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Apr 30

Update

Folks, I just got back into town yesterday after spending almost a week dealing with my grandmother's arrangements and all those legal issues that crop up.

Tomorrow morning, Kevin and I are heading "to the Hamptons," which sounds pretentious until you realize we're just hitting a corner of Long Island, really. We're heading there for TasteCamp, which I'll post about tomorrow morning.  We're gone through Sunday night.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I'm in town and have every intention of posting – probably about our TasteCamp experiences – and then Thursday – Sunday next week I'm gone again. On that trip we'll be cleaning out Grandma's apartment, which I expect to be rather painful and sad in its own way.

After that, life returns to normal and I can update update update everything from the blog to the calendar.

Today I have to deliver two different presentations on Social Media, so that's where my brain is right now. Tune into tomorrow to learn why we're headed "to the Hamptons" and how TasteCamp came about.

Thanks for your patience and regularly scheduled programming should resume on Monday or so.

Cheers,
Michelle

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Posted by Michelle at 1:11 pm in Life | Permalink | Comments ()
Apr 23

Interruptus

Due to another death in the family (my grandmother passed away), we'll be silent again through Tuesday. Please have some patience with us and we'll return to our regular programming as soon as we can.

 - Michelle
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Posted by Michelle at 9:33 am in Life | Permalink | Comments (3)
Apr 23

“Green Wines” for Earth Week: Alternative Packaging

For Earth week, Kevin and I decided to try two different wines in alternative packaging. One of these wines you'll appreciate, the other – not so much.

We started with the Bouchard Beaujolais Nouveau 2008 from Boisset. We picked this up because it's in a special PET plastic bottle. Why is this important? Because every year, tons of wine is shipped over from France in a hurry, and the weight of all those bottles is a drag on jet fuel. Beaujolais Nouveau takes a lot of heat for this, so this year, the producers went a little green. In fact, Boisset is a leader in the field of green packaging, having released a California wine in a PET bottle and they pioneered the French Rabbit tetrapak. According to the press release for this particular bottle,

"Were all of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau imported to North America
similarly packaged in PET or other alternative packages, we estimate
saving literally millions of pounds of greenhouse gas emissions from
entering our atmosphere," notes Boisset. Life-cycle analyses conducted
by third-parties have suggested that PET bottles produce 40% fewer
greenhouse gas emissions than a traditional bottle. For all the
Beaujolais Nouveau imported to the US and Canada, this translates into
an estimated reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of more than
2,000,000 lbs2. For the world’s total Beaujolais Nouveau production of
5 million cases, Boisset estimates savings of more than 37,000,000 lbs of CO2.

Not a bad wine for earth week, right? Well, not really. It's a bad wine. Happily, I think it's just the wine that's bad and it doesn't have anything to do with the packaging. We both found it to be a little fuzzy and having no finish. I also thought it was a little sour. We served it chilled, as directed, but I think I'd rather use this wine for Sangria than drink it on its own.
Our review: Happy4

Next we tried the Bota Box Old Vine Zinfandel. Yes folks, a wine in a box. Don't judge it – Franzia is no longer the norm. Off the top of my head, I'd recommend the Black Box Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, the Rain Dance Shiraz from South Africa, or this Bota Box Old Vine Zin.

Are these knock-your-socks off wines? No, but they have a lot going for them. If you like an everyday table wine, but can't finish a bottle on your own, a box is perfect. It's the equivalent of about 4 bottles (3 litres) but you can take a month – sometimes two months – to work your way through the box. The wine stays fairly "fresh" the whole time. I have a couple of girlfriends who would benefit from having a box wine sitting around.

Our friend Mike, from The Naked Vine, recommended this particular box to us. He took it with him on a cruise (1 container of wine per cabin, you see). Since we're headed on our own cruise this summer, we thought we'd try it. Our verdict is that its not bad at all. It's got a lot of big fruit up front, very punchy and full of various dark berries. It has a full feel in your mouth, although it does have a fairly short finish. It's pleasant.

Our review:
Now, Kevin and I have a disagreement on this one. He gives it extra points just for being in a box, with his final assessment being a Happy1.
Alternatively, I look at it as I would any glass of wine. If I hadn't known it came from a box, I would have scored it a Happy2, so I'll stick to that regardless of from whence it came.

Happy Earth Week!  Go a little green, if you can!

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Posted by Michelle at 9:18 am in Current Affairs, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments (4)
Apr 22

Wine Away for Stain Away

I want to address this because I'm always asked this question in interviews. How do you get out a red wine stain?

You see, I have a love of white furniture, white rugs, white accessories – a lot in my house is white. Of course, I also love red wine. About once every two or three weeks, I accidentally spill a bit of wine on my light beige and white carpet or my white couch. Without fail.

But you can never tell I had a spill at all.

I have a process I swear by, and it starts with Wine Away. You can buy it at Amazon or at most of your local wine shops (certainly Party Town and Party Source have it). You can even buy it in travel size (purse size!). It smells horrible – like someone dumped a lot of fake oranges into the bottle – but it's worth it. According to the Wine Away web site, the stain remover is made from fruit and vegetable extracts and does not contain bleach or phosphates. 

Whenever I dump the wine, I immediately get a towel and the Wine Away. This isn't a paper cloth type of experience by the way. I actually keep a white cloth in the cabinet with the Wine Away bottle. I spritz on a lot of Wine Away and then dab it with the cloth. For larger spills, I just press. Don't rub!

You'll immediately see a difference. After the stain is close to gone, I add some more Wine Away, dab it again, and drop the item in the washing machine. I let it soak for 15-30 minutes, and then let the washing machine do the rest. It's worth mentioning here that I'm also a fan of washable slip covers for just this reason. ;-)

Last year, Kevin accidentally dropped a Kinkead Ridge cabernet franc on his home office carpet. The bottle shattered and red wine went everywhere. A bottle of Wine Away and a lot of white towels later, the stain is almost non-existent. If I could actually put the carpet in the washing machine, it would probably be completely gone. Oh, and I ran out to Chateau Pomije and replaced the bottle the very next day of course!

I also dropped a bottle in Party Town one day last year. I was wearing white capri pants. I bought some Wine Away on the spot, drenched my pants in it, washed them when I got home, and they're still sparkling white.

So, I know I sound a bit like an infomercial but I promise that Wine Away neither pays me nor sends me samples. I wish they would! I certainly use enough of it.

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Posted by Michelle at 4:15 pm in Wine Misc | Permalink | Comments (5)
Apr 21

Paying it Forward with Drinking Charitably

Winebasket

We managed to pull in some money from our recent fundraiser for the Krystal Pepper Memorial Scholarship Fund. We'll still need to raise around $13000 (my best guess until the hard numbers come in) through 2010, so you'll still have to hear about it periodically.

But it got me thinking. I received so many amazing wine donations – not just from our generous, local wine community, but from a few wine bloggers and wine twitterers who know me only online. In fact, out of both the local and national donors, almost all of them have a wine blog or twitter account. There has to be a way to pay this generosity forward.

Well, David from 2days Per Bottle had the same thought and launched Drinking Charitably. This new blog is a place where we'll post any upcoming events, nationwide, that affect our wonderful and gigantic wine blogger and wine twitter community. I hope that Drinking Charitably will help folks find unique and wonderful causes to which they can donate money, time, or product.

(Oh, and if you head over to Drinking Charitably and see my banner, you'll get a preview of where we're heading with the Wine-Girl.net redesign.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:35 am in Charity Benefits | Permalink | Comments ()

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