If I could only find a job where I could get paid to drink wine, use Pinterest and entertain people…hmmm…oh, wait, that is my job! Recently we had our first ever PINTEREST party at Nectar Tasting Room! Wine, crafts and spray paint, what could go wrong?
Pinterest is the popular social media site where users create interest boards and pin various images from across the internet for a visual favorites/reminder/inspiration site. Many pins are food, craft, clothing and decoration related. Inspired by my popular “12 Merry Christmas Wine Decorations” blog post, I decided to host a crafting party where my friends could make these amazing wine craft ideas.
Step by step instructions and shopping list for each craft
The Sunday afternoon was a great example of how wine brings together friends for laughter and memories. A good group of 20+ people showed up to explore their creative side. Some, like me, were crafting newbies, while others showed their craft prowess for the whole group. We had fun, learned together and consumed quite a few glasses of grapes in the process. Everyone left with at least one fun Christmas craft and lots of memories.
Snowy Wine Bottle Centerpiece
This craft only requires a bottle (or more) of wine, white primer, epsom salts, and any assorted decorations you want to spruce up your display. The lesson learned here is to spray your bottles in a well ventilated area. One can of spray paint will fully cover about 8 bottles.
Evergreen Festive Bottle
I really loved how these crafts turned out. With a little metal twine and some evergreen sprigs, holly berries, pine cones, and decorative elements, a regular ole wine bottle can be a festive accent piece.
Oh Corksmas Tree
Our crafters really got in the spirit with their corksmas trees. With a little glue and some creativity, we had a great variety to cork themed trees.
All you need is 5 corks, some glue and a little ribbon for this holiday ornament. I think a whole wine themed Christmas tree should be a goal for next year’s party!
Special thanks to my craft helpers at the party and to photographer Jeff Schindler. See all of his amazing work here and view all the pictures from the party on his Facebook page (like it while you’re there).
14 Dec 2011
Keith and ReNae Pilgrim are pleased to announce that they have selected award-winning Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar to be their exclusive caterer for the winery event facility and for the winery’s weekend cafe, Café Orsa.
“Since we opened the new building and event facility on Red Mountain in 2006 the winery has worked with a variety of restaurants and caterers but with the movement of Twigs, a longtime winemaking partner, into the community we were presented with a unique opportunity,” said winemaker Keith Pilgrim.
“We’ve been creating wines for Twigs and the Blackwell family, who own the Twigs restaurants up in Spokane, for five years. We kept talking about having Twigs in the Tri-Cities because we enjoyed their food and liked the family nature of their business. ReNae and I recognize the trust they put in Terra Blanca by having us make the house wine for their restaurant, TnT, so we know going into this partnership that we have a close working relationship.”
Trevor Blackwell, Owner & Chief Operating Officer for Twigs said, “This is a great opportunity for us to work with a business that mirrors our beginnings. Twigs and Terra Blanca are both small, family-owned businesses with roots in eastern Washington. We’re not big corporate chains, we live where we work and we know where our food and grapes are grown. That means guests at the restaurant or at the winery can count on us to showcase the best of local produce, meat, fish and Terra Blanca’s wine.”
Beginning January 1, 2012, Executive Chef Jonathan Holden will be working with the Pilgrims and Director of Banquet Sales Gretchen Wiseman to create menus that are exclusive to events held at Terra Blanca including weddings and corporate meetings and dinners. Menus will focus on sustainable and Northwest cuisine for the winery’s increasingly popular Friday night Happy Hour late openings and weekend hours.
“Twigs brings not only up-and-coming cuisine and spectacular food and wine pairing knowledge, but also a commitment to exemplary customer service. Our clients have come to expect a superior level of service and the chef and staff of Twigs along with our wine staff will allow us to exceed even those expectations,” said Wiseman. “The combination of Red Mountain wine, with beautifully prepared local food, served in a thoughtful way in our stunning facility? There’s nothing else like it.”
