Compilation of Sources for Simple Wine Tips

Below is a list of links to articles that discuss some issues a beginning wine lover might consider:

How To Choose The Right Wine Rack

How to ‘Take the Chill Off’ Red Wine: The Microwave

Tips on Choosing Wine Bottle Holders

5 Tips for Pairing Wine with Chocolate

How to Read a Wine Label: North American Wines


Check out this way to win free tix to a wine tasting!

Not Your Typical Wine Tasting: Go to this post on the He Sipped/She Sipped blog & Comment to Win Free Tickets to Wine Riot!

Second Glass is bringing its interactive wine tasting event to Chicago on Saturday, May 21, and you better watch out, because we’re all going to have some fun! You know it’s not going to be your typical wine tasting of swirl, smell, sip, and spit with a name like Wine Riot, so listen up–because there’s an opportunity to WIN two FREE tickets to this event for hip and youthful wine drinkers who want to learn more.

“It’s a really cool way to try wines,” said Tyler Balliet of the event, founder and president of Second Glass who created Wine Riot after attending too many boring wine tastings.

“There’d be a massive room full of alcohol and people weren’t having any fun,” he said. “So many wine events fail the consumers and the wineries who end up just bartending for four hours.”

In comparison, Tyler says Wine Riot is way more laid back and silly, even. There’s a photo booth where you can take pictures with your friends–all clad in goofy hats; a DJ spinning awesome tunes, and food from local restaurants. But the most unique part about Wine Riot?

Its interactive component. Second Glass has developed a mobile app that comes preloaded with the images and names of ALL (more than 250) the wines that will be poured at Wine Riot. While you’re moving from tasting booth to tasting booth, you can rate how you feel about it (2 thumbs up; 1 thumb up, or meh). This way you’ll have a record of what you loved, liked, and dumped without lifting a pen! You can even see what the “top reds” and “top whites” are in real time–and head over to those tables before the good stuff runs out!!

So, you’re hooked, right? I know I am. Here’s the 411, and make sure you CLICK HERE to go to the original blog post & comment for a chance to win 2 free tickets (a $100 value).

* WHERE: Great Hall at Union Station

* WHEN: Saturday, May 21 from 1-5pm and 7-11 pm

* WHAT YOU’LL TASTE: over 250 wines from around the globe

* HOW YOU’LL LEARN: “Crash Course Wine Seminars” will be offered (included in the ticket price)

* COST: $50 a ticket,

One lucky He Sipped/She Sipped reader will receive a pair of tickets to Wine Riot Chicago 1 (1-5pm Saturday, May 21). All you need to do is COMMENT on the original post, tweet or reblog.

Giveaway Rules:

To enter the contest, simply leave a comment on the original blog post: What’s your favorite bottle of wine? Your favorite region? Or simply tell them why you LOVE wine or why you want to know more about wine and would benefit from attending WINE RIOT.


FOLLOW @hesipshesips on Twitter and tell us why you would benefit from attending #wineriot (make sure you use the hashtags @hesipsshesips and #wineriot)

* Comment as much as you would like, but you will only get an entry for your first.

* You may receive an additional entry by linking on Twitter and leaving a link to your tweet in our comments.

* You may receive an additional entry by blogging about this contest and leaving a link to it in our comments.

* This giveaway is open to US Residents who are 21 or older.

* One winner will be selected via and will be contacted via email. Second Glass will also email you the tickets!

* Contest ends 8 PM CST Monday, May 16

Read more:

Well-known Chicago Restaurant Group holding free event!

Here are details about Rosebud Restaurants‘ Meatball Contest & Celebration Event, directly from the Facebook Event page:

Do you have the (meat)balls? Rosebud Restaurants’ announces a day of festivities to show our appreciation for the local community who have supported us for over 35 years.

