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The 15 Best Wine Tasting Rooms In Solvang, California 

Solvang, California is a quaint town with plenty of wine to enjoy, so we’ve compiled a list of the best tasting rooms where you can do exactly that.

 

Santa Ynez Valley is a vibrant and charming strip of wine country located in Santa Barbara County. The area is best known for its ability to produce quality Pinot Noir thanks to the unique nearby ocean climate. Though there are a handful of different towns located within the valley, none are perhaps as unique as the Danish town of Solvang. Between the transportive architecture and informative museums, Solvang gives visitors a true taste of Denmark right from the heart of central California.

 

However, the biggest draw to Solvang is definitely the endless array of wine tasting rooms. Since the main part of town is so small, travelers are able to walk from tasting room to tasting room, stopping for fresh bread or gourmet cheeses along the way. Whether you’re a visitor or a local, Solvang is full of renowned wineries that are worth checking out. That said, we’ve rounded up this list of the best wine tasting rooms in Solvang, California.

Alma Rosa Winery

Located in the beautiful Sta. Rita Hills, Alma Rosa Winery boasts an impressive tasting room just 45 minutes north of downtown Santa Barbara. Specializing in vineyard-designated and small-production wines allows each bottle at Alma Rosa to be unique in flavor and bottled with care. Alma Rosa is known for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, but also offers a myriad of other wines grown and bottled on-site for guests to taste.

The tasting room is charming and more modern when compared to surrounding wineries. The courtyard is over 1,000 square feet, and with both interior and exterior space to indulge in a tasting, guests can enjoy sipping no matter what the weather. The tastefully decorated interior is flooded with tons of light thanks to the large windows and open setting. The tasting fee is only $25 and includes an ever-changing selection of five Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, Rhône varietals, and sparkling wines from the Alma Rosa portfolio.

Casa Cassara Winery

Casa Cassara Winery entranceCasa Cassara is a classic family-owned winery in the Santa Ynez Valley. The family has been growing grapes since 1988 and making wine in this fruitful valley since 1999, perfecting the signature Casa Cassara Pinot Noir. However, more recently, Casa Cassara has been branching out into other varietals as well. The tasting room is located in the heart of Solvang, making it the perfect place to swing by for a tasting during the day.

The tasting fee at Casa Cassara is just $15 and includes a selection of five wines. Unlike many other Santa Ynez Valley tasting rooms that only offer a set tasting menu, Casa Cassara provides guests with a full list of the available wines and allows each individual to select which wines they would like to try. After selecting their favorites, guests are walked through the most ideal order of the selections by one of Casa Cassara’s knowledgeable wine experts for a personalized tasting experience.

Royal Oaks Winery

Looking for something sweet? Royal Oaks Winery offers a beautiful Solvang tasting room specializing in a variety of sweet and dessert wines. From Moscato to Concord and everything in between, the sweet selections at Royal Oaks are aged to perfection and add an exciting twist to traditional drier wine tasting available across Solvang. With both a recently renovated indoor tasting room and a spacious outdoor patio for guests to enjoy the tastings, there is no shortage of aesthetically pleasing spaces to enjoy at Royal Oaks Winery.

In addition to the standard tasting, Royal Oaks Winery has also created a collaborative tasting experience with local Santa Barbara chocolatier Jessica Foster, who has hand-created chocolate truffles made especially to be paired with specific Royal Oaks wines. Although the sweet wines are the star at Royal Oaks, the winery also offers more traditional, drier wines for those with less of a sweet tooth to enjoy.

Dascomb Cellars

Tasting room at Dascomb Cellars
Dascomb Cellars is one of the oldest, most tried-and-true wineries in Santa Barbara County. The original East Valley Vineyard was planted in 1974 and has since been pruned and refined to yield some of the most delicious and fruitful harvests in the valley. Owner David Dascomb takes great pride in his blend of tradition and passion for winemaking, ensuring that his tried and true practices create consistently high-quality and delicious wines.

The Dascomb Cellars tasting room offers wine tastings, wine by the glass, and whole bottles for sale in the charming downtown Solving space. The interior is inviting and warm, as white walls are adorned with minimal natural wood and live plant accents that give the space a pleasant, open feel. The outdoor patio is open year-round and allows guests to enjoy a leisurely tasting in the beautiful central coast sun. Whether you choose to enjoy a glass of your go-to Dascomb Cellars favorite or indulge in a tasting experience, the quality of the wines at this local spot is consistently impressive.

