Wine Tasting At Home: A Beginner’s Guide To Hosting The Ultimate Event

Whether you consider yourself to be a wine connoisseur, a novice, or someone who simply loves hosting fabulous events, this guide will help you host the ultimate wine tasting event at home or online. 

In this beginner’s guide, you will learn how to organise your event, which wines to serve and the best nibbles to accompany them, and how to set up your tasting. There will also be a section dedicated to hosting a virtual wine tasting. 

The latter option is ideal if you live away from your friends and want to catch up from the comfort of home. It’s also a great way to stay connected during lockdown or periods of isolation. Here is a breakdown of the guide:

Common questions

How do you host a wine tasting at home?

There are a few things to consider when planning your wine tasting, including whether you will host it in-person or virtually. This guide provides you with a starting point so you can begin planning without feeling overwhelmed.

  • Consider the space available. Do you have a large table that you can use as a tasting table? How many people can you invite? Is there room in your fridge to store the wine? 6-12 is the recommended group size for a wine tasting
  • What atmosphere do you want to create? Cosy, formal, chic 
  • Do you have enough glassware? It may sound obvious, but this is a good starting point when planning your event
  • Will the tastings be blind? Do you and your guests want to drink the wine, or spit it out after sampling? 
  • What theme interests you? You could select a region, a year, a producer, or type of wine
  • What nibbles will you provide to accompany the wine? Will you serve a meal at the end of the tasting? You can find out more about selecting the best nibbles in this guide
  • How seriously do you want to take the scoring process? Will you provide each guest with a pen and paper? 

Once you’ve answered the questions above, you will be ready to host a wine tasting night. Picking a theme is one of the most important considerations. There is no wrong answer. Simply decide what is best for you. If this is potentially the first of many wine tasting events, you could choose one region this time and another the next.

Decide what nibbles you will serve during the tasting and whether there will be a meal at the end. Again, there is no wrong answer. Decide what is best for you based on the space available to you and the number of guests you plan to invite.

Ensure you have the correct amount of glassware, supplies, including a wine bottle opener, and anything to enhance the atmosphere of your theme. Once you’ve completed these steps, you are ready to choose a date and time and invite your guests.

How do I organise my wine tasting?

You’ve picked a theme, you’ve bought the perfect nibbles to be paired with your wine, your friends are on the way, so how should you organise your evening? Preparation is key. Ensure you have a large enough space for the tasting. If you are creating a formal atmosphere, why not add place cards so your guests can be seated on arrival? Alternatively, create a space for each guest with a plate of nibbles, several wine glasses, and a pen and paper.

All that is left is for you to give everyone a warm welcome and explain how the evening will proceed, including if the tastings will be blind. It will be useful to provide information on each wine, regardless of whether you are aiming for an educational or social evening. 

Setting up

What should I eat before wine tasting?

The aim is to keep your palate neutral before a tasting so that you can get the most from the experience. Eat a couple of hours before, but not too close to ensure your senses are heightened. It is recommended you avoid strong flavours, spices, or anything that will freshen your breath, as it may unsettle the pH balance of your mouth.

What nibbles go well with wine?

With so many delicious nibbles to choose from, it’s hard to decide what will work for your soiree. However, consider bland options such as crackers and bread during the tasting so as not to interfere with the palate of those taking part. Once the tasting has finished, indulge in your favourite nibbles or a meal to celebrate the successful evening. It is also recommended to drink water after sampling each wine to help cleanse the palate. 

How many wines do you taste in a wine tasting?

Six different wines are recommended for a tasting; however, you could choose more (up to 12). 

Whatever you decide, it is worth keeping in mind how many guests you are planning to invite, the theme you’ve opted for, the space available to store your wine, and if you have enough glassware for the number of wines you intend to sample. For a party of between 8-10; it is advised you purchase two bottles of each wine.

How do you start a wine tasting?

As with any event you are hosting, you will want your guests to feel comfortable and aware of what is going to happen. Begin by serving crackers or a palate-cleansing drink before explaining the theme, the evening plan, and answering guests’ questions.

