Under the Tree: L’occasion Holiday Gift Guide + A Giveaway

wine-corks-and-christmas-tree My kids and I always giggle when the song demands, “Now bring us some figgy pudding.” The bossy tone is disruptive in the peaceful setting of the holiday and the fact that feathers are ruffled over figgy pudding is something we find hysterical. If figgy pudding is on your list this year, I’m helping you out right now, with this recipe for the stuff, which is apparently a treat of splendor. Be warned that there is an eight-hour cook time which lends some relevancy to the demand we won’t go until we get some. Imagine being on, say, hour three, and there is a crowd of carolers peeking into your window, breathlessly gearing up for round 45 of We Wish You a Merry Christmas… If you make it and arrange a wine pairing, I’ve got to know about it. In fact, I’ll share it with everyone and none of ...

Sustainability In The Spotlight: “Down To Earth” Wine Book Giveaway!

Aaaand, the giveaways are back, people!
This week, I’ve got two copies of The Wine Institute‘s new tome, “Down to Earth: A Seasonal Tour of Sustainable Winegrowing in California” to give away to some of you lucky folk. As some of you possibly soon-to-be lucky folk already know, I rather enjoyed “Down to Earth” (I received a review copy). Janet Fletcher’s text is well-written, the organization of profiled wineries by season provides a helpful context of year-long sustainable farming, and the environmentally-focused efforts by the included wine brands are largely interesting. George Rose’s photography might be the real show-stealer in this one, though; as I wrote for Answers.com:
“Rose has a knack for being able to move between intimate subjects (people, animals, insects, and grapes) and larger contexts (hillsides, and vineyards) without losing a sense of the beauty and tranquility in either.”

< p>Yeah, I just quoted myself, okay? Anyway, The book concludes with some interesting seasonal recipes as well, which is a nice bonus (well, it is when you have a significant other who happens to be a fantastic cook, like I do). If you want to grab your own hardcover copy of “Down to Earth” (about $40 value), here’s the skinny on how it is all gonna go down…
  • Leave a comment here with your thoughts on anything related to sustainable winemaking; do you care about it? does it inform your vino purchases? got a story from a visit to a sustainably-farmed vineyard? never ever given a rat’s tuckus about how your wine’s grapes were farmed? Let’s hear it!
[ Editor’s note: Personally, I can say that as a wine consumer, the concept of sustainability rarely occurs to me,, which is a bit of a sad commentary on my buying habits (particularly when we consider that in most of my other food purchases, this does inform my decisions quite heavily). Now, granted, I buy a lot less wine now than I used to before I got overrun with samples, but still… ].
  • On Friday, May 9 at 8PM ET, I will randomly select two winners from the commenters, each of whom will get one copy of the new book. Note that’s a shorter run than most of the week-long giveaways here, so get your environmentally-friendly a** in gear and comment if you want a chance to win!
You need to have a U.S. shipping address (which means you probably also pay your taxes, right?). Cheers – and good luck!
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Copyright © 2012. Originally at Sustainability In The Spotlight: “Down To Earth” Wine Book Giveaway! from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Win Tickets To #RiojaWeek Tapas Fest 2014 In NYC!

Two words: Jamon Galleria.

That’s just one of the culinary delights that you can experience at the upcoming Rioja Week Tapas Fest and Grand Tasting taking place at Weylin B. Seymour’s in Brooklyn, NY on Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 1PM ET. The event will also feature a Casa de Tapas, a Paella and Vino Garden, a Cheese Cave, and something like 200 Rioja wines.

And three of you are going to get to go for free. Who loves ya, baby?!?

I’m excited to tell you that this month I’ve got a (paying) gig with Rioja Wines in which I will be taking part in Tapas Fest in NYC (mostly as a panel moderator for both geekified and introduction-style panel sessions about Rioja wine) as well as hosting a #RiojaBuzz Tweet Chat on April 24th at 8:30pm EST/5:30pm PST (during which we’ll start tasting through some Rioja goodness in lip-smacking anticipation of the NYC event).

I’ll naturally not be formally reviewing any Rioja juice here on 1WD until after that gig has ended. And at this point I’m not sure if I’m in it more for the excitement of how awesome this NYC event is going to be (I’ve seen the insider details on the culinary coolness that will be on hand, and my keyboard is wet from the Pavlovian salivation responses), the fact that I am getting paid, or just the chance to taste Rioja jamon again. Anyway, check out the crazy lineup for this event and you’ll see what I mean.

Now, me being me, I kind of forced my hand with the amiable Rioja Wine folks in order to get some of you at this event (you know, for moral support and all that)! So three lucky 1WD readers will get two tickets each to the Tapas Fest on May 3 at 1PM ET, along with a groovy gift bag of food-related goodies (see inset pic, total value about $150).

Wanna shot at winning? Here’s the skinny…

To be eligible to win, you need to a) be a human, b) be 21 years or older, c) accept that if you win, you get the goodie bag and tix (that shouldn’t be too hard, right?), but not travel or lodging to NYC (sorry, there are limits to my influence, peeps!), and d) leave a comment on this post (see below).

For a chance to win, leave a comment here telling us about your favorite tapas and wine pairing (I don’t care if it’s a Rioja wine or not, but Tapas + Spanish wine is kind of a natural).

At 8PM ET on Tuesday, April 22, I will randomly select three lucky commenter-folk from the list of commenters, and announce the winners here (as well as contact them via email with details on how to collect).

