Whether you're a Thin Mint man, a Tagalong teammate, a Samoa superfan, or a Lemon-Up lover, we can all agree.. Girl Scout Cookies are f'in awesome! I'm happy to provide some perfect pairings for matching your favorite wines from PRP Wine with your favorite Girl Scout Cookies! Let's book a tasting and make the pairings happen!
With the holiday season upon us, it's time to think wine... wine for gifts, wine for entertaining, and wine for surviving the craziness of the season!
Wine for Gifts
Wine makes the perfect gift whether being given as a corporate gift to a clients, brought as a host gift to a party, or given as a present to your favorite uncle.
PRP Wine offers many unique and customizable client gift options for corporations and small business owners. From custom-labeled wines with a special holiday message to engraved sommelier kits, we can meet your budget. In addition, we can directly deliver to your clients! To learn more about our gift options, check out our catalog!
One recent corporate client explained her gift giving philosophy, "Our banking clients love getting wine, but we need to be careful to not spend too little or too much on a wine they might recognize. I love working with PRP Wine for exclusive wines they can't find anywhere else yet still are high quality recognizable types of wines such as Barolos, Cabernets, and Chardonnays!"
Beyond business gifts, wine is an excellent option for a host or hostess gift! This is the season for holiday parties, and you never want to arrive empty handed. But let's be honest, showing up with a cheap, easily recognizable brand may be worse than showing up with nothing.
A client recently related the following funny story... "My friend is a bit pretentious, so when he arrived with a bottle of Aldi-brand Winking Owl wine, I obviously laughed and was shocked he'd ever even been in an Aldi store. He didn't understand why I was laughing and explained that a friend of his gives him a case of this wine every year for Christmas. He loves sharing it with his friends as gifts. Knowing full well my friend would be mortified to find out he had been giving a sub-$5 bottle of wine as a gift, I quickly informed him of its origin. Suffice to say, the joke his friend had been playing for years on him with that case of "exclusive California wine" finally came to an end that year. The next time I saw my friend, he had learned his lesson and gave me a really fine bottle of wine!"
And what about that relative you got in the family gift exchange? Wine is an easy answer! Find out what kind of wine he or she likes, and stock them up with some unique wines they can't find anywhere else. You may just help them discover some new favorites!
Wine for Entertaining
Whether you're hosting a holiday party with friends or hosting the holiday meals, you'll want to be well-stocked on a variety of wines for your guests to enjoy! Here's some tips to ensure your guests will be excited about your selection of drinks:
Wine for Surviving the Craziness
No matter how much you may enjoy the holidays, the season is a bit crazy with the hustle and bustle of parties, gift buying, family gatherings and more!
The best tip for surviving all this? Save a few "treat" bottles to be enjoyed after the party ends, the kids go to bed, and the relatives leave! That special bottle you got on your last vacation or that wine you went a bit above your price point on is going to be a perfect treat for the end of the celebrations. Grab some glasses and pour you and your significant other a big glass while you cuddle by the fire!
If you'd like to order some wine for gifts, entertaining, or simply surviving the holidays, hit me up! I'm happy to make some recommendations!
Looking to pair some outstanding wines with your mouth-watering Thanksgiving feast? Here's some great suggestions from PRP Wine's National Wine Educator, Kevin Brunette. If any of these wines peak your fancy, contact me and I can stock you up for the holidays!
Deepwood Cellars Zinfandel
Zinfandel could very well be the #1 All-American Thanksgiving wine choice given that it was once the most planted variety in California (prior to the Prohibition era). Here’s how this wine will behave when paired with food:
Mercurey Vielles Vignes Burgundy/Pinot Noir (old vine)
Pinot Noir is the fine-wine lover’s #1 pick for Thanksgiving, which is due (in large part) to the grape’s prestigious pedigree tracing back to Burgundy, France. A great pick for classic Thanksgiving dishes with simple spicing (salt + pepper) or cream based dishes like creamy mashed potatoes or casserole.
