Wednesday, 13 November 2013

It's hip to be square

Proving it’s hip to be square, California wine producer Truett-Hurst has launched a wine range housed in square bottles. Dubbed California Square, the trio’s packaging was designed by the irreverent Kevin Shaw of forward thinking drinks packaging design firm Stranger & Stranger.
The design’s square shape, retro graphics and screen printed label hark back to old spirits bottles. The three-strong range comprises a 2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, a 2012 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2012 Paso Robles red blend made from Petite Sirah, Syrah, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, and Merlot.
Each of the wines were made by Truett-Hurst’s chief winemaker, Virginia Marie Lambrix. Based in Healdsburg in Sonoma County, Lambrix is hoping consumers will reuse the quirky bottles as vases, candle holders and olive oil containers. "Introducing alternative packaging onto the market is tricky – the wine inside has to over deliver and create a memorable impression for the consumer,” she said.
California Square made its debut last month at the 65th Annual Emmy Awards attended by the likes of Sex and the City star, Chris Noth, who played Mr Big in the HBO show. The wines have an RRP of US$19.99 and have gone on sale on

Friday, 8 November 2013

Scratch and sniff wine book proves an Amazon hit

In what looks set to be the ideal stocking filler for amateur wine lovers, Master Sommelier Richard Betts has released a scratch and sniff wine book that aims to make wine easier to understand for novices. Nearly five years in the making, the first run of The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert, illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton, has sold out on Amazon.
“People are hungry to be included in this conversation,” Betts told the Daily Camera, admitting that wine is sometimes viewed as the domain of “fusty old guys.” The book features 16 different scents found in red and white wine, divided up into three key aroma categories: fruit, wood and earth. At the back of the tome is a fold out aroma wheel, which breaks down wines by grape, region and style.
Scratch and sniff circles help the reader to distinguish between red and black fruit aromas in red wines and stone fruit versus more exotic fruit in white wines. The tome also explains concepts such as terroir and the use of oak, and explores more unusual smells found in wine from butter and flowers to grass and bacon.
US-born Betts came up with the idea while on a ski trip with a friend in which wine played a key role. Turning the book from an idea into a reality took four-and-a-half years, with Betts finally finding a publisher in Ohio willing to take a punt on it.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Wine for cats launched in Japan

In news that will tickle pussy lovers pink, Japanese pet food maker B&H Lives has launched a wine for cats. Nyan Nyan Nouveau (“Meow Nouveau”) doesn’t contain any alcohol and is made with the juice of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. It also contains traces of catnip and vitamin C.

The wine was created after requests from pet owners for a drink their furry friends can enjoy on special occasions like Christmas and birthdays. The name is a hat-tip to Beaujolais Nouveau, released the third Thursday in November, as Japan is the world’s second largest consumer of the wine after Germany. 

In addition to Nyan Nyan Nouveau, the company also produces Wan Wan Beer (Woof Woof Beer) for dogs. Nyan Nyan Nouveau costs 399 yen (£2.50) for a 180ml bottle. Bottles are closed with a red screwcap and feature a cartoon black cat head on  the label. Miaow!