Here’s the official skinny on the event from Wines of Rioja:


Wines from Rioja humbly invites you to a new culinary experience – the Rioja Wine and Tapas Festival on May 3, 2014. This will be the finale celebration of Rioja Week, a week-long, nationwide celebration. This one day food and wine festival will showcase over 30 top Rioja winemakers and representatives, plus 25 notable U.S. chefs. After tastings and mini-events throughout the week in New York City, Rioja invites you to experience the best of wine, food and culture from Spain’s most prominent wine region. With proceeds benefitting culinary scholarships at the James Beard Foundation, tickets to the Rioja Wine and Tapas Festival are $55, and are expected to sell out. We look forward to sharing a unique culinary experience with you – Salud!

Good luck, and hope to see you at Tapas Fest 2014 in NYC!


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Copyright © 2012. Originally at Win Tickets To #RiojaWeek Tapas Fest 2014 In NYC! from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Kicking Alzheimer’s Ass, One Donation At A Time! (ZinZig Wine Game Giveaway)

This week on 1WD, it’s the time of year when we honor the memory of my late grandmother Lucille, a breast cancer survivor who succumbed to Alzheimer’s when in her 90s, and whose birthday I’d be celebrating in August if she were still alive today.

And so I’m one again asking you to please donate to the Alzheimer’s Association and help end this terrible disease. Let’s kick Alzheimer’s ass!

To help sweeten the deal (aside from the sweet goodness of the karma points given to you by the Universe for your donation, I mean), I will randomly select one of the donators to receive a new, un-played copy of ZinZig, The Wine Tasting and Trivia Board Game (about a $42 value). I got it as a sample for possible review, and the ZinZig folks probably had no idea that I’d end up using their product like this. But… since it’s a board game that my five year old daughter cannot play, there’s little chance of me getting to use it any time soon (which is a shame, because it looks pretty damn fun, and it’s an additional excuse to drink…).

The giveaway will be open to donations made today through August 20, 2013 at 8PM ET / 5PM PT. To be eligible, your donation needs to be made using the links provided here.

So… get your donation in for a chance to get your wine gaming on!

Cheers – and THANK YOU!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

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Copyright © 2012. Originally at Kicking Alzheimer’s Ass, One Donation At A Time! (ZinZig Wine Game Giveaway) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Get Your Gift Geeky On With Our Wine Card Giveaway!

This week, I’m teaming up with NobleWorksCards.com to give away a set of ten wine-themed cards (valued at around $30)!

As will surprise none of you who know me, several of the cards push the envelope (ha!… okay… sorry…) on safe-for-workness, all are wine-themed, and all of them are amusing. The pack includes handfuls of funny birthday cards, humorous get-well-soon cards and a smattering of cards that could be used for Valentine’s Day or as greeting cards. Basically, you’ll find something in the pack that fits the bill for one (or more) of your wine-geeky friends or family.

The entire Card Pack can be viewed at the following links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (yes, I know those are small, but I wanted to squeeze them in without making the post two thousand words; look, do you want a chance to win something or not?!?).

Here’s how the giveaway will work:

  • Check out the cards using the links above, and let us know in the comments which is your fave (and why).
  • On Tuesday, April 30 at 8PM ET (5PM PT), I will randomly choose a winner from the commenters.

It’s that simple; but you also need to be a fully-evolved home sapiens living in the continental U.S. who is of legal drinking age to be eligible to win (sorry, Cro-Magnons)!.

As for my fave to kick this off (and no, I’m not eligible to win): it’s a bit crude of me (ah, you expected nothing less!), but I’ve got to go with this one as my personal favorite (there’s just a part of it that, deep down, actually rings poignantly true… in a sick sort of way).

Cheers – and good luck!

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Copyright © 2012. Originally at Get Your Gift Geeky On With Our Wine Card Giveaway! from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Carneros Wine Tour CD Giveaway!

This week, I’m teaming up with southern-born author Corinne Van Houten to give away a copy of her Carneros wine tour CD.

The CD (remember those? don’t worry, an audio file version is also in the works) is an engaging introduction to the Carneros region, highlighting the history of (and providing current tasting/visiting tips for) eleven wineries in the area that straddles both Sonoma and Napa valleys. For my money, Carneros is one of the few areas in Napa where Pinot Noir has a shot at über-specialness (and let’s not forget that on the Sonoma side, a stunning Carneros Pinot made Dude’s Top 10 MIW list for 2012).

Corinne’s CD is aimed at beginners (and/or those putting foot-to-dirt in touring the area), but aside from gifting possibilities there’s ample fodder within Corinne’s CD for the geekier among you who have yet to visit Carneros: it includes $40 worth of tasting coupons, and a map for each winery mentioned). In terms of the winery players, Bouchaine, Ceja, Cline, Domaine Carneros, Homewood, Larson Family, McKenzie-Mueller, Robledo, Roche, Schug and Truchard Winery all get profiled on the CD (several of these producers I’ve personally yet to visit, but now have a hankering to see – and taste – after hearing Corrine’s descriptions).

To be eligible to win, you need to live in the continental U.S., and be a 21+ years old carbon-based life form consisting mostly of water. You also need to leave a comment on this post telling us all about your fave wine tour (and/or tasting spot) – doesn’t matter where, I’m just curious who’s doing it right. On April 9th at 9PM ET/6PM PT, I will randomly select a winner from the commenters.

Cheers – and good luck!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

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Copyright © 2012. Originally at Carneros Wine Tour CD Giveaway! from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Wines Of The Southern Hemisphere (Giveaway!)

My friends the World Wine Guys (aka Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen) have been busy lately, it seems.