THIS IS EVENT IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC and marks the launch of Santa Margherita’s Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 vintage wine!
We challenge cooks everywhere with any level of expertise to submit their best meatball recipe for a chance to be one of ten… lucky finalists to compete in the industry professional kitchen in the restaurant where the Rosebud tradition was born—Rosebud Café at 1500 West Taylor Street in Chicago—on Sunday, May 22, 2011. The ten contestants will look like the real deal in their professional chef jackets embroidered with his or her name while competing for some extravagant prizes.
Celebrity judges will choose grand, second, and third place winners based on each recipe’s taste, texture, and visual appeal. These judges will include:
* Rosebud Executive Chef, and author of the CIBO cookbook, Michael Ponzio.
* Rosebud Corporate Chef and Escoffier Award for Excellence recipient Brian Wright
* Kendall College’s Chef Instructor Paul Tenaglia
* President of NBC5 Chicago Larry Wert
* Representative from Terlato Wines

All selected contestants will receive a professional chef jacket embroidered with his or her name to keep, along with other complimentary items. You could win some extravagant prizes!!! (more details to follow)

Chef Ponzio will be serving up free samples of Rosebud’s famous meatballs, as well as items from our sponsors, such as Terlato Wines. He will be available to autograph his Italian cookbook titled Cibo, as well as to field questions from fans and press alongside our Corporate Chef and Escoffier Award for Excellence recipient Brian Wright.

This event is open to the public, so bring your friends and family to support you as you compete for some fabulous 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes!
(SNEAK PEEK: The Grand Prize is a trip to wine country!)

The whole city could taste your meatballs! The winning recipe will be offered as a special at Rosebud On Rush (720 N Rush, Chicago) for one full week!

Send your recipe, contact info, & a few sentence description about yourself to: Rosebud Corporate Office
Attention: Meatball Contest
1419 W Diversey Parkway
Chicago IL, 60614

OR Fax to (773) 325-9708 OR Email

Rosebud Restaurants invites you to celebrate with the winner while enjoying live DJ entertainment by Mike Capraro; meet prestigious chefs and experience what quality cuisine is all about. We are proud to work with any media and press interested in covering this exhilarating event. For more information, please contact Nancy Barabba at or (630) 327-1913. We will be happy to provide any supplemental materials needed, such as Chef biographies or pictures.

Does a Wine List Scare You?

You’re out to eat and want to impress your guests by choosing a wine. But how do you know which one to pick? You may not be a wine expert, but I’ve gathered some tips to help you navigate that leather bound book of wine selections. Remember these simple pieces of advice, and you’ll have your friends thinking you’re a wine connoisseur in no time!

  • Personal Tastes: Take into account your own preferences. Think back to wines you’ve tasted and try to remember your reaction. Too sweet? Too strong? Use past experiences to narrow down the options.
  • What You’re Eating: Certain wines can enhance certain flavors in food. If you’re getting a bottle for the table, consider what type of dish the majority of your guests ordered. If you’re just picking out a selection for yourself, think about what category the dish you chose is in. Pairings can get specific, but stick to these generalities: red wine with meat and white wine with fish.

If you’re dish has a wine based sauce, choose the same kind of wine it was made with. If you feel like thinking a little bit harder, consider how light or heavy your dish is, and choose a wine that matches. For example, a chicken entrée with a lemon herb sauce should be paired with a crisp white wine, and roasted prime beef ribs would go perfectly with a strong-flavored red. You want the wine you choose to compliment the food, so a wine with good aromatics and a touch of sweetness would balance spicy ethnic fare. For example, a Surf and Turf like lobster and filet mignon would require a Pinot Noir because it is a lighter red wine that will not overpower the lobster, but is still strong enough to complement the steak.

  • Region: Now that you’ve eliminated some options based on your personal likes and what instinctively would counteract the flavors of your meal, look at where the remaining selections are from. Any wine from California will probably be the surest and most affordable option because they produce 85% of the wine consumed in North and South America. Also, wines from France, Spain or Italy are not likely to disappoint.

So, don’t get intimidated by those fancy sounding names. Just remember to consider your tastes, your meal, and where the wine is from, and you’ll end up sipping with a smile!

Wines I Like :)

This is my favorite kind of champagne.

I found this very affordably priced Sweet White Wine at Trader Joe’s. It has a honey flavor to it, hence the little bumble bee on the front.

Next to it is the easiest corkscrew I’ve ever used!

It all comes down to the grapes!

So we all know wine is made from grapes. But which ones? And why? Let’s discuss.

