Happy Memorial Day Weekend!


Spring is creeping to an end as Memorial Day weekend has finally arrived! For many, Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer.

Of course, the holiday weekend means much more to those who have dedicated their lives to our country. People will be gathering across the nation to join or watch Memorial Day parades and honor those who have served.

It’s a perfect three-day weekend to gather with loved ones and celebrate the return of summer weather. How will you be enjoying the weekend? Will there be a parade and many picnics and barbecues in your town?

We know you’re busy snatching up all those Memorial Day sales, so we want to help with a guide to throwing the perfect outdoor gathering!


Toting wine around is a breeze with these insulated wine bags! Artisan cheese and wine or beer make for a great grown-up appetizer.

  1. Pick a grassy spot in your favorite park, or a friend or family member’s backyard! Open areas allow for more fun and games for the kids and the grown-ups!
  2. Bring along yard games such as croquet, ladder toss, giant Connect Four, Cornhole bag toss, a giant Jenga tower, even Twister can be played outdoors and made even more fun by using different colored spray paint to make as big a Twister board in the grass as you want! Note, you’ll want to make sure the grass owner is OK with this before you begin.
  3. Remember the bug spray! There are many new natural options now on the market, so you don’t have to be covered with that classic bug spray smell. Search for one with lemongrass and eucalyptus and enjoy spa-like fragrances.
  4. Set the table – grab a brightly colored outdoor table-cloth at one of those Memorial Day sales, and don’t forget all the dressings!
  5. If you’re a guest, don’t show up empty-handed! Be sure to bring wine or beer to drink and share. (Hint: stop by your local WineStyles store and stock up for the weekend!

shutterstock_341453714Now the fun part – Choosing the right wine!

A sweet Moscato is easy to enjoy in warmer weather, and Pinot Noir is a great food-friendly choice. Don’t be afraid to go red, white, and blue with wine labels to help decorate the table!

But what pairs well with picnic favorites such as hot dogs and burgers?

CommunityTable has a few suggestions for us:

“Hot dogs and sausages come in lots of varieties, but one thing they have in common is that they are salty and hearty, so they need a wine with acid.”

So it’s best to choose wines with acidity and a touch of sweetness to get the perfect balancing act. CommunityTable recommends a Rosé, Pinot Blanc or Sangiovese.

“For steaks or burgers, you want a wine that’s equal to the meat in flavor and in weight, and that also has acidity to both cut through the fat and to cleanse the palate.” CommunityTable recommends a Rioja, Carménère, Cabernet Sauvignon or Brunello di Montalcino.

There you have it – the perfect recipe for a perfect Memorial Day weekend and celebration of summer!

Wishing you all a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend!


Thanks for reading,


Mother’s Day Gift Ideas to Match her Style!


Nothing can bring us together like our moms. From the very beginning, they have been there for us; through many successes and failures, loves gained and lost, and all the trials and tribulations that come with growing up.

Moms can be counted on, whether they’ve been stuck with us since birth or shown up later in life and taken it upon themselves to mother us. The world is a better place, because moms everywhere do what they can each and every day to make it so.

What WineStyles team members have to say about their mothers:

My mother inspires and encourages me no matter what I set out to do. She’s always in my corner, and it’s important to have someone who’s always in your corner.
-Ashleigh R.

I adore my mother. Anyone who put up with me as a kid, deserves more than a 1-day holiday…
– Tami S.

I’d like to thank my mom for not strangling me as a child.
– Nick L.

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I appreciate the balance of freedom and structure my mother created for us kids. She always pushed me to do more and try more new things. I could go on and on about silly stories of my mom when we were growing up. And she never missed one of my games!
– Andrea M.

I love my mom for many reasons, but I would have to say I love her most for always being selfless. Her daughters have always been, and continue to be, her main priority. She would do anything for us. I distinctly remember times when I wasn’t feeling well, or hurting, and she would say, “I wish I could trade you places so you could feel better.” I can only hope I am as positive, selfless and good-hearted as she is for my own kids one day!
– Jordyn W.

