Mo’ Wine, Pour Problems

I like big pours and I cannot lie! When a server stops by with an itty bitty pour I get…

Annoyed!

Seriously! Especially, when a glass is probably equivalent to the cost of the bottle…but that’s a whole other issue (sips wine). I have a bit of a problem with the standard pour size in this country. It’s only five ounces and yet at some places it’s probably more like three! Unfortunately, some servers follow that rule to a tee. Booooo to all the restaurants and wine bars who now have ounce markers on their glasses (tré tackÿ) and pour exactly to…that…freakin’…line. Not cool my friends, not cool! At that point, I’d rather just take the bottle and pour it myself.

Just like this :)

All jokes aside, I’m not asking for my cup to runneth over so that I can get wine wasted. It’s all about getting my money’s worth at the end of the day (at least that’s what I tell myself). Now if you love a good pour like me, I found a couple of places in Houston were the servers are a little heavy handed and I’m here for every last ounce!

Perbacco

Perbacco

Now that’s a good pour!

I just wrote about Perbacco a couple of weeks ago. Last year, I went there to have lunch with my friend and noticed that their wine pours were on the heavier side. I knew I had to go back to see if this was just a one-time fluke. My eyes did not deceive me. It really was true. Now, they don’t have the fanciest glasses. The size of the glass is on the smaller size, but at least they make it up by pouring more wine. Queue Diddy…”Pour that, pour that, pour that!”

One thing to note is that these heavier pours are only for their house wines. I saw a table order a bottle of wine and the server poured half of what’s pictured above. That’s cool though. I don’t mind drinking from the house list if it means more wine.

Whole Foods

Does your Whole Foods pour wine like this?

I think people really sleep on Whole Foods. I know it’s super pricey, but inside is a hidden wine and beer bar. Yes, you can drink while you get your shop on. I love the concept and need to take more advantage of it. Anyways, the pours at Whole Foods (on Waugh in Houston) break all the annoying wine rules. See exhibit A above. That is definitely not a standard pour for that type of glass AND I’ve even seen them pour a little bit more before. They definitely pour to please. Shout out to my no limit pourers!

Crazy, right? You’d think they’d be more on the conservative side especially with people shopping and then driving. But, I don’t think by any means that they’re trying to get people drunk, but give them an enjoyable experience. P.S. it works!

Grotto Ristorante – Downtown Houston

Don’t let the picture fool you. There’s plenty of wine in this glass!

Like every restaurant, Grotto serves wine by the glass, but it is their ounce offerings that will take you by surprise….6 ounces (meh) and wait for it…9 ounces! What?!? A 9 ounce pour! Yes, you are reading that correctly. Now whoever thought of that is the real MVP.

It may not look like it (based on the glass), but it was more than enough. In fact, 9oz should be the new standard pour size. How about that? Then if you want less, you can just ask your server. I’d rather get more than enough than to sit there wanting more. But maybe that’s the master plan in the scheme of it all. Pour less, so that the customer will want to order more…

In all seriousness, I get that there is an art to how you’re supposed to experience wine. The standard pour size helps limit the amount of alcohol you’ll take in. But, most importantly, it allows oxygen to remain in the glass to further open up the wine and give you a rich aromatic impression before the wine even hits your palate. It all makes sense. I just wish some servers weren’t so stingy with their pouring. A little extra wine never hurt anyone, especially if the customer is really enjoying the wine. I guess it really is true, Mo’ Wine, Pour Problems. So, if you know of any other places that know how to give a good pour please let me know. Would love to hear! Until next time…glasses up!

The Wand™ – Drink Pure Wine

Wine headaches are the worst! I can’t tell you how many people dislike wine (especially reds) because of this annoying side effect. In my last post, I talked about why wine causes headaches, which I know probably left many wondering how to prevent them.

I read that one option is to take a Claritin or an Allegra (stay away from painkillers though!!) a couple hours before drinking wine if you’re prone to getting headaches. But, who really has time for that?! Or, you could drink lots of water in-between glasses. That’s cool and all, but if you’re like me, sometimes you get caught up in the moment and forget your H20 intake. #oopsmybad

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Luckily, there’s this magical (ok, maybe it’s not magical) wand that can cure all your troubles. The Wand™ (by PureWine) helps alleviate side effects from drinking wine by removing sulfite preservatives and histamines. Histamines are found in wine and are the root of most wine headaches. Red wine contains considerably more histamines than white wine. White wine contains between 3 to 120 micrograms of histamines per glass, while red wine contains between 60 and 3,800 micrograms of histamines per glass.

