Category Archives: Musings

Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Wine Inclined

I have a confession to make.  I do not have my Christmas shopping finished yet and here it is, only 4 days left until the big day and I’m running out of time.  Unfortunately, the people I still have to buy for are not wine inclined so this list will not help me but maybe it will help you with those who are on your list.  If you haven’t read last year’s Dos and Do nots of gift giving for wine lovers, that is a great place to start.

Luxurious Tea and Coffee

Whenever you have winelovers, generally you have foodies; people who love tastes and flavors.  Let’s face it, most of us drink something besides wine during the day.  Splurging on very high end tea or coffee is a great way to show the winelover in your life that you care about their tasting experiences.  Some of my favorites (and my husband’s favorites since I don’t drink coffee) are below.

The Splurge-   Bi Tan Piao Xue Tea –  I fell in love with this blend of green tea and Jasmine flowers in China.  It is so amazing and delicate with a heady Jasmine nose. 

The Lovely – Lord Bergamot  – Bergamot is one of my favorite flavors and this avant garde take on Earl Grey Tea is a must try.

The Budget-  Stash Christmas Teas -These are relatively new to me but I have fallen in love with both the Christmas in Paris blend and the White Christmas blend.  Perfect for stocking stuffers!

The Splurge – JBC Coffee Roasters –  If you are going to splurge on coffee, this Wisconsin roaster took the title of making the best coffee of 2015 from  While the current champion is out of stock it will be back in January according to the website.

The Lovely – Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters – This local (to us) coffee roaster has become one of our house favorites since moving back. With a wide selection, they have something for everyone (who drinks coffee of course!).

The Budget – Starbuck’s Christmas Blend –  This is an all time favorite and one which I tend to give as a gift around Christmas time.

Wine Related Jewelry and Accessories

I’m not talking the crazy wine glass earrings or the purse made out of wine corks but very nice, reasonably priced accessories which have a “colored” past.

Olive and Poppy – This is a great online boutique run by a friend of mine which was DSC00336.JPGrecently listed on Martha Stewart’s hostess gift list with their cuff links made from barrels.  From the recycled wine barrel bracelets to the fun “Terroir” themed necklaces, they have everything a wine lover could wish for.

Dessin Creations – Here is another fun jewelry artist making really nice necklaces and bracelets out of wine bottles.

Cigar Aficionado

There is a very close relation among wine loving men to cigar loving men and often they overlap.  Here are two of my favorite gift suggestions* for the cigar lover.

The Splurge – The Emperador by Imperiali Geneve – This caught my attention immediately with their stunning movie (which if you are trying to market any luxury good you should watch because epic doesn’t even begin to cover it). This is the result of Swiss watch designers deciding to make the most amazing cigar box the world has ever seen.  I’ll have to leave it up to the cigar lovers to determine if it lives up to the video.

The Budget – Lotus Jaws Cigar Cutter –  This highly reviewed cigar cutter boasts large sized finger holes as well as a serrated blade to cut cleanly and smoothly.

The Hostess

After all, we cannot forget the men and women who make the holidays possible right?  We will be hosting 9 people total at my house with all our family plus ourselves.  Some simple host/ess gifts make the holidays a little bit brighter and easier.

The Splurge – Classic Silver Plated Serving tray from G&G Mercantile.  Because everyone eventually needs to serve more than three drinks at a time and it is so much more elegant to serve it from a tray.  Looking for a little less of a splurge but still a splurge? Check out their Copper Julep Cup.  

The Lovely – This simple olive dish makes a great addition to any host/ess kitchen and solves the problem of where to put the pits and can double as a small chip and dip bowl.  Another alternative is this attractive olive wood salt box.

The Budget – Cheese knives are something that the host/ess cannot live with out.  This simple set makes a nice gift if they do not already have one.  Another great cheese accessory is the cheese marker. These from Crate and Barrel are simple and elegant.

There you have it! Hopefully you have some good ideas and can go forth over the next 4 days confident that you can find something for every wine lover on your list!