Crawford Family Wines

Vineyards on a foggy morning
With an impressive industrial wine-making space in Buellton and a charming tasting room in Solvang, Crawford Family Wines specializes in a technique of wine-making known as the “garagiste” style. This traditional small batch technique produces simple yet quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Rhône varieties produced in micro-batches for maximum flavor curation. The winemakers at Crawford Family Wines are proud Santa Ynez Valley locals and work tirelessly to ensure each of the family-made wines exudes the unique flavors of this vibrant region.

The Solvang tasting room is located in the heart of the charming community directly across the street from the Solvang visitor center and the mission. The tasting room offers a variety of tasting experiences from a classic flight, to cheese pairings and other specialty tastings. If you plan to enjoy Crawford Family Wines with a group of friends or family, consider booking a private tasting in advance. This unique experience offers guests the opportunity for a personalized tasting experience with winemaker Mark Horvath, which includes current releases and other special features.

Dana V. Wines

Owned and operated by experienced winemaker Dana Volk, Dana V. Wines offers a wide variety of wines in the stunning Solvang tasting room. While many of the tasting rooms in Solvang are outposts of their own local vineyards, Dana V. Wines sources from a range of local farmers, allowing for the same local taste and quality but also providing a greater range and variety of wines and flavors. The wines are hand-selected from the highest quality vineyard blocks from across the valley to ensure each of her house-made wines is up to standards.

Dana V. Wines is much more than a tasting room, though — it is a hub of community and creativity in downtown Solvang. In addition to a standard tasting flight or a single glass of wine, this adorable spot offers an array of exciting wine-centered events. From wine pairing courses to group tastings, harvest parties, and live music events, there is never a dull moment at Dana V. Wines.

Sanger Wines Tasting Room

Stylish bartop and tasting room
Since 2013, Sanger Wines has united three notable Central Coast wine brands to create a united wine production and tasting room. Formerly independently owned and operated Consilience, Marianello, and Tre Anelli have since combined into a single conglomerate. The brands are united by a shared passion for mixing the Mediterranean wine experience revered in France, Italy, and Spain and practices with the lush grapes from wineries across the central coast.

The Sanger Wines tasting room in Solvang offers a variety of set tasting menus, as well as single glasses and full bottles of a diverse selection of wines. Priced at $30, the Sanger Experience Flight takes guests through a selection of limited-production wines from the delicious Marianello and Tre Anelli wines. The $25 Consilience Flight offers a tasting of wines hand selected by winemaker Brett Escalera. Both of these tastings also include a complimentary olive oil and vinegar tasting of both flavored and unflavored favorites to enjoy in addition to the wine.

Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards

Lucas & Lewellen has been making high-quality wines from the grapes grown in an expansive estate in the Santa Ynez Valley since 1975. The impressive estate spans over 400 acres across three of the valley’s distinct climate zones, allowing Lucas & Lewellen to produce a wide range of quality wines. The wines produced are so popular that they are sold in 14 countries. However, nothing is better than enjoying a glass of this fine wine from the charming Solvang tasting room.

The L&L tasting room in Solvang is consistently ranked as one of the best in this wine-dominated town. While many other tasting rooms in the area offer limited tasting menus, there is no shortage of options at Lucas & Lewellen. With selections of earthy and rich reds, bright whites, exciting sparkling wines, and many signature Port wines. There really is something for every palate to enjoy at this lively tasting room.

McClain Cellars

Cheese board served at McClain
McClain Cellars is easily one of the most stylish and inviting tasting rooms in Solvang. The interior area is sleek and decorated with bright and vibrant art on the walls in addition to the displays of the Santa Ynez Valley-sourced wines. Communal tables, a sleek bar top, and luxe chairs and sofas further add to the luxurious interior of the tasting room. Take a seat on the front patio alongside the 36-foot-long fire pit and enjoy a tasting experience warmed by the firelight as you watch the patrons of Solvang.

