Exploring New Wine – That’s Smart Money!

27 02 2009

As previously mentioned, check out the Vin Collections coverage in Smart Money – http://www.smartmoney.com/spending/travel/6-wine-regions-worth-visiting/.

All I can really say is what I said on Twitter already – “I’m honored to just be living in the same universe as @garyvee [Gary Vaynerchuk and Wine Library TV]…being included in the same article is almost too much to take.”





Press News and Event Notes

23 02 2009

Exciting Press News -

It has yet to be published (so fingers crossed) but I am thrilled to announce that Vin Collections is at least slated to be quoted in Smart Money Magazine. Even more exciting is that it will hopefully be alongside the indomitable Gary Vaynerchuk. Special thanks to Kate Klonick for helping to make this possible. You can follow along on Twitter with Gary’s adventures here and Kate’s here.

Event Notes -

Over the past few weeks I’ve attended four large tasting events in the Bay Area – the Benvenuto Brunello 2009, the ZAP Festival (attendance at both of these events courtesy of Thea Dwelle – Thank You Thea!), the Bottlenotes.com “Around The World In 80 Sips” event (which I consulted on), and the Australian Bushfire Relief Benefit.  Each of these events provided some unique and interesting wines as well as different settings and production angles (although the “80 Sips” and “Australia Relief” events were both held at Crushpad). They were all awesome. Read the rest of this entry »





Amazing Bouncing Bottles

9 02 2009

I’m a guy, and I tend to break things. Back in my serious ski-racing days I even penned an article devoted entirely to these follies. When dealing with wine however, I am particularly cognizant of the fragile nature of the item. I can safely say that (insert sound of me knocking on wood here) when working in home cellars and on the winery production line, my breakage record stands at exactly 1 out 15,000 (filled) bottles. Read the rest of this entry »





Bottle Battles – Round 5

19 01 2009

In this episode of Vin Collections Videos, entitled “Bottle Battles – Round 5″ we successfully improvised a set of port tongs. The key is to get the wire extremely (red) hot and the towel very cold (it actually had ice wrapped inside it).

Again, safety equipment is recommended.

Port tongs are typically used to open ancient bottles of port which have corks that are too fragile to extract with standard cork-removal methods. In general, the tongs are difficult to find and can easily be mistaken for some sort of medieval torture tool. However, they are infinitely preferable to having moldy cork in your vintage port. If you cannot find a set of tongs to purchase, you can easily replicate them in the manner which we demonstrate.

We used a 1/8 inch NON-anodized stainless steel wire which we purchased at a local hardware store. The length of the wire was approximately 30 inches. We first bent the wire in half and coiled it in the middle to create a small loop. When we were done it resembled the “spring” portion of a safety pin.

Using a heating element (in this case a gas stove) we heated the coil until it was glowing. Quickly looping it over the top of the bottle, I pulled the two ends straight and held it in place as tight as I could for a few seconds. I then released the tension and let it drop around the base of the neck. Jesse quickly wrapped the ice-filled towel around the bottle and the neck easily and cleanly broke off.





Bottle Battles – Round 4

19 01 2009

In this installment of “Bottle Battles – Round 4″ Jesse returns to successfully saber the champagne bottle (only three days after receiving five stitches after Round 2 (Jesse vs. The Champagne)). This will hence-forth be known as the “Vin-dication Video.” Notice how he is a bit gun-shy on his first strike and then looks at his right arm afterward to make sure he hasn’t gotten any more shrapnel!

I join in the fun this time too. We also make sure we have extensive safety precautions.

Keys to this operation include -

1.) Making sure you have a bottle with an actual cork [natch], and that it has been chilled. The cooling will decrease the internal pressure.

2.) Finding the seam on the edge of the bottle neck and running the back edge of the blade (the dull side) directly along that seam (perpendicular to it) during your strike.

3.) Hitting the glass lip squarely, but without a ton of force.





Bottle Battles – Round 3

19 01 2009

In his triumphant return, Jesse enacts revenge on “The Tree” and vindicate himself in “Bottle Battles – Round 3.”

This time he has an increased amount of safety equipment.

We discovered that the key here is to use a bottle with a compressed / compound cork (natural cork pieces which have been reconstituted together). You can inspect the cork composition by peeling back the top of the capsule. It is advised, however, that you fully remove the capsule before attempting.

A fully natural cork does work but it takes much longer and necessitates a greater amount of force. A fully synthetic cork results in the bottle exploding (see Jesse vs. The Tree). A two handed swing should be utilized, as one arm does not seem to generate enough momentum. The momentary increase in internal pressure will force the cork out of the top of the bottle. This is only recommended in dire situations where other opening apparatuses are unavailable.

When it works, this is an awesome trick.

Read the rest of this entry »





Bottle Battles – Round 2

11 01 2009

My brother Jesse returns in the much anticipated “Bottle Battles – Round 2″ aka The Sabrage Instructional Video.
Again, It does not turn out well.

Follow-up note: Jesse is fine. He received five stitches and returned to successfully saber a bottle in “Bottle Battles – Round 4″





Why The Corkscrew Was Invented

16 12 2008

As featured in a recent post, here again is The Hensel Family Tutorial on how NOT to open a bottle of wine. (Yes, that goof is my little brother).








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