Some logistics need to be considered before you begin your tasting. For instance, if it is a blind tasting, how will you serve your wine? Will you decant it, or use a bottle sleeve while pouring? If you are serving red wines, can you decant them so they can breathe for 30 minutes before being sampled? Thinking about this in advance can help you enjoy a stress-free evening.

Is it bad to serve red wine in a white wine glass?

You may think this is a simple question, but the answer is quite complex. While it is not necessarily ‘bad’ to serve red wine in a white wine glass, there is an intentional difference between the glasses. 

Red wine glasses have more depth because it takes longer for the flavour and aromas of the wine to develop. Therefore, rich, full-bodied reds require time to breathe before being served. White wine simply doesn’t require the same amount of space or time to breathe, hence why the glasses are bowled in shape. 

What are the 5 S’s of wine tasting?

  • See: What colour is it?
  • Swirl: Have you given it time to breathe and release its aromas?
  • Sniff: What can you smell?
  • Sip: Have you taken a small sip and held it in your mouth to taste every flavour?
  • Savour: What can you taste? The flavour of your wine may develop between sips 

Going Virtual

How do you host a virtual wine tasting?

All the above applies to your wine tasting evening, whether you are hosting it in-person or online. The key difference is each attendee will need to supply their own nibbles, wine, equipment, and palate cleansers. Each guest must ensure they have enough glassware and storage space for the tasting. 

You can still choose a theme for the evening, whether a region, type of wine or the year the wine was bottled. 3-5 different wine choices should be enough for a virtual tasting designed to last for around two hours. 

How does a virtual wine tasting work?

This depends on how you want to organise your event. If you want to ensure everyone is blind-tasting, you and your guests will need to ask someone else to decanter the wine in advance. 

If this isn’t possible, sample the wines in the same order (more on this later) and score the wine based on its aromas and sensations while tasting. Each participant will need water to cleanse their palate between tastings and bland nibbles such as crackers or bread. 

The key point to consider is that everyone has the chance to share their views and get involved. A virtual wine tasting is one way to bring friends and family together, regardless of where in the world they live. 

How long is a virtual wine tasting? 

Two hours is a good amount of time for a virtual wine tasting. 

How do you host a Zoom wine tasting?

Most of us are now accustomed to virtual meetings, events, and catchups via Zoom. Hosting a wine tasting virtually is much the same as any online event – preparation is key!

Begin by choosing a theme for your evening, selecting a date and time, and then invite your friends. Ensure your guests have all the information, equipment, and details they need ahead of the event. Whereas one host may organise and arrange an in-person event, each participant is required to play an active role in a virtual event, such as a wine tasting. In this sense, simplicity is key.

Best virtual wine tastings in the UK?

One of the most popular options in the UK is the Waitrose Wine Tasting at Home Experience, designed for six people groups. There is also a Lockdown List of companies providing virtual tasting experiences – some supply the wine and nibbles as part of the package.  

What wines to serve

what wines to choose: start with sparkling wine

What is the correct order for tasting a wine?

When tasting different wines, a crucial consideration is your palate. You want to keep it free of bold flavours that may affect your ability to pick up subtle aromas of lighter wines. Begin with sparkling wines, whites (dry to sweet), rosé, reds (light to bold flavours), and finish with dessert wine. 

What are the main differences between French and Italian wines?

This is a popular question among budding wine connoisseurs. The biggest difference is the grapes that are used and the setting in which they are grown. For instance, you may be familiar with prominent wine-producing regions within France (Bordeaux – Cabernet Sauvignon) and Italy (Tuscany – Chianti).

Differences in climate, soil and weather can all affect the grape. In addition, there are different methods of production that can alter the aromas and overall taste as well as who the wine is marketed at. 

Are you planning on hosting a wine tasting event at home? What is going to be your theme? 


For more information about our bespoke wine racks or to discuss design, please call 01159441434 or contact us via our form.

Please include your requirements and approximate dimensions to provide you with a quote.

Posted in Wine Facts

Fine Wine As An Alternative Investment: Everything You Need To Know

In this article, we will aim to cover everything you need or want to know from ‘is fine wine a tax-free investment,’ to ‘what are the best investment wines in 2021,’ and ‘how do I invest in wine.’  