McClain Cellars offers a wide range of tasting experiences for guests to enjoy locally harvested and bottled wines. In addition to standard wine tastings, there are also artisan popcorn tastings, cheese pairings, charcuterie boards, olive oil and vinegar tastings, and opportunities to engage with the owners and skilled winemakers behind this impressive wine company.

Buttonwood Farm Winery

Outdoor seating patio of winery
Since 1983, Buttonwood Farm Winery has been exercising a farm-forward approach to its winemaking. The 42-acre vineyard covers sun-kissed land, giving the grapes and therefore the Buttonwood wines a distinct and consistent flavor. The tasting room is on the same property as the vineyards and is located in the less concentrated farmland of more rural Solvang, allowing guests to not only enjoy the tasting of the wines from a downtown tasting room but also to enjoy tours of the vineyards and a first-hand look at the stunning location the wine comes from.

The on-site tastings start at only $25 and are 90 minutes long, and invite guests to sample some of the most popular wines grown on-site. Enjoy a tasting experience in the beautiful garden patio area right next to the fruitful peace grove. The dynamic tasting room is also lined with other Buttonwood Farm favorites including olives, pomegranates, peonies, herbs, summer vegetables, and peaches.

Rusack Vineyards

Food and wine tasting selections
Rusack Vineyards is a popular spot located down the street from “downtown” Solvang. The stunning views and picturesque setting are well worth the short drive, and it is a great option for those seeking a true tasting experience in a vineyard. This boutique winery is surrounded by stunning rolling hills, making it an ideal spot to post up for a picnic with some small snacks or a light lunch.

That said, Rusack Vineyards is open by appointment only, so be sure to make a reservation ahead of time. Whether you choose to sit on the Oak Deck or the Canyon Terrace, there are charming views from every part of the property. Best of all, Rusack Vineyards is dog-friendly, ensuring that you can bring your four-legged family members along for the tasting. If you’re a fan of red wine, the Pinot Noir and Syrah are both must-tries, while Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp and refreshing white option.

Lions Peak Vineyard

Lions Peak Vineyard has been producing premium wines since 1994, making it a staple in the Santa Ynez community. This family-owned and operated winery focuses on sustainability, allowing patrons and customers to feel good about the low-impact Lions Peak’s wine production is having on the environment.

Tasting flights include five quality pours of either red or white varietals for $25. However, if you already know what you like and would prefer to order a glass, it is $20 for white wine and $25 for red wine. Reservations are required for indoor tastings for parties of four or more, so it is important to plan ahead. If you get hungry during your visit, there are small cheese platters and chocolates available for purchase. The brand’s sommelier, Jennifer Soni-Arant, has won several awards and accolades, ensuring that a solid amount of care and consideration goes into each bottle of vino.

Cali Love Wine

If you’re looking to let loose and switch up the traditional Solvang scene, Cali Love Wine is the place to be. Everything from the decor to the music turns a tasting at Cali Love Wine into a true party, making it a popular tasting room for birthday celebrations and bachelorette parties. Expect to find tons of neon lights, glitter, and pink. In addition to serving up some stellar bubbles and vino, Cali Love Wine offers karaoke and mimosa flights on Sundays.

When it comes to the wines themselves, all of the wines served are hand-made and sourced from local vineyards. Since most of the tasting rooms in Solvang close around 6 p.m., Cali Love Wine’s 10 p.m. closing ensures that you can keep the fun going throughout the night before hitting the hay in a nearby hotel. Children are also allowed inside the tasting room until 7 p.m. daily.

Lincourt Vineyards

If you’re looking for a solid view and a quaint setting, look no further than Lincourt Vineyards. This beautiful winery is situated just outside of downtown Solvang, and though it is not within walking distance like many other tasting rooms on this list, it is close enough. The rural charm of Lincourt Vineyards makes it a timeless gem that caters to locals and visitors alike. The tasting room itself has a vintage appeal and sits under a row of pepper trees, while the surrounding vineyards make for a photo-worthy backdrop.

Reservations at Lincourt Vineyards are for 90 minutes, giving guests plenty of time to sip and chat while taking in the stunning setting. The wine-tasting flights feature five seasonal estate wines and cost $35 per flight. However, if you decide to become a club member, flights are free for up to four guests. Dogs are also welcome here, allowing you to bring your furry friends along for the ride.