It’s only right to have a holiday dedicated to showing appreciation for our moms. In honor of this special day (coming up fast on Sunday, May 8th!) we want to help you find the perfect gift! Of course your mom already knows you love her… She knows her hard work raising you – your kids, grand kids, neighbors kids, anyone within a 5 mile radius – is appreciated, BUT it’s still nice to hear. 😉

So to help you out, below are a few ideas for finding the perfect way to say “I love you, mom” this Mother’s Day. Call or stop by your local WineStyles store for help creating the perfect gift basket, or finding a great bottle of wine to go with Mother’s Day dinner.

For the mom with the secret stash of chocolates she protects like a pot of gold:

Nab some gourmet chocolates, one of her favorite bottles of wine (use a colorful gift bag), Wine-A-Rita Frozen Drink Mix complete with a statement wine glass koozie, and voilà! Add flowers, if you please.

Mothers Day Sweet Gifts

For the mom with the “she shed” to decorate with all her favorite things:

Help her decorate with wine-themed decor! A rustic wood and metal “drink” sign, a “wine” cork holder, brightly colored multi-purpose glasses, and don’t forget the wine!

Mothers Day Decor Gifts

For the mom whose stove top is always hot and table open to all:

Assemble a foodie-themed gift complete with artisan cheeses, jam, cheese tray, and salt holder. Ask a store employee to help you pick the perfect wine to pair. Now mom can entertain in style!

Mothers Day Gourmet Gifts

For the mom who’s more into craft beer:

Pick out a montage of her favorite beer styles! She’ll appreciate that you know her so well. Add a fancy Spiegelau IPA beer glass for those times when she wants to be more presentable at the dinner table, and throw in a fun beer cake mix or other beer accessory!  Really impress Mom, and top off her glass with Gift membership to our Beer Club!

Mothers Day Beer Gifts

For the mom who will make a 2nd trip to the store because she forgot the wine:

(Who needs milk, anyway?!)

Get her a Wine Club Membership*! Each month she’ll be introduced to new and different wines from around the world, from various appellations, varietals and wine styles. Plus she’ll enjoy all the perks that come with our wine club memberships, such as 10% OFF her wine purchases and 15% off featured wine club wines.  Plus, she’ll be invited to our clubhouse to attend special wine tastings and events. It’s the perfect opportunity for her to Taste, Learn and Enjoy® great wines all year long! (No more making second trips to the store).

Gift memberships or Gift Cards can be purchased at your nearest WineStyles Tasting Station location.

Moms Want WC

Thanks for reading, and a Happy Mother’s Day to all!


* Please see local store for membership details and local benefits.

Do You and Your Wine Have a Future Together?

Starting a Wine Collection WineStyles classAre you and your wine meant to be? 

You’ve likely never thought of your relationship with the wine bottles you bring home as a long-term one. In fact, most U.S. wine drinkers don’t think beyond Friday night when they are at the store picking out wine. It’s very common for people to head to the store once or twice per week to pick out wines to enjoy with their everyday meals and occasions. And, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! After all, we know firsthand how great that feeling is when you find a surprisingly good bottle for $10-$25; it’s what the WineStyles concept is all about! But let us ask you this – have you ever tried a 10-year aged wine? So good, right? We know you aren’t apt to purchase a 10-year vintage right off the shelf due to the price tag, so what if we told you that wine collecting isn’t just for the high-rolling hoity-toity couple on the corner lot anymore?! There are many great reasons to start a wine collection of your own, and reason #1 is so that you can enjoy better wines! We’re here to break any pretentious thoughts associated with enjoying wine and that includes keeping a wine collection!

Of course, as with any collectible, wine isn’t for everyone. To take the time to “collect” something, especially in numbers greater than, say, 12 – you must have a genuine interest in the subject you are collecting. Wine is no different. If the idea of having “leftover” wine lying around drives you nuts, then wine collecting is definitely not for you! However, if you are patient, and can resist opening those bottles set aside, wine collecting can be a very rewarding hobby! Let’s move on to a few main reasons why you might consider starting a wine collection.

