Snoop Dogg is no doubt a household name, one that’s synonymous with weed, women, and the West Coast. With his first foray into wine, Snoop may have yet another W under his belt. Expertly weaving his own vision while never forgetting to represent where he came from, Snoop has always been an unlikely face for many of his ventures beyond music, continually subverting our expectations. I suppose one could say gin & juice is to Snoop Doggy Dog as the new Cali Red is to Uncle Snoop, another evolution of possibilities.
Collaborating with gangsta-adjacent wine brand 19 Crimes, Snoop Dogg brings their first ever California-bottled offering to fans. Sourced from NorCal’s Lodi region, Cali Red blends Petite Syrah 65%, Zinfandel 30%, and Merlot 5%. A complimentary crimson-concoction to Snoop’s canine cool. The blend also uses all-American oak, introducing a distinct smokiness that provides vanilla and chocolate.
A look into the backstory of the brand reveals that 19 Crimes is based upon 18th century British convicts turned colonists that were exiled to Australia as punishment in place of death. The 19 Crimes were created during the Industrial Revolution as an answer to the growing overpopulation of Great Britain, which resulted in an increase of crime. With an antiquated legal system, grossly overwhelmed by criminal cases and crowded prisons, Britain declared exile to Australia as punishment. Most convicts never survived the trip. In actuality, there were a reported 200 crimes that could seal one’s fate to the land down under.
Marrying the Northern California sweetness to Snoop’s South California smoothness creates the perfect red and blue compliment at just $12.99 a bottle. The wine also has an AR feature that allows you to scan the label, revealing a special message from Snoop. By downloading the “Living Wine Labels” app, users can hold their mobile devices over any Cali Red label and be greeted by words of wisdom, affirmations and of course, Snoop’s famously known swagger.
Last year, Cheez-It launched a limited-edition Original Cheddar and House Wine Red Wine box that will let you snack on the iconic crackers while pairing it with some box wine. The collaboration sold out in minutes and fans were left eating crackers, and drinking wine in separate containers like veritable chumps.
Those fans need not worry, as the annual pairing is back with a White Cheddar twist.
This year, Cheez-It is launching a White Cheddar & House Wine Rosé box that you can order through Original House Wine. Pairing White Cheddar Cheez-Its (arguably the superior Cheez-It) with House Wine Rosé.
The limited-edition Cheez-It White Cheddar & House Wine Rosé will be available online for $29.99 at OriginalHouseWine.com, starting at 2 p.m. EST on July 23 and will be available while supplies last.
Each day, more efforts are being made to combat the effects of the corona pandemic. With cities at a near standstill, somehow life must persist. To lower the risk of spreading the virus further, stay-at-home orders have been passed nationwide. Probably one of the most at risk are the many service workers helping on the local front lines — delivering mail, stocking grocery stores, and providing medical assistance amongst other things. Thankfully, businesses are coming together to support their local service workers.
Venice, California-based wine brand Bev has announced that they will be donating 100% of all sales, online and in-store, to help service workers affected by the Los Angeles dine-in closure mandate. Bev will also be matching the first $3k of donations to a GoFundMe supporting the initiative. To further boost their support efforts, Bev will be distributing in-house hand sanitizer free-of-charge to the elderly and homeless in Venice. The elder and homeless are the two highest at-risk communities without access to essential services.
With over 72,387 eating and drinking establishments in the city, it’s important to have those willing to step up to help out. Fortunately, uncertain times breeds togetherness. You can support Bev’s Service Workers Relief Fund by donating to the GoFundMe or simply by making a purchase today.
The text to delivery phone number is: 323-289-6964 to place an order.
Costco isn’t fooling anyone. While the gargantuan $10 pizza and bulk amounts of, well, everything are nice, the chain clearly excels at being the alcohol plug. Where else can you get a 48 pack of beer for $23? Well, nowhere, now that the chain discontinued their beer last fall. Thankfully it seems as if a new contestant has approached the arena— er, warehouse — with the introduction of their new Egg Nog Wine Cocktail.
As with everything at Costco, the drink only comes in one size (absurdly large) and one price (absurdly cheap). The Instagram account @costcobuys, who initially reported the discovery, says that the drink is available at their Costco in 1.5L bottles for only $9.
Nine dollars! Now, granted this isn’t that premium stuff. At the end of the day, this is alcoholic eggnog that comes in a plastic bottle. But still! That’s a lot of… value… for your money.
The one concerning part of this is that, according to the label, it’s a “wine cocktail.” Usually, eggnog is paired with a dark liquor, like rum or brandy — never wine.
This reddit thread throws a couple suggestions out, namely that this might be the result of state alcohol sales and taxes laws. From prior experience, and some preliminary reporting, this could be true. The new bottle seems to be a rebrand of the eggnog liqueur that Costco has sold for years, as the imaging, labeling, and wording of the bottle all remain the same. The only things that have changed is the switch to “wine cocktail” and a minor reduction in alcohol percentage, as the new one comes in at 13.9%.
Whatever the recipe may actually be, Costco is trying to make alcoholic eggnog easy, and holiday parties that much more palatable. Cheers to that.