Pieroth Blue Cuvee, Sekt, Demi-sec
This is a wine consultant’s must-have wine for Thanksgiving because, for a w/c, you can’t really start a meal without a splash of some sparkling wine. Here’s why:
Chevalier de Bayard (aka "Chevy Red")
Chevy will be the PRPophiles #1 choice for Thanksgiving wine due to its popularity within our company. Chevy is made with Grenache, Cinsault, and Carignan in Hérault, France which has a lot of similarities to Beaujolais (a wine generally made of the Gamay grape in Beaujolais just south of Burgundy, France)
Rhône Blends (GSM Blends)
PRP wines of yesteryear Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf de Pape, and currently Angel's Drop Red Blend, Tres Magi and Poeme are close to the same blend. This is the wine collector’s top pick for Thanksgiving because bottles are usually best served after aging (anywhere from 4–10 years). A GSM Blend contains Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre as its main ingredients.
Casa Nueva Sauvignon Blanc
If you feature brussel sprouts or green beans prevalently in your meal, consider a lean, herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc as a highlight wine pairing.. Here’s why:
Amarone della Valpolicella, Barbera Appassimento, Intensio, or Puglia Rosso Vino Passito
If you’re featuring ham as your main dish this year, the rich dried-cherry and chocolately wines of Valpolicella are amazing. Here’s why:
Pieroth Brauneberger Kurfürstlay Kabinett Riesling
When it comes to the best white wine for Thanksgiving dinner, nothing beats a glass of Riesling. I even give a glass or two to my turkey before I cook it!
PRP Wine International offers a number of unique and memorable gifting options that can complete your personal or corporate holiday shopping lists!
Our gift program falls into two primary categories: etched gift items and private label wines.
Our etched gift items make a lasting impression, and add a great collection of wine related accessories to anyone’s collection, whether a wine novice or expert. Our etched gifts can be personalized with a special message, logo or just a simple thank you. These items pair well with any of our wines or make great standalone gifts.
Private label wines are a great way to customize our unique wines with a personal message, photo, or logo. With this customization, the wine becomes the perfect gift for birthdays, weddings, holiday celebrations or large-scale corporate gift programs!
Download our 2019 Gift Catalog to see all the options available!
The benefits of working with PRP Wine International for your gift needs mirror the same reasons you choose to order great wines from us: personal service, unique wines, and the ability to meet your needs and budgets.
I look forward to working closely with you to design a memorable gift for your family, friends, and clients!
To setup an appointment to discuss gift options, please contact me! Turnaround times vary by product, so let's get moving on things quickly!
Kevin Brunette, PRP Wine's National Wine Educator, created this great guide to pairing your favorite Halloween candies with specific PRP Wines! Grab a glass, unwrap the candy, and enjoy...
We’ve all seen that chart of Halloween candies and the best wines to pair with them on social media. This year, I’ve created a list of the best PRP wines to pair with popular, leftover Halloween candy!
Being a parent often means there is lots of candy in the house after Halloween. It can be hard to resist the temptation of all the nostalgic candy favorites from childhood! I find myself digging into the kid’s candy stash at night while enjoying a glass of wine after dinner... it’s not stealing, I call it a “Dad Tax” and it’s just good parenting to help prevent them from eating too much sugar! Now that I’ve made it justifiable to eat your kid’s candy, check out my pairings to enhance the enjoyment like an adult.
Peanut Butter Cups + Monterey Chardonnay
An oaky, buttery chardonnay is the perfect complement to a smooth, chocolatey peanut butter cup. The higher acid content cuts through the richness of the chocolate while the oak, sur lie aging, and malolactic fermentation of this Chardonnay give the wine it’s creamy texture to match the peanut butter cup. However, if you are a fan of PB&Js try pairing with your favorite fruit forward red!
Twizzlers + Casa Nueva Merlot
Merlot is just the thing to eat with a bag of Twizzlers. The red fruit flavor matches the Twizzlers, while the acid cuts through the gummy texture. If you really want to make the tasting fun, bite off the ends of the Twizzler and use it as a straw for the wine. You’ll find the flavors marry well.
