Wining Wife®

Because housework goes better with Malbec...

Month: September 2012 (page 1 of 3)

Five Wine Drinking Movies You Shouldn’t Miss

It’s one thing to drink wine while watching a movie, it’s another experience entirely to enjoy a glass of your favorite wine while watching a movie about wine.  Here are a few classics and a few that may have gone overlooked.


Cover of "Sideways [Blu-ray]"

Cover of Sideways [Blu-ray]

Sideways – What is a wine drinking movie list without mention of this film. Who can forget that Miles does not drink Merlot? This is the movie that many vineyards credit with an increasing popularity of Pinot Noir and a decreasing of popularity with Merlot. This is one of those films that can always make me laugh, no matter what my mood is. There’s something about watching a misanthropic middle aged guy have a nervous breakdown in the middle of a winery’s tasting room that makes me chuckle just to think about it.




Cover of "A Walk in the Clouds"

Cover of A Walk in the Clouds




A Walk in the Clouds – Okay, so Keanu Reeves is a bit cheesy in the end of this film, but it’s one of my all-time favorite movies (let alone one of my favorite wine movies). Reeves plays a returning soldier who meets a young lady. The young lady asks him a favor, and he winds up on a vineyard helping to make wine. It has what I believe is one of the most romantic scenes in a movie ever. Watch it. Ignore the line “If you plant it, it will grow.”


Arachnophobia – This film scared me when I was a kid. Killer spiders invade a house – and the wine cellar in the house is literally to die for. I mean, I saw this film when I was 13 and after watching it, I thought, “When I grow up, I want to have a wine cellar.”


French Kiss – This is a fun film with Meg Ryan and Kevin Klein. The film involves a woman unwittingly smuggling a grape vine, lots of good wine references, and a lot of fun and romance. This is a very charming film for those who want to take the time to sit down with it.



Cover of "The Princess Bride (20th Annive...

Cover via Amazon


The Princess Bride – This is my all time favorite movie. You know the scene. “Plato, Socrates, Aristotle? Morons.” Next time you watch the film, see if you can drink your favorite wine. It’s such a great movie – for a date, for cheering up, for a fun party celebrating movies from times before. I love it.

So, what is your favorite wine-drinking movie? Please post your recommendations in the comments section. I’d love to check them out!


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Celebrate! September is California Wine Month

Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California (Photo credit: the_tahoe_guy)


This week’s tasting at Creekside Cellars was in honor of California Wine Month, and all wines were from California vineyards. As always, there were some real stars of the show and there were a couple of wines that were fine, but would have specific uses (for example, as an end of summer wine). Here are our thoughts on the eight wines we tasted.


2011 Honig Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley ($17) – We have had this wine before, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a decent wine. It had notes of honeydew and a sweet nose. It had hints of clove-like spices and it was light and summery.


2011 Pine Ridge 79% Chenin Blanc and 21% Viognier, Clarksburg, California ($17) – this is a nice end of summer wine. It is a heavier and rounder wine than the Honig. It had more of a cantaloupe bouquet than a honeydew melon bouquet. Overall, it was pretty good.


2010 Sextant Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands ($30) – This wine had almost a paint thinner nose – but in a good way (oh, come on, admit it sometimes there is something alluring about the smell of paint thinner!). It had notes of walnut and oak, and it was quite smokey. It would be a lovely wine to accompany Wining Husband’s feta-green pepper bagel dish.


glass & bottle of Syrah rose

glass & bottle of Syrah rose (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


2011 Ampelos Rosé of Syrah, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara($18) – This was a pretty good rosé that held up well to both cream and sweet cheeses and fruits. The wine was smokey and spicy. It was a nice, easy-drinking wine.


2009 Leveroni “Seven Oaks Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Sonoma ($20) – This wine was peppery, tannic, and yet smooth. It had notes of cloves, nutmeg and plums. It would pair very well with teriyaki steak.