Why start a wine collection?Starting a Wine Collection WineStyles class

#1 – Must love wine: Ok, that one’s obvious… if you intend to drink the wines you collect. Some collectors use wine as a long-term investment and intend to sell their bottles once they’ve appreciated in value. This can be an investment strategy, but it obviously doesn’t allow for you to enjoy the fruits of your labor! It would be a shame if you didn’t enjoy drinking your own wines! Beyond a general love for wine, collecting may appeal to you for several reasons.

Entertaining: Do you often entertain guests in your home? If you find yourself in the hostess seat often, having a go-to wine collection right at home could save you a lot of precious time and money in the long run. The perks of starting a collection for you would be having wine on hand for these get-togethers. No more last-minute running to the wine shop searching for the perfect bottle to go with dinner! Or maybe you just like to have nice wines on hand to open up with friends and family on holidays or special occasions. It will give you peace of mind to know you have wines on hand that will be a hit! As a side note to this – collecting wines from places you have traveled to is also a great way to share your stories and experiences with friends and family. For instance, you could begin by collecting wines from each location you visited in the last few years or searching for wines from your all-time favorite vacation spots! If you don’t want to track down wines from these locations, just remember to seek out a local winery on your next vacation and bring a few bottles home to add to your collection!

Cost-Effectiveness: Do you love a good deal? Who doesn’t?! Developing a strategy for purchasing and storing wines will allow you to drink better wines at better prices; again, this is what WineStyles is all about! We love getting great wines into your hands at reasonable prices. Some of those wines, even the ones priced at $10-$25 per bottle would taste even better if stored a little longer. Purchasing wine that has already been aged will cost you. So, as with many things, why not DIY? And if you love a good sale, most retailers offer at least a 10% discount for buying a full case (12 bottles). Buying “young” wine will end up saving you money, as long as you have the patience to let it age a few more years. All you will need is a little planning and guidance (see information about our upcoming class Starting a Wine Collection at the end of this post).

Research: Wine in every respect is absolutely fascinating! From the soil to the bottle, there are a lot of variables that go into how a wine tastes. Are you fascinated by the way a wine can taste different depending on the temperature it is served at, or from one vintage to the next? Maybe you’ve tasted a California Cabernet Sauvignon from a favorite winery and can’t believe how much different the 10-year-old bottle was compared with this year’s new vintage. If this sounds like you, it might be the scientific factors of ever-evolving wines that intrigue you the most! Collecting would give you the recurring opportunity to taste how your wines have changed over the years, compare different vintages side-by-side, and share the discoveries with your friends and loved ones. Now that sounds like a fun and tasteful experiment!

Starting a Wine Collection WineStyles classOk, but how long do I have to wait??

There’s a reason we haven’t mentioned that some wines can be stored for 20+ years – we don’t want to frighten you! If you are new to collecting wine, know that even just a few years on the shelf can make a world of difference in your wine. Most wines you see at the store were released when they were between 2-3 years old, and that’s still quite young for many types of wine. Holding onto a bottle for just three years can give you a noticeable improvement in taste, specifically red wines. Having said that, it’s a good idea to purchase at least 2 of every bottle you want to store, that way you can open one now and take down tasting notes on it, then add the other to your collection to taste down the road! If you go through a lot of wine, you could up the ante to purchasing a case of each wine you choose to cellar (generally a case is 12 bottles).

Not every wine is meant to be aged – You’ll want to do some further research, or attend the class described below (Starting a Wine Collection), to know exactly which wine varietals will benefit from being aged.

Already a wine collector?

If you’ve already begun your wine collection, how do you like it? Are you now an advocate of keeping a wine stock on hand and aging wines yourself? Let us know in the comments below!

Did you know there is a wine collection in the Guinness Book of World Records? This collection called Milestii Mici holds approximately 2 million bottles of wine! It’s located in the country of Moldova, which lies between Romania and the Ukraine. With so much wine to store, it is basically an underground city! #winecellargoals

April Wine and Beer Boot Camp, Starting a Wine Collection:

Starting a wine Collection class winestyles

Are you new to wine collecting, or have you started, but don’t really know the ins and outs? Attend our April Boot Camp Class and you will learn all about how to start your first wine collection, and how to maintain it for optimum enjoyment for many years to come! If you enjoy wine, starting a wine collection, even a modest one, can be a rewarding hobby!

