I thought for a long time that Natalie McLean is a damn good writer and knew her way around a bottle and a vineyard or two. Last year some information came along to challenge that. But I had already disagreed with her when when she said (on her website) that every wine lover should have a "house wine." In my experience, that's precisely what people who are new to wine get wrong, and what often keeps them from learning about new wine places, varietals and styles. Is there anything wrong with enjoying a particular wine, and keeping several bottles of it on hand for guests and gatherings? No. But I can't tell you how many times I've visited friends and…

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Real quick: 1. There's a new Search tab up top to help you find content. Use it - please! 2. Content on this front page will move to an archive folder after a week or two. Scroll down the right sidebar to "Previous posts." 3. New material in "Fun Stuff" such as Sustainable Winegrowing report and State of the Wine Industry. If you're really into wine this is for you. And don't forget our Wine Label charts and Wine and Food pairing chart to help you buy what you want, and enjoy what you buy!

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Who knew? Here in the most densely populated state in the union, we seem to have more "make on premises", Do-it-Yourself, hands-on winemaking shops than Doan has pills. So if you want to try your hand at making wine, and get a little professional advice and support in the process, New Jersey is the place to be. We're more than just the turnpike, the highest property taxes in the nation and mandatory full-service gas stations, you know! Anyway, two of these places I know well - California WineWorks up in Ramsay, and The Vintner's Circle in both Hackettstown and Whippany, as well as a Pennsylvania location. I've visited another, Grape Expectations in Dayton, NJ, and all of them have happy…

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With Passover now a WEEK away, it's time to think about GOOD Kosher wine. Let's start with a little understanding of what makes a wine Kosher. Grapes are grapes, neither Kosher nor non-Kosher until they arrive at the so-called crushpad where they begin the process of becoming wine. Once that happens, for the wine to be Kosher, the grapes must be handled from that point by Sabbath-observant Jews. So far so good. So, let's assume that the grapes are crushed, pressed and fermented by this Kosher crew, using only Kosher ingredients and approved processes. For example, wine can be fined with egg whites, which is pretty standard in the industry, but not using Isinglass which is made from Sturgeon bladders…

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In case you were inspired by the eight Oscars that Slumdog Millionaire brought home, here are some suggestions for pairing wine with Indian food. And a pairing chart is available here with suggestions for other foods and wines. A great wine with Indian food is a mix of Chenin Blanc and Viognier from Pine Ridge...it's pretty great with all kinds of Asian food too, and you should be able to find it anywhere in the US. My very favorite Indian pairing is 100% Pinot Blanc - you can try one of many from the Alsace region of France, such as Meyer-Fonne Pinot Blanc Vieilles Vignes, or one of many domestic Pinot Blancs such as WillaKenzie from Oregon. Good stuff that!…

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Have you recently visited an out-of-state winery and wanted a case sent home, only to be told it's illegal? Confused by wine shipping laws? You're not alone. First let me say that I support the right of wine retailers, wholesalers and distributors to exist and make a living. The idea that we could or should just toss aside the three-tier system and buy all our wine, as the Brits might say, via "the post" is neither practical nor fair for all concerned. Having said that, wineries simply ought to be able to ship directly to consumers, too, with few or no restrictions and with as little administrative burden as possible. For small wineries that cannot command the attention and shelf…

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As you check out the new Wine-Flair.com, please take advantage of the resources on this site. First, click the Fun Stuff tab and take advantage of a wine and food pairing chart; a wine notes sheet for recording your impressions about wines; and tables that list the grape varieties found in a number of red, rose and white European wines. Two other places to get useful information: The Wine FAQs tab, where you'll find a glossary of wine terms written in language you can understand, and some Q&A; around the questions we're asked most. And you might enjoy the periodic columns in Words of Wine, some of which you can download and listen to at your leisure from the Podcasts…

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