What Makes an Expensive Wine?

What Makes an Expensive Wine?

If you’ve decided to have friends over for food and wine so you can try a new recipe, you may find yourself browsing the aisles of your local bottle store. You see dozens of wine varieties, and all with varying price tags. Some can be low as $20 – or even lower, and some can cost hundreds of dollars. Where does this price variety come from?

Production Costs

The costs associated with producing wine can be one of the primary factors in pricing an individual bottle of wine. As each manufacturer’s expenses are different, you can expect the unit rate to be different.

The most obvious costs are, of course, the bottles, barrels, and grapes at the very initial manufacturing stages. The manufacturer then factors in the labour costs to make that wine and utilities associated with its production.

If you have a craving for vintage wine, the production process can often be quite complex and labour-intensive. The labour element of this wine type can definitely impact the consumer price tag.

Then there’s marketing, sales, and administration costs. If a manufacturer has invested heavily in promotion, those costs are ultimately passed on to the consumer. Most manufacturers don’t sell directly to the consumer, so the markup from distributors, wholesalers, and retailers also enter the equation.

Mother Nature also often throws her two cents into the equation. Supply and demand after a challenging growing season can impact the cost of wine.

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Wine and Chocolate

Do Wine and Chocolate Go Together?

When you are providing someone with a present or gesture, more often than not they contain wine and chocolate. For some reason, these two items are “go to” gifts, especially if you don’t know the person very well. Even though they pair as gifts, you will very rarely see them appear together on a restaurant menu. Nor will chocolate be a recommended pairing when you view wine information on an online wine provider website.

While wine and chocolate with a lovely ribbon is the perfect gift for a friend, how on earth do you pair them together? The following information might help.

What Works with Milk Chocolate?

Milk chocolate consists typically of both cream and chocolate, which makes it more of a confectionary than actual chocolate. However, that doesn’t make it any less hard to pair. A sure-fire way of nailing the combination is to opt for sweet sparkling red wine.

The berry, spices, and fruity undertones from most sweet sparkling varieties pair beautifully with the creaminess of the chocolate. What’s more, each bite and swig blends together into a zesty, berry-like combination that feels silky smooth in your mouth and tastes divine. Tip: If you order chocolate mousse at a restaurant, ask for a glass of Ruby Port. With spice and berry undertones, it’s a match made in heaven. You may also be able to find this Port, which originates from Portugal, from an online wine provider.

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Sauvignon Blanc

Types of Sauvignon Blanc

There is no denying that Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most versatile wines available. You can find it at almost any restaurant, and it’s abundant in bottle stores and online wine shops too. However, there’s every reason to believe that its versatility to pair beautifully with almost any dish is down to the significant variety available. Below, we outline the various Sauvignon Blanc option from different parts of the world.

What Are My Options?

If you were to leave the country of origin out of the equation, you would find there are two main Sauvignon Blanc kinds: aged and stainless. Aside from the difference of taste, another significant difference is the price tag, especially on a restaurant menu.

The most common variety of Sauvignon Blanc is unoaked. Unoaked wine refers to its fermentation process in a concrete vat or even a stainless steel one which is becoming more common. Typically, this fermentation style lends itself to a lower price tag, while still producing wine with high acidity and bold, fruity flavours.

Aged Sauvignon Blanc, which is barrel-fermented, is more of a refined Sauvignon Blanc for delicate palates and those looking to spend a little more. The wine is aged in lees which is essentially dead yeast, and the result is a far creamier wine that dances on the palate. Wine producers also have a little fun with the aging process, adding butter, lemon oil, and even lemon curd for a burst of flavour for a pleasant surprise. However, the intricacies of the fermentation process are reflected in the price tag. In saying that, you may be able to buy it cheaper if you look at various online wine distributors.

Sauvignon Blanc Varieties by Country

France: France is by far the biggest producer of Sauvignon Blanc, with significant production occurring in Loire, Bordeaux, Languedoc-Roussillon. In Loire, you can expect hints of honeydew melon, high acidity levels, and even a slight hint of lime. However, high-end wines are typically fruitier with hints of fennel, lemongrass, and peach. These wines are commonly found in any restaurant throughout France.

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Health Benefits of Red Wine

The Health Benefits of Red Wine

Even though you may hate the thought of cleaning up the carpet after a spill of red wine, there are some health benefits to be gained by drinking it. In fact, many people like to drink it anyway, whether it has health benefits or not. If you are worried about your carpet, says Brilliance carpet cleaning you should simply learn the best way to do it and keep cloths on hand so that it is quick and easy to do.

In fact, soaking up and stain immediately with paper towels is a good start, but if the stain doesn’t come out you can always get the professional cleaners in. Meanwhile, stop worrying about it and enjoy your relaxing meal with that nice wine.

Here are the health benefit of red wine.

  • Wine is a great relaxant for those who are stressed or even too tired to sleep. When you are really tired, it is sometimes difficult to fall asleep because your brain seems to be going around at a fast pace even after going to bed. A glass of red will help you to relax and get a good night’s sleep. Once you are well rested, you’ll feel great the next day.
  • Red wine is made from the skins of grapes, as well as the flesh. The skin is where the colour comes from and it contains very good anti-oxidants called resveratrol and flavonoids that are good for your heart and help to decrease the ‘bad’ cholesterol and increase the ‘good’ cholesterol in your body. And as we all know, bad cholesterol sticks to the arteries and interferes with the blood flow, which can cause heart problems.