Please RSVP at your local WineStyles location. Seating space is limited, so make your reservation as soon as possible!

*Please note: Classes and rewards may vary at different WineStyles locations. Offer void where prohibited by state or local alcohol laws. See your local WineStyles Tasting Station for details. Find your local WineStyles store here.

Thanks for reading,


Wine and Chocolate Pairing Guide – 4 Steps to FUN!

Did you know that National Chocolate Fondue Day is right around the corner? February 5th marks this special day in chocolate lovers’ hearts. To celebrate, we’re going to explore the world of Chocolate and Wine Pairing! But before we get to that, take a look at these tasty chocolate fondue recipes to celebrate all month-long! chocolate-fondue

What to dip? Here are a few ideas: marshmallows, pound cake, banana slices, pretzels, strawberries, pineapple, waffle bites, various cookies, graham crackers, chips, cinnamon roll bites, doughnut holes, pretty much anything you’d like to chocolate-ify!

Ok, now that you’ve read (and bookmarked!) some delicious chocolate fondue recipes to try all month-long, let’s have a good laugh with some of the funniest chocolate quotes we have found out there on the web. Just because. 🙂

“Why can’t I be comforted by carrots? Why does it have to be chocolate or wine?” – someecards.com

“Nobody knows the truffles I’ve seen…..” – George Lang

“The 12 step chocoholics program: Never be more than 12 steps away from chocolate.” – Terry Moore

“Chocolate comes from cocoa, which comes from trees – that makes it a plant. Therefore, chocolate counts as salad.” – Daniel Rafferty

“The parenting skill I’m most proud of is being able to shove a whole chocolate bar in my mouth then talk normal when my kid walks in.” SnarkECards

Now let’s get down to business – it’s time to learn about chocolate and wine pairing! We know wine is delicious on its own, but sometimes it’s fun to treat your taste buds to new and interesting combinations! Wine and chocolate go together like a horse and carriage – they’re a match made in heaven, but that’s not to say you can pair any chocolate with any wine and expect to hear choirs of angels. Let’s go through four basic rules for chocolate and wine pairing.

The 4 Cardinal Rules of Chocolate and Wine Pairing:

Rule #1 – Choose gourmet chocolate. Yes, you may have a great experience pairing leftover Christmas candies with wine, but it likely won’t be one for the record books. Whatever chocolate you enjoy, be it dark, milk, or white chocolate, it’s best to pick gourmet.

Rule #2 – Pick wine based on the sweetness of your chocolate. The distance of sweetness between the wine and the chocolate should be short. It’s safest to pick wine that is at least as sweet as the chocolate you’ve picked, even a touch sweeter. The further apart wine and chocolate are on the sweetness scale, the more bitterness creeps in.

Rule #3 – Match the richness. Light chocolate pairs better with lighter-bodied wines. The stronger the chocolate’s flavor, the more full-bodied wine you’ll want to pair it with, i.e. dark chocolate can stand up to a bold Cabernet Sauvignon better than white, or milk chocolate can. Also keep in mind that, in general, red wines tend to pair better with chocolate than white wines do.

A quick note before we go on to cardinal rule number four. Did you know that magic happens when you eat dark chocolate and drink red wine? It’s true. Research shows that chemical substances called polyphenols have a dilating effect on blood vessels, improving blood supply to the brain in terms of increased oxygen and sugar delivery. The result of this process allows us to solve complex problems with ease. Amazing!

Wine and Chocolate Pairing WineStylesRule #4 – Always taste the wine first! If you taste the chocolate before tasting the wine, your taste buds will be covered with cocoa butter, which will prevent you from getting a good reading of how the wine tastes on its own. Only take a bite of chocolate once you’ve assessed the wine. If you’re pairing multiple wines with multiple types of chocolates, be sure to cleanse your palate in between pairings. It’s also best, as with any tasting, to go from light to dark. Start with the lightest-bodied pairing, and work your way to the fullest-bodied.

Remember, everyone’s palate is different. What pairs well for one person may taste awful to another, and that’s what makes it fun! Remember, the goal is always to Taste, Learn, and Enjoy 🙂 To get you started, take a look at this simple wine and chocolate pairing guide.