Snickers + Confidences d'Ortion
A Snickers bar is rich with the flavors of nougat, chocolate, caramel, and nuts. Each bite is decadent and luxurious. To balance out the richness, sip some bubbly. The fruity and nutty flavors will play up and match with the caramel, nougat, and nuts of a Snickers while the acidity will help cut through the rich textures and flavors.
Candy Corn + Ingenheimer Pfaffenberg, Beerenauslese, Ortega
The candy with likely the most sugar deserves the wine with the highest RS. A Beerenauslese features bright, mature fruit, honey flavors, and the most natural residual sugar of all PRP’s current wines. It is ideal for sipping while nibbling on candy corn since the sugary flavors are so similar. The high acid content in the BA means each sip cleanses the palate and helps the richness of the candy. Together they make the ideal fall dessert!
Twix + Jumilla, Monastrell (Mouvèdre or Mataro as it is known as outside of Spain)
A Twix — with its rich chocolate, buttery shortbread cookie, and indulgent caramel — pairs well with Jumillia. This wine features flavors of dark, herbal berry fruits that are earthy and stony, with a peppery, lightly herbal finish, which makes it a delicious partner with such a decadent candy.
Starburst + Delicius White, Moscato
A Starburst deserves a fruity wine like Delicius White, Moscato, the wild honey and lively fruitiness of the wine dovetail marvelously with the candy. The high acidity along with the effervescence will also help ease the chewiness of the candy while keeping the combination light and refreshing.
Butterfinger + Romanet Unoaked Chardonnay
A Butterfinger features a signature butter flavor wrapped in milk chocolate, making it ideal to be served with a light, yet slightly creamy wine like the Romanet Chardonnay. It won’t overwhelm the taste of the candy and will nicely enhance the buttery flavor.
Skittles + Chevalier de Bayard, Carignan, Grenache, Cinsaut…
Skittles have such a diverse range of flavors, and you rarely get a handful of one flavor (no matter how hard you try). How can you match a wine with a candy of such varying flavors? Leave it to PRP’s wine for every occasion! Chevalier de Bayard is known for featuring flavors of ripe red fruit and being lower in tannins. This makes it work with fruity Skittles.
Dark Chocolate Kit Kat + Deepwood Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
A darker chocolate treat deserves a heavier wine. The flavors of dark chocolate match beautifully with this Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine features notes of black current, blackberries, a hint of smoke, and cocoa. The pairing will dance in your mouth and make a delectable, rich dessert.
Gummy Bears + Duca D'Amalfi, Valdadige Bianco, Chardonnay, Nosiola, Pinot Bianco
Gummy Bears are bright, fruity, and slightly unctuous with very little fat. This is ideal for eating while enjoying a glass of Duca D’Amalfi. This vibrant unoaked white is refreshing with just enough acidity, and fruit to keep the palate feeling light while you indulge.
Let's be honest, it's never easy to get your friends and family together for any event... the kids' sports schedule... work travel... house projects that never seem to get completed... and the list goes on! There will always be an excuse why you can't make a gathering happen, but sometimes you just need a reason to put something on the calendar and do it! So let me give you 10 reasons to make that wine tasting you've been talking about happen!
#1 - You Deserve an Adult Night
Feel like it's your kids' world and you're only living in it? Ah.. the days before responsibility! Sure, the responsibilities won't go away, but for one night, let yourself just be an adult with adult friends, adult conversations, and adult beverages!
#2 - Practice Your "Somm" Descriptions for Wine
Admit it... you watched the movie "Somm" while doing laundry last month, and you've been dying to describe a wine's aroma as “a freshly opened can of tennis balls” or “fresh cut garden hose.” This is your chance! There are no wrong answers… except “grapes”… that’s just dumb.