Rideau Vineyard

Rideau Vineyard wine bottles
Rideau Vineyards has been a part of the community for more than 20 years and specializes in small production Rhône wines. The estate wines are by far the most popular and premium, and each Rhône varietal is hand harvested from the estate vineyard which is also sustainably farmed. Rideau Vineyards also offers locally grown wines that are sourced from some of the owner’s favorite vineyards in the area, highlighting the tight-knit community found in Santa Ynez Valley.

That said, if you’re looking for the cream of the crop, Rideau’s reserve wines are where it’s at. These bottles are made from the top sections of Rideau’s estate vineyard. These wines are only available to the Cellar Club members, making them an exclusive treat. The tasting room is located in the historic El Alamo Pintado Adobe, and walk-ins are welcome throughout the day. Whether you’re looking for a tasting or a glass, Rideau Vineyard is well worth checking out during a day in Solvang.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: The 15 Best Wine Tasting Rooms In Solvang, California – Tasting Table

The Best Wine Glasses Will Make Your Vino Taste More Expensive

We didn’t raid your parent’s cabinet for these picks.

 

If you’re serious about drinking winegood wine, not the glorified juice your grandparents love—a set of the best wine glasses should be on your shelves (if not on your shopping wishlist). But whether you’re hunting high and low for best-in-class investment stemware to add to your registry or just some solid, budget-friendly starter glasses to share with your hamfisted roommates, there are levels to the wine glasses at your disposal.

To get to the bottom of the absolute best glasses to sip from, we spoke to some people who know wine best: namely, André Mac, expert sommelier designer, and winemaker; Grant Reynolds, co-founder of Parcelle; Cerise Zelenetz, the owner of Cherry on Top wine bar in Brooklyn, New York; Jen Pelka, cofounder of Une Femme Wines; and John McCarroll, co-host of wine podcast and zine Disgorgeous.


The Best Wine Glasses Shop Guide

For this investigation of the best wine glasses, we tapped experts for picks on the best-in-class investment stemware and budget-friendly glasses worth buying. If you want to skip to the good part, here are their selects for easy browsing:


How to Shop for Wine Glasses

Any vessel can be a wine glass in theory, according to McCarroll, who takes a rather laid-back approach to sipping. “In my house, I like to use AP glasses, or all-purpose glasses,” says McCarroll. “Some glasses are better than others, but realistically, the best wine glasses are ones that get out of the way and get you into the wine.” He suggests looking for little tasters, and glasses that don’t scream, “I contain wine! Nectar of the gods!” but rather imply, “Yeah, I’ll keep your wine safe.”

 

On that note: Don’t feel like you need a different glass shape for specific types of wine, he adds. “Burgundy balloons are fun if you’re at a place for burgundy balloons,” says McCarroll. “But breaking those out in your house is kind of like putting on a Miles Davis record when you have a first date coming over.” In other words, it can be overkill if you’re just having a chill night in. And if that’s your vibe, and you want to feel fancy with every pour, it’s totally up to you.

Generally speaking, though, a traditional universal wine glass with a stem will help keep your fresh-from-the-fridge wine at its coolest, and a medium-sized option should fit a generous pour. Some will be dishwasher-friendly, while others are best delicately soaping up in the sink. If weight matters to you, seek out a glass that’s lighter in the hand (but beware of how quickly whisper-thin glassware can break).

The silhouette can distinguish some wine glasses a notch or two above the rest, too. The top recommendations on this list are Zalto glasses, designed by sixth generation Austrian glass artist Kurt Josef Zalto, which claim to boost the taste and smell of your wine based on how the angles of their glasses (24 degrees, 48 degrees, and 72 degrees) align with the tilt of the earth. That may all sound a bit heady to you, but their sterling reputation within the wine community speaks for itself.

They start at about $70 a pop, but you don’t need to spend a ton to secure yourself some solid wine glasses that’ll do the basics of aerating your wine and elevating its taste from funky to certified fresh. Without further ado, the best wine glasses for every kind of wine drinker, no matter whether you’re drawn to glasses that will cater to a variety of liquids, or want only the finest crystal.