Suggested Wine and Chocolate Pairings:Wine and Chocolate Pairing WineStyles

White Chocolate – A great match for Moscato d’Asti, a sweet Riesling, or a fruity Chardonnay. If you’re feeling dare-devil-ish, try pairing it with a red wine that has heavy tannins. Since this type of chocolate is made primarily from cacao butter, the strong tannins may cut through the chocolate’s fattiness and create a pleasant pairing.

Milk Chocolate – Pair your favorite gourmet milk chocolates with a smooth Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, or dessert wine. Take care not to pair milk chocolate with dry red wines. The sugar in the chocolate can cancel out the fruit flavors in the wine leaving a bitter taste.

Dark Chocolate – For chocolate in the range of 50 to 70% cacao, pair with a bold Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, or Chianti. Once you hit the 70 to 100% cacao range, you’ll want to go all out in terms of full-bodied wines. Pair this range with Bordeaux, Malbec, Zinfandel, or Shiraz.

All – Pair champagne, sparkling or fortified wines with any type of chocolate to find a combo that tickles your taste buds!

Stay tuned for an upcoming post for you craft beer lovers out there – Chocolate and Beer pairing!

W&B_BootCamp_logoFebruary Wine and Beer Boot Camp, Dessert-Making Demo and Wine Pairings:

Want to skip the mess and treat your sweetheart to a night out this Valentine’s Day? Still looking for that perfect date idea? We can help! Check out WineStyles’ February Wine and Beer Boot Camp class, Dessert and Wine Pairings! Let your local WineStyles* team do the talking while you sit back and have fun tasting and learning side by side! Call your local WineStyles to reserve your seat! (Click here for WineStyles store locator).

*RSVP at your local participating store. Wine and Beer Boot Camp offers may vary at different WineStyles locations, dependent on local and state alcohol laws. Offer void where prohibited.

Thanks for reading,


Autumn Entertaining

Fall is in the air and with the change of season brings new combinations of entertaining options, seasonal ingredients and fall flavor combinations.  As the summer heat begins to recede into cooler fall temperatures, the cooler weather generally allows our taste preferences to transition into more SILKY or MELLOW wines that highlight the seasonal fall flavors.




Old Soul Petite Sirah (California)
We like to think of Petite Sirah as a gentle giant, robust and powerful, but soft in tannin and mild in spice with enough acidity to keep the wines balanced for tailgating favorites such as burgers, brats and chili.


Ebeia Tempranillo (Spain)
Tempranillo Dense red currant and raspberries with a  hint of roasted almonds and mint on the finish makes a great pairing for the spicy and hearty flavors of jambalaya.


Dievole Rinscimento (Italy)
Delicious old world flavors of dried raspberry and cherry with a subtle earth notes make this a great pairing for savory flavors or mushroom and wild rice.


Avery Lane Merlot (Washington)
This easy to drink Merlot is soft, juicy and plush. Bright aromatics of black cherry, blackberry, clove and nutmeg swirl in the glass.  The soft tannins make it an ideal pairing for fall dishes featuring cranberry and figs.



Jovino Pinot Gris (Oregon)
The silky texture, orchard fruit aromas and flavors of Oregon Pinot Gris present a lovely pairing option for butternut squash, with enough acidity to cut the richness of the squash and enough fruit flavors to balance the sweetness.


Niro Pecorino (Italy)
This unique white wine is a great pairing with fresh pumpkin flavors. The silky texture combines with ripe tropical fruit aromas and flavors that finish with a hint of sage and floral notes.

Wine On the Rocks…with a twist.

Wine_icecubesSummer can often be a tricky time for serving wine outdoors. The intense summer heat can make it very difficult to keep wine at a decent serving temperature.  Many people choose to switch from wine to beer or cocktails to avoid this problem, but I’ve found inspiration from some very unexpected sources that have encouraged me that its okay to drink your wine on the rocks.

While many wine snobs and inspiring wine enthusiasts cringe at the site of people (mainly parents and grandparents) putting ice into their glass of Chardonnay, I’ve abandoned criticizing people for drinking their wine on the rocks and here are a few reasons why:

1) “Drink What You Like and Like What You Drink.” ~ Robert Mondavi.