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The Difference Between Red and White Wine

While most people are familiar with wine, they may not be so familiar with how it is made. In fact, it is a fairly simple process of fermenting grapes that produces wine, but the difference between red and white wine is due to the presence of the skins during the fermentation process of red wine. It is the skins of red or black grapes that give red wine its colour.

When the whole grapes are crushed the skin tends to rise to the surface.  They are pushed back down several times a day during the fermentation process so that they remain in contact with the liquid.

The sugar content

Grapes must be picked when ripe so that the sugar content is stable. Traditionally, grapes were picked by hand; these days many larger vineyards have their grapes picked by machine. In warmer climates they are often picked during the night. They then have to go through a process to remove the stems and any leaves or sticks. This too, is done by a machine that also lightly crushes the grapes.

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Fats and Trans Fats, and What Next

In November of 2006, the New York City Department of Health issued a citywide ban on the use of trans fats in restaurants. Another directive has been to post calorie counts on menus as well, but we’re not dealing with this subject today. It’s the fats issue that has me preoccupied.

First, let’s get our facts straight. Trans fats cannot be seen, nor bought at the market. They are technically known as trans fatty acids, and are part of some other fat or oil that can in fact be bought.

Fats are made of chains containing mostly carbon and hydrogen (there may be as many as 24 carbons in a chain). Each carbon has four bonds, and each hydrogen has one, so a single carbon atom can hook up with four hydrogen atoms. In a saturated fat chain, each carbon atom hooks up with two hydrogens and one other carbon (except the first and the last ones); in other words, saturated fats have only single bonds between carbons.

A mono-unsaturated fat has one double bond between two carbons only, and therefore is missing two hydrogen atoms.

Polyunsaturated fats have two or more double bonds between three or more carbons, and they are missing even more hydrogen atoms, which makes them liquid at room temperature.

Hydrogenation or partial hydrogenation is an industrial process that forces hydrogen back onto the carbon chain, thereby artificially saturating it again. It is that process that causes the appearance of the trans fats.

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Judge Not Your Neighbors By Their Diet

Pretty much all of us who get into “healthy eating” do it, at least for a while. It’s an inevitable part of the process. We do judge others by what they eat, and harshly most of the time. Like when we are in line at the supermarket with our paper goods and light bulbs, and look at what’s in the baskets of the other customers — “Aw, gawd, how can they EAT that junk! And their poor children . . . !”

Perhaps the reason we are so critical is because we judge ourselves unkindly. We have judged ourselves not good enough and in need of an overhaul, and the diet will set us right. I believe that if it were not so, we couldn’t stick to the effort it takes to change our diet, our lifestyle, to make a political statement through diet, or even to eat for “spiritual development.”

Nevertheless, our assessment may be correct, and the tool as well. Our blood sugar may be erratic, our cholesterol may be too high, or we know we need more fiber in our meals. A more appropriate way of eating may be extremely helpful. But believe me, from one who’s been there, there are sequelae to a dietary commitment, a wake of consequences that may last for years.

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New Concepts in Diet

New Concepts in Diet II: The Old Traditions

I have been teaching for more than thirty years that we should eat according to the tradition of our ancestors, in addition to other concepts.  Much of my work was based on a book I read in 1967 called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration,by Weston Price, a dentist.  Dr. Price traveled the world over in the early ‘30’s, studying the diets of eleven different population groups and the condition of their teeth.  He found universally that those peoples who lived on their native diets had fine teeth, well-developed dental arches, and easy childbirth;  those who had adopted the refined food of Western civilization (sugar, white flour, canned vegetables, jams and pastries) found themselves with a steep rise in dental problems, difficulty with childbirth, and crowded teeth and malformed jaws in the children of mothers who ate this way.  The Price-Pottenger Foundation has kept this important work in print all these years.

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Food and the Mind

The hold on the mind is so tenuous. I’m always amazed to see how well people communicate, make decisions, implement plans, and generally do things, considering that it all depends on a fleeting neurotransmitter, a capillary that remains open, a couple of neurons that speak to each other. The tenuous hold can wobble with a simple fever, not even so high — 101′ or so — which disturbs the sleep and confuses the brain, giving rise to all manner of babblings and strange irrelevant thoughts. The mind wobbles with the lack of food, the absence of sufficient nutrients, proteins, carbohydrates; it shakes with stimulants and drugs, with familiar foods, with an overdose of sugar, an excess of caffeine, a chocolate pig-out. And what of the well-intentioned drugs of our medical system? So many strange substances go into our bodies, float in our bloodstream, come calling at the blood-brain barrier asking to be let in. When they are, does their presence disturb the finely calibrated pathways of neurons and neurotransmitters? Do the substances we inject into our children find a way into their brains, there to cause havoc and knock over relay stations or damage those pathways forever?

Mind and body are not two. Mind-troubles do relate to body matters. Let us be clear about that. How do they relate? For the longest time the relationship was only intuited, accepted by the “wholistic” thinker as obvious, but without the so-called “hard science” (visible particles that can be seen and classified by more than one person) to support it. Then in the 70’s and 80’s the particles that make sense to scientists — neurotransmitters — were discovered, and mind-brain studies took off like a rocket.

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