Uses for Your Empties

collection of wine bottleIf you enjoy or brew your own beer chances are you may have some stray empties lying around the house, and while they can fetch a pretty penny down at the recycling plant empty beer bottles can also hold other useful purposes. The same thing goes for old wine bottles.

For instance, if you clean the bottle’s inside, fill it with a bit of water, and place a single flower inside you can give your sweetheart a fairly simple, yet charmingly unique wedding or birthday gift.

Another romantic gift idea is the wine bottle candle. You simply wash the bottle well and place a long, narrow candle in the neck of the bottle until it is snug. Wine bottle candles can help add a romantic atmosphere to any ordinary dinner table.

Empties can also be easily turned into Christmas decorations. Just look at the example below!

wine bottle decor

If you’re looking for a more artistic use for your empties, you could always try assembling broken bottle glass into a mosaic, or you could also set them up for a still-life painting.

Most importantly, if you are a home brewer or wine maker you can reuse your commercially purchased wine bottles and save a considerable amount of money. Don’t forget to re-label your recycled wine and beer bottles with your own, customized beer and wine labels.

Pairing Wines and Chocolate

By Stacy Slinkard, About.com Guide

Some say it can’t be done, pairing wine with chocolate, but if you have the right wine to complement the right chocolate it can be a match made in heaven! Whether you are pairing a delicate white chocolate or a lively dark chocolate with wine, there are a few pairing tips to keep in mind.

Tips for Successfully Pairings Wines with Chocolate

Rule #1, typically the wine should be at least as sweet, if not a touch sweeter, than the chocolate you are serving it with. Otherwise, the taste may quickly veer towards bitter or sour.

When pairing wines with chocolate, your best bet is to match lighter, more elegant flavored chocolates with lighter-bodied wines; likewise, the stronger the chocolate, the more full-bodied the wine should be. For example, a bittersweet chocolate tends to pair well with an intense, in-your-face California Zinfandel.

Similar to “formal” wine tasting, if you will be experimenting with several varieties of chocolates, work from light to dark. Start with a more subtle white chocolate and end on a dark or bittersweet chocolate.

White Chocolate Wine Suggestions

White chocolate tends to be more mellow and buttery in flavor, making it an ideal candidate for a Sherry (consider the Osborne Pedro Ximénez Sherry $20), for a Moscato d’Asti (try Saracco Moscato d’Asti 2006, $13), from Italy’s Piedmont region offers subtle, sweet bubbles, or an Orange Muscat (try Ventana Vineyard’s Muscat d’Orange for $18). The Sherry and Moscato d’Asti will pick up the creaminess of the chocolates and the Orange Muscat will pick up any fruit tones on the scene. Another route, for pairing wine with white chocolate is going for the contrast pairing approach, this is a little riskier, but when you find a match it can be exceptional. For example, taking a wine like a Zinfandel which tends to have a heavier tannic content and often a higher alcohol level and partnering it with a creamy, buttered white chocolate can have an unusual “melding” affect. It’s like the tannins get softened out by the fat content and make for a remarkable potential for pairing.

Milk Chocolate Wine Suggestions

Pinot Noir (you might consider Mark West Pinot Noir $10) or a lighter-bodied Merlot (try Hogue or Columbia Crest) will complement a bar of milk chocolate, a creamy chocolate mousse or chocolate accented cheesecake. Rieslings, Muscats (try Bonny Doon’s Muscat Vin de Glaciere or the Bonny Doon “Vin de Glaciere” Muscat for $15) or dessert wines tend to hold up well to mild milk chocolates. Also consider a sparkling wine or Champagne for pairing with milk chocolate dipped strawberries. Last, but not least a classic milk chocolate pairing to consider is a nice Ruby Port – a very safe bet when looking for a perfect wine to accent milk chocolate.

To read the rest of this article, please visit:Pairing Wines & Chocolate

Also, be sure you visit Custom wine labels to get your own personalized wine labels for your special event!

Champagne and Wine

The Basics of Picking Great Wedding Champagne and Wine

By Nina Callaway

Wondering which champagnes and wines to serve at your wedding? Don’t know how much of each you’ll need? Here are the basics that you’ll need to know to get the perfect mix at your big day.

You may already have a Champagne or wine that you love – something that the two of you drank on a favorite date, or a Champagne that your parents drank at their wedding. If you don’t, there are many helpful sites to Champagne and wine on the net, including wine.about.com. Your caterer will most likely have recommendations for you and will help you figure out how much wine you’ll need for the amount of people you’re having. At most parties, approximately 30-50% will drink white wine (mostly Chardonnay), 30-50% will drink red wine (mostly cabernet), and about 10 to 20% will drink white zinfandel. You’ll want to consider your crowd: more women usually mean more white wine drinkers, more men mean more red wine. I work with a lot of theater crowds which are heavy beer and red wine drinkers.

You’ll also want to consider what entree you are serving. Sauvignon Blanc goes with a wide variety of seafood entrees, as well as poultry and cheeses, and is the best option for pasta with a cream sauce. Chardonnay is a widely popular white that works well with chicken, pork and many seafood dishes.

To read the full article, please go to: Champagne and Wine

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