Golfing with Michael MondaviI’ve had the pleasure in my career of meeting and working with Michael Mondavi,  son of famed wine maker and industry legend Robert Mondavi and founder of Michael Mondavi Family Wines and Folio Wine Partners.  On one trip to California I participated in a golf outing with Michael.  As the beverage cart pulled up to take our drink order Michael asked “Do you have any Sauvignon Blanc?” the waitress replied that they only had wine in the clubhouse bar, not in the cart. Michael asked if she would be kind enough to go back to the club house and bring a plastic cup filled with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and ice.  He confirmed the order again making sure she heard him correctly.

Isabel_deep_rose“You really want a glass of Sauvignon Blanc on the rocks?” she asked.

“Yes.” he replied. “Sauvignon Blanc is my favorite wine to drink. My dad always instructed people to drink what they like.  He was a smart man and I like to follow his advice.”

Michael also mentioned that when he is grilling outside, he often will pour a glass of their Isabel Mondavi Deep Rosé over ice to drink while he cooks. He calls it “Isabel Rocks.”

Playing golf with Michael Mondavi and watching him drink a glass of Sauvignon Blanc on the rocks with a straw is one of my favorite wine memories.  Not to mention that I managed to make birdie, par, par during that 3 hole stretch..which turns out to be an occurrence even less common than famous winery owners putting ice in their wine.


2) Iron Chef Mario Batali: Aspen Food and Wine 

Another defining moment in the defense of drinking wine with ice came from meeting celebrity chef Mario Batali at a book signing at the Aspen Food and Wine Festival.  After waiting in line for an autographed copy of his Italian Grill cookbook we had a moment to speak with him while he signed our books.  As I looked at the table I noticed we was drinking a glass of an Italian white wine… out of a glass filled with ice!   When I watched him pour more wine into the glass, I asked “Mario, are you really drinking your wine over ice?” He replied very simply,  “Sure. How else am I going to keep it cold?”


I could have responded by suggesting an ice bucket, but his tone was so relaxed, casual and matter of fact that it was absolutely clear that he didn’t care.  He was drinking the wine over ice because it was a simple pleasure.

He wasn’t worried about the ice watering down the flavor of the wine, because at this moment flavor was not important. His simple reply made it clear that he found no need in troubling anyone to set up an ice bucket or make any special arrangements. He was absolutely content enjoying a glass of wine with ice because it was a simple solution for a simple pleasure.

3) The Tincho.

Finca-Los-Primos-white-wine-bottleThere are very few wines that have the ability to remain a consistent best selling item year after year.   However, at WineStyles our Los Primos White Wine has been a run away success from the moment we discovered it.  The Los Primos White is a blend of Malvasia and Sauvignon Blanc, from Argentina.   The wine which is light and refreshing is a little sweet on the nose, a little dry on the finish, with a little bubbly carbonation that make it a whole lot of fun to drink.  In Argentina the wine is served in restaurants and bars  all over Buenos Aires as a wine based cocktail called a Tincho.  The Tincho is Los Primos White Wine, served over ice with a twist of lime.  We started suggesting the drink to our customers over 7 years ago and they are still coming back for more.   Again, the success of this fun, unpretentious wine is proof that wine doesn’t have to be intimidating or snobby.

Ultimately these experiences have made me a firm believer that wine is a beverage that is best enjoyed in the spirit of the occasion.  It can be enjoyed on the golf course or outside at a summer festival, just as easily as it can at a formal dinner. So the next time you find yourself outside on a warm day, if you feel like drinking wine, don’t be scared to grab a few ice cubes and follow Robert Mondavi’s advice.

Think Pink: Drink Rosé

Drink Rose

Over the past few years the category of dry Rosé sales in the US has experienced tremendous growth.  Dry rose is one of the fastest growing category in wine sales as consumers have moved past their fear and memories of White Zinfandel.  If you haven’t jumped on the Rosé wine wagon yet…hop on as we explore the world of Rosé a bit more.

What is dry Rosé?:  In simple terms, Rosé is a red wine that was made with only a small amount of skin contact (1-3 days) with grape skins.  By making the wine in this fashion, the limited skin contact only allows for a small amount of color to bleed into the wine.  The longer the skin contact the deeper the color of the Rosé.