The Best Wine Glass for Most Serious Vino Drinkers: Zalto Universal

Zalto Universal glass

$75

Wine Enthusiast

These Austrian-made glasses from Zalto have become the industry standard for many an upscale wine bar and restaurant, and widely beloved by serious wine enthusiasts. The difference between a Zalto and any other wine glass is “like the difference between eating off of a paper towel vs. ceramic,” says Reynolds.

The Zalto is nearly paper thin, and so light that lifting one up—even when it’s holding a generous pour of gamay—feels like lifting the most delicate of angel wings to the heavens. It will also, according to some people who know a thing or two about wine, make your wine smell and taste better, for the aforementioned reasons. And that lightness makes the “oh yeah, I’m swirling wine because I know what I’m doing” move much smoother.

The Zalto comes in a variety of shapes that cater to different types of wine, but you can feel good going with the universal glass, which is designed to accommodate red wine, white wine, orange wine, and everything in between. It’s sleek and thoughtfully angled like a midcentury chair, and yes, it works for sparkling wine, too. And the last thing about the Zalto: While you should take some extra care to not drop them (yes, they are delicate, and yes, they are expensive to replace), they are blessedly dishwasher-safe. This being said, they are thin and they certainly can break. Handle these with extra caution to keep accidents at bay—because that’s no way to kick off a happy hour.

The Best Budget Wine Glass: Riedel Zinfandel

Riedel Veritas riesling/zinfandel glass (set of 2)

$79

Bloomingdale’s

If you’re still at the “my-last-remaining-wine-glass-got-knocked-over-during-an-X-Box-incident” stage of life, look to Riedel. They’re less than half the price as the Zalto Universal, while still offering a handsome silhouette and a solid reputation. “These are great, durable, professional glasses that look nice and get the job done,” says Pelka. While the line comes in a range of shapes, we’re partial to the Zinfandel glass for a still-sleek silhouette that keeps it from veering into goblet territory. And it’s affordable enough that you can stock up for a dinner party—without ever warning your guests to be very, very careful with their glasses.

The Best Splurge-y Wine Glass: Josephinen Hütte Josephine No.3

Josephinen Hütte Josephine No.3 Red wine glass

$185

Amazon

Mac, a real triple threat in the industry, declares this Josephine No. 3 “the most perfect wine glass, from its feathery touch to its unique aroma ring.” These handmade, mouth-blown glasses by the very same Zalto (who rebranded with a line of wine glasses under the name Josephinenhütte in 2019),  “stand in a league of their own,” according to him, bearing a similar lightweight feel and elegance to the original Zalto line. We’re especially partial to the slightly bowed-out shape of the bowl—it somehow makes the whole act of drinking a bit lighthearted.

The Best Textured Wine Glass: LSA Wicker

LSA Wicker glass wine glasses (set of 2)

$48

Selfridges

If you’re not married to the idea of investing in the exact set of wine glasses that one bar in Paris used that one time you visited, consider having a bit of fun with your pick. Zelenetz recommends these elegant sculptural, hand-blown ones. “The elegant, slim stem and uniquely textured glass bowl make up the perfect balance of creativity and sophistication,” she says. “The flat base of the bowl is also wonderfully geometric and fits well in more modern interiors.”

The Best Stemless Wine Glass: Bormioli Rocco

Bormioli Rocco stackable bodega glasses (set of 12)

$55

Food52

Some people might pooh-pooh the concept of drinking out of stemless wine glasses, but these bodega glasses from Bormiolio fall squarely in McCarroll’s all-purpose glass category so they do the trick. It’s likely you’ve seen similar designs (if not these very ones) in some of your favorite bars and restaurants. Plus, the stout shape and delicate blue hue is a lesson in how to give an inanimate object some major personality.

 

The Best Vintage Wine Glass: 1980s Green stemmed

1980s Green stemmed wine glasses

$52

Etsy

There are enough vintage glasses out there to inspire an entire lifetime of Etsy scrolling. If you want something no one else has—or at least some that won’t be easily replicated without a little bit of research or resale shop hunting—look to trends of the past. Zelenetz says she leans toward antique and vintage home goods for their sense of history and nostalgia, but also designs that won’t take years of searching to track down. “I see these green stemmed sets in antique stores and vintage markets almost everywhere I go and wish I had a reason to collect them all,” she says. “I love the slightly fluted, Art Deco-reminiscent contour of the base, as well as the smaller bowl size.”