First, they publish the Fire Island Cookbook just in time for Summer, and now that Summer is coming to a close they’re already back on the shelves with another well-executed tome, Wines Of The Southern Hemisphere (Sterling Publishing, about $24).

I’m not sure how they did all of this, but I am starting to strongly suspect that illegal human cloning is involved, because the work that seems to have gone into these releases is bordering on astonishing.

I like the book, and since I received two sample copies (not sure how or why that happened), I’ve decided that we’ll give away TWO copies to two (separate!) lucky 1WD readers

As for the book itself: Wines Of The Southern Hemisphere is nearly 600 pages of excellent information, targeted at budding wine lovers in the Northern hemisphere but chock full of information that Intermediates and more seasoned wine geeks would still likely find quite useful: grape, region, and producer overviews, winemaker interviews and recipes ideas for food pairings with wines from each of the countries “visited” in the course of the book. So in a way, Mike and Jeff have taken the regional overview wine book formula and turned it a bit on its ear, and added their own flair and obvious enjoyment of the various areas’ people and cuisine. In that respect, Wines Of The Southern Hemisphere could keep you pretty busy, both as a guide and a source of entertainment and food-and-wine pairing ideas. In fact, the only things I don’t like about this book are the fact that the images are all gray-scale, and it contains what might be the single most boring foreword in the history of wine literature, courtesy of über-winemaking-consultant Michel Rolland.

Anyway… here’s the skinny on the giveaway:

  • Leave a comment here noting your fave Southern Hemisphere wine: no restrictions on price, availability, or any other rules other than the fact that it is produced in a country south of the equator!
  • On October 23rd, I will randomly select two (separate!) commenters who will each take home one copy of the book, something I fear I will soon regret since the book isn’t small and the shipping charges probably aren’t dirt cheap. Oh, well… don’t say I never did anything for you, okay?

Shout out those S. Hemi. wines for a chance to win – and good luck!


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Copyright © 2012. Originally at Wines Of The Southern Hemisphere (Giveaway!) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator Giveaway!

Kicking off another giveaway, just because I can (hey, it beats being bored!).

This time, we’ve got a brand new Vinturi Essential Red Wine Aerator (about a $35 value) to give away, something that I recently acquired from a gift basket left for me during Auction Napa Valley 2012. It’s branded with the Folie à Deux logo, so as long as you’re cool with that then you’re good to go for our latest giveaway!

If you’re curious how well the it operates and the impact that it has on red wine vs. using a decanter, check out my previous Vinturi review (in summary: not as good as old-fashioned, time-tested decanting, but certainly not a slouch and it does help some wines to open up quite nicely).

Now, listen up because due to my travel schedule – Rioja coming up next week, and then Crete very quickly thereafter (for a piece that will probably run in Sommelier Journal in 2013) – this giveaway will NOT run for the normal one week period here on 1WD, but will end Saturday, June 23 (when I will randomly select a winner from the comment authors).

Here’s the skinny: Comment on this post (twitter and FB comments are welcome, as always, but they won’t count as an entry in the giveaway), with your answer to this question: When – and how – do you decant your reds? Is it only for older wines, younger wines, unfiltered wines you think will throw some sediment, or all three? Do you use alternative methods, like aerators, or a blender (seriously – search the site, that blender-as-decanter topic has gotten some airtime on this blog!).

We’ve talked near and around that question before here on the virtual pages of 1WD, but have yet to really get into it. So… shout it out in the comments!

Cheers – and good luck!

Copyright © 2012. Originally at Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator Giveaway! from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Fire Island Burning! (Cookbook Giveaway!)

I first met the World Wine Guys (otherwise known as Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen) when in New York City tasting through a shedload of New Zealand Sauv Blancs and Pinot Noirs (and learning how the Kiwis shuck oysters).

At the time, they told me that they were in throes of writing not a wine tome (despite their impressive resume of wine publication contributions), but a… cook book.

They Summer (now there’s a verb only ascot-wearing jet-setters could love) at a place called Fire Island in the Hamptons (which I like to call the South Fork, because it pisses Hamptonites off when I do that), where there are few restaurants. Out of necessity, they therefore spent a lot of time devising meals and procuring the local fresh produce to make them during their Summer holidays. The result of their experience is the brand-new – and quite excellent – Fire Island Cookbook, recently released by Atria Books (hardback will set you back about $20, the eBook version runs about $15 – I received a sample copy).

To celebrate the dawn of Summer, I’m giving away a hardback copy of The Fire Island Cookbook – here’s how to get in on that action…

For a chance to win, leave a comment on this post and let us know your fave Summer food and wine pairing (I’m particularly interested in your go-to Summer wines… for some reason I’ve been craving Vermentino myself…). On June 5th (in one week), I will randomly pick a commenter from those comments, who will then take home a copy of the book.

Simple enough, right? So get crackin’ – let us know about those awesome Summer culinary picks!

Cheers – and good luck!

Copyright © 2011. Originally at Fire Island Burning! (Cookbook Giveaway!) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Show Off Your Terribly Awesome Wine Slogan For A Chance To Win A Wine Tee From Fibers.com!

It’s been a while since we’ve done a giveaway, and so when I was contacted by Fibers.com to potentially partner up and give away one of their wine-themed t-shirts I couldn’t resist.

This is primarily because they combine wine with one of my closet indulgences: slogans so bad that they become fantastic. I’m not at all religious, but I’ve long been fascinated with the epically, awesomely terrible slogans posted on church billboards; they are just so heinously good (if that makes sense). For example, some gems that I’ve encountered during my driving travels:

“If you give the devil a ride, sooner or later he’s gonna want to drive.”