2010 Morgan “Cotes du Crow’s” 55% Syrah, 45% Grenache, Monterey County ($18) – This was a nice wine, but it would be interesting to see whether it would open up over time. It was light and had a grape-like flavor (think Welch’s Grape Juice). It was perhaps a little two smooth and needs more spice. I’d be interested in trying it after it was decanted to see what happened.


2009 Three Saints Syrah, Santa Rita, Santa Inez, and Santa Maria, Santa Barbara ($18) – This wine was tannic and had a bit of a rubber note to it (but not in a way that detracted from the quality of the wine. It had a lot of spice – both in the form of paprika and cloves. It also had hints of semi-sweet chocolate.


2008 Carol Shelton “Karma” Zinfandel, Sonoma County ($33) – This wine had notes of hazelnut, vanilla, and coffee. It was a cigar box and had a lot of spice. This was a wine we enjoyed very much.


2010 Educated Guess “Hypothesis” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($40) – This was our favorite wine of the tasting. It was smooth and spicy with notes of brown sugar, maple, espresso, and chocolate. This wine would be absolutely lovely with filet mignon with an olive tapinade.



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Life: Inexpensive Dates with Your Spouse


lunch-2007-04-03a (Photo credit: flakyredhead)


It’s so important to continue to date your spouse after you get married, and especially after you have kids together. However, it’s not always cheap to go on dates – and not having money for a date can be a deterrent for many couples who would otherwise go out. In Success in Life Through Personality Engineering, my co-author (Murali Chemuturi) and I give a list of ideas for inexpensive dates. Here are a few suggestions.


  • Go on a walk around a park together, take a picnic lunch made at home, enjoy the picnic lunch
  • Visit a library book sale – our local Friends of the Library sale has books for as low as 25 cents! It can be fun to explore these sales together
  • Take advantage of some of your local businesses and farms. Many of the local wineries here will have new release parties where the tasting is either free or only $5 a person
  • Go out for dessert together – this will get you both out of the house, and you won’t spend as much money as you would on a full dinner
  • Visit a restaurant that has a happy hour menu or cocktail menu, often you can try out their dishes as “small plates” for far less than you would pay for a full meal
  • Try having lunch out instead of dinner, if you want to go to a fancy restaurant; lunch prices are usually less than dinner prices
  • Keep a jar filled with low-cost and free activities you’d like to try out. When boredom hits, pull an activity out of the jar and do that
  • Volunteer together – it can be a lot of fun to team up with your spouse to help others, plus by working together toward a common goal, you can help build your relationship


What do you and your spouse like to do that’s inexpensive or free? As a family, we enjoy going to our local observatory, which is volunteer-led and always free. It could also make a very romantic date for a couple. Please leave your thoughts in the comments.



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Wine Events around the North State

This image shows a red wine glass.

This image shows a red wine glass. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Are you looking for something to do that’s wine related? Are you winery, cellar, or restaurant that would like publicity for its wine events/ If you are interested in having your event featured, please email us at We would like to offer our readers a full list of wine events across the country. The deadline for each month is the last Thursday of the month preceding (i.e November’s deadline will be October 25th and December’s deadline will be November 29th. Please email for information on how YOU can have your wine event featured on Wining Wife today!





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Harvey’s Bristol Creme Sherry

A "copita" sherry glass containing a...

A “copita” sherry glass containing amontillado sherry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Sherry, Niles?”

“Why yes, Frasier.”

Sherry is one of those under-explored after dinner drinks. Harvey’s Bristol Creme sherry is quite a treat, and it is mentioned in the television show. As far as cost-effective, after-dinner drinks come, this is quite the treat. We enjoy drinking this sherry after dinner as we watch television shows and movies. It is sweet, light, and slightly spicy. When you want something that’s a little sweet that will accompany both vanilla ice cream and rum raisin ice cream, this is your beverage.

What do you like as an after-dinner beverage?

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What’s in Your Home Bar?

A well stocked bar IMG_4352

A well stocked bar IMG_4352 (Photo credit: tomylees)

What sorts of spirits do you have stocked in your home bar? We have a collection of wine, but we also like maintaining a full bar in case we would like a decadent cocktail at home. Generally, one has vodka, gin, rum, tequila and whiskey on hand – but what other alcoholic spirits do you like to keep? We’ve found of course that both sweet and dry vermouth, Pernod, green Chartreuse, and canton are used a lot, to name a few.