Alternative investment options are growing in popularity for many reasons; low-interest rates for savers, stock market instability, and predictions of a property market bubble (which may burst and cause a downturn). 

But what are the best ‘alternative investments’ and are they worth the risk? Some of the most popular investment options this year so far are peer-to-peer lending, cryptocurrencies, precious metals (including gold and silver), and equity crowdfunding. 

While these options are an excellent choice for diversification, they don’t offer you tangible assets. But investing in fine wine provides a real asset investors can see, touch, and feel, while diversifying their portfolio, which can offer reassurance.

All investments have an element of risk out of your control, so what you must focus on is the elements you can control. 

For instance, only invest what you can afford to lose, a diverse portfolio reduces reliance on one industry, sector, or product, focus on the long-term plan, and avoid ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes that look too good to be true.

Why fine wine? 

As an investment option, fine wine is appealing because anyone can do it without relying on a broker and investments can start from as little as £100. It offers flexibility – you can select a few rare bottles, cases, or create a full cellar.

Photo by Maria Orlova

The latter may depend on the space available within your home. Many collectors create a custom wine cellar or storage solution to fit the space they have available, which reduces additional storage costs associated with other alternative investments such as classic cars and antiques. 

Another reason fine wines are an attractive investment is the fact the market has seen steady growth and has not been affected by the economic instability that has sent ripples through other markets including stocks and shares.

In summary, fine wines offer something for everyone regardless of the space or budget you have and there are options to suit all long-term goals. 

Is wine a tax-free investment? 

Although often promoted as a ‘tax-free’ investment option because supermarket wine can be classified as a ‘wasting asset’ (defined by HMRC as ‘an asset with a predictable life of 50 years or less’) you can reasonably expect fine wines to outlive this timeframe.

fine wine as a tax free investment? example stock graph
Photo by Burak Kebapci

It is important to understand that from an Inheritance Tax perspective, an individual’s fine wine collection will be valued at the time the owner passes away, rather than what it cost to purchase. This is the same as with any estate asset, including property.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is another consideration for potential investors, depending on the size of their collection and estate. HMRC states that if a single bottle of fine wine is sold for less than £6,000, it is exempt from CGT.

However, if an individual purchases more than one bottle from the collection, the single bottles may be viewed as a set. In this situation, the £6,000 tax-free limit would apply to the total sale (instead of individual bottles) meaning it would likely be subject to CGT.

The final tax consideration for investors is the fact that Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax are two separate taxes. While non-wasting assets may be exempt from CGT, this does not automatically mean they are exempt from Inheritance Tax.

Is investing in wine profitable?

A key question for any investor is the profitability of an asset. As with most financial decisions, timing is key when investing. Last year the fine wine market saw strong growth when many other markets were facing uncertainty.

Photo by Dziana Hasanbekava

While varying factors influence the rate of growth, high-yielding quality wines have seen an increase in value of up to 37% during 2020, according to the Vin-X 2020 Fine Wine Market Review.

The review also notes that while unpredictability is expected for at least the next year, fine wines offer the diversification needed to stabilise investment portfolios. Steady long-term growth within the market is expected, which is arguably the key to portfolio diversification and effective risk management.

There are of course examples of hugely profitable wines being sold at auction. One such example is the lot of 12 Romanée-Conti 1988, Domaine La Romanée-Conti bottles that were auctioned by Bonhams in February 2018 and sold for £179,250. 

While this scenario can happen occasionally, it is not the norm and investors should prepare for a steady return and do their due diligence when purchasing fine wines. 

Which? Recently published an article highlighting the fact investors who do not secure tangible fine wine assets are not protected under the Financial Services Authority’s regulations if they invest in a company.

Does wine increase in value over time?

The average bottle of supermarket wine will not increase in value over any period. Fine wines however can increase in value depending on the region it is from, if the producer has a proven track record, or if the wine is highly rated. 

Savvy investors may increase their return on investment by purchasing a less expensive wine that is highly rated as opposed to purchasing an expensive wine from an established and respected producer. 