“God doesn’t want shares of your life; He wants controlling interest!”

“God answers ‘Knee Mail’”

That last one is sooooo wonderfully terrible!

Anyway, you’ve got a chance to win a free, customizable wine t-shirt from Fibers.com just by commenting on this here post! To maximize the fun (for me, anyway!), to become eligible you need only comment here with your favorite terribly awesome wine slogan. Ideally, you’ll come up with puns as wonderfully bad as the ones those churches are able to churn out, only wine-related.

I’m thinking along the lines of “Making good wine is a skill; making fine wine is an art; unless your name is Rudy Kurniawan, in which case it’s probably a federal offense!” or “I once had budding career in wine growing, but the bad economy green-harvested it.” You gotta admit, those are so bad that they could become endearing… anyway…

In one week I will randomly select a winner from the commenters, and contact them via email with the details on how to claim their Tee.

So get commentin’ and show off your creative side!

Cheers – and good luck!

Copyright © 2011. Originally at Show Off Your Terribly Awesome Wine Slogan For A Chance To Win A Wine Tee From Fibers.com! from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Wine Knows Trivia iPhone App Giveaway!

With the buzz happening around the Weekly Wine Quiz, I’ve got wine trivia on the (vino-soaked) brain lately. So it seemed serendipitous that I was contacted by the folks at Trivia Knows to try out their new cross-platform mobile wine trivia game, Wine Knows Trivia.

They invited me to take a sample test rive of the game on the iPhone, and I can say that I am fairly impressed – the interface is slick, there’s a bit of game-addiction action as you rack up bottles that measure your winnings/progress (which you can then share via twitter, Google+ and Facebook for bragging rights among your social circle as to who has the most wine smarties). And we all know that wine knowledge makes you appear sexier to your potential amorous pursuits (just sayin’).

And now YOU have a chance to win a copy of Wine Knows Trivia for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, because we’re giving away a redemption code for the app to THREE lucky commenters this week!  Here’s the deal: you comment on this post, and at 9PM ET on Friday, January 27th I will randomly select three winners from the comments who will receive a redemption code via e-mail (if you win, you need to act fast – after February 3rd, the codes evaporate into the ether, never to be seen again!). Comment discussion topic coming after the jump.

Some of the questions in the Wine Knows trivia game are pretty friggin’ difficult – I found a few that rivaled those posed within the exams of the certifications for which I sat over the years. so it should keep all but the most die-hard wine geeks entertained…

For example, do you know the most commonly-used grapes (of the 14-some-odd varieties allowed) in the making of vintage port? Probably not off the top of your noggin’.

It’s not all a bottle of rose, of course – questions that you answer incorrectly tend to repeat themselves until you get them right, which you may find annoying. And as far as I’m able to discern, the app totally ignores the mute button on the iPhone, and there’s not setting to turn off the sound effects and music, forcing you to manually reduce the volume if you want to play while you’re supposed to be paying attention in a meeting. And finally, some questions use the term “varietal” as a noun (totally unforgiveable!).

Anyway, as a wine geek you can do a lot worse than while away your time learning some interesting tidbits about your favorite beverage by challenging yourself with all the great questions that Wine Knows Trivia poses for the bargain price of $0.99.

So if you wanna win a copy to put your wine brain to the test, shout out the following in the comments:

What’s the most difficult wine quiz/test/question you’ve ever faced?

For me, it would have to be the section on the WSET Advanced written exam that dealt with Spanish brandies – I was totally unprepared for the inclusion of that (shame on me!). But then, the exam seemed to include a good proportion of questions pertaining to the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., and if had been a Londoner studying for the exam I probably would have sh*t myself on those questions!

Cheers – and good luck!

(images: www.triviaknows.com)

Copyright © 2011. Originally at Wine Knows Trivia iPhone App Giveaway! from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Winners Of The ZAP 2012 Giveaway Announced (Along With The Zins Now On My Review List)!


You people sure do like your ZAP. Or you sure do like your Zinfandel. Or both, probably.

Between the comments, retweets, Facebook Likes, e-mails, and other versions of time-sucking on-line virtual social water-cooler spots, my giveaway of tickets to some of the ZAP 2012 events generated a few hundred reactions (with over 100 coming in the form of comments alone). That is, by far, the the biggest response to a giveaway in 1WD history! A huge THANK YOU to all of you who made the giveaway so awesome – a special shout-out to reader Leilani Carrara who put us over the 100 comment mark, and in doing so was awarded an impromptu prize (in the form of a free copy of the 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide ebook).

For those who have been playing along at home, you know that the giveaway also determined at least two Zinfandels that I will now be on the hook to review – not necessarily an easy task, since I live in the Communistwealth of PA and so do not necessarily have easy access to the wines demanded by the giveaway winners (attention PR folk: if you have samples of any of these winners, I’m willing to talk!).

And so… the winners of tix for two to a pair of way-cool ZAP 2012 events… aaaaaand their Zin picks, which I now need to get my grubby little hands on to review, are…

1) Fred Aliano

“I’d like to see a review of ANY Zinfandel from my favorite Russian River Valley Vineyard – Ponzo Likely suspects are Ridge, Pendleton, Hart’s Desire.”

2) Martin Dredmond

Dashe Cellars Les Enfants Terribles McFadden Farm Zin”

At least Fred was kind enough to give me options (thanks, dude!). Martin – as for you, well… you kind of screwed me, because only something like 180 cases of that Dasche Zinfandel are made every year… so that one is gonna take some work (“thanks,” Martin…).