The glass size is an important thing to consider, especially if you’re a frequent host like Zelenetz. “I prefer wine glasses that aren’t too large for entertaining—when everyone brings different bottles, it’s nice for everyone to get a taste of each while still keeping glasses full.”


The Best Wine Decanters

Young4us Glass Erlenmeyer flask set

$14

Amazon

Don’t spend all of your time thinking about glasses—there’s another important part of at-home wine drinking. “Everyone should have a decanter, they’re pretty useful,” says McCarroll. “I don’t really believe in a lot of gadgets, but a decanter is a great way to increase oxygen in the wine, which helps open it up and helps a drink a little bit easier—especially when it comes to younger red wines.” Again, there is an entire universe of decanters on the market, but there’s one important thing to consider as you sift through the options: Can you clean it? The thin, elegant decanters you see gracing wedding registries may seem cool until you try giving it a good scrub. “This is absolutely aging wine hipster bullshit, but I buy old science beakers,” McCarroll says. “They actually do the job really well, they’re cool, and they look like health potions in a video game, which gives me psychological pleasure.”

Swoon Decanter

$40

Crate & Barrel

If you don’t want to serve guests out of, uh, a science beaker, you can’t go wrong with a classic angled mouth decanter that has room to aerate about 80 ounces of wine. This Crate & Barrel number is about half as expensive as some others out there, but of course you may want to dial it up with a swan decanter or something more sculptural for some visual interest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: The Best Wine Glasses Will Make Your Vino Taste More Expensive

How to Get Red Wine Out of the Carpet and Fix Other Vino Catastrophes

BY MARIA C. HUNT

Wine cleaning tools
GRAPHIC BY ERIC DEFREITAS

Even the most steady-handed sommelier has been victim to a wine spill or two. It should come as no surprise, then, that beverage professionals know a thing or two about cleaning up after a night of partying. 

From how to get red wine out of the carpet to the best way to clean a decanter without turning your wrist into a pretzel, these pros have insider tips. Also on tap? The best way to avoid breaking delicate stemware and how to keep stains from setting in.

White wine bottle
GRAPHIC BY ERIC DEFREITAS

How to Remove Red Wine Stains Using White Wine

Sommelier Dlynn Proctor once demonstrated a wine-cleaning tip to me personally. Back in 2013 at a dinner held during the Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival, French chef Pierre Gagnaire’s enthusiastic hand gestures splashed my white cotton Marc Jacobs dress with the Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc. I was horrified until one of the sommeliers in attendance sent me to the back of the room.

There, Proctor doused the spots with a Bouchard Père & Fils Chardonnay. And the next morning, the spots disappeared when I washed them with water. Disaster avoided!

Salt
GRAPHIC BY ERIC DEFREITAS

How to Get Red Wine out of the Carpet Using Salt

During her days as a renter in San FranciscoWaits-Mast winemaker Shalini Sekhar remembers the time the bottom of a wine bottle fell apart.

“It dumped red wine on this white carpet owned by a very nice and anal-retentive landlord,” recalls Sekhar, who also makes Grüner Veltliner under her Ottavino label. To resolve the spill, she said, “We did the salt thing.”

For the uninitiated, the “salt thing” involves blotting up as much of the red wine as possible with a towel—but being careful not to rub. Add water to rinse and blot dry again. Then, dump copious amounts of iodized salt onto the stain and let it dry. “You’ll see the salt starts to soak up the pigment,” she says.

Water in stem glass
GRAPHIC BY ERIC DEFREITAS

When and How to Clean Your Glassware

After the party’s over, it’s natural to want to wipe the hummus off the coffee table and restore order so you’re not waking up to a dirty kitchen. But Eddie Osterland, America’s first Master Sommelier based in San Diego, says to hold off on washing your Zalto or Gabriel-Glas until morning. Washing delicate stemware when you’re tired or still feeling the effects of that last bottle of Syrah can lead to butterfingers and breakage. Instead, simply rinse your glasses and line them up for washing the next day, he recommends.

