The Health Benefits of Wine

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The best news in any wine lovers day comes in the form of health benefits of wine.  For us wine lovers, it’s another benefit alongside the great taste.  For starters, it promotes a longer life.  And what would life be without wine!

It has been said, Wine drinkers have a 34 percent lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers. **Source: a Finnish study of 2,468 men over a 29-year period, published in the Journals of Gerontology, 2007.

White wine benefits

I’m going to start with the benefits of white wine.  Many people don’t know this, but white wine has many of the same benefits of red wine.  It prevents blockage of the arteries and white wine also contains antioxidants that prevent disease and brings a glow to your skin.  And I bet you thought the glow was from too much wine.  Here are a couple of white wines that you can start enjoying the benefits of.

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The first wine on the left is a locally made wine, hailing from the Gaspereau Vineyards in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia Canada.  Gaspereau Vineyards Muscat is a very aromatic wine and I loved the passion fruit and grapefruit flavors.  On the nose there is a tinge of sweetness, but the wine is actually nice and dry with no sweetness.  There are over 200 varieties of the Muscat grape, and so the wine can range from sweet to dry  to rose.  It’s a very food friendly wine too and great for appetizers and charcuterie boards.  On the right, is a refreshing Chardonnay out of Australia and Hardy Vineyards.  Actually, it was one of the wines made to celebrate William Hardy’s 40 years in the wine business.  I had the opportunity to meet him and he was such a nice gentleman, and I bought a few of the bottles to celebrate his 40th Anniversary and he was kind enough to sign each and every one of them.  Did you know that Chardonnay is the most popular wine variety in the world?  That’s a true statement.  And this one is really yummy and has nice peach flavors and hints of nectarine.  Chardonnay is also super food friendly and would go with just about any meal you would like to serve.

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The benefits of red wine are mind-blowing as well.  Not to mention it tends to put everyone in a good mood, there is also an ingredient in red wine called resveratrol, and that is said to have heart-healthy benefits.  Keeping in mind if you drink too much, it can do bad damage to the body, everything in moderation.  But studies have shown that benefits range from lowering cholesterol, boosts your brain power and fights off colds.  As if we didn’t already love it enough.


Argentina is putting out some very good wine and this is no exception.  You probably won’t believe me that I paid $12.99 for this wine.  It’s the truth.  The wine is regularly priced at $14.99 and is $2 off right now, so I got to enjoy this wine for under $13.  It’s a medium bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, and you guessed it… Syrah.  Lots of structure on this one and the oak is very noticeable.  If you are a person who doesn’t like oaky wines, you may want to stay away from this one.  But I liked it, it’s a good wine, and a great meat wine.  And you can’t beat the price.

And now for my wine of the week….


It’s Italian!!  One of the wine tours I am doing in Tuscany is the Banfi vineyard, and I couldn’t be more excited.  One of the people I am going with is the wine rep here in Nova Scotia for Banfi wines, who happens to be Italian.  Dominica Bona Mancini is our guide tour and she and I are leaving a couple of days early to do Rome.  So the Toscana Cum Laude 2011 is $32.99 a bottle and so delicious.  It is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, Sangiovese and Syrah added in, it’s a Super Tuscan wine. There are all kinds of flavor going on in this wine from blackberries to olives, from plums to licorice.  Fantastic wine for  the price point.  I loved it.

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There will be no wine blog for the next 2 Saturdays as I am here…. our villa, a piece of heaven for the next 2 Saturdays.  I look forward to telling you all about it when I get back.

Till then, Cheers


Tips to Having a Wine Tasting Party

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In the past year, and especially since becoming a Sommelier, I get asked to do wine tasting parties quite frequently, and I just love doing them.  I love getting together with people who want to learn about new wines, and more importantly try new wines.  So I thought I would dedicate this week’s wine blog to all my friends out there who want to host a wine-tasting party.  And although you don’t necessarily need a Sommelier to have one, it does help to have someone knowledgeable about wine.

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  1.  Pick a Theme

Some people like to do  a wine tasting on ‘local’ wines, or wines from a certain region.  I have had tremendous success with mixing it up a bit with 2 white, a rose, and 3 reds for a total of 6 wines.  Another popular array is 1 sparkling, 1 white, 1 rose´, 2 reds and 1 dessert wine.

2.  Pick A Value 

How much would you like to spend on wine? The most common way to do this is set a budget and the person with the knowledge will choose the wines, so that it is a blind taste-testing for all the guests.  Each pour is approximately 2 ounces, so there are 12 pours per bottle.  And most Sommeliers will pick a variety of price ranges, you want all guests to feel they are getting value.

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3.  Keep The Party Intimate.

Now I have done tastings with 22 people but the room was able to accomodate and I had two volunteers who helped to pour.   For home tasting parties I recommend 6 to 8 people, a group of 10 the absolute max.  You want a nice relaxed atmosphere for home tastings that people feel comfortable asking lots of questions.

4.  The Necessary Supplies

  • Glassware – each person will need 3 wine glasses
  • Spit Buckets for the designated drivers – Red solo plastic cups work just fine
  • Water
  • Palate cleansers like a baguette cut up or simple crackers.
  • Corkscrew
  • Napkins
  • Snacks are Welcome
    • Cheese and crackers are always a big hit at wine tastings.
    • Small bites are recommended
    • Recommendations include cheese, fresh fruit, bread and cured meats. Think charcuterie board.

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5.  The Set Up

If the amount of wine glasses is an issue, give people 3.  1 for white, one for rose or dessert wines, and the other for the Reds.  Ask your guests not to wear heavy perfumes, scented lotions or after-shaves, as this can really affect a wine tasting in a big way, since aromas play a huge role in wine.  Avoid decorating with scented candles for the same reason.

Have a little room in your refrigerator for the wines. Especially whites and rose´ wines.  And most importantly… Have fun!!  After all, it’s a wine tasting.

And now for my wine of the week….


As a Congratulations on becoming a Sommelier, my friend Judy bought me this wonderful Tuscan wine from Italy.  I guess it’s no coincidence, since I’m heading to the Tuscany region in Italy May 18th.  This was so good.  She paid a surprise visit to me on Monday or Tuesday of this past week and we popped it open.  A blend of Sangiovese, Syrah and Merlot, this wine truly is a Super Tuscan.  Super Tuscan wines are wines that feature an Italian grape (Sangiovese) with traditional grapes, like the Merlot and Syrah.  Ruffino introduced Il Ducale in 2005 to  express a style of Tuscan wine that marries the refinement of traditional Tuscan wine-making with a modern, fruit-driven style.  Great with pizza, charcuterie boards and would be welcome at any wine-tasting event.


Well the framing is done, and this is now hanging in my home.  Thanks for reading and sharing the wine journey with me.  There is be no wine blog on two Saturday’s in May, the 20th and 27th, as I will be away.

Till next week, Cheers