So, how’s does The Wand™work? PureWine was nice enough send me a sample to test out.

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First, place the wand in a 6 oz. glass or red or white wine

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Then, you swirl The Wand™ and let it soak in the wine for at least three minutes. Afterwards, remove the wand and enjoy your wine. #glassesup

I know you’re probably thinking…’But, how is it removing these bad boys?’ Well according to the website, The Wand™ uses technology that combines nano-pore beads in a BPA-free plastic pouch and handle. These materials work together to quickly reduce the amount of histamines and sulfite preservatives in your wine. Plus, The Wand™ doesn’t distort the flavor of your wine! Oh, and don’t worry this product is FDA-approved as well.

Overall, I think this product is worth trying out, especially if you get really bad migraines from wine. That’s not the case for me. Wine actually makes me sleepy, but that’s another blog post…lol. The Wand™ comes in an 8-pack for $24.99 or a box of 24 for $69.99. You can purchase online here. I love that’s it’s easy to carry around and it’s small enough that you wouldn’t have to be embarrassed about pulling it out in public. Also, it only takes three minutes to activate and then you can enjoy your wine. On the flip side, it’s not a reusable product.

If I were you, I wouldn’t let histamines keep me from enjoying the amazingness that wine is. Just zap them away with The Wand™. If only getting rid of other negative things in life were that easy…#hmmm

Have you tried The Wand™? What do you use to cure your wine headaches? Share below.

Wine, Such a Pain in the….?

Why does certain wine give me a headache? I get asked this question ALL thee time!

That’s one of the number one turnoffs that people have about drinking wine, especially when it comes to red. But, we can’t let that be the reason that keeps you from wine. There are so many assumptions out there, I wanted to explore the topic myself and get to the bottom of the question. Let’s see where the source of this pain really comes from!

  • Sulfites – *insert buzzard sound* Many people seem to think that sulfites in wine cause headaches. That’s actually not the case. According to scientists and physicians, sulfites can cause allergy and asthma symptoms, but they don’t cause headaches. Sulfites are added to wine as a preservative to reduce spoilage, improve product consistency, extend shelf life, prevent rapid oxidation and ensure that the original flavors are maintained. Wine has no shelf life without sulfites.
  • Sugar – Alcohol and sugar are two substances that when combined can create a powerful headache. When your body consumes alcohol or sugar, you need lots of water in order to help process the substances. If you are not well hydrated, your body starts to pull the necessary water it needs from other parts of your body, including the head. As the liquid in your head starts to deplete, a headache forms. This is often the case with sweet dessert wines and white wines such as Riesling that are labeled semi-dry or sweet. This is also true for cheaper wines, which tend to have more sugar due to the fact that mass producers add sugar during fermentation in order to boost the alcohol.
  • Histamines – According to drinkpurewine.com, wine naturally contains histamines. Some more than others. Histamines are your body’s response to allergens, and they send a red flag to your body’s immune system and spark uncomfortable side effects. These chemicals can cause symptoms such as a runny nose, dry eyes, and  headache. Recent research has found that food and drinks that have been aged such as dry ages meat and red wines, can cause our body to release histamines and create these allergy-type symptoms.
  • Tyramine is a naturally occurring amino acid, often produced by fermentation. It can affect blood pressure and has been known to trigger migraine headaches in people who can’t break down the substance.

I’m so glad that we were able to get to the bottom of this! Sulfites are NOT the root of wine headaches and anyone who tells you differently is wrong! Hey, I used to think that was true too, but now I know better. So, now that we know what causes wine headaches, how do you cure them? Stay tuned, I have a fun invention that may do the trick!

Tap That Glass!

Serving wine from a bottle seems so passé these days, especially when there are more conventional ways to pour it.

Just think of how much more productive you’d be at work if you had one of these…

Unfortunately, this nifty makeshift wine dispenser was not what I was alluding to. Actually, have you noticed that more and more restaurants and bars are offering select wines on tap now? Wine on tap?? I know, no side eyes please. It may not be the traditional way you’re used to, but it’s becoming a thing. Intrigued, I decided to tap into this growing trend.

New School: Wine on Tap

Instead of distributing via a bottle, wine is housed in stainless steel kegs or disposable one way kegs. Wineries will fill a keg, approximately 26.6 bottles of wine, or 120 glasses, with the same quality of wine that they use for their bottled wine, and then transport it to the restaurant. Upon receiving a keg, a restaurant will store the keg in a cool environment, similar to bottled wine, and wait until it is needed. Then, the keg is ‘tapped’ much in the same way a keg of beer is tapped.

