You’ll be walking around and it’ll be hot out. Think cotton clothing and comfortable shoes.
  2. Eat before going to the event-Almost everyone goes right to wine tastings and food is an after thought so having something to help you absorb the alcohol will allow you to pace yourself and truly enjoy the wine and not get drunk.
  3. Pace yourself-Remember most of these festivals will have 10-50 wineries and each of them will have 4-6 wines to taste. Drink water 2-4 ounces in between tastings.
  4. Take a break-Enjoy your time at the festival and the outdoors. If you’re with friends take the time to just people watch and talk about what you already tasted and what you look forward to tasting.
  5. Keep it moving-Get your tasting and move on don’t linger. You’ll cause a backup for everyone else. If you have a question ask the wine rep but don’t make chit chat about the non-wine related things. (Unless they’re good looking and you plan on flirting).
  6. Don’t like it..DUMP IT-If you don’t like a wine dump it in the bucket. No need to waste your time on something you don’t enjoy.
  7. Best is always Better-Every winery has a wine they are proud to serve. Ask the wine rep for the best.
  8. Write it Down-Keep a pen and paper on hand and write down the wines you liked and 2-3 words on what you loved about it. Ask the wine rep where you can find it locally.
  9. Snacking-Yes you ate before you headed to the festival but if the wine tasting has taken a 1-2 hours stop and get a snack and drink some water.
  10. Don’t Drink and Drive-Chances are you may get a little tipsy. Don’t get behind the wheel of a car and if you can have a designated driver, take a cab, or arrange for someone to pick you up.

The most important thing is that you enjoy yourself!

If you’re looking to find local wine festivals just Google-Wine Festival + (City you live in). You’ll get a list of what is around you.

Cheers!

Rose: A great Summer Wine

Whispering Angel Rose

 

For most people when they see a pink wine they immediately assume its White Zinfandel and let’s be honest a lot of people are not fans of White Zin, myself included, but White Zinfandel is not the only pink wine out there and good dry Rose can actually be quite delicious.

If you’re thinking come on pink wine? Really? I was right there with you. When my parents came back from Provence, France last spring, raving about the rose, I was skeptical, but I was willing to give it a chance because I trust my parent’s judgment in wine… for the most part.

The first Rose I tried I was not enamored with. It was ok but nothing I would ever buy again. The second rose I had however was light and crisp and in my opinion, had more oomph to it then most white wines. After trying a few more Roses I discovered that a rose can be just what the doctor ordered on a hot summer day. As much as I love red wine sometimes it is just too much when it very hot out or when you’re eating something delicate like sea food. Being that I don’t love a lot of white wines, it was nice to find a good alternative for a summer wine. Read the rest of this entry

White Wine Season Begins

Chateau Ste Michelle Rieling

If you haven’t noticed spring is here and with the leaves changing it means warmer weather will follow.  Barbecue and picnic season is upon us which only means you’re social calendars will start to be filled by invites to these outdoor dining activities. Emily Post rules of etiquette states that you should always bring something to your host as a thank you for the invitation. Wine has become a popular host gift.

When I’m invited to a spring/summer party I bring a chilled bottle of Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Riesling. This particular white wine is sweet with a hint of tart. Perfect for almost any dish you’ll be grilling outside. Unless you’re a strictly red wine drinker, almost everyone will love this wine. Here is the best part of this particular wine it won’t break your bank. Its usually about $10 dollars. Unless you happen to hit Target on a good week and they’ll have a  price cut special of $5.99-stock up when this happens.

This wine happens to be the wine I like to have in the summer when I’m just sitting outside enjoying the city view. Perfectly chilled glass with a sunset will do wonders. I highly recommend you try it. You’ll be surprise and how refreshing it is and it’ll make you smile even more that you didn’t have to pay $30 bucks for it.

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