Please list the staples of your home bar below. What is your go-to beverage? What alcohols do you make sure you always have on hand? Leave your thoughts in the comments, please.


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Commentary: Talking to Chairs and the War on Women

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood (Photo credit: filmhirek)


So…the Republican national convention…and Clint Eastwood, talking to an empty chair…happened. I’m concerned. I’m concerned for a lot of reasons, the biggest reason is that the Republican party seems totally out of touch with what we need as a nation. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Democratic party gets it either, but at least they try. As a woman, as a woman who has recently had a slew of health issues that have cost us, as a family, a lot of money to try to diagnose, I believe that our healthcare, as in every other nation, should be guaranteed to citizens of the United States. Australia, a land where English criminals were exiled to, even has healthcare for its citizens; you can buy extra healthcare options, but basic care is guaranteed.


It seems strange to me to not want to subsidize birth control when you’re a republican. I mean, we need to be concerned about population – for a multitude of reasons: economically, socially, job-wise, health-wise, food-supply wise, sustainability wise. It makes no sense to me that a political party that opposes abortion and welfare also opposes birth control. What should we do with the people who have unplanned pregnancies because they can’t afford the costs of condoms or birth control pills? It’s not enough to say they shouldn’t be having sex. Millions of married couples can’t afford basic contraception. They rely upon unreliable methods (early withdrawal) as birth control methods. Then what happens? Then we have a nation consisting of welfare recipients, which costs more over the long-run than providing free and low-cost birth control options. We could ward off abortions if we provided reliable access and education when it comes to birth control.


I’m a member of a different party, and it’s not really relevant to this post. What I do find concerning is the level of hypocrisy I’ve seen in the news reports. I mean, if we want to save money, and cut welfare costs, why not offer free and low-cost birth control options? Otherwise, we wind up paying higher taxes, all of us, in order to support children who wouldn’t be here if their parents have better planned for them.


Also, domestic violence is a real issue. I’m over women being victim-blamed for being single parents. So we’re supposed to allow unhealthy men to rape us and beat us? I don’t think so. I would make the decisions I have made that led me to raising a son alone until just a year ago a thousand times. It is so much better my son and I be safe than my son witness his mother being the victim of a crime. Why is it so bad to help women who are unfortunate victims of this heinous crime get back on their feet? Why force a woman who has already been a victim of a terrible, violating crime, rape, to have a child? I’m not a fan of abortion, however, I don’t think that women who have been victims of these crimes should be further traumatized by unwanted pregnancies.


I think there is a distinction between “unwanted” and “unplanned” pregnancies. Often those who have not planned on having children will go ahead and have those children.


I realize that I’m quite opinionated here. Also, what happened to decorum and maintaining a reputation? It used to be, and I’m not that old, that people actually cared about what people said about them.  Nowadays, it seems like people have lost that sense of maintaining a solid reputation. How can we expect that of our citizens?


I’m stepping off my soapbox now. What did you think? Please post your comments in the comments section (and please, be civil to one another. Many of us are all citizens of the same country.)



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Office Makeover Part II – Fabric and Patterns

I have a closet filled with fabric and white binders filled with patterns. How do you organize your sewing projects?

I have a LOT of sewing patterns. I also have a LOT of fabric. I currently have almost all my fabric hanging in our office closet, and my sewing patterns in binders in the closet. Of course, the binders are overflowing. I’m trying to figure out what the best way to organize fabric and patterns may be. I was thinking of perhaps pinning sewing patterns to fabrics, but there are sometimes multiple fabrics I want to use for one pattern and multiple patterns for one fabric. I also thought about scanning my patterns, taking a photo of each fabric, and then creating an Excel file so that I could prioritize projects. (The photo to the right only shows about 1/3 of my fabric collection and half my pattern binders).