To begin with, here’s the basics, summarized by

Most people believe that green grapes make white wine and red grapes make red wine. That is largely true, but if you care to impress anyone with arcane eno-trivia, you should know that white wine can also be made from red grapes. The inside of red grapes is essentially “white” — it is only their skin that is red. And most wines are made with just the inside of a grape. The red color in red wine is created by allowing the fleshy interior to mix with the pulpy skins when it is being crushed. This process infuses red wines with “tannin,” an ingredient that gives red wine its distinctive flavor. So you can make white wine with red grapes — like White Zinfandel, a fine white wine made from a grape with a decidedly red exterior – but not red wine with green grapes. Oh, and most champagnes are made from red grapes. Weird, but true.

         Now, a little about the different kinds of grapes. There are more than 5000 varieties, but only about 200 have been found to be better for wine making than others. These varieties are called “noble grape varieties” and need a particular climate and technique to ‘live up to their potential.’

Here are the most widely known grapes:


  • Barbera are planted as often as Merlot grapes but aren’t as well known. They were originally grown in Italy but is also grown in the United States. In California it is planted as frequently as Merlot grapes. Barbera is known for its tarry flavor.


  • Cabernet Sauvignon grapes add flavor to other types of grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon wine grapes on the vine in Argentina image by Schwabacher from

    The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is a parent grape of the Cabernet Franc.Cabernet Franc is typically used as an additive and is blended with other grapes. These grapes are widely grown in California and Australia as well as in Europe. They contain a lot of tannin, which produces good quality red wine when aged properly.


chardonnay grapes

  • Chardonnay grapes are one of the most popular varieties of wine grapes. They are the most commonly used white grape. It originates in the Burgundy and Champagne regions of France and is typically aged in oak barrels.


merlot grapes

  • Merlot is a popular variety of wine grape that is often blended with other wines. It’s a red grape related to Cabernet Sauvignon and frequently mixed with it. Merlot is smooth, dry and rich tasting. It tends to be difficult to grow because it is susceptible to fungus and mold. Merlot wine is often blended in most Bordeaux wines. These grapes are grown in France, Italy, Australia and the United States.


  • Pinotage is a red grape combination of Pinot Noir and Cinsault grapes. It is grown in South Africa. Pinotage grapes are usually combined with other fruits for wine.


riesling grapes

  • Riesling grapes can make dry and fruity wines as well as honeyed or musky flavored wines when left longer on the vine in warmer climates. Riesling is native to Germany, but is used in many other countries such as France, Australia, and California. New York’s Finger Lakes region is well known for Rieslings, which are also used to make ice wines.

Shiraz or Syrah

syrah grape

  • Syrah is a red grape in France that is also called Shiraz in Australia. Depending on the winery, both names are used in the United States. Warmer climates will grow Syrah grapes that produce sweeter and riper wines, while cooler climates produce a spicier flavor.


  • Zinfandel grapes are used to make both red and white wines. They are native to California and many wine varieties are made from these grapes because of Zinfandel’s fruit flavors. Zinfandel grapes are used to make both red Zinfandel (skins left on) and white Zinfandel (skins removed).


Below is a chart of other widely used wine grape varieties.

White Grapes
Aligot� Chardonnay Chenin Blanc Columbard
Folle Blanche Gewurztraminer Gr�ner Veltliner Malvasia
Marsanne Melon de Bourgogne Muller-Thurgau Muscadelle
Muscat Palomino Pedro Xim�nez Pinot Blanc
Pinot Gris Riesling Rousanne Sauvignon Blanc
Scheurebe Semillon Sylvaner Trebbiano
Ugni Blanc Verdicchio Viognier  
Red Grapes
Barbera Brunello Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon
Carignane Carmenere Cinsault Dolcetto
Durif Gamay Grenache Grignolino
Malbec Merlot Montepulciano Mourv�dre
Nebbiolo Petit Sirah Petit Verdot Pinotage
Pinot Meunier Pinot Noir Sangiovese Syrah/Shiraz
Tempranillo Tinta Barroca Tinta Cao Touriga Francesa
Touriga Nacional Tinta Roriz Zinfandel  

Read more: SoYouWanna learn the basics of wine?

Video Tips for Buying Wine

Here are some videos I found that have some helpful tips of things to consider while trying to pick out wine.