Tag Archives: wine gifts

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Tuesday Birthday Week 2018 giveaway: Zazzle wine t-shirt

zazzleWin a Zazzle wine t-shirt

The the winner is Eric, who picked 485. The winning number was 527 (picture to the right). Tomorrow’s prize is a $100 gift card from Wine.com. Thanks to Wine.com, a long-time supporter of the blog and what we do here. Check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.


Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this exact post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the t-shirt.

Birthday week 2018 starts Monday

birthday week 2018The blog’s 11th Birthday Week begins on Monday, with terrific prizes again this year

Birthday Week 2018, the 11th annual, begins on Monday with terrific prizes for the blog’s readers. The daily giveaways are the Wine Curmudgeon’s annual thank you to everyone who reads the blog and visits the site, since none of this would happen without you. And we need some cheering up after the past 12 months in cheap wine.

Contest rules are here. Those of you who get the blog via email or RSS will need to go to winecurmudgeon.com and click on that day’s prize post to enter.

Each day next week, a prize post will run in addition to the regular post. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of the prize post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts, like this one. Unless the number is in the comments section of the prize post, the entry won’t count.

This year’s prize schedule:

• Monday: A $50 gift card from Boony Doon Vineyards.

• Tuesday: A wine t-shirt from Zazzle. And, yes, men’s style, too.

• Wednesday: A $100 gift card from Wine.com. Thanks to Wine.com, a long-time supporter of the blog and what we do here.

• Thursday: Four Schott Zweisel wine glasses, just like the ones the Wine Curmudgeon uses.

• Friday: Three wine books — an autographed copy of the cheap wine book, an autographed copy of “Wine Trails United States & Canada,” signed by Washington Post wine columnist Dave McIntyre, and a copy of Peter Stafford-Bow’s “Brute Force.”

Besides the prize giveaways, I’ll recap the past year on the blog — the top posts and the least liked on Monday, as well as my always insightful analysis about what it all means and the future of the wine business on Thursday.

Picture courtesy of Humdrum Paper, using a Creative Commons license

Holiday wine gift guide 2017

Who needs to blow $1,500 for something no one needs when you have the Wine Curmudgeon holiday wine gift guide 2017?

holiday wine gift guide 2017Premiumization isn’t just about wine these days. It’s about wine gifts, too. How about $95 for a bottle of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne, packaged in a gift box shaped like a lipstick, complete with bright red top? Or the $1,500 Plum wine preservation system? It’s so complicated that I can’t figure out what it does or why I need it.

Never fear. That’s why the Wine Curmudgeon is here. As always, my goal is to offer ideas that are tasteful, affordable, and enjoyable. Because who wants to get a set of beer glass wraps made of leather?

This year, my suggestions are mostly wine, but also keep in mind two must-haves for anyone who drinks wine regularly – the Rabbit wine preserver ($10), cheap and effective, and a top-notch waiter’s corkscrew from Murano ($10).

Also:

• Jon Bonne’s new book, “Thee New Wine Rules: A Genuinely Helpful Guide to Everything You Need to Know” (Ten Speed Press, $15). This effort continues the former San Francisco Chronicle wine editor’s attempt to remake how we look at wine. It’s not long, but length isn’t the issue. Rather, it’s the 89 “rules” – practical advice instead of the commandments that we have had to endure for generations. And yes, says Bonne, you can drink rose all year long.

Ridge Lytton Springs 2015 ($40). Dollar for dollar, California’s Ridge may be the best winery in the U.S. The Lytton Springs, one of the winery’s trademark zinfandel blends, shows why – lots of jammy black fruit and sweet oak, but with black pepper, more acidity than the usual flat and flabby zinfandel, and some herbal notes toward the finish. And it’s very young – should last for a decade or more.

Osborne Pedro Ximenez 1827 ($25): This Spanish sherry is dessert wine even for people who don’t like dessert wine – nutty, raisiny, rich and luscious, and one swallow seems to last forever. It may be difficult to find, but is more than worth the effort and more than a fair value. This is a sister product to a very rare Osborne sherry, which was easily the best I have ever tasted. And this one is almost as good.

Jose Zuccardi Malbec 2013 ($45): Argentina’s Zuccardi may be best known for its terrific cheap wine, including some classic $10 roses. This red, which includes a little cabernet sauvignon, takes the winery in a much different direction. It’s part of a decade-long effort to do for malbec what the Italians have done for sangiovese blends – call it a Super Mendoza. It’s not for all tastes – bigger and bolder than I expected. But the winemaking is impeccable.

Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc 2014 ($28): This California white wine is made with two grapes rarely used in the U.S., so it’s worthwhile just for that. That it comes from the talented Randall Grahm is another reason to buy it. And that it offers quality – a little pear fruit, some bright acidity – is a third reason.

Utah

Tuesday Birthday Week giveaway: French wine accessory gift pack

French wine accessories

And the winner is: Tom Geoghegan, who selected 49; the winning number was 54 (screen shot to the left). Thanks to everyone who participated. Tomorrow’s giveaway is the $100 wine.com gift card, courtesy of the blog’s long-time pal and the world’s largest Internet retailer.


Today, to celebrate the blog’s 10th anniversary, we’re giving away a French wine accessory gift pack, courtesy of Teuwen Communications and its French wine clients. This is the second of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.

Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this exact post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the gift pack.

Birthday week 2017 starts Monday

Birthday weekThe blog’s 10th Birthday Week begins on Monday, with some of the the best prizes yet

Birthday Week 2017, the 10th annual, begins on Monday with perhaps the best prizes in Birthday Week history. And why not? Ten years doing this is a long time, and especially doing what we do here.

Hence the Wine Curmudgeon’s annual thank you to everyone who reads the blog and visits the site, since none of this would happen without you. Contest rules are here. Those of you who get the blog via email or RSS will need to go to winecurmudgeon.com and click on that day’s prize post to enter.

Each day next week, a prize post will run in addition to the regular post. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of the prize post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts, like this one. Unless the number is in the comments section of the prize post, the entry won’t count.

This year’s prize schedule:

• Monday: A $50 gift card from Boony Doon Vineyards.

• Tuesday: A French wine gift accessory pack, courtesy of and much thanks to Teuwen Communications and its French wine clients.

• Wednesday: A $100 gift card from Wine.com, and thank you very much to the people at Wine.com for their annual enthusiasm for what we do here.

• Thursday: Six Riedel wine glasses — two Vinum sparkling glasses and four O red wine glassescourtesy of Banfi Wines.

• Friday: Four autographed copies of the cheap wine book.

Besides the prize giveaways, I’ll recap the past year on the blog — the top posts and the least liked on Monday, as well as my always insightful analysis about what it all means and the future of the wine business on Thursday.

Holiday wine trends 2016

Holiday wine trends 2016Holiday wine trends 2016: We’re spending the same amount of money, and spending it on rose and sauvignon blanc

Three things stand out in deciphering holiday wine trends 2016 after talking to retailers around the country:

• We’re going to spend money on wine this season, but not necessarily any more than we’ve spent in years past.

• Rose and sauvignon blanc, hardly traditional favorites, look to be big sellers.

• And all that talk about adventurous wine drinkers going off the beaten path for wine to drink? It’s just talk – cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, and chardonnay are still the wines we’re buying for the holidays.

Price, first: Consumers are still looking for value, say retailers, and that’s true whether the wine costs $15 or $50. Robert Pennington of Pogo’s in Dallas (where the Wine Curmudgeon buys wine when the Cubs win the World Series) says his customers are finding tremendous value from France’s Rhone with red blends from $15 to $25, In this, he says, they may be gravitating from Spain, long the value leader.

As to rose and sauvignon blanc? They’re cheap, they’re mostly well made, and almost all of them offer tremendous value. Michael Osborn, the founder and vice president merchandising for Wine.com, says it seems that people who buy more expensive California wine are also buying sauvignon blanc – call it the second label for big red drinkers. They keep it in the fridge, often spending as little as $10 a bottle, for a glass before dinner.

Osborn also says that the rose naysayers, who thought pink wine’s surge in popularity was be a one-off (does anyone remember moscato?), should note that Wine.com’s rose sales grew almost 50 percent in the first 11 months of 2016.

And why the familiar? When you’re giving a gift, or even buying wine for yourself for a special occasion, you’re less likely to gamble, says Glenn Ehrlich, the co-owner of the Denver wine shop Corks. Trying something new is well and good for Tuesday night takeout, but when you need to buy the boss a present? Out with the odd, and in with the wine you know he is going to like.

“People need to splurge more on themselves,” he says. “They should take a chance and try something they normally wouldn’t try because it isn’t what they normally drink.”

More about Holiday wine trends
Holiday wine trends 2015
Holiday wine trends 2014
Holiday wine trends 2013

Winebits 467: U.S. wine boom, organic wine, wine gifts

U.S. wine boomThis week’s wine news: The end of the U.S. wine boom, plus the profitability of organic wine and returning wine gifts

Is the fat lady singing? Those of us who rely on facts instead of “this is the way it’s always been” to parse the wine business got more bad news last week. “Two measures suggest that the U.S. market for wine may have peaked – or at least paused. There has been a reduction in the average consumption per head of wine in the last few years, coupled with a reduction in the number of very frequent wine drinkers – that is, those drinking wine on a near daily basis.” This, from a report by the Wine Intelligence consultancy, confirms what has been reported elsewhere – the 40-year-old U.S. wine boom seems to be over. What happens next, as more producers and retailers chase fewer consumers, is anyone’s guess. I’m going to write about this quite a bit over the next year; it’s probably the most important trend in wine in this country since the fighting varietals of the 1970s.

Not much of a market? Organic wine, whether it’s labeled as organic, made with organic grapes, or farmed bio-dynamically, has never been much of a factor in the U.S., and certainly not the way organics are for tomatoes and the like. This article from the Western Farm Press trade magazine is about as technical as you would expect from something called Western Farm Press, but the gist is that growing organic grapes is not easy and not necessarily profitable. Sheep grazing for weed control, anyone?

What about the leftover wine? The Wine Curmudgeon, who has insisted that giving wine for a gift should be done with thoughtfulness and considerations, is always impressed when someone else feels the same way. Hence this article from the Courier-Post in Camden, N.J..: Unless “you’re specifically asked to bring wine to contribute [to dinner[, do not be offended if the bottle you bring isn’t opened. Sometimes, wine is specifically chosen to go with the food being served. Although you may bring a perfectly wonderful wine, it may not complement the dishes being served that evening.”