Wednesday, December 6, 2017

YOU Are the Gift That Can Keep on Giving

Happy Birthday, Brittany!
This post was originally going to be about great wine gifts, but then Brittany started a page on FaceBook and sent a birthday challenge to her friends. From December 1 to the 20th (her birthday), we were to try and do one act of kindness for someone. ONE during this three week period. Just something nice for someone else. But the group immediately decided that if we could do one nice thing, then why not twenty: one for every day leading up to Brittany's birthday. 

Suddenly the page was buzzing. Everyone was listing their "kindnesses" for the day, and amazingly, each was a perfectly extension of the person doing the deed. It seems that all we needed was a little nudge to act human again. (We're all predisposed to be nice, we're just usually too busy or too preoccupied to see what needs done and do it - so start paying more attention.) 

I decided this was the perfect gift -  to continue Brittany’s challenge of giving the gift of kindness for the holiday season, and then we can just take it on through next year. It doesn’t take much time or money, and there are only three requirements to get you into the giving groove:   

1. Slow down, 2. Breathe deep, and 3. Smile

Start by simply giving something of yourself – words of encouragement, a hand to hold, a hug. See, that was easy. Now you’re ready to branch out into the world. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

At the Office
• Take a coworker coffee.
• Clean out the department fridge, or wash the dishes left in the sink.
• Write a complimentary note and leave it on someone’s desk.
• Invite someone you never talk to out to lunch.
•Write a recommendation and post it on LinkedIn for someone whose work you appreciate.

Out and About
•Hold the door for a group of people.
• Tell someone they are doing a fantastic job.
• Hand out fast food gift cards to the homeless. (Not only will they get a warm meal but they can enjoy it in a warm safe setting.)
• Leave a bucket of snack and drinks out on your porch for delivery people. (They usually don't have time for lunch during the holidays.)
• See someone deal gracefully with a rough situation? Tell them that you admire how they handled the incident.
• Send an anonymous handwritten card to your bank, your favorite winery, that special restaurant telling them how much you appreciate what they do, and be specific: always helpful, great wines, wonderful atmosphere.
Once you start, you’ll be amazed at how many ideas you can come up with. We may live in a world that seems to be on the edge of despair, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up. 
Fight back by being KIND!
Happy Holidays!
~ Joy

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Featherweight "Diet" Wines

Wine drinkers know that cutting back on the vino can help drop pounds. But now no-frills grocery retailer Aldi has an answer for vino lovers on a diet who don't want to nix that drink with dinner – a line of wines called Featherweight. 

The new wine collection offers Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and a White Zinfandel. The company reports that Featherweight was created to answer increased consumer demand for a wine that is lower in alcohol (Only 5.5% APV.) with a lot less calories. (The wines range from 55-59 calories per 4 ounce serving.)

To make sense of those numbers, the average wine has 12% APV and anywhere from 90 to 120 calories per 4 ounce glass. A bottle of Featherweight currently sells for £2.99. (Around $4.00.)
There is a catch, though. The wines are only available in the U.K. at the moment. Aldi spokespeople did not know of a U.S. release date, but would like to know that American consumers are interested in these wines. If you'd like to see the line of wines offered in the U.S., contact the company on FaceBook. When it comes to losing weight and saving money, Featherweight appears to be a wine for both niches.
~ Joy

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Celebrate the Season with a Cabernet from The Devil’s Cellar

Halloween isn’t just for kids! It now ranks as America’s all-time favorite holiday. And 2016 proved to be the most celebrated Halloween ever – more than 171 million Americans (up 14 million from 2015) took part in the festivities. Of those, 34% hosted a Halloween party. Casillero del Diablo is promoting its Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon as the "Official Wine for Halloween" – and why not? With a name like The Devil’s Cellar, this Cab promises to entice every ghoulie and guy at the party.

Underground Cave
But a good ghost story is always appreciated this time of year and Casillero del Diablo comes through. Legend has it that when vineyard owner Don Melchor de Concha y Toro discovered his wines had been stolen from his ancestral home in Chile in the late 1800s, he spread a rumor that his darkest cave was haunted by the Devil himself. This added to the legend that the wines had been stored in hell but were made in heaven. The story spread, and today The Devil’s Cellar is the number one tourist attraction in Chile.

Wine Review:
The Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 pours dark red in the glass with black cherry, chocolate and tobacco on the nose. The wine is medium bodied with good tannins and a nice acidic balance. Cerise, plum and tobacco are on the palate with a hint of chocolate on the finish. Pair with grilled burgers, steak and some chocolate Halloween candies.

The Official Wine of Halloween comes in a HalloWine gift box that adds to the allure. Casillero del Diablo wines have maintained a steady following through the years for offering consumers dependable wines at good prices. Retailing for $11 nationwide, this Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 may be just the trick to make your Halloween guests feel that they’ve been given quite a treat.

~ Joy

My new book The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide is out on bookshelves nationwide. Click here for book information.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Straight Shooting Whiskey: Bulleit Bourbon Review

The History:
It was 1830 when saloon owner Augustus Bulleit decided to create a whiskey with a unique flavor. Using two-thirds rye and one-third corn, Augustus made a mighty tasty rye whiskey that was popular until his death in 1860. Then, in 1987, Augustus’s great-great grandson, Thomas E. Bulleit, Jr. stepped up to begin crafting his version of Bulleit Bourbon. Bulleit, Jr. used 68% corn, 28% of rye and 4% malted barley in the mash bill for an exceptional flavor. Ten years later, Seagram’s purchased the brand. 

