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Focus on Wines Tips offered on caring for wine, storage, glasses

Written by Howard Hewitt. Posted in Dining & Entertainment, Featured

Published on August 16, 2017 with No Comments

When I talk to friends or acquaintances really into wine, they frequently ask about wine tips more than recommendations on particular wines.

I’ve rounded up a list of suggestions, guidance, and ideas that may help you enjoy wine even more. You can find list after list available in wine books and the Internet, but I’ve selected some I think are most helpful.

Wine storage – Keep your wine in a dark, moderate temperature spot.  Ever wonder why wine comes in dark bottles? Light will break down the chemical structure of the wine. Buy a simple wine rack that is easy to find in most any home store. Keep it away from heat and away from direct sunshine or bright light and you should be fine. Never store wine on top of a refrigerator or near a heat source.

Wine glasses – You can find wine glasses at WalMart or Target. You can also spend close to $100 apiece for Riedel crystal wine stems. But the best and least expensive advice is to buy two different kinds of glasses. Buy a big bowl wine glass for your red wines and a smaller glass for your white wines. It took me a long time but it makes a difference. If you have advanced to wines which are a little more complex and expensive, then you can look to different shapes and better stemware. If you are getting serious about your wine, Riedel (and other companies) offer crystal wine glasses at a number of price points. Riedel, the Austrian glassmaker, is the world’s leader in wine stemware.

Washing wine glasses – You might say, huh? It’s important to clean your wine glasses thoroughly immediately after using them. Use mild dish soap sparingly and dry immediately. The slightest residue can affect the taste of your next glass of wine.

Wine Ratings – Ratings are one of the most controversial topics in oenophile circles. They are meant to be a guideline. If you buy highly-rated wines and like them, then the ratings are useful to you. I’d recommend you take recommendations from your local wine shop owner. Then when you return, tell them what you like and didn’t like.

Value wine – You like wine and want to enjoy it more often but don’t like the price of better wines? Go abroad! There are good U.S.-made value wines. But if you look at South American wines, Spanish wines, and Australian wines, you’ll find some great wines in the $9-$15 range.

Restaurant wine – Unless you’re fabulously wealthy, buying a bottle of wine in a restaurant is seldom a bargain. Restaurant wines are often marked up 100 percent or more. I will order a glass of wine in a nice restaurant, but just refuse to pay $50 for a bottle I know costs $22.

Chilling wine – There is more advice on wine temperature than you can sort out. Put a white wine in your refrigerator for one to two hours – no more. For a red wine, I’d open the bottle and chill about 10-15 minutes before serving. Try these methods then adjust the time to your taste.

Storing wine– Frankly, I’ve found few things that work and have tried them all. What I use is a vacuum pump and rubber bottle stop. The small stopper goes in the bottle and has a small slit in the top. The pump removes some of the air to help preserve the wine. It works about as well as any of the other methods. Basically, find a way to limit your wine’s exposure to oxygen. White wine will often last a couple of days in the fridge. For me, red will only hold together about 24 hours.

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About Howard Hewitt

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Howard W. Hewitt of Crawfordsville writes every other week about value wine for 18 Midwestern Newspapers. Read his wine blog at www.redforme.blogspot.clom.

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