When it comes to how to clean, many folks are intent on cleaning with scalding hot water, says Kiley Evans, winemaker at 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery in Medford, Oregon. That’s a mistake. “Wine generally contains a good amount of protein, which can stick to the glass when heated, so you want to rinse with cool water before washing with hot,” says Evans. “Once protein gets stuck to a surface, it’s much harder to clean off and requires physical scrubbing.” A quick cold water rinse is a way to prevent breakage.

Potato with glass in it
GRAPHIC BY ERIC DEFREITAS

How to Pick Up Broken Glass with a Potato

It’s not really a party until something gets broken, right? Breakage is a common occurrence in bars, too, says Mia Mastroianni, a beverage and hospitality expert seen on Bar Rescue. To make sure you don’t miss any shards during clean up, use Mastroianni’s three-step glass process.

Here it is: Start with a dustpan and brush to pick up the largest pieces. Then, turn to America’s favorite vegetable: the potato. “For larger shards that you may not want to touch with your hands, you can use a raw potato,” says Mastroianni. “Slice a potato lengthwise and press the cut side of the potato onto the glass shards to pick them up easily.” Next, take a large wad of paper towels, dampen it and go over the area again for the smaller pieces, she says.

Decanter with deture tablet in it
GRAPHIC BY ERIC DEFREITAS

How to Clean a Decanter

Those decanters shaped like corkscrews and soaring horns are so appealing until it comes time to clean them. It seems these fancy decanters always have a section that’s impossible to reach, even with the longest bottle brush. That’s when Josiah Baldivino, an advanced sommelier who co-owns Bay Grape bottle shops in Oaklandand Napa, turns to denture tablets.

Yes, really. The baking soda and citric acid in these fizzy tablets—so good for cleaning coffee and tea stains off false teeth—are also wonderful for cleaning decanters. Simply fill yours with water and add a couple of denture tablets, which will help dissolve stubborn wine stains and spots.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
GRAPHIC BY ERIC DEFREITAS

How to Wipe Away Red Wine Stains

White kicks and red wine really don’t mix, but sometimes you can’t help but end up at a tasting in your white Converse Run Star Hike platforms.

“I’m a sneakerhead,” says Sekhar. “I have totally splattered wine on my shoes, like my white Air Force Ones.” Another time at a dinner, someone splashed her white purse with red wine, and the stain seeped into the stitching. Both times, Mr. Clean and his Magic Eraser came to the rescue. Use them to rub over the stain with a damp cloth behind it, and you’re good as new, she says.

Peroxide
GRAPHIC BY ERIC DEFREITAS

How to Remove Wine Stains from Floors and Counters

When there’s a red wine spill in the winery, Cristina Gonzales Samora of Gonzales Wine Company in Portland, Oregon, turns to peroxycarbonate, an alkaline industrial bleaching agent. Hydrogen peroxide is the at-home version, and it’s just as effective at removing red wine stains from floors and counters. 

Gonzales says to treat stains with a solution of three-parts hydrogen peroxide and one-part water. If you’re using this combo on a floor, Gonzales says to go over the area with lemon juice afterward to neutralize any slipperiness.

With these tips, you’ll never be terrified by a wine spill again. Maybe try to keep a steady hand anyway, though.

Source: Wine Enthusiast

How Tannins Really Affect Your Wine, From Taste to Texture

Anyone who has read a wine review or attended a tasting have heard about tannins or tannic structure or grip, so what exactly are they?

 

 

 

Supple. Velvety. Grippy. Opulent. Smooth. Chewy. Silky. Anyone who has read a wine review or attended a tasting has seen or heard these descriptors and many more, which are usually applied to tannins or tannic structure. Discussions of them are omnipresent, but what exactly are tannins?

 

While we often hesitate to become overly geeky when describing wine, understanding tannins helps to appreciate how they affect the taste, texture and ageability of our favorite selections. At their most basic, tannins are naturally occurring chemical compounds known as polyphenols that are found in the wood, bark, leaves, fruit, nuts, and seeds of plants and trees. From an evolutionary standpoint, they keep plants safe from animals by giving them a strong, astringent taste, especially before fruit fully ripens. The word tannin has the same root as “tanning” or “tanner,” as these plant-derived compounds were traditionally used to transform animal skins into leather.