How do you serve dry Rosé?:  Consider serving Rosé as a white wine with red flavors.   Similar to many CRISP or SILKY white wines, Rosé is light in body, fermented in stainless steel without the use of oak, bright in acidity, and best served chilled (but not freezing, should be 45 to 50 °F).

What should I pair with Rosé?:   This is an easy question, because the beauty of Rosé is its versatility and ability to pair with a wide variety of foods.  My favorite pairings for Rosé include dishes that feature soft cheeses (i.e. brie, chévre, blue cheese), ham or prosciutto, and savory vegetables such as portobello mushrooms.  You can incorporate these flavors into a number of dishes including gourmet ham & cheese sandwiches,  baked macaroni & cheese with prosciutto and mushrooms, or a homemade 4-cheese pizza fired on the grill.

ClosLaChance_RoseZucchini-RollsOur suggested Rosé and recipe pairing:

Clos LaChance
Estate Grown Dry Rosé
Central Coast – 2012

Paired with Zucchini Rolls with Herbed Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts.

Summer Wine Tips

DougFrostInterview with Doug Frost, Master of Wine and Master Sommelier

What wines or sparkling wines do you advise people to select to enjoy over the summer?
First off, I always insist that people should drink whatever they like, and stop worrying about the “right” wine, whatever that is. As the temperature rises, most are thinking of cool, refreshing drinks, and that leaves lots of wine options. For reasonably priced bubbly, Prosecco from Italy and Cava from Spain have been the go-to wines for years. I’m a big German wine fan, and I go through lots of German Rieslings during the summer. The tangy, incipient tartness of Riesling is ideal for a touch of fruity sweetness. When you add that to spicy foods and even tangy BBQ sauces, it’s a surprisingly adept grape.

What white wines do you suggest to pair with popular summertime dishes?
If people use lighter vinaigrettes for their salads, crisp and tangy wines are just ideal. Sauvignon Blanc, Albarino and many Italian white wines make a lovely marriage, especially when you toss some grilled shrimp, fish or chicken on top of the salad.
Grill marks have a certain bitterness, even when they appear on grilled vegetables. Try either a fruity wine to offset the grill marks and the smoke (something fruity like Beaujolais, Dolcetto or Barbera) or use a wine that has a bit of bitterness, like more astringent Italian reds (Sagrantino, Sangiovese or Nebbiolo).

What are your tips for storing wine during the summer months?
Make sure never to leave wine bottles in a hot car. Heat can damage a wine in only a few minutes. If it’s too warm to leave your beloved pet in the car, don’t leave your favorite bottle of wine, either.

Wine Trends with Sean Parisi (C.S.W.)

About the Author:


Sean Parisi, born and raised around Chicago, IL has spent the last decade sharing his passion for wine, food and the pursuit of good taste.

Sean’s love of wine started in Florence, Italy where he spent a semester as a 20 year old college student studying abroad. Taking a break from his business courses at the University of Illinois, he fell in love in with wine and decided that if he was presented with an opportunity to follow his passions in life, he’d jump at the chance to pursue a career in a field that he loved.

Combining his education in finance and business with his passion for wine, Sean joined the WineStyles franchise network in 2005 as a multi-unit franchise operator with locations in Arlington Heights and Glenview, IL.   Sharing his love of the business with others, Sean took over as the Area Development Manager for the WineStyles franchise in Illinois and has been a leading contributor to the growth and development of the WineStyles organization.  During his tenure with WineStyles, Sean has earned a Certified Specialist of Wine (C.S.W.) certification from the Society of Wine Educators and is now responsible for the management of the national wine program and franchise operations for the WineStyles Tasting Station.

Sean Parisi - Cline VineyardsSince 2009, Sean has worked closely with many of the world’s leading wineries and import organizations to source outstanding wines that represent tremendous quality and value to share with over 10,000 WineStyles Wine Club members every month.  If you’ve been a member of the WineStyles Wine Club you’ve tasted his work.

Through this blog Sean will share insights into the mind of a wine buyer, aspiring home chef, small business owner, husband, father, friend and below average golfer.