Monday, October 30, 2017

Update on California Fires

Our thoughts have been with those effected by the fires in California over the past few weeks. At least 42 people's lives have been claimed by the fires and more than a dozen are still missing. Our hearts go out to their families and friends. 8,900 structures have been destroyed and it will take a lot of support and time to rebuild all that's been lost. Burned out properties are being surveyed for hazardous waste by federal officials. This process was started this week as some of the first steps towards recovery. As Santa Rosa's mayor, Chris Coursey said, "It’s going to be a really long haul."

According to Cal Fire Officials, the Atlas Fire, which is one of the region's four major fires, has fortunately been contained as of Friday night. The other three major fires are 97% contained as of Saturday afternoon. Isolated hot spots are still an issue but the worst is over.

A ceremony honoring the victims was held on Saturday on a Santa Rosa football field. A fire bell was rung 43 times. 42 for those lost and once again for those still missing. “This was an important opportunity for the community to get together and not be talking just about how I get the ash off my property,” Coursey said. “It was a time to pause collectively and just kind of take a breath.” Governor Jerry Brown of Sacramento has proclaimed flags to be flown at half staff over the state capital. 

"As of Saturday, more than 150,000 acres had burned across Sonoma, Napa and Solano Counties: 51,624 acres in the Atlas fire, 56,556 acres in the Nuns fire, 36,807 acres in the Tubbs Fire, and 17,357 acres in the Pocket Fire." - The Mercury News

Please join us in helping those impacted by donating to the fire victims! You can donate here through the American Red Cross. Thank you!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Wine Themed Halloween Costumes

Halloween is fast approaching! With this one-of-a-kind holiday comes parties, events, and dinners with ghosts, goblins, and vampires. You can either buy your costume or make your own; however, some do-it-yourself costumes can take weeks to put together and at this point you're quickly running out of time. Lucky for you, we've put together this list of easy, last minute costumes that also happen to be themed around one of our favorite things... WINE!

Boxed Wine
This awesome costume is super easy to make last minute. Just cut out holes in a box for your waist, head, and arms. Then print out a boxed wine label and tape it to the box. You can go the extra mile by adding a spout!

A Bunch of Grapes
One of our favorite costumes is also one of the easiest to create! Just blow up a bunch of purple or green balloons and voila!... you're a bunch of grapes!

Bacchus was the Roman God of Wine. Re-create his look with a sheet, some leaves and grapes, and a bottle of wine. It doesn't get any easier than that!

A Bottle of Red Wine
This costume is as easy as wearing all burgundy, making a cork hat out of paper, and taping your favorite red wine's label to a piece of cardboard. You can even carry around your inspiration (we won't judge if you drink the whole bottle)!

Be sure to have fun this Halloween and don't drink and drive!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Is Wine Gluten Free?

Gluten is a protein that's found in wheat, cereals, and grains. Many people these days suffer an immune reaction to gluten, commonly known as coeliac disease, where they experience abdominal problems from consuming gluten. This prevents many people from drinking beer, which is brewed with grains. Since wine, however, is made from grapes and contains less than 20 parts per million of gluten, it is generally considered gluten free.

There are a couple instances in which gluten can come in contact with wine such as ageing and fining. It is very uncommon these days, but some wine makers use a flour based paste to seal the wine barrels which can contaminate the wine during ageing. The process which filters out unwanted particles from the wine to make it clear is called fining. Gelatin and isinglass are the most commonly used agents during the fining process but this causes issues to those who want vegetarian or vegan wine. To create vegetarian or vegan wine, gluten can be used instead, but this causes issues for coeliac sufferers. After the fining process, centrifuge can be used to remove the gluten but this is costly and the amount of gluten present is usually very minuscule.

The good news for those effected by coeliac disease is that it's pretty safe to consume all the delicious wine they want! Any wine that's produced with higher than the legal requirement in the UK and the US (20 parts per million gluten) would have to alert buyers on the bottle's label.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Enjoy the Fire

Sitting next to a fire while dining, drinking wine, or just relaxing is a great way to unwind and enjoy yourself and Napa Valley offers many locations with the perfect fire-side atmosphere. A lot of lodging in the area offer rooms with fireplaces and/or outdoor fireplaces to warm up next to. Here are some beautiful fireplaces you should visit:

Hotels that offer fireplaces in your room

Where to sit outside by the fire
• Cosentino

Where to dine next to a fireplace

Monday, October 2, 2017

Wine & Pumpkin Food Pairings

October brings sweater weather, beautiful changing leaves, and delicious pumpkin flavors. While apples and squash are popular in the fall season, pumpkin is still the favorite flavor and it doesn't need to be paired with only sweet or spicy wines. Here are some wines to pair with different pumpkin dishes:

Pumpkin Risotto - This rice dish pairs wonderfully with a dry Prosecco or a Chardonnay. The floral accents of the pumpkin are brought out through the sparkling white wine's clean, light flavors.

Pumpkin Cream Sauce - Cream tends to make a dish heavier so a wine with some weight to it helps balance it out. A wine like Sangiovese can match the strength of a cream sauce without overpowering the pumpkin flavor.

Pumpkin Pie - Oloroso Sherry or Riesling are great wines to pair with pumpkin pie, cake, or other pumpkin desserts because they bring out the spicy flavor.

Pumpkin Soup - Since it's a rich and creamy soup, pumpkin soup pairs well with the bold, tangy flavors of a Sherry to create a delicious contrast.