Gentlemen – enjoy ZAP 2012! You will be contacted in the coming days regarding how to redeem your tickets (that will come via the email addresses you used to post your winning comments). When you hit EPICURIA, say hi to my buddy Tony (he’s the chef behind “A Chef For You” creating the pairing for Lodi’s St. Amant Winery Zin).


Copyright © 2011. Originally at Winners Of The ZAP 2012 Giveaway Announced (Along With The Zins Now On My Review List)! from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Goin’ Mobile: Pocket Wine App Giveaway!

I figured those of you who might be disappointed that the predicted 2011 Rapture didn’t turn up this weekend might need a pick-me-up.  Not me – I, for one, knew for certain that the Rapture was not coming, because the only true sign of the approach of Rapture is (of course) a lanky guy in an all-white suit and white top hat wearing shades with red lights in them during the night time and getting his groove on with some funky dance moves.  And I didn’t see that guy this weekend anywhere

Anyway… the pick-me-up takes the form of our latest giveaway: this time I’ve got promo codes for three free copies of the recently-revamped iPhone wine app Pocket Wine, sold by Wine Paradigm (a $3.99 value). This is not to be confused with last week’s giveaway, which is still running until Wednesday. Got it?  I promise no more concurrent giveaways, because I don’t want anyone’s head to explode.

What has been exploding, however, is the volume of mobile-related wine content in recent weeks (see my recent take on VinPass, and another story posting here later this week on iPad wine mags), so today’s giveaway feels timely (to me, anyway).  It also, in turn, makes me feel increasingly older and out-of-date with the mobile scene, since I don’t own an iPhone, a Droid device, or an iPad (hey, Apple: potential sponsorship opportunity here, people!) and therefore have had to request screen prints from the mobile apps that carry my reviews to approve anything they do with my content, since I can’t view the stuff in its native format.  I know… I suck… Whatever.

You know the drill: you comment, and in one week I randomly select winners from the commenters!  There will be three winners, each receiving one promo code each for a copy of Pocket Wine.  Disclaimer: I’m giving away promo codes (here’s how to redeem them in the Apple App Store if you’re one of the lucky winners), not devices – and if you’re a winner you have to redeem your promo code by June 13th (or it turns back into a pumpkin… or at least stops working).

One thing I like about Pocket Wine is that it has (or seems to have, based on the screenprints!) a focus on developing and tracking your own personal taste preferences (see inset pic) – and we all know that I’m a pretty big fan of that approach, because it’s how I learned about wine in the first place.  But it’s a player in what seems to be an increasingly crowded field of wine-related mobile apps.

So our topic for the comments: How do you feel about the plethora of mobile wine apps? Handy tools? Or just crapware taking up your precious mobile phone memory?  Got any faves?  Shout it out for a chance to win!


Copyright © 2010 Goin’ Mobile: Pocket Wine App Giveaway! is a post from: 1WineDude.com. This content feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this content feed on other websites without express permission breaches copyright. If this content is in your RSS news reader or e-mail inbox, then you are totally awesome. But if it's on any site other than 1WineDude.com without permission, it makes the page you are viewing an infringement of the copyright (and the owner of the site a thief... the kind of person who probably drinks really terrible wine and then spits it out on people's shoes...).

Georges Duboeuf Wine Book Of The Year Awards, Concluded (“Best Of The Best” Giveaway!)

Last week in my continuing saga as judge in the Georges Duboeuf Wine Book of the Year Awards, we took a look at the finalists that didn’t make my cut into the “top three” votes for the award (and gave away a copy of Charlie Olken’s excellent New Connoisseurs’ Guidebook to California Wine and Wineries in the process).

This week, we’re going to look at the three that did make that cut, with my explanations as to why I chose them, exactly as I reported them to the folks running the GD awards this year.  They’re listed after the jump in descending order, ending with my personal #1 pick for the award.  The official winner will be announced next week at Duboeuf’s annual Beaujolais Crus preview in New York on May 24.

This week, we’re giving away a copy of one of those ‘top three’ books – Mark Oldman’s Brave New World of Wine: Pleasure, Value, and Adventure Beyond Wine’s Usual Suspects!

Same drill as last week, people: you comment, and in one week I’ll randomly select a winner from the list of commenters!

You can see exactly where Mark’s latest release fell in my top three after the jump (for more on Mark, check out the interview I did with him back in October) – to make a long story short, his latest book kicks all kinds of wine learning ass. The main reason I picked Brave New World of Wine as one of my three finalists, however, was because Mark’s book reminds us of something that I think we spend too much tome forgetting – inherently, wine is supposed to make us happy; it’s supposed to bring joy, delight and (at the high end) some artistic measure to our days.

Do we miss the trick too much, and too often forget about the joy that wine is supposed to bring to us? Shout it out in the comments for a chance to win!

Enjoy – and good luck!…

3) The Finest Wines of Bordeaux: A Regional Guide to the Best Châteaux and Their Wines (Fine Wine Editions) By James Lawther MW (about $25)

Another book about Bordeaux?  Really? Do we really need this?  Turns out the answer is “Yes.”  Lawther’s book is a great addition to the Finest Wines… series, all of which are visually stunning books and thankfully avoid the massive weight and size of the coffee-table-style that seems to be de rigueur in wine publication.  The book works because it also doesn’t fall prey to one of the other trappings of the wine media world, which is to laud storied Chateaux without ever touching on more controversial topics, or ever saying that their wine quality suffered, or ever talking about the human beings behind those expensive releases.