Festival culture has become a way of life for many. Whether its music festivals like Coachella and Governor’s Ball or food fests like Smorgasburg and the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Barbecue Invitational, there’s truly something for everyone… including red wine fans! Enter Pinot Palooza.
Just in time for California’s Crush (when wineries get their grapes crushed and their juice into tanks as quickly as possible), many of the world’s wine producers will come to showcase their pinot noirs on September 28th as the festival makes its U.S. debut at Downtown Los Angeles’ City Market Social House.
Not your typical wine tasting, festival goers will be able to taste over 100 wines from different regions, including Sonoma, Oregon, Australia, and New Zealand. For those who either don’t do wine, Pinot Palooza will also feature spirits, craft beer, and curated bites from some of the city’s chefs and restaurants.
Launched in 2012 in Australia, Pinot Palooza is the brainchild of REVEL. “Bringing Pinot Palooza to the U.S. has been on our wish list since the very beginning,” says Dan Sims, REVEL Founder/Creator. “To finally be in L.A. for the first time, and to welcome Angelenos to our big, noisy, pinot party is a dream come true.
“Our vision for the L.A. event is to showcase pinot noir from top U.S. producers alongside those made by our good mates in Australia and New Zealand, and to present all that to an American audience in way that celebrates what’s so special about the grape,” adds Sims. “The atmosphere we create helps to make wine more accessible, and it allows people to find what they like and get excited about the world of pinot.”
This year, the festival will tour six countries and thirteen cities across the globe and is gearing up to add New York and Shanghai to the tour in 2020.
Tickets for Pinot Palooza LA are on sale now through the event’s website. Ticket price includes unlimited tastings and a Pinot Palooza-branded red wine glass to take home.
Calling all oenophiles! Here’s a roundup of the latest gizmos to chill, wheel, filter and preserve your precious nectars. — Tina Borgatta
Keep it Corked
It may sound like magic, but this latest Coravin Model Eleven Wine Preservation System allows you to pour a single glass of wine without removing the cork, and then it reseals the bottle like the pour never happened. And with the Coravin Moments app, you can match up to four wine flights at a time with music, movies — even TV shows. The pack comes with six argon gas capsules that pressurize bottles after each pour to retain freshness. (That’s enough to cover 90 pours.) It also includes an aerator, a display base, six Coravin screw tops to preserve capped bottles for up to three months after opening, and a case, so you can take your Coravin anywhere you’d like. $999.95, coravin.com
Don’t you hate it when you forget to chill that special bottle of white you were planning to serve your dinner guests? If you had a Cooper Cooler Rapid Wine Chiller, your vino would arrive at the perfect temperature in 3.5 minutes. That’s all the time it takes this novelty of refrigeration to cool a 750 ml bottle to a sublime 53 degrees. (Six minutes will get it down to 43.) A switch allows you to turn the spin mechanism on or off (in case your wine is too delicate to twirl). Bonus: It works on beverage cans, too. And the Tailgater model comes with a 12-volt car adapter. So cool. $79-$99, coopercooler.com
While the debate continues over whether sulfites are to blame for pesky wine headaches, it’s still an accepted fact that SO2 can affect a wine’s aroma and sometimes even the finish. But the folks at Üllo have found a way to remove sulfites with every pour through its new purifying aerator outfitted with a special filter (Üllo calls it Selective Sul te Capture technology) that can be switched on or o to remove sulfites and sediment. The initial purchase includes four filters, a base for storing and a travel bag. $79.99, ullowine.com
Have Wine, Will Travel
If a trip to wine country is in your future, consider bringing along this TSA-approved wine carrier. With a shell made of thick, durable polycarbonate and an interior outfitted with a dense foam, the VinGardeValise Petite 02 holds eight bottles of precious cargo. When fully packed, the weight typically ranges between 43 and 50 pounds (well within the standard airline limit). Get packing! $249.99, vingardevalise.com
The Georgians are very proud of their wine-making history. They are also proud of the fact that a recent archaeological expedition in a region of the country known as Gadachrili Gora found fragments of clay barrels decorated on the outside with images of grapes. These not only contained traces of wine, but also DNA from residue pollen, strongly suggesting that the surrounding grounds were covered with vineyards. The remains among which these barrels were found dated from 6,000 B.C., which makes these the oldest evidence of winemaking ever discovered — quite a claim in the history of one of my favorite beverages!
Georgian winemaking has access to more than 500 grapes. Its legacy has survived the time of Soviet occupation (Georgia sits at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe) and its attempts to industrialize the wine industry across its territories. The Soviets granted every household the right to grow crops on 1 acre of land, and the locals took this opportunity to add other varieties to the Soviet favorites of Saperavi (red) and Rkatsiteli (white) to protect their grape heritage.
Today, many Georgians still make wine and brandy at home for personal consumption or for sale to supplement their income. Over the last few years, they have also developed a small, but growing, wine tourism industry. While we were visiting, we took the opportunity to visit the largest wine-growing region, and after a two-hour drive from the capital, we found ourselves in the lush and green hills of Kakheti. We visited three vineyards, and at each one we were able to view the traditional methods of making wine and compare them to the European-style nectars the wineries also produce, often for the export market.