How much is a 20-year-old bottle of wine worth?

This depends on a plethora of factors; how much did it cost to purchase, where was it purchased, what region is it from, who is the producer, is it made from a special vintage, have similar wines recently sold at auction, what is the market like.

Bollinger Range

High-quality fine wines can increase in value over time, but many wines are not designed to be stored for long periods of time. The way a bottle of wine (fine or otherwise) is stored can also affect its value in the long-term.  

Why should I invest in wine?

If you want to diversify your investment portfolio to spread your risk, are interested in alternative options, and want to purchase a physical asset, fine wine meets these requirements.

Wine racks solid oak with black-stain-

It also provides a great hobby for those with an interest in wine as many collectors enjoy researching rare fine wines and tracking them down. 

From a purely financial perspective, fine wine investments offer stability and growth potential that traditional investments (including stocks and shares) simply cannot offer at this time. 

The best wines to invest in this year

Determining the best investment options for any asset (precious metal, stocks, shares, art, fine wine) is a complex process.

There are many factors to consider; market conditions, current affairs, the history of and the outlook for the company (or producer), plus what industry experts and analysts think. Understanding the bigger picture can help you make informed decisions.   

traditional

Best investment wines for 2021

Vin-X has compiled a list of the Top 5 Wine Brands over the past 5 years.

This includes:

  • Lafite Rothschild
  • Leroy
  • Armand Rousseau
  • Mouton Rothschild
  • Margaux
  • Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC)
  • Gaja
  • Haut Brion
  • Krug, Sassicaia
  • Latour
  • Angelus
  • Louis Roederer
  • Penfolds

The brands that repeatedly appear in the top five year-on-year are arguably reliable producers and have gained a strong reputation within the industry. It is worth researching these brands and investment opportunities. In addition, both Vinfolio and Vin-X recommend Moët & Chandon (Dom Pérignon) as it is a consistently high-quality producer and therefore a reliable investment option. 

How do you know if a wine will increase in value?

A tiny percentage of the wines produced around the world have the potential to increase in value, but there are factors to consider.

  • Is the producer reputable or known for superior quality wines?
  • What wine-producing regions are doing well?
  • What do current market trends suggest?

For the latter, it is worth looking at auctions to see what is selling well and what is not. You may also wish to speak to industry experts and specialists to get advice. 

As with any investment, the research you complete will be invaluable to you both now and in the future.

What are investment-grade wines?

Not all wines are created equally.

Investment grade wines have provenance as they are produced from renowned regions. This includes Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Champagne, Tuscany, California, Australia, and Spain. 

Esteemed producers who have gained a reputation within the market make these standout wines. Investment grade fine wines (when stored correctly in a wine cellar) can last for decades, which is a significant differentiator when compared to the average supermarket wine that may last for a year or two.  

Other factors that can affect the value of fine wine is its availability, production volumes, and if it is a limited edition, which can all affect demand. 

What wines are collectable

There are many options for wine collectors and investors to purchase, however, there are certain names that instantly draw attention:

  • Château Lafite Rothschild (Bordeaux)
  • Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC) (Burgundy)
  • Castello dei Rampolla (Tuscany)
  • Screaming Eagle (California)
  • Henschke (Australia)
  • Teso La Monja (Spain)

This list is not exhaustive but an indicator as to some of the most collectible and popular producers. There are lots of fine wines that are collectible and ultimately valuable, which is why research before investing is so important. 

Best Bordeaux investment wines

To access the best of Bordeaux, it is important to understand that two rivers and an estuary divide the wine region.

This has created a ‘Left Bank’ and a ‘Right Bank.’

Wine from the Left Bank is said to age well and last for decades and includes the following wine-growing areas Medoc, Graves, Pessac-Leognan, and Sauternes. On the Right Bank the prominent growing areas include Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, Côtes de Blaye, and Fronsac and the area is famed for its soft Merlot-based grapes. 

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Carmenere are all wines from Bordeaux. As one of the most prominent wine-producing regions in the world, it is well worth researching the wines that are appreciating in value (or likely to). 