In 1999, Diageo bought the Seagram’s brands and Bulleit Bourbon was produced at Four Roses Distillery. In March of this year, Diageo opened the Bulleit Distillery in Shelby County, Kentucky. Now part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience is located in the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, five miles from downtown Louisville, Kentucky. 

The Bulleit Bourbon Profile:
Open a bottle of Bulleit Bourbon and you will notice the aromas of vanilla, honey and oak that tempt you to taste. The flavor profile is spicy with vanilla, caramel and hints of wood that trail into a long smoky finish. With a proof of 90% and ABV 45% (alcohol by volume), this bourbon retails for under $50 a bottle.

How to Enjoy:
Bulleit Bourbon is versatile – serve it straight, on the rocks, with water, club soda or ginger ale. The distillery offers tours and tastings from 10am – 4pm Monday, and Wednesday through Saturday. Sunday tours are from 1pm to 4pm. Cost is $10 for adults over 21. Visit Bulleit Bourbon for more information.

Joy Neighbors

My new book The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide is out in bookstores across the country. Click here for more information. (FYI: Goes well with a glass of Bourbon!)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Eight Wines for Rosh Hashanah

The Jewish celebration of Rosh Hashanah begins today at sunset and ends on Friday, the 22nd. The Jewish New Year offers a chance for reflection on the past and hopes for a brighter future. Here are eight Israeli wines to enjoy during the Rosh Hashanah celebration.

Galil Mountain Winery
Galil Mountain produces several wines grown in the highest elevations of the Upper Galilee region along with the Central and northern Golan Heights. Here are a few that are fitting for Rosh Hashanah.

The Galil Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is fermented in stainless steel for six months to bring forth its fruity character. This full-bodied wine pairs well with leg of lamb or a juicy steak. Price point - $16

Galil Mountain Merlot is crafted with heavy berry flavors that pair nicely with burgers or Sambusa. Price point - $15.
Galgal Sangiovese is grown in the central and northern Golan Heights region. The wine is aged in French Oak for 12 months and has a spicy flavor. Serve with pan-roasted chicken and Tabbouleh. Price point - $14.

Golan Heights Winery
Golan Heights Winery is the home of Yarden wines. With conditions similar to Tuscany, the region is known for producing renowned wines. The winery is one of Israel’s leading producers.

Yarden Malbec is grown in Yonatan Springs in the central Golan Heights. The wine is aged for 18 months in French Oak barrels and offers a spicy, berry flavor. Serve with BBQ ribs or spicy sausage. Price point -$33.

Yarden Oden Chardonnay is from the Odem Vineyard in the Northern Golan Heights. The wine is fermented in French oak barrels and aged on the lees for seven months. The wine boasts tropical flavors alone with hints of wood and minerals. It can be aged for up to eight years after harvest. Serve with Roasted Chicken with Sumac and Falafel. Price point - $21.

Blanc de Blancs
Yarden Blanc de Blancs is a sparkling wine crafted from Chardonnay grapes using strict, traditional methods. The grapes are pressed as whole clusters and aged for a minimum of four years with tirage yeast. With delicate notes of tropical fruits and minerals, the wine can age for up to ten years after harvest. Pair with Kanafeh or Baklava. Price point - $31.

Mount Hermon 
The Golan Heights Winery is also home to the Mount Hermon brand. The volcanic soil and cool high-altitude climate creates the perfect conditions for this new wine region in Israel.

Mount Hermon Red is a blend of several Bordeaux-style grapes. Grown in the Golan Heights and Upper Galilee, the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation but is bottled without sterile filtration. Ripe fruit with a hint of herbs makes this wine a great partner for grilled meats. Price point - $12.

Mount Hermon White is grown in the Northern Golan Heights. This blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Semillon is cold fermented to preserve the lively flavors of citrus and green apple. A perfect partner when served with grilled fish. Price point - $12.
~ Joy

My new book The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide is out in bookstores across the country. Click here for more information.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Get an MBA in Bourbon

September is National Bourbon Heritage Month, a month-long celebrations designated in 2007 to honor America’s “Native Spirit.” For bourbon lovers, this is the perfect time to pour a glass and relax around an autumn fire. But here’s something to consider as you sip and savor this month – you can now get an MBA in Bourbon Education! 

Midway University in Midway, Kentucky offers a degree in Tourism and Event Management with courses in Bourbon history, distillery operations, Bourbon hospitality and a special opportunity to travel to Scotland to visit the Malt Whiskey Trail. Plus there are special independent courses that are focused on the Bourbon industry in Kentucky.
According to Dr. Tricia Day, Tourism & Event Management program coordinator at Midway, “Our goal is to take Bourbon education to the next level. We want to bridge the gap between the manufacturing side of the industry and the enthusiasts’ interest in bourbon as a craft.” 

Students can take the classes online. Only a few courses have an in-seat attendance requirement. Those that do include hands-on experiences like trips to area distilleries for tastings.
Courses offered include Bourbon Women: Craft to Consumption, Fermentation, Distillation and Maturation, Kentucky Bourbon Tourism and Distilleries and The Bourbon Experience and Hospitality. Of course, there are the required core business classes like Strategic Management, Business Law and Global Business, but to have an MBA in Bourbon in 18 months – I’m thinking this is one crafty degree.

Of course, the education will be fantastic but will the degree prove to be useful? Yep! The Kentucky Bourbon Industry generated 15,400 jobs in 2015 (That’s a 77 percent increase from just a few years ago.) with an annual payroll of $700 million. Bourbon in on the rise and this could present the perfect opportunity to get into the industry. And you can begin classes at any time. For more information contact Midway at 800-952-4122 or visit Midway University.

My new book The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide will be hitting bookshelves across the country this month. Click here for book information.