#3 - Try Something New
We all get stuck in a wine rut. Whether it’s California Cabernet, buttery Chardonnay, or sickeningly-sweet Moscato, we often stick to what we know we like. At a store, why spend your wine budget on a wine you don’t know? At a restaurant, why take a chance on a new varietal? At a tasting, you can try it all and maybe – just maybe – find the perfect wine to break you out of your comfort zone! Then get excited at the grocery story when you see that varietal on the shelves, or perhaps impress the wine steward at your favorite restaurant by requesting something unique!
#4 - Demonstrate Your Awesome Appetizer-Making Skills
Enough with the pizza, spaghetti, chicken nuggets, and burgers… show off your mad cooking skills with some creative appetizers! Time to make your famous spinach artichoke dip! Pull out the Crockpot and get to simmering your ever-popular meatballs! Spend a few extra minutes in the cheese aisle at the store… go crazy!
#5 - Look Hip & Trendy
You may not be going to the hottest clubs in town anymore, but you’re still cool… at least in your own mind, right? Be the cool neighbor that hosts a trendy wine tasting with your personal wine consultant. Break out the good wine glasses and the fancy China, we’re having a party!
#6 – Learn To Pair Wine & Food Better
You’re a great cook, and you definitely enjoy plenty of wine with your meals. However, you’ve never quite mastered putting it all together. Pickup a few new tricks to match your wine and food, and you’ll take both up a notch at every meal!
#7 - Show Off Your New Home Projects
Yeah… you really just want to brag, but inviting your friends over to envy your new kitchen remodel just doesn’t seem appropriate. But… if the wine tasting just happened to be in said awesome new kitchen, then that’s totally not being a show off! Oh wait? They want to see the new basement too? Well if they insist!
#8 - Finally Make All Those "Wine Tasting" Pinterest Ideas
You’ve been pinning “wine” ideas to your Pinterest boards for years… wine crafts, wine appetizers, wine decorations, cork creations, bottle trees, wine gifts… the list goes on! Now you have a reason to open up that board and get creative!
#9 - It's Not a Bar
There was a time when all you wanted to do was hang out at a bar on a Saturday night. That probably doesn’t hold quite so much appeal these days, so let’s bring the same amount of fun, all your friends, and some much better wine to your own bar inside your house! Best news… no driving home after… just walk upstairs!
#10 - You Need Wine
“Need” may be a strong word, but some days it’s damn appropriate. After a rough day, you’re going to want a bottle of wine you know you’re going to love. At the tasting, you’ll sample awesome new wines that you’ll want to have ready for just that type of day! Heck, good days deserve great wines too!
There will always be reasons to never get around to scheduling a wine tasting, but I hope you realize there are also plenty of reasons to just pick a date and make it happen!
I look forward to working with you to host a relaxing, fun-filled and educational wine tasting with friends, family, and colleagues!
So just do it! Complete my Book a Tasting Form, and let’s get to scheduling your tasting!
I just wanted to extend a huge thanks to all my wonderful clients who helped me earn a fantastic trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, as a member of our President's Club! As the top wine consultant for 2018 in the USA, it was an honor to be represent my clients alongside my colleagues from Japan, Great Britain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany!
Dean and I added stops before and after the Russia portion. First, we stayed with friends in Copenhagen, Denmark, where we toured the city and explored the local traditions (including their traditional Christmas dinner meal Flæskesteg - aka roasted pork with crackling). While there, we took a day trip via train and ferry into Sweden and explored Malmo and a few other cities.
On the company trip in St. Petersburg, we toured The Hermitage (second largest art museum in the world and a former palace of the czars), learned out to make borscht and pelmeni, sampled caviar, visited the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, and celebrated our achievements with a wonderful dinner, awards ceremony, and dance party.
After the company trip ended, we trained to Tallin, Estonia, which was a wonderful surprise. We thoroughly enjoyed the quaint old town (we stayed in a bishop's chapel built in 1400s), visited many museums, and climbed any tower or church steeple we could find. Dean loves old churches and good views!
From there, we ferried to Helsinki, Finland, for three more days of vacation. While in Helsinki, we toured Suomenlinna island military base, a super unique art exhibit with a floating concrete block, and even went to a 1920s-era authentic, wood-fired Finnish sauna!