Investing in wine for beginners

The first consideration for any investor is how much you can afford to risk and how long you want to invest for.

For instance, is this a long-term investment that forms part of a retirement plan, or is it a short-to-midterm investment of between 3-10 years?

Knowing the answers to these questions in advance can help you plan your portfolio according to your needs. The second consideration is whether to purchase tangible bottles of fine wine or invest in a producer or fine wine company. 

The advantages of the former include the fact you have greater control over your investment and can diversify your portfolio so that it has a mix of both tangible and intangible assets. 

Whatever you decide, the key to your success is research if you plan to take a hands-on approach. It is in your interests to understand the market, the producers, which vintage yields a steady return on investment. All this knowledge will help you feel in control of your investment. Alternatively, if you are interested in a hands-off approach, it is worth researching fine wine brokers that can help you achieve your investment goal without getting as involved.

If you decide to purchase bottles of wine, you will need to find a storage solution that limits the chances of breakage and spoilage. If you are thinking about investing in wine or upgrading your existing storage space, A & W Moore Wine Racks UK offers many custom solutions including under stairs wine racks tailored to your needs.

Disclaimer: The information provided within this article is accurate at the time of publishing. It does not constitute investment advice. Readers thinking about investing in alternative or traditional options are encouraged to complete their own research and consult a professional if in doubt. 

Posted in Wine Facts

A Beginner’s Guide to Wine Tasting

On special occasions, many people decide to go to a classy and elegant restaurant for a nice meal. As you sit down at the table, the waiter presents you with the wine list. Being surrounded by wine connoisseurs at other tables, you may feel intimidated and inclined to take on board what the waiter recommended in order to fit the crowd. Before you have time to think, the waiter enthusiastically pours you a little taster of the wine. Just like the rest of us who are not wine experts, you do a slight swirl, give a little sip and half-heartedly agree that the wine was a perfect match.

People often think wine tasting is a complicated and daunting exercise. As long as you understand the basic principles of wine tasting, you can convince any waiter you are a wine connoisseur. It may be your first wine tasting event, and you want to make it seem like you have experience appreciating fine wine. If you would like to become a wine connoisseur, continue reading this guide, and we will teach you the fundamental steps of how to taste wine.

Look at it

All your senses are involved with wine tasting. Our vision gives us the first impression of the wine. You need to hold the glass in front of your face and examine the colour. Tilt the glass and let the wine thin out to determine whether it is young or old. If the white wine appears to be more golden, or the red wine appears deeper and intense in colour, the older and more complex the flavour is. Also, pay attention to the clarity of the wine as a cloudy wine indicates it is unfiltered or faulty.

Swirl it

Begin swirling your glass by rotating your wrist and keep an eye out on how fast the wine travels in your glass. You will see droplets, referred to as “legs”, running down the side of the wine glass after swirling. The term legs are used to identify a white or red wine’s body. Thin legs are where a wine that moves like water is equivalent to a lighter body. A lighter body suggests the wines are more fresh, delicate and refined. Thick legs are where wine resembles syrup and has more droplets on the side of the glass, which is equivalent to a fuller body. A thick body implies the wine is extremely rich and mostly has a higher alcohol content.

Smell it

Your sense of smell contributes to 50% of what you taste. It is essential that a good swirl is required to release the aromas of the wine and increase its interaction with oxygen to give you a better tasting experience. Move your nose close to the edge of the wine glass, taking a deep sniff and identify any smell you find familiar. Swirl again and repeat the process several times to get a clearer understanding of your wine.

The aromas of the wine are broken down into 3 main categories:

Primary Aromas
The grape naturally has fruity, herbal and floral aromas – which are smells to distinguish the grape type and the terroir.

Secondary Aromas
These are the smell from the process of making wine. The aromas such as oak, sourdough, yoghurt and butter that are present depend on the type of condition and fermentation of the wine production.

Tertiary Aromas
Tertiary aromas are from the wine’s ageing process. Aromas of coffee, chocolate and toffee are prominent if the wine has been oxidised in oak barrels for a long time. Earthly flavours such as mushroom and vegetables are bold if the ageing process is reductive – which is when the wine is protected in a bottle, avoiding contact with oxygen.