This book matters because it deftly includes those elements that other takes on Bordeaux miss, and at its heart is a humanist take on what, after all, is a very human endeavor: creating wines that are meant to stand the test of time and set the bar for the world’s best reds. Lawther has the knowledge to turn a small space on each producer – a few paragraphs, usually – into a knowledgeable mini-treatise on the people, the places and wines that come from them.  It’s certainly one of the best takes on Bordeaux ever produced.


2) Oldman’s Brave New World of Wine: Pleasure, Value, and Adventure Beyond Wine’s Usual Suspects By Mark Oldman (about $15)

With this new release, Mark Oldman has matched the level of achievement of his first book, which I consider to be one of the best entry-level wine books ever produced.  That in and of itself is impressive.  In the pages of Brave New World of Wine, he offers up wine recommendations slightly off the beaten path, meant to expand wine knowledge beyond the basics and focusing on a topic often totally disregarded in the context of learning wine appreciation: delight.  And he does it in a casual, accessible writing style, and a somewhat-less-accessible but easily-learned system of icons/badges to help navigate his wine recommendations – and they’re recommendations that don’t requiring expending your bank account.

In the process Oldman – somehow, almost impossibly – makes the strange, esoteric, and nigh-unpronounceable of the wine world seem fun, interesting and cool. The book comes off as bit devil-may-care, but that clearly belies an intense amount of research and knowledge on Oldman’s part and the result is a reference that will prove indispensible to intermediate wine lovers, particularly in the U.S. market.


1) Reading between the Wines By Terry Theise (about $15)

Terry Theise’s opinionated treatise on why wine is important as an art might be the most important wine book written since the turn of the century, and I am actually stating that without trying to add any hyperbole.  This is not a book for the casual wine fan – it’s a love-letter to anyone who cares deeply about wine, to anyone who’s ever really found themselves transfixed by a fine wine, to anyone who’s ever spent the time to really listen to what a true wine of place was trying to whisper to them.

The presentation of the book is sparse, and it works because the words are what are really important here.  Theise has managed to create a work just as subtle, well-crafted, opinionated, unique and characterful as the style of wines that he champions in his “day job.”  If there’s a better written work that stands as a convincing argument as to why we should treat wine as an art form – with all of the implications of how we appreciate it sensually as well as mentally – I’ve yet to read it.


(images: amazon.com)

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Win Tickets To The 20th Zinfandel Festival in San Francisco!

Has it really been twenty years since ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) first held their modest gathering, spearheaded by Ravenswood founder and Sonoma wine icon Joel Peterson (for a glimpse into Joel’s head, check out our interview from Dec. 2008)?

Believe it or not, ZAP’s 20th Annual Zinfandel Festival is, indeed, taking place Thursday-Saturday, January 27-29, and tickets are now on sale. Like most wine events that have grown to become ginormous in size, folks tend to have mixed reviews of the event (or, put more accurately, mixed reviews of the attendees of the event) but some of the positive press comes by way of people for whom I have a great deal of respect, such as my adopted papa Charlie Olken – so there is certainly some fun to be had, and of course the opportunity to taste a sh*tload of Zinfandel from dozens of producers.

It’s in that spirit that we’ve giving away 2 sets of 5 tickets each to two of the 20th Zinfandel Festival events – the Good Eats & Zin Pairing on Thursday, Jan. 27, and the Grand Zin Tasting on Saturday, Jan. 29 – and you can win just by leaving a comment on this post!

Details on how to win are after the jump. Just be forewarned that I’m not independently wealthy and so rather than transport winners from any worldwide destination to San Fran. via my 70-foot yacht staffed by vestal virgins, the winning peeps are on their own for any travel and expenses and the giveaway is open to U.S. readers only (sorry, loyal Estonian readers!).

Here’s how this is gonna go down:

  • Leave a comment on this post and tell us about your favorite Zin.  American? Italian Primitivo?  Big producer with a cheap bottling, or high-end expensivo limited-availability run from a small winemaking outfit?  Shout it out in the comments!
  • On Friday Jan. 7, I will randomly select two comments as the winners – one will receive five tickets to the Good Eats & Zin Pairing on Thursday, Jan. 27 6-9PM (a $700 value), and the other will receive five tickets to the Grand Zin Tasting on Saturday, Jan. 29 2-5PM (a $350 value).  Transportation and any other expenses are not included – just the tickets, people! – but you can use those tickets in any way you see fit so long as it doesn’t violate ZAP’s rules for attendance (i.e., I’m pretty sure you can’t sneak in your 16-year-old nephew).  Invite some friends, get your Zin on, and have a ball!

Mama taught me to share, so I’m going to give you a couple of my Zinfandel picks:

Look for more coverage of the above right here as we move closer to the dates of the Zinfandel Festival. Now, let’s here your Zin picks!


Think Inside The (Wine) Box Giveaway: Personalized Wine Gift Holiday Edition

Ok, peeps – just in time (and plenty of it) for the holidays, we’ve got another giveaway coming at ya!

This week, one lucky commenter will be selected at random to win a pretty spiffy personalized wine gift box (a $45 retail value) from www.personalizedwineboxes.com!

Pictured at left, these wine gift boxes look pretty darn spiffy, and could make a very nice edition to your holiday gift list ( even if, like me, you primarily considered something like this a gift to yourself… you selfish little thing, you…).


Here’s the deal: In one week, I will randomly select a winner from the comments who will be able to design their own personalized wine box! The only catch being that you need to live in the U.S. (I’ve also been asked to add the disclaimer “wine not included” – but if you couldn’t figure that one out on your own then you have problems deeper than can be solved with wine alone).