*To be clear, I don’t smoke nor do I condone smoking.






I Would Like to Thank the Academy…

Top 100 Wine Blogs of 2015

 I am so excited to announce that The Personalities of Wine was listed as a Top 100 most influential blogger this week.  It is an amazing group of talented individuals on the list and I am shocked that I was included.  It is really due to the efforts of my amazing readers who continue to support this blog by reading, commenting, and mentioning how much they enjoy it to me directly when they meet me.  It is because of all of you that I continue to feel that this blog is contributing to the general knowledge of wine in the world even if it is only a little.

Thank you again to all of my readers who helped make this possible!

Stay tuned next week for my usual wine related writing…

Vignettes: Random Thoughts that Need to Be Explored

I check most of the major wine websites on a daily basis.  Wine Business , Decanter, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, and The Drinks Business.  Many times I read something in these checks that spark my interest or brings up a question in my mind that I want to explore.  Sometimes I will be reading something that has nothing to do with wine and I think of parallels in the wine industry that would be fun to explore.  Below are several of these snapshots into my daily mental wanderings that I would love to explore further and may expand into entire blog posts.  I’m giving you a chance to weigh in to see what would be most interesting.

Does Champagne Need to Regain its Number 1 Position on the Global Market? Did it really lose it in the first place?

This thought was inspired by two separate articles that were both published within a few days of each other.  This post on Wine Business asking “Can Champagne Regain #1 Market Postion as the Most Consumed Sparkling Wine?” This totally sounded like an MW Contemporary Issues question that it got me thinking about the counter question “Should Champagne be worried that they are not the most consumed?” Then this post from the Wall Street Journal “Has Champagne Lost Its Pop?” Both of these could be MW exam questions.  I am going to write them up that way but the general premise which I am going to explore is does a drop in volume suddenly equate to a drop in status or prestige.  I would assume the opposite but I need to explore it further.

If Prohibition Had Been Repealed Today, Would the Laws Have Been Written the Same Way?

I read about the AirBnB Win in San Francisco from the LA Times in this post last week and was struck by one section that was a quote from a lawyer who worked for the measure opposition.

” Daniel Rockey, an attorney who represents other sharing economy companies, maintains the penalties in Proposition F would have violated a federal law that protects Internet firms. And the Internet Assn., which advocates for companies such as Airbnb and Facebook, said it would be unreasonable to require companies to keep up with a patchwork of regulations that could come from a proliferation of local laws affecting the short-term rental industry. “It would set up the company to fail — and expose them to significant legal liability,” said Robert Callahan, California executive director of the group.”

I had to sit and think about that one for a while.  There hidden in this article was  a statement saying how ridiculous allowing an entire industry to be driven by local laws is and pointing out that it is unreasonable to require companies to keep up with them.  Um, Yes. It is.  I’ll leave that right there.

Champagne Helps Boost Memory

Oh my goodness! Where do I start with the questions about this article.  

• Are we talking Champagne or are we talking about any wine with bubbles? Well, the authors are British so I will assume the former. 

• Does the effect come from the traditional secondary fermentation process? If so, one could assume that any traditional method sparkling wine would have the same effects. If not, are the memory boosting properties an aspect of the growing conditions, varieties, and soils? If that’s the case, then why wouldn’t Chablis have the same properties?

• If it is the secondary fermentation that is the key, then would tank method have the same properties? If not then is it the time on lees that counts?

• If it’s is the time on lees, then one could assume, again, that any traditional method sparkling would work the same. Depending on the type of lees contact, would heavily stirred white wines have the same effects or does it need to be years? 

• If it is lees breaking down over years, then one could assume there is a compound within yeast cells which is liberated during the process and should be able to be isolated into a memory boosting supplement. 

Clearly the only way for me to dive into this is to find the published study. Only then I will be able to start narrowing down the answers. 

Now it is up to you. Which would you be interested in seeing developed?