From the wine’s aroma, you can also distinguish the wine’s condition and its faults. For example, if you smell rotten eggs, it is associated with high levels of reduction during wine production. Aromas of toffee, caramel and honey are present due to high oxidation levels, which decreases the wine’s fruity flavour. If there is an aroma of damp cardboard, there may be problems with the cork. The wine can be contaminated with Trichloroanisole (TCA) – a harmless airborne fungus that reduces the freshness and fruity flavour.

Taste it

Finally, you can take your first sip along with some air to release more of the wine’s aromas. Roll the wine over your tongue, and as you swallow the wine, you need to breathe out through your nose and “chew” the wine by coating your mouth like how you would do with mouthwash.

The wine’s sugar, body, tannin and acid components are the most important factors to consider when you taste wine as this changes how you pair it with food.

Sugar
After the fermentation process, the sugar that is left over determines the overall sweetness of the wine. The fruity flavours of the wine can give off an impression that the wine is sweeter. Red wines are generally dry, but some have a hint of sweetness, which is known as “off-dry”.

Body
The body is the general feeling of the wine. Does it feel heavy or light? Does your throat feel fiery after swallowing? With a higher alcohol content, the wine will taste stronger and suggests it has a thicker body.

Tannin
The skin and stem from grapes, mostly red and a few white, cause your lips to stick to your teeth, have a bitter flavour and a dry mouth. Generally, tannins are found in red wine, but a few white wines will taste bitter as they have been heavily oaked during wine production.

Acidity
The acidity of the wine creates a sensation of how fresh and crisp it is. The wine will tastes like a citrus fruit if the acidity is high, and tastes like milk if the acidity is lower. All red, rose and white wines are acidic, but white wines have the highest acidity levels.

The evaluation

Draw your thoughts and sensations after experiencing the wine. There needs to be a balance between the sugar levels, body, tannin and acidity. These components can help you choose which wine you prefer or experiment more with other wines before you find the best wine to suit your palate. You will soon become a wine fanatic after some practice! Eventually, you might want to own a wine collection – you can start off with buying a wine rack for your household.

Posted in Wine Facts

How to Store your Wine Correctly

Have you ever sat at work and dreamt about your first gorgeous glass of wine that you will be indulging in as soon as you step through the door of your home? Has that dream ever been thwarted when later that evening the cork breaks as you’re trying to open the bottle? If so, the main reason your wine is becoming undrinkable is most likely the way you’re storing your wine bottles. Wine is a very fragile liquid and can often be spoiled when not cared for. Many bottles of wine sit for weeks, months or even years before being opened and enjoyed. If you have ever worried that you are not storing your wine correctly and want some top tips to prevent your wine from becoming spoiled, read on.

Purchase the right wine rack

It is very important that you purchase the right wine storage so that you can stock your wine correctly. You need to have enough space in order to store all of the wine bottles that are going to be stored on it, but also need to make sure you choose the right material and design of your wine rack so that it doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb alongside your interior design style.

Store wine on its side

If you decide to store wine standing up, it can (and will) result in the cork drying out and ruining the wine. The dried cork will shrink, resulting in air making its way in the bottle, which can spoil the wine rapidly! It does not matter whether all of the other conditions in which you store your wine are perfect, a dried out cork can turn all expensive wines into salad dressing. By placing the bottle on its side, it means you will keep the cork moist and prevent air from getting into the bottle and ruining your delicious investment.

Keep it chilled

If you didn’t know already, average room temperature is too warm to serve or store your wine. As with most foods, the warmer the temperature of the wine, the faster the wine will go bad and undrinkable. If you have ever accidentally left wine in the car during the summer and then tried having a swig, you will realise how bad it can taste. Leaving a bottle at room temperature can do the same over a long period of time. Room temperature wine tastes duller than a chilled wine, this is why it is better to keep it cool.

Keep it somewhere you can easily select a bottle

It is imperative that when you are trying to decide on what bottle you would like to divulge in that evening, that you know what wines are in your collection and where to find it. Although documenting your collection is helpful, it’s hard to beat a clear visual display of all of your bottles. It should always be as easy as possible to work out what bottles of wine you have available.