For more information about booking events at Terra Blanca Winery, contact Gretchen Wiseman at 509.588.6082, ext. 110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
About Terra Blanca Winery and Estate Vineyard
Keith and ReNae Pilgrim started Terra Blanca Winery and Estate Vineyard, on world-famous Red Mountain, in 1993. Winemaker Keith Pilgrim oversees production of some 30,000 cases of wine each year that include premiere red wines; ONYX, a red blend, this year’s Seattle Blend People’s Choice award winner; white wines; and dessert wines. Terra Blanca occupies 300 acres, 91 of which are planted with grape vines. The Mediterranean-style facility on the southwestern slopes of Red Mountain, with panoramic views overlooking the Yakima Valley, comprises the tasting room, 8000 sq. ft. of interior event facilities, the state’s first and most extensive series of barrel caves with capacity for 4000 French oak barrels, a state-of-the-art bottling facility, and crushing/fermentation production areas. Terra Blanca also operates a satellite tasting room inside of Nectar Tasting Room at 120 N. Stevens in downtown Spokane.
About Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar
The Blackwell family started Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar in Spokane WA in 2001. Over the last ten years they have expanded their operations to five locations in Spokane. They are continually voted awards by Spokane residents’ in categories of “Best Cocktails,” “Best Appetizers,” “Best Martinis,” and “Best Patio.” In early 2011 they started looking at opportunities outside of Spokane and felt that Tri Cities was a perfect fit. The Columbia Center Mall location opened in October of 2011 with a 7600 square foot state-of-the-art restaurant. Twigs proudly employees over 300 people between Spokane and Kennewick.
08 Mar 2010
Welcome to the Lifestyle of the not so rich and way not so famous. Tonight we celebrate the 2009 Academy Awards and the celebration of cinema. As the thespians drink their $3500 per bottle Krug Clos Ambonnay Brut Champagne, DrinkNectar sips through three bottles that are in a more modest price range.
Best Picture the year I was born: The Godfather
Tonight’s nominees are from Spain, Austria, and California. My typical Sparkling wine consumption is reserved for special occasions, and New Years. I love it, but I’m usually consuming big bold Cabernet’s or Zinfandels. One of tonight’s nominees was submitted by Kevin from @atlantawineguy as a part of my Under $10 Wine Challenge. Kevin recommended the Spanish Sigura Viudas Estate Cava.
Best Picture Winners I Haven’t Seen (40 years)
2009 – The Hurt Locker
2007 – No Country for Old Men
1998 – Shakespeare In Love
1987 – The Last Emperor
1978 – The Deer Hunter
1977 – Annie Hall
1971 – The French Connection
As I reviewed these three Sparkling wines, it became apparent that each wine was a star in its own right. The Spanish Cava wins for ‘best value,’ Austria’s Gruner Veltliner wins ‘best foreign wine,’ and California Roederer Estate Brute takes ‘best bubbles.’
My Favorite Move (Which happens to be a best picture winner 1994) Forrest Gump
NV Segura Viudas ARIA Estate Brut – Spain
- The Stuff: 60% Macabeo, 20% Parellada, 20% Xarelo-lo; 3 years on yeast
- The Swirl: golden yellow (Chardonnay color), moderate bubbles
- The Sniff: Tight nose with apple toast and yeast being predominant.
- The Sip: Strong carbonation with hints of apple and smoky bread
- The Score: At $8, this is not a bad tasting bubbly, but lacks a lot of flavor and has too much carbonation and yeast. I score it a 3 (out of 5). So far this bubbly makes the Under $10 Team (mostly for lack of tryouts)
Other reviews: Cellar Tracker 86 points (12 reviews)
NV Roederer Estate – California
- The Stuff: 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir; 2 years on yeast; 80,000 cases
- The Swirl: Color is more pale yellow, great bubbles
- The Sniff: Bright pear with hints of honey and nuttiness
- The Sip: Very nice flavor profile with good apple, honey and cinnamon
- The Score: At $23, I score this a 4 (out of 5)
Other reviews: 91 pts Wine Spectator, 92 pts Wine Advocate, Cellar Tracker 89 points (214 reviews)
NV Szigeti Gruner Veltliner – Austria
- The Stuff: 100% Gruner Veltiner
- The Swirl: Golden yellow tone
- The Sniff: Bright acidity with citrus and tropical fruit tucked into the yeasty toast
- The Sip: Good sweetness with some tartness on the back end. A refreshing bubbly with some good citrus flavor
- The Score: Overall, I was pretty impressed with the quality of this $18 sparkler. I score it a 3+ (out of 5) for flavor and value.