Tannins are present in many other things we eat, not just in grapes and wine. They are found in tea, coffee, cranberries, blueberries, walnuts, almonds and chocolate, especially dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao. The tannins’ astringency is responsible for the feeling of dryness and tightness on the tongue, gums and inside of the cheeks that we get when eating any of those foods. The same feeling occurs when drinking red wine, especially one that has strong tannins. Common varieties that have high tannins are Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Malbec, Nebbiolo, Merlot and Syrah. Red wines with lower tannins include Pinot Noir, Grenache and Gamay.

Grapes have tannins present in the skins and seeds, so the thicker the skins and the larger the seeds, the more tannins will be present in the finished wine. There are also tannins in grape vines and shoots, so wines that are “whole bunch” or “whole cluster” pressed will have additional tannins. These compounds are also present in wood, so the longer wine is aged in barrels the more tannins the wine will have. Along with alcohol, sulfites and acid, tannins are one of the natural preservatives present in wine.

Solid remains of grapes. Skins, pulp, and seeds in winemaker's hand.
There are tannins in the grape skins.Ganna Zelinska/Getty Images

Old world wine regions such as Rioja and Brunello di Montalcino specify the amount of time that wine must be aged in barrel plus additional time that it must be aged in bottle before release so that the accumulated tannins have time to soften before it can be sold. Other regions, such as Bordeaux, Burgundy and Napa Valley allow wine to be sold to consumers when the winery believes it is ready without any specific aging regulations. This is why bottles from those regions are generally bought young and then laid down in a home cellar or commercial storage facility before drinking.

 

Over time, tannin molecules recombine and form polymers that fall to the bottom of the bottle. In wines that are unfiltered or lightly filtered, tiny bits of seeds and skins may also be present and will add to the sediment in the bottle. These are all actually re-solidified tannins; in the process of their coming together and “dropping out” of the wine, the wine loses some of its tannic structure and becomes what we describe as smooth.

Tannins that may have been considered chewy, grippy or green in a young wine have now mellowed to the point that we can describe them as plush, velvety or silky. Which brings up an important point: While grippy tannins are not completely undesirable in a young wine—as they may indicate that the wine will mature well (if acidity is present in proper proportion)—in an older bottle strong tannins may indicate that the wine is out of balance and may never develop to the point that it provides a pleasant drinking experience.

Sarah Cuider, senior vice president for winemaking at Foley Family Wines, whose portfolio includes Merus, Kuleto Estate, Chalk Hill and Silverado Vineyards, brought the scientific angle into play when she told us, “It’s about polymerization of anthocyanin.” Explaining how winemakers can fine-tune tannin levels, she added, “Oxygenation during pump overs helps to link the tannins together. You can adjust the tannic level based on winemaking techniques. By tasting during the winemaking process, I know to back off on time and temperature,” to produce a balanced wine.

Barrel Wine
Time in barrel will also effect the tannins in a wine.Adobe

Alison Rodriguez, who just took over the winemaking helm at Silverado Vineyards, pointed out, “Tannins. . . are really important for longevity. If you want your wines to last for many years you need to have tannins. That’s the first step. In red wines, it’s more about quality than quantity. Tannin is all about texture. Tannin descriptors are all about touch: papery, velvety, silky, rich, round, lacy, chalky. They are all tactile.”

Citing a specific example, Silverado Fantasia from Napa Valley, a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, Rodriguez said, “The fine-grained tannins in Sangiovese are like filigree. They have transparency and structure at the same time, like lace. When we move from Sangiovese, which has present but transparent tannins to Cabernet, which has rich tannins that roll around on the palate, we are looking for the marriage of textures.”

Another important zone for the marriage of textures is the mouth, especially when pairing high tannin wines with food. Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo, Tempranillo or high-end red blends are naturals alongside well-marbled cuts of beef such as ribeye, sirloin or porterhouse. Besides being an excellent taste combination, there’s a scientific explanation for their synergy. The interaction has been described two ways. The first is that the astringency of tannic wine erases most of the fat from our tongue and gums, leaving a more pleasant sensation in the mouth. The other is that the proteins and fat in the beef bind with the tannins and diminish the feeling of dryness on the palate. Either way, we’re here for it.

 

Source: How Tannins Really Affect Your Wine, From Taste to Texture