Posted in Wine Facts

How to Care for your Quality Oak Wine Rack

Oak furniture is a very good investment, and proper care of this wood will help it last for many years. Oak has become one of the most popular types of wood type because of its natural durability. This heavy hardwood can endure a lot of wear and tear. The gorgeous grain patterns and intricate shapes make this wood desirable for all types of furniture. The most popular pieces are tables and chairs, but oak wine racks are also extremely desirable and will last a lifetime. If you have a wine rack and are wondering how to get the most out of it, read our top tips on how to care for your oak wine racks.

Cleaning

Your standard household cleaning equipment is quite likely to damage the finish of your oak wine rack over time. Every time you clean your wine rack, you should really be wiping the surface down with a clean, damp cloth. For more serious cleaning jobs (which might lead to staining), blot the rack with a clean, soft, slightly damp cloth. If there is ever a stain on your wine rack that you think looks like it will be too hard to clean yourself, it’s best to contact a professional furniture restorer who will use time-served techniques to get your wine rack back into tip top condition.

Airing out

If your new oak wine rack has been recently oiled, it might have a strong odour. To minimize this, leave it in an open space to help the smell dissipate. You might want to keep windows open or run an air purifier. Oak wine racks will often be oiled before they are packed and shipped. If the smell is strong, consider placing a bowl with baking soda, white vinegar, and activated charcoal near it as this can absorb odours.

Waxing

While everyday wear and tear might take its toll on MDF or wood veneer (both are prone to chipping or peeling), solid hardwood is much more robust. Waxing your oak wine rack regularly conditions the timber and creates a hardwearing, protective seal that better repels water and retains the wood’s optimum moisture levels.

Dusting

Dusting your wine rack should be done regularly and carefully, rubbing in the direction of the wood grain with a soft cloth, so that you don’t accidentally leave scratch marks behind. Be sure to rotate the cloth frequently to remove any of the previous dirt coming back into contact with the wine rack. This should become part of your regular cleaning routine and can be applied to other wooden pieces of furniture.

Quality oak wine racks or wine cabinets will always be a great choice when it comes to wine storage spaces, the finishes available really allow the wine rack to fit in with the mood of your home whilst storing your wine safely and securely.

Posted in Wine Facts

Five Facts You Never Knew About Wine

  1. The Romans came up with the notion of toasting wine

That’s right, not only did the Romans invent concrete, sewers, roads, the calendar, the newspaper and underfloor heating, but they even invented the toast! And who would have guessed that it actually involved real toasted bread! It apparently originated when the Senate made it a requirement that emperor Augusts be honoured with a toast at every meal. They would drop a piece of burnt toast (known as the tostus) into a glass of wine to disguise the wine’s disagreeable flavours and then raise a glass to the guest of honour.

  1. The world’s oldest bottle is… really old

The Speyer wine bottle was uncovered in Germany in 1867 and is believed to be from 325 AD! If this is correct, it is the oldest known unopened bottle of wine in the world. The bottle was discovered during an excavation within a 4th-century AD Roman nobleman’s tomb. One source says the man was a Roman legionary and the wine was a provision for his celestial journey. We know wine is meant to improve with age but we think you might be better off missing this one out if someone starts handing out glasses of this wine!

  1. But it’s not as old as the world’s oldest wine…

The world’s oldest bottle of wine might be almost 1,700 years old, but scientists have recently revealed that they have found pottery fragments which show the earliest evidence of grape wine-making. The fragments are believed to be 8,000 years old and were discovered in two Neolithic villages, called Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora. The world’s earliest non-grape based wine is understood to be a fermented alcoholic mixture of rice, honey and fruit dating back to 7,000 BC in China.