Sparkling Wine Mixers
For the sake of time, some of the video was edited. The observant viewers will notice that my final drink goes from pale yellow to pink. What was responsible for this transformation? I edited out the segment that talks of how to use Sparkling Wine as a mixer. The yeastiness of some inexpensive sparkling wine can leave you a little dry in the mouth. On video I talked through a few solutions using cranberry juice, cassis liqueur, or vodka. Give it a try, you’ll be surprised at how you can transform an average bottle of bubbly.
In celebration of the 2009 Academy Awards, what is your favorite movie? Which Oscar winning film (from all time) is your favorite?
22 Feb 2010
The story of Grande Ronde Cellars is the circle of life…wine life. It’s the story of a caterer who struggled to find good wine, so he opened a wine shop. It’s the story of a wine shop owner who struggled to find access to quality wine, so he started a distributorship. It’s the story of a distributor who fell in love with the process and passion of wine-making and used his connections with key grape growers to secure quality fruit. In 1997 Grande Ronde Cellars was born and now the circle is complete as they are a winery that uses a distributor to sell to wine shops and ultimately to consumers and caterers. Grande Ronde is operated by partners Dave Westfall, John Mueller, and David Page.
*Dave must be a little camera shy because he kept sneaking off screen. Ahh, the dangers of filming without a camera man. My apologies, Dave!
Grande Ronde sources grapes from two prestigious Walla Walla vineyards, Seven Hills and Pepper Bridge (added in 2002). The 1200 case production has remained the same for all 13 vintages. The French style wine production shows patience as each vintage spends between 14-18 months in 100% French Oak and is bottle stored for three years before release. The current single vineyard reds are 2003 Seven Hills Cabernet (reviewed below), 2003 Pepper Bridge Cabernet and 2003 Seven Hills Merlot. Production also includes red blends, a white blend and Black Muscat, Chenin Blanc, and Chardonnay. Releases consistently score 90+ points in Wine Spectator.
Wine production occurs in the mountains north of Spokane at Mountain Dome winery. While Mountain Dome is a special place and a fine producer of Sparkling wine, Dave saw an opportunity to bring wine, food and art together in Downtown Spokane. In 2004, after lobbying the state legislature, Dave opened Washington’s second cooperative / collaborative tasting room featuring wine from five “off-site” wineries; Grande Ronde, Mountain Dome, Masset, Morrison Lane, and Emvy Cellars. The basement tasting room at 906 W. 2nd Ave offers a fantastic opportunity to enjoy a variety of Washington wine, art, education classes and even the occasional Gonzaga Bulldog basketball game.
New for 2010 is an event facility for up to 40. Small wedding, corporate and private events can enjoy the cellar like atmosphere adjacent to the tasting room. “The Last Drop” is operated independently from the tasting room and requires a serving license to serve wine.
With 30 years in the wine business, Dave and partner Sam Lange have a wealth of knowledge from their miles of travels. 2009 marked the release of the first (in a series) Journey to Eastern Washington Wine Country. The series is a handbook of for wine lovers as they travel across the state offering suggestions on where to eat and where to sleep as they taste their way across the state. The first book focuses on Walla Walla, Spokane, and Northern Idaho. Additional books in the series will continue the journey across the Northwest.
Grande Ronde Tasting Room
906 W. Second Ave
Spokane, WA 99201
Open: Wed-Saturday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm (Open later on First Friday’s)
2003 Seven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon
- The Stuff: 100% Seven Hills Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
- The Swirl: Very dark purple, opaque, Welch’s grape juice color
- The Sniff: Bright blueberry and cherry fruit, pretty grapey too – a wonderful spice comes up at the tail end of the sniff – good aromatic wine
- The Sip: The fruit is more subdued on the palate but presents a nice earthy blueberry and grape flavor with hints of vanilla and pepper spice. A nice acidity on the back end helps provide a medium length finish. Tannins are moderate but not harsh.
- The Score: At $30, this is a nice fruit forward Cabernet that I can score a 3+ (out of 5).