Our comment topic? What’s the coolest ‘wine gift’ you’ve ever received?  Shout ‘em out!

To get us started here’s my pick…

Back in 2002, Mrs. Dudette gave me what I consider the coolest wine-related gift I’ve ever received: a tastevin (purchased, I believe, in Georgetown).

A matter of (very) brief explanation: the tastevin is the (somewhat ancient-ish) tool used by sommeliers to taste wine in dark wine cellars; it was usually constructed from metal and worn about the neck with a chain.

In the case of my gift, there is a coin inside the basin (which is the focus of the old, crappy digital pics inset to the left and the right), dated 1484 (the reverse side has inscriptions in Latin and what appear to me to to be runes, though I’ve never had time to perform any serious research on what the hell all of those might signify).

Of course, it’s a matter of conjecture when the tastevin was made (or even if the coin is, in actuality, from 1484 or was created much later).

In other words, we don’t know exactly where it’s from, or quite when it was made, or even when the coin inside it was made, but for me all of that doesn’t detract one iota from the absolute coolness factor of this thing.

And before you ask: No, I’ve never actually used it for its original, intended purpose (tasting wine in the dark)!


(image: personalizedwineboxes.com)

Wine Chiller Giveaway (and 1WineDude Reader Wine Fridge Discount)!

During the month of November, we have teamed up with WineFridgesPlus.com to offer you a (literally) cool giveaway!

From now until December 1, 2010, you’ll get 10% off* any single-item built-in wine fridge purchase of $50 or more (*some new-fangled legalese restrictions apply, of course – we’re not that good – see details below) from WineFridgesPlus.com. 

At the same time, you can also enter to win a VinoTemp single-bottle wine chiller at http://www.winefridgesplus.com/giveaways (the prize will be awarded after December 1st – check the link for full details)!

Depending on your wine storage needs, this could end up saving you up to $500 so it’s worth checking out.

My take on wine fridges is that you’re better off going high-end with a unit that controls both temperature (obviously the most important, especially for those of you without a cellar) and humidity

(fridge air tends to be dry, which can affect cork closures, though I never once had an issue with this with my relatively low-end wine fridge when I had it running for several years) – a quick look through the WFP offerings shows a few that have humidity reservoirs like this model.

All in all, I’d still opt for an underground cellar over any other wine storage system, but if you try that route in many parts of the U.S. or U.K. you will end up with a swimming pool underneath your house, so I understand the need for these things.  Some of them also pack anywhere from 50 to 200 bottles in a relatively small amount of space, which is great if you are limited in available wall/shelf space.

Another thing to ask about is how the wine fridges regulate temperature – some winemakers with whom I’ve discussed this topic have argued that constant small temperature swings are almost as bad for wine storage as quick dips/spikes in temperature; ideally you’re looking for something that performs temperature stability in the gentlest ways possible.

The WFP item that filled me with the most G.A.S. (gear acquisition syndrome, the name we in the music biz give to that feeling that compels you to keep buying gear/gadgets/instruments/what-have-you, despite the pleas to the contrary from your inner conscience and probably also from your significant other) was this wall-mounted thermoelectric wine cooler.  That kind of thing just screams “wine badass” the same way that having a pool table screams “man cave.”  No idea if it’s any good (or not), I just know that the pic makes me want it (sad, really, I know).

Anyway – full details on the discount available after the jump.

Would love YOUR thoughts on using wine fridges, and if you take advantage of the discount please check back in and let us know how it goes!

SAVE 10%* Off Any Purchase at Wine Fridges Plus – Up to $500 Discount

Wine Fridges Plus offers a premium selection of wine fridges for any home or business. For a limited time, WineFridgesPlus.com is offering 1 Wine Dude’s readers an exclusive 10% off* coupon code available for any purchase until 12/1/2010.


Promotion Rules and Fine Print
*10% off applies to single-item built-in wine fridge purchases of $50 or more. Maximum discount is $500. No cash value. Excludes clearance purchases and gift card purchases. The customer must be signed-in to their WineFridgesPlus.com account to redeem this coupon.

Qualifying purchases must be made on WineFridgesPlus.com’s website. Limit ONE coupon redemption per product, customer, receipt, household, family or address. This offer is valid in the United States only. This offer may not be  combined with any other promotional coupons, promotions or offers. Product prices are subject to change and all deals are subject to stock availability. Wine Fridges Plus is not responsible for printing, typographical or photographic representation errors. Offer valid 11/1/10 – 12/1/10.


(image: WineFridgesPlus.com)

Should America’s Native Grapes Be Saved? (The Wild Vine Giveaway!)

This week, we’re giving away a hardcover copy of Todd Kliman’s excellent The Wild Vine: A Forgotten Grape and the Untold Story of American Wine (of which I received more than one sample copy) to one lucky commenter (that could be YOU).

I should start by saying that The Wild Vine is everything that you’d want out of a good wine book; better stated, it’s everything that you’d want out of a good book, period.

There are compelling characters.  There is a stellar narrative voice.  There’s an underdog story (a few, actually, interwoven) that make you care.  There is conflict, perseverance, and in some ways, triumph.

I’m just not entirely convinced that the story needed to be told – at least, part of it, anyway.  I’m glad it was told – and in such gloriously talented fashion; I’m just not sure I “get” the importance of the tale, mostly because the heart of the story in The Wild Vine is the near total disappearance of one of America’s most seemingly promising, and at one time certainly most successful – native hybrids, the Norton.