  1. Tutankhamun loved his wine

Egypt dominated the wine trade between 1550 and 1070 BC, and the Egyptians went about improving it as much as they could. They first created amphorae to make the transportation of wine easier and then they created the wine label. It seems that the 19-year-old King Tut was a fan of the alcoholic grape-based beverage as there were 26 amphorae found in his tomb alongside a wide array of other artefacts. The amphorae were all labelled with extremely specific details regarding the year the wine was made, where it was made, who made it and even the style of wine. They had a rating system of good, great or excellent wine (does this mean they never made a bad bottle?). We wonder if they could have done with some wooden oak wine racks, as the amphorae don’t seem to be very neatly placed!

  1. Some people have a wine phobia

This uncommon fear is called Oenophobia and is the irrational fear of wine. People with Oenophobia have a paralysing fear of seeing the consumption of wine, wine bottles and spilt wine. The disease is related with methyphobia (fear of alcoholic beverages). In both of these cases, the person with the phobia often dislikes these alcoholic drinks as they are afraid that they may suffer severe poisoning when consuming them. Even the idea of this can cause extreme anxiety, tremors, respiratory problems, abdominal pain and nausea.

Posted in Wine Facts, Wine Storage

Wine Pairing 101: What Food Goes With Your Wine?

You’re sat down to dinner at a fancy restaurant that you have had reserved for months. Desperately, you start scanning the food and wine menu and wondering what bottle would go best with what dish. The waiter sympathetically looks down at you as a drop of sweat falls from your brow on to the tablecloth. You expectantly look at your partner in the hope that they will be able to get you out of this uncomfortable mess of an evening. You stutter through ordering your starters and then it comes to ordering the dreaded bottle of wine. Throat tightening, palms sweating, you lean forward and whisper ‘white zinfandel’.

Does this situation ring a bell? Maybe yours wasn’t so dramatic, but we’ve all felt the dread when it comes to ordering wine at a restaurant. We all feel underqualified when trying to pair what food would best go with what wine. Especially if we like are fancy enough to be thinking about looking at wine cellars UK in order to start acquiring a collection of wine. If you find it hard to find that perfect pairing, here are our six top tips when it comes to pairing wine.

Match flavours

Always try to match flavours in the wine with flavours in the food. If the wine has a smoky or oaky aroma, then pair it with a smoky dish. If the wine has a hint of dark berries, then make a sauce that contains similar berries. Pairing wine and food is all about making tastes that match.

Opposites attract

As you may have been able to work out on your own, sweet and sour complement each other very well. You will be able to create a beautiful meal by pouring yourself a large glass of beautifully sweet and fruity wine alongside a salty dish for dinner.  This Chinese realised this a long time ago, hence sweet and sour chicken… yum.

High tannin

If you decide that you would like to pull a bottle of wine from your cabinet that has high tannin, then a nice pairing is to serve foods which fatty proteins, like duck, to counterbalance it. Keep all of the sauces condensed and well-cooked as too much alcohol highlights the tannin. Low tannin wines work well with light white proteins.

High acidity

If you have decided to serve a wine with a rather high acidity. You may want to make a meal with an equal amount of acidity to compliment the dish. This means not using too much salt so you can highlight the wine and compliment it nicely.

Heavy wine

A good pairing to heavy wine might unsurprisingly be heavy food. The rule is that the heavier the wine is, the heavier the food can be. Heavy wines are perfect pairings for meat, roasted or in stews. Meats like wild boar will stand up to a heavy wine.

Delicate Wine

As the same with heavy wine, delicate wine, that you may serve on a wine tasting display rack, needs delicate food and cooking. All food that needs to be eaten with a delicate wine has to be simple. Deep fried meals can ruin a delicate wines flavour. Make sure you know what delicate foods pair well with delicate wines as you can make a mistake quite easily.

Hopefully, now you feel a bit more comfortable with choosing wine in a restaurant. Always remember to try and match flavours that will work well together or are similar. I assume you would know what flavours go together when cooking a meal, so keep the same type of idea in mind when choosing a wine pairing for your food. If you are still struggling, there are lots of sources out there to go and learn about specific flavours that work well with specific foods.

Posted in Wine Facts

Unbelievable Facts About Wine

Instead of digging into the scientific statistics and general rumours about modern day wine, we are going to take a step back into history and look at some of the most unbelievable, yet interesting facts about wine which are still unknown to most people to this.

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