Previous 2002 Vintage scored 90 at Wine Spectator; Cellar Tracker (1 review) no score
PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED in December 2009
2005 Cellar Red
- The Stuff: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Carmenere 6% Merlot 4% Malbec
- The Swirl: Medium tone with a very nice purple jewel tone. Moderately see through
- The Sniff: Immediate sense of clove and cinnamon spice. The berry comes through on the back-end. A slight floral element presents itself
- The Sip: Still spicy on the sip with a good interesting flavor. Dark berry fruits begin to present themselves and the finish lingers for quite some time. Tannins, alcohol and acid are not dominant. My wife noted a perfume / soap taste.
- The Score: At $20 I score this wine a 3+ (out of 5) The wine has a wide flavor profile and gives the drinker a lot to consider. The floral components seem slightly out of balance with the clove and spice.
16 Feb 2010
Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training this week. Why does this matter? It means spring is here, regardless of what the groundhog says, and that grilling season is right around the corner. The Mariners have added Cliff Lee to their pitching rotation and ‘game maker’ Milton Bradley to the outfield in the hopes to improve upon their winning season last year. Regardless of the outcome, one guarantee – I’ll be out on the deck with a glass of wine (and the occasional beer) rooting them on.
The under $10 wine challenge is an effort to field a team of 9 quality wines and a few bench players that YOU can trust. The budget wine category is the most precarious for wine selection. Finding a good quality made wine can be a challenge. With the help of my Social Media friends, we will field a team before the 2010 All Star break.
To date, 15 wines have tried out, been in the batting cages, and worked out with the trainer, and only two have made the starting line-up (Arbor Crest Sauvignon Blanc and Bogle Petit Sirah). Two wines are holding out in AAA ball working on their game (Dancing Bull Zinfandel and Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon)
Today’s training brings the traditionally rich Chardonnay trying out for Right Field, Riesling shooting for Second Base, and a Pinot Noir looking to gain a spot at Third Base.
For all my scouts on Twitter – I’m looking for your recommendations for Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sparking, Bordeaux Blend, and Syrah). To qualify, the wine must be widely available and under $10 (on sale counts).
- The Stuff: 100% Pinot Noir from the Central Valley of Chile. Four months in 35% oak / 65% stainless; 13.4%ABV
- The Swirl: Elegant and delicate light purple, mostly translucent but with modest jewel tones.
- The Sniff: Very green – like a Christmas tree – with strawberry and smoke. Slightly earthy.
- The Sip: Very grapey Welch’s juice with hints of green twig and strawberry
- The Score: For a $10 Pinot Noir, I score this a 3 (out of 5). This is a wine that has potential and is not embarrassing or poor.
This is the first Pinot Noir to try out for the team. I’ll send this one to AAA for the potential to be called back up. It’s missing the sweet elegance that I would expect from a Pinot.
- The Stuff: 100% Chardonnay from the River Junction Vineyard in California; partial malolactic fermentation in stainless steel; 13.5%ABV
- The Swirl: Pale yellow but not the rich thick of a standard Chardonnay, reminiscent of a Sauvignon Blanc in color
- The Sniff: Tropical aroma of melon and pear, very faint hints of Chardonnay vanilla and butter
- The Sip: Chardonnay characteristics on the front with strong citric and melon on the back end. This is a Chardonnay trying to come out as a Sauvignon Blanc. This is a refreshing Chardonnay that has hints of sparkling wine.
- The Score: While this is not a great representation of a Chardonnay, I score it a 3+ (out of 5). It is a quality wine with a well balanced flavor for only $8
I’m looking for a Right Fielder, not a First Baseman. This wine is schizophrenic but well made. Not making the team as the Chardonnay, but will be back in my wine rack for parties.
- The Stuff: 100% Riesling from various Columbia Valley vineyards, 12%ABV
- The Swirl: Very light, pear in color
- The Sniff: Mild peach, citrus, and metallic aroma
- The Sip: Moderately sweet front end with a well balanced dry back end wine. This would be considered an off-dry Riesling. Hints of peach and lemon peel
- The Score: For only $6 this is a 3+ (out of 5). This is a solid wine for the money.
This is the first Riesling to try out for the team and will most certainly make the squad.
Cheers and Drink.Happy!