Want to Get Really Inexpensive Wine? Head to Family-Owned Wineries

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Photo Credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (Flickr.com)

Photo Credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (Flickr.com)

Popular, expensive wines rarely go on sale, so if you want to get a case of really good wine that won’t cost you much, visit small, family-owned wineries that you know of. Obviously, wines that you can get directly from the producer are a lot cheaper than the ones you find in supermarkets or local wine stores. The reason is that there is no middleman and there are no utilities the retailer or even the producer should spend for.

If you’re up to it, you can join winery tours that usually include visits to family vineyards as part of their package. The trip may cost you, but believe me when I say that it will be worth it. Alternatively, you can do a quick search online to find out whether there’s a winery near your area that you can visit on your own. You’ll be surprised to find out that wines produced from these family-owned vineyards are just as good (or sometimes even better) than the ones you usually find in your local wine store, but the most interesting part is that they don’t cost as much.

More Fun Facts About Wine

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Photo Credit: sibatmedia.wordpress.com

In case you weren’t able to get enough of my first post on fun facts about wine, here’s round two and hopefully, you’ll find this next batch just as interesting, if not more interesting than the first:

  • Ancient Egyptian kings avoided wine because of its resemblance to blood. They believed that it was the blood of those who battled the gods and lost and that it was the reason why drinking wine temporarily drove people out of their senses and made them a little crazy.

  • You can open a bottle of wine with your shoe.

Wine Spa Pool-Interesting Facts About WineIn Japan there is a spa where you can swim in tea, coffee, and wine and it’s called the Yunessun Spa Resort. You have a choice of dipping into the Japanese Sake Spa, the Green Tea Spa, The Coffee Spa and the Wine Spa, which is filled with red wine to rejuvenate your body.

  • The oldest preserved bottle of wine is nearly 1700 years old and it is on display in a German museum. The bottle dates from approximately 325 A.D. and was found in 1867 and is on display at the Historisches Museum der Pfalz (History Museum of the Pfalz), worth a visit if traveling near the area of Speyer, Germany.

There is an alcoholic drink called seagull wine. That is made purely by stuffing a whole seagull into a bottle of water and leaving it in the sun to ferment.

Fun Facts About Wine

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Photo Credit: yumsugar.com

While many of us imbibe this alcoholic beverage once in a while (OK maybe more than that, wine is something that intimidates people, but only because they don’t know much about it or haven’t tasted much of it as they should.

Among other things, however, there are fun facts that many people don’t know about wine and maybe knowing a few amusing anecdotes or two about it can lessen your fear of it and maybe, just maybe by the time you finish reading this piece, you’ll be curious enough to go to your first wine tasting:

The world’s oldest person attributed her ripe old age (122) to a diet of olive oil, port wine and 1kg of chocolate per week.

Prince Charles uses wine to power his vintage Aston Martin.

Cobra blood wine-Interesting Facts About WineIn Vietnam, it’s possible to order a cobra blood wine from restaurant menus. The waiter will take a live cobra, kill it on the spot, drain the blood into a shot glass of rice wine, and top it off with the cobra’s still beating heart for you to gulp down. (Definitely not for the weak of heart!)

The Swedish former physical education teacher, Richard Juhlin has the best nose for wine (champagne specifically) and in famous blind tasting of 2003, arranged by Spectacle du Monde, he correctly identified 43 of 50 wines. The one who came in second correctly identified only four.

Chinese people who want to display their wealth drink expensive red wines mixed with Coca-Cola and Sprite to make it taste more palatable.

How Not to be Intimidated by Wine

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Photo Credit: Charles H. Wright Museum (flickr.com)

I am not a traditional wine drinker. In fact, I only drink wine during special occasions like weddings or at formal dinners I get invited to. I bring wines as gifts and while many of my friends are encouraging me to start collecting wines, I have yet to follow their advice. Not that I don’t like wine, but I confess to be slightly intimidated by it and to be honest, I wonder how other people can casually say words like pinot noir and sound like they’ve been saying it all their lives.

A few years ago, I was sitting in a restaurant having dinner with a friend when I heard someone order red wine. Immediately, my friend who happens to be an accomplished chef started snickering and when I asked what was so funny, he said that the man was ordering the wrong kind of wine with their meal. I pretended to laugh along but deep down, I was so relieved to be not that man because I would’ve been the target of my friend’s snickering as I too, didn’t know much about wine.

It’s easy to understand why people are intimidated by wine. If we were just talking about soda then you’ll know that you can pair soda with practically everything and not have to worry about anything else. With wine, however, you need to make sure that the wine you order or buy for your dinner party goes well with whatever you’re serving and that there are rules to follow about how red wine goes with meat and white wine goes with seafood, etc.

Living in Australia which is one of the world’s leading wine exporters, people almost expect me to know about red wine for example,  like the back of my hand and I wish that was true but I still have so many things to learn. You can ask me when the first vineyard was planted (1788) and where (close to where the Sydney Harbour Bridge now stands) or that over 30,000 Australians are employed in the wine industry and contributing about $5.5 billion to the nation’s economy but other than facts and figures, I am intimidated by wine and therefore, know almost nothing about it.