The book takes us on tangents as wildly diverting as the un-pruned tendrils of a Norton vine: from the early 1800s near-suicidal despair of Dr. Daniel Norton (who by all reasonable accounts appears to be the originator of the Norton grape that bears his name) to the crowning of an American Norton as one of the world’s greatest wines in a late 1800s Austrian wine exhibition, to the near singly-handed modern resurgence of the Norton grape in its spiritual and genetic home in Virginia at the dedicated hands of Chrysalis Vineyards transsexual owner, Jenni McCloud.

As you have probably discerned, The Wild Vine is not without (major) drama.  And while some might bristle at Kliman’s extensive use of fictional historical narrative to get inside the heads of the book’s decidedly non-fictional characters, and others might give up on the extended storyline (Kliman literally waits until halfway through the book before posing the question of why the Norton practically went extinct), those who stick with The Wild Vine all the way through will be well-rewarded.

There’s just a part of me – the part that’s tasted some nasty versions of wine made from Norton grapes – that wonders if the grape should have been saved.

(for details on how to win a copy of the book, read on…)

Don’t get me wrong, the romantic (and the Romantic) in me both love the idea of bringing the Norton back from near-extinction.  There is something so quintessentially American about the homer making good, especially against big odds.

The skeptic in me, though, keeps popping up to say (in suitably evil mini-shoulder-devil voice), “who cares about these American hybrids. anyways – those wines totally suck!”).

Not all of them totally suck, I’m sure (I’ve never had the pleasure of tasting the Norton wines made at Chrysalis, but something tells me that a wine that compels someone as passionate as McCloud to make it and as talented as Kliman to write about it has a very, very low probability of sucking).


We are totally kidding ourselves if we think that the majority of native American grapes can produce anything other than – at best – half-decent table wines.  At worst, we’re left with the foxy, Welch’s-concentrate-sweetness of Concord “let’s-get-hammered-at-the-Renaissance-Faire” wine (nothing wrong with that, of course – I’ve actually done it, I’m just not deluding myself that the wine is worth anything more than that).

To me, it’s a bit like the argument of whether or not ground chuck can make a decent steak-style dinner– the answer is likely to be “maybe,” and your ground chuck preparation might actually be pretty damn tasty, but if you stack it up next to a cut of filet mignon, I don’t need to think too long about which one I’m choosing for dinner.


What’s your take on wine made from Native American grapes?  Sucky? Brilliant? 

Shout it out in the comments! In one week, I’ll randomly select a winner from the commenters who will go home (virtually, that is) with their own hardcover copy of The Wild Vine!


(images: amazon.com, http://www.flickr.com/photos/meryddian/)

And the Winner is….

Mike. Congrats and enjoy the book! Now, since I’m sure there are some who didn’t get their name in, I’ve decided to give away a book a week for the next 7 weeks. Every week you’ll have a chance to win if you leave a comment below on any post from that week. Same rules […]

Do You Care About Vintage Charts? (Wine Spectator Giveaway)

You may have noticed that Wine Spectator has been advertising here on 1WineDude.com. I know, right?  The temperature in Hell may just have gotten a couple of more degrees below freezing.

WS are pushing their new iTunes vintage chart app, and part of that push involves a month-long ad stint here and on other on-line wine publications/blogs. Me being me, I asked them to sweeten the deal and as such this week we are giving away a one-year subscription to Wine Spectator (print or on-line), a $49.95 value

I think I just heard teeth chattering by another lost soul in Hell… [though I should note, before you or the FTC send me any flaming e-mail, that this post is not sponsored, I worked with the WS reps to concoct the giveaway idea].

Anyway, here’s how the giveaway works:

  • Leave a comment here telling everyone what you think about vintage charts: are they useful? overrated? essential?
  • In one week, I will randomly select a winner from the commenters to walk away with a one-year Wine Spectator subscription!

I’ll kick things off by talking about my view on vintage charts – but first, I probably need to clear the air about how I view Wine Spectator in general, because right now that air seems to be a little smoky

I’ve got nothing against Wine Spectator, though it seems to be popular gossip sometimes that I do.  In fact, some of their editors are fans of the blog.  I do have something against a good number of their on-line forum members, though, but that doesn’t extend to the majority of their editorial team.

I don’t read WS – I purchased one issue several years ago, couldn’t make sense of it, felt it didn’t relate to me in any meaningful way, and never looked back.  Everyone is different, and not everyone is going to respond to the overall voice and style of wine coverage in WS. Plus, reading a page or two of wine review scores and snippets makes my eyes glaze over.  Thankfully, with the advent of new beverage magazines, wine blogs, etc., just about anyone and everyone should be able to find a voice that speaks to them in a meaningful way these days when it comes to wine.

But even though we just did it, we’re not here to talk about Wine Spectator per se, but about their foray into the iTunes app world by way of an interactive vintage chart, the demo of which looks pretty impressive from a usability standpoint.  Which doesn’t help me much, since I almost never refer to vintage charts.

Vintage charts just don’t speak to me, either.  Actually, let me rephrase that – they do speak to me, but only for very specific wine regions (mostly the cooler ones) in which the vagaries of weather play such a huge part in quality that vintage charts from people you trust and whose palates reflect your own can help you determine if you’re getting ripped off or not on the more expensive bottlings.  The point is, if a wine critic likes wines that you don’t, then their take on what constitutes a poor or great vintage may not be useful to you at all. It’s also important to remember that in regions with moderate-to-warm climates, vintage variation tends to have less impact, especially in those areas where modern winemaking techniques are widely employed.

What’s your take on vintages charts?  Boon?  Bane?  Shout it out in the comments for a chance to win!


(images: itunes.com, lifestyleandmore.it)