Two weeks. Five countries. Planes, trains, and boats. It truly was a trip to remember, and I can't thank my clients enough for helping make this a reality!
In my tastings, I get asked a lot of questions about the ability (and the etiquette) of bringing your own wine to restaurants. Admittedly, I'm a big fan of doing this, but I want to give my reasoning for doing so, as well as a few tips to do it appropriately.
What is a corkage fee, and why is it charged? Many (if not most) restaurants in the St. Louis Metro area allow patrons to bring in a bottle of their own wine, but the restaurants also have the option to set a corkage fee to have that wine opened and served. It does not bother me to pay a reasonable corkage fee, as the server is still opening and serving the wine (and sometimes decanting or even chilling it). In the low-margin restaurant industry, every dollar matters and these fees do assist in keeping both the wine program and the restaurant as a whole in the black.
How much is a typical corkage fee? In my experience in this area, most corkage fees range from $10-$25 per bottle. I often see the lower $10-$15 fee in what I would call "mid-tier" restaurants, whereas nicer restaurants seem to be almost always charging $20 or more.
What wines can I bring? I'll be blunt here... do not bring any bargain-bin wine. If it's easily picked up at a grocery store, gas station, or on a large display at the local liquor store, it's not the wine to bring. Focus on wines that you picked up while traveling, receive via a wine club, or purchased from a small wine importer (such as PRP Wine). Usually restaurants will not allow you to open wines that are on their wine lists.
So why bring your own wine anyway? For me, there's a few reasons.
Consumer Tip: I'm very excited about a recent trend whereby many restaurants (especially a lot of the nicer, high-end restaurants) are waiving the corkage fee for each bottle you purchase from the restaurant. Dean and I often splurge on a higher priced white wine from the restaurant and bring an aged big red from our cellar. It's win-win... restaurant still made some money and moved some wine, while we got to save a bit and enjoy some unique wines!
A Few Additional Tips & Tricks:
I encourage you to be adventurous and try bringing a special wine with you to your next dining experience! I'd love to hear what your experience is, so feel free to share in the comments!
Last week, I had the opportunity to host two wine tastings for the clients of estate-planning firm Amen, Gantner & Capriano LLC (www.yourestatematters.com). The two tastings were wonderful events, with more than 30 attendees each night. The firm regularly hosts educational seminars for their clients, but they also value the opportunity to socialize in a more relaxed, fun setting. These wine tastings gave them just that chance! I had a great line-up of wines that hit every palate, and I think everyone really seemed to enjoy the event. I look forward to making this an annual event with the firm!
I love hosting business tastings like this! If you're looking for a way to connect with your clients on a more personal and relaxed way, a wine tasting could be just the event! I am happy to work with you to ensure that your goals for the event are met. Check out my Business Tastings page for more details, and let's start the conversation to see if we can work together to serve your clients!
I finally have a cellar! It may not be the biggest cellar in the world, but it's a start and will serve as a great spot to store my age-worthy wines!
We had to get creative, as our home was built in the 1850s, so extra space is quite limited. We recently remodeled a basement room to add another bedroom, and that renovation gave us the perfect chance to tackle the lack of a great space for wine storage. Over my time with PRP Wine, I've been slowly amassing some great age-worthy wines, and while I'm a fan of simple storage options, I felt it was time to take my wine storage game to the next level.
The solution? An under-the-stairwell cellar in our basement. Fortunately, the stone foundation of our brick home keeps the basement quite cool all year, and the stairwell is located right in the middle of the basement (and not too close to the furnace either).
Our contractor used pine wood to give it the "cellar" look, and then I purchased wine racks online from WineRacks.com. I would definitely recommend them for their selection and ease of ordering (and putting the racks together wasn't too back either).
With room for about 120 bottles shelved (plus additional space on top of the rack and on the floor), the real task has begin... sorting my wines and labeling for best drink window.
Stay tuned for more tips on age-worthy wines and cellar management!