There is still a stigma lingering from a bad boxed wine experience decades ago, and sometimes people assume that wine on tap means a lesser quality wine. This is not the case at all, with more wineries making as much of their wine available on tap as possible. Secondly, the wine has to be fresh. That means it must be treated correctly to avoid over-oxidization or over-heating. Kegged wine actually makes this a lot easier, as the wine never touches air or gas until it is about to be served to a customer, and a keg is less susceptible to variations in temperature. Wine on tap eliminates bottles left sitting around already open, or being stored incorrectly.

Here are a couple of restaurant and bars around the city that offer wine on tap: Oporto Fooding House and Wine, Brasil Café, Max’s Wine Dive, Siphon Coffee, Harold’s Restaurant & Tap Room.

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Oporto’s ‘On Tap’ menu. The Rosé was really good!

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The tap dispenser at Harold’s Restaurant & Tap Room. You can’t really see, but the wines are labeled for the server.

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The Wine on Tap menu at Harold’s in the Heights.

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So, check this out! Harold’s has this really awesome flight deal for their wines on tap. Two ounce flights – Choose any four whites ($11), Choose any four reds ($15), Combination of four reds and whites ($13).

Next Level: The Wine Vending Machine

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I now know why the caged wine sings! Meet the Enomatic Wine Dispensing Machine. There are only around five of these bad boys in Houston!

So, there’s this amazing wine vending machine called the Enomatic Wine Dispenser System that taking serving wine to a whole new level. Made and sold from Italy, these machines are far and few between when it comes to locating them. Apparently, there are around five in Houston. Oh, and these machines aren’t cheap! These automated machines can range from $10,000 to over $100,000, plus the cost of maintenance. So, it’s quite an investment for those that choose to purchase one. By using state-of-the-art argon gas preservation, the automated system prevents wine from being altered by oxygen and protects the integrity of its natural properties (taste, aroma, body, and color) for 30 days or more.

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Crisp has a self-serve machine at its Houston location. Their loyalty program allows customers to put money on a card to purchase wine during their visit.

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Here’s how it works: Insert your card.

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You can choose from 1, 3, and 5 oz. pours.

Here are a couple of restaurant and bars around the city with the Enomatic Wine Dispensing Machines: Crisp Houston, Cork & Tap, 3rd Floor, Gage Lounge.

Man vs. Machine

So, what do you think? Are you team traditional pour or team wine on tap? Let’s talk about it!

 

 

Old vs. New: The World of Wine

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Hey wine luvhers! Let’s face it, wine is complicated! It takes plenty of trial and error to figure out what you like. Being able to articulate whether it’s red or white, sweet or dry is just the beginning. In order to truly understand what best satisfies your palate requires knowing more about how and where wine is produced.

Have you ever heard someone describe a wine as old or new world? The most basic difference between “old world” and “new world” wines is geographic: “Old world” refers to the traditional winegrowing regions of Europe, while “new world” refers to countries colonized by Western Europe and regions that are new to wine production.

Below is a cheat sheet to help you further understand these different worlds of wine.

Ty’s Takeaways…

 Old World

  • Wine Regions: France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Austria, Greece, Lebanon, Israel, Croatia, England, Romania, Hungary, and Switzerland…just to name a few.
  • Characteristics: Light-bodied, exhibiting more herb, earth, mineral, and floral components, more restrained, tannic, and lower in alcohol.
  • Wine Making Process: Heavily restricted, must adhere to a detailed set of rules that govern what can be planted, density of planting, training and pruning methods, minimum ripeness at harvest, maximum yields, winemaking techniques and use of oak.

 New World

  • Wine Regions: United States, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, South Africa…just to name a few.
  • Characteristics: Riper, more alcoholic, full-bodied and fruit-centered.
  • Wine Making Process: Very few restrictions exist, and winemakers are free to plant whatever grape varieties they wish and make the wine however they deem appropriate.

There is no reason to suggest that “old world” wines are better than “new world” wines or vice versa. It boils down to personal preference. For example, I love New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, but I’m not too fond of SBs from California. I find New Zealand SBs to be more fruit forward than California SBs, which are drier to me.

So, now that we’ve explored this popular phrase in the wine world, start exploring wines in different regions to see what you like best. Don’t forget to share in the comment section what wine regions you enjoy. Until next time…