This brings me to the question: How do you organize your sewing supplies? I’m looking for the best method that will allow me to streamline my sewing projects as I get to them. Please leave your tips in the comments section.

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To Zin or Not to Zin? There is No Question!

Zinfandel Grapes


This week’s wine tasting at Creekside Cellars featured a selection of Zinfandel wines. It’s always fun to do comparisons of wines, since each has its own unique qualities that it brings to the table. Here’s a list of the wines that we tried.


NV Codorniu Cava, Spain ($10) – This wine was sparkling and had a citrus and wheat bouquet to it.


2010 Ventana Pinot Gris, Monterey 2010 ($12) – This was pretty good. It was floral and sweet with an almond flavor. It would pair well with a pear and candied walnut salad I make.


2010 Talbott Logan “Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay,” Santa Lucia Highlands, ($20) – This wine was filled with notes of butter and spice. It also had hints of dry mustard when paired with the Red Dragon cheese.


2011 Doe Mill Vineyards Dry Rosé of Zinfandel, Sierra Foothills (Butte County) ($16) – This wine had a cheesy, almost sweaty gym sock nose. On the tasting, it had notes of watermelon, being similar to a Jolly Rancher.


2010 Sextant “Wheelhouse” Zinfandel, Paso Robles ($20) – This wine was quite good. It was both light and spicy and had lots of tannin. It also had notes of cashews and berries.


Laurel Glen 'Terra Rosa' Malbec, Mendoza Argen...

Laurel Glen wine (Photo credit: Renée S.)


2009 Laurel Glen “Za Zin” Old Vine Zin, Lodi ($19) – We did not care much for this wine. It reminded us too much of a “barn” wine that we had at Purple Wine Bar and Cafe some months ago. It was sweet and almost like Play-Dough. It did have notes of allspice, chocolate, cream, and cloves.


2009 Green & Red Vineyards Chiles Canyon Zinfandel, Napa Valley ($24) – This wine was pretty good. It went with everything on the cheese plate, and it had ink and paint on the nose, but became tannic on the swirl. It was buttery.


2009 Joel Gott “Dillian Ranch” Zinfandel, Amador ($27) – This wine was also quite good. It had flavors of vanilla and berry, but at the same time there was a lot of spice and tannin to balance the wine.


2009 Rock Wall “Julie’s Vineyard” Zinfandel, Sonoma ($23) – This wine was outstanding. It had notes of dark chocolate and raspberries. While it was richer than some of the other wines, it was also easy drinking and a bit spicy. It would pair wonderfully with the smothered pork chops I shared with you the other night.


2009 JC Cellars “Sweetwater Springs Vineyard” Zinfandel, Russian River Valley ($43) – This wine was also amazing. It had a french roast coffee nose, and it was filled with spices and allspice. If you’re looking for a wine for a special occasion, this is your wine.



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Relaxation After a Long Week


Relax (Photo credit: Orethorn)


When you’ve had a long week, nothing feels better than to relax. So often, our lives are hectic and we don’t allow ourselves time to just veg out in front of the television with a baseball game (or tv show, or movie) on. Instead, we begin filling our heads with the “shoulds” of life. “I should clean the kitchen,” “I should call this person,” “I should organize my penguin collection.” Whatever the “shoulds” of your life are, I want you to take a moment and give yourself permission to do nothing. Grab your favorite beverage and snack, put your feet up, and just be.


Why is it so hard to relax, especially when a week was particularly busy? Is it because we become so wound up with our own busy-ness that we forget how terrible stress is to our bodies? If we don’t listen to our bodies’ needs to relax, well then, we will become sick, overly fatigued, and cranky.

Why do we feel we *should* always be doing something? By being still, by taking that valuable moment to relax and have a glass of wine or a glass of water, by having a set winding down from the week routine, we can help care for ourselves. Wining Husband and I like to go to Creekside Cellars as part of our end-of-week routine, but I also enjoy watching silly TV shows in the quiet of the day as a way to relax before shooting into another activity (Project Runway is my guilty pleasure).

What do you do to relax after a long week? Post your thoughts in the comments.



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