Again, this was a few years ago and I have learned a lot since then. First of all, I have learned never to order wine before knowing what I am about to eat at any restaurant because this just screams amateur. It’s actually not rocket science but the secret to be less intimidated by wine is to learn how to drink it. Learning how to taste wine is a good way to start and once you’ve been on a number of wine-tasting events, you’ll be an expert at telling the difference between a sauvignon and a shiraz.

You don’t need to go to fancy wine tasting events in order to learn how to taste wine. Going to the local wine shop will suffice because you can certainly ask your friendly wine shop staff about the wines you plan to taste and how to taste them. You can also try to learn how to taste wine by doing some online research or watching videos about wine tasting. When you start to learn more about wines, you’ll feel less and less intimidated by it and more and more confident by the time the next formal dinner rolls around.

And lastly, you can also try attending food and wine festivals that happen all year round and you can also book winery tours and really get a feel of the regions where the wine was made. One tip though: make sure you have a designated driver if you plan to visit more than one winery.

You might also like:

8 Rules of Wine Drinking (askmen.com)

Intimidated by Wine? Start Drinking (palatepress.com)

5 Wine Blogs That Have Inspired Me to Start FOODZILLA Blog

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Photo Credit: Mike Licht (Flickr.com)

I may be blogging about wine and may seem to be an expert on the subject I write about, but before I was a blogger, I was a fan and a reader first. I still am a reader and will always be, and in this post, I’m going to share with you some of the top wine blogs I frequented before I started FOODZILLA Blog last month. Website design, homepage photos, and overall look and feel – all these are important factors, but what made these blogs stand out for me is the personal touch the authors have on every page. Elizabeth Smith of travelingwinechick.com, for instance, shares on her blog her own travel experiences, wine and winery recommendations, and even reviews on random books she recommends. Jaime Goode of wineanorack.com, on the other hand, shares his wine expertise through articles that showcase his talent as a prolific journalist and writer.

Without further ado, I present to you my top 5 wine blogs:

  1. Travelling Wine Chick (Travelingwinechick.com)
  2. Jaime goode’s wine blog (Wineanorak.com)
  3. 1 Wine Dude (1winedude.com)
  4. Natalie MacLean (Nataliemaclean.com)
  5. Wine Travel Media (Winetravelmedia.com)

Whether I was after information on cheap or expensive wines, updates on the latest wine events, or just about anything that has to do with wine, these are the top 5 blogs I went to and still go to from time to time. This short list is not permanent, and I might eventually add to it and make it longer (or even remove and replace some items) depending on what I believe would be a list that would stay relevant and beneficial both to me and you, my readers. Enjoy!

4 Cabernet Sauvignon Below 10 Dollars You Should Try in 2014

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Photo Credit: bigbirdz (Flickr.com)

For this post, I’m going to share my Cabernet Sauvignon recommendations that will make you covet more of this wine. Being referred to as the colonizer of the vineyards by many wine experts, it’s easy to assume that this wine does not come cheap. However, while Cabernet Sauv vintages seem to dominate many “Most Expensive Wines” list, there are actually bottles you can find for not more than ten dollars! You read that right. The same is actually true with other types and vintages of wine; it’s not impossible to find a good bottle that costs ten dollars or less if you know where to look. You won’t have to look elsewhere, though, because I’m bringing you now 4 really good Cabernet Sauvignon below ten dollars. Here’s my list:

SALISBURY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012

Nope, you can’t expect to get an award-winning wine in the Salisbury Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, but the fullness of flavour this cab can offer will make you more than a winner. It’s made by a great producer who sources from the Murray Darling region, one of the best wine engine rooms in Australia, which explains why it’s both easy to drink and easy on the budget. With its excellent drinkability and soft, luscious finish, it will surely make you beg for more.

CLEANSKIN JAMES OATLEY TIC TOK CAB 2009

What is a cleanskin, you ask? Well, it’s a term given to wine without the name of the winery or the winemaker indicated on the bottle label. And since there aren’t any name to promote, the price is typically low for cleanskin wines. If you’re a bargain hunter who believes there’s really not much difference between cheap and expensive wine except for the price, then the Cleanskin James Oatley Tic Tok Cab 2009 is a perfect choice for you. It’s low priced, but it does in no way taste cheap. It may even taste as good as, or even better, than many expensive wines you know of.

LYRUP WINE COMPANY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012

There are reds that are fit for impressing your boss, and then there are reds that are perfect for everyday household drinking. The Lyrup Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 falls to the second category. It’s one hundred percent cabernet sauvignon, but it’s price will make you think that it isn’t. Hints of cedary oak, blackcurrant, and tannins – they are all there. The only difference is you can get them from this cab without having to spend more than ten dollars. Another perfect reason to drink it? It’s made by Lyrup, established in 1913 and is one of Australia’s legendary wineries.

PENFOLDS RAWSONS RETREAT CABERNET 13

Need I say more? It’s from Penfolds, winner of last year’s Wine Enthusiast Magazine “New World Winery of the Year” award!

The regular price for each of these wines is usually ten dollars or more, but then again, the key here is to know where to look. I already gave you my list. Let it guide you to the king of the red wine grapes.

  

 

You Might Also Like:

The Guide to Cabernet Sauvignon (winefolly.com)

 Why You Should Be Drinking Cheap Wine (slate.com)

10 Ways to Find a Supermarket’s Best Wines (asia.wsj.com)