In the style of winemaking with which we might be most familiar, the grapes are harvested, the juice and skin are separated (the skins remaining in contact if you are making red wine), and the wine is fermented with additional yeast, if needed. The wine is then aged in wooden barrels or stainless steel containers before being bottled.
Winemaking styles in Europe and Georgia are as different as the wine.
Traditional Georgian winemaking, however, is quite different. Once the grapes are harvested, they are pressed. Then, along with the skins, the stems and pips of the grapes are placed in a large clay barrel, known as a qvevri, which is buried in the ground. Th barrel is then sealed, and the wine is left to ferment with natural yeasts for five to six months. After this time, it is decanted from the qvevri and bottled. The remaining grape residue is distilled to make a “chacha” brandy. Afterward, the barrel is cleaned out, often by someone climbing inside, washed with citric acid, then resealed with beeswax, and it’s ready for use again.
The winemaking process in the European and Georgian styles may be very different, but the wines produced are even more so. The reds can be dark and fruity, and often quite tannic, and sometimes a little sweeter. The whites — often called “amber whites” because of the darker color they take on from their contact with the skins — are richer, more structured and fullbodied. they offer a unique taste and one that is beginning to be sought after on wine lists throughout the world.
Georgian wines pair delightfully with food, which is something else, as we found, that the Georgians have had centuries to perfect. The qvevri styles of amber wines are the perfect accompaniment to some of the sour and slightly salty cheeses, such as sulguni. They also work well with two of Georgia’s favorite dishes, the khinkali, a Georgian dumpling filled with ground meat or cheese, or khachapuri, a pizza like flat bread filled with cheese, butter and eggs. The reds are terrific with kupati, a spicy sausage, or with game meats, such as wild boar. As for the chacha, drink enough of it and you won’t even remember what you ate.
I hope that this brief description will persuade you to seek out some of Georgia’s wines the next time you are perusing a wine list or searching the shelves of your favorite wine retailer for something just a little different. You’ll drink a bit of history, and have a wine-tasting experience like none before.
Wine prices double the moment you walk through a restaurant’s door. Here are the restaurants have the highest markups and how to find a decent value.
When you sit down at a restaurant, first things first: You want to set the mood for the evening with a bottle of wine. But a glance at the prices can be enough to make you say, “Just tap water, please.” These days, a bottle of vino could cost as much as entrees for two. And just to rub salt in your wound, that bottle would cost a fraction of the menu price if you had picked it up from the liquor store around the block.
While even the price of the same wine can vary from restaurant to restaurant, the rule of thumb is that most places will mark their bottles up to around three times the wholesale price—around double the price you’d pay at the store. You’ll see even bigger price hikes on the by-the-glass options. If you thought that was bad, you’ll be shocked by the most overpriced foods on restaurant menus.
Of course, the first piece of the price puzzle comes down to supply and demand: Restaurants can charge you more because they know you’ll pay it. That’s even truer for glasses than for bottles. A good deal of guests won’t want to shell out for a whole bottle (especially if they’re driving home), so restaurants squeak those prices up a notch, knowing full well that someone who just wants one glass isn’t about to pay extra for a whole bottle just for the sake of per-ounce value.
The idea of wanting to make a profit off wine isn’t earth-shattering, but what you might not realize is just how important the drinks list is to a restaurant’s bottom line. In most cases, restaurants make most of their profits from drinks rather than food, according to the New York Post. Entrée prices are more competitive—customers might walk past a place where mains start at $20 if they can pay $12 somewhere else—but most people aren’t basing their restaurant choice on the wine list. Businesses know that and are likely to hike drink prices up before touching the food fees. For both food and drinks, use these 12 tips for saving money at restaurants.
Still, different restaurants sometimes have wildly different price points for the same bottle; a wine worth $15 retail could cost $25 one place and $40 another. Part of that has to do with expectations of a restaurant. A trendy restaurant with valets and sommeliers can charge more because, to a degree, customers are paying for atmosphere. Meanwhile, a casual restaurant with a small staff has less overhead and can afford to keep drink costs down without losing profit. Keep in mind that you aren’t just paying for the wine itself like you would at home. In a restaurant, you’re also paying for storage, servers to cork and pour and bussers and dishwashers to clean up after you.
If you’re looking for low markups (and not just the lowest prices), here’s a little secret: The biggest markups tend to be on the cheapest bottles. It makes sense; while you wouldn’t blink at a $30 restaurant bottle that the restaurant paid $5 for, paying six times the usual cost of a $30 just isn’t going to happen for the casual customer, sommolier Mark Oldman explains in his book, How to Drink Like a Billionaire.
Restaurants also can charge a premium for big sellers like Merlot and Chardonnay. Customers are likely to stick with what they know instead of blindly ordering an Austrian Blaufränkisch, so the tried-and-true favorites tend to have higher markups. If you have the budget for it, getting a wine a bit farther up the price list, especially if it’s from a less-known region or variety, will probably give you the best quality for the best value, according to Food & Wine. While you’re at it, learn which 15 things you shouldn’t order at a restaurant.