May 14, 2004

Accessorizing for wine parties

BY Andrew ("Drink to life!")

Hello Chicagopride readers. Hope the beginning of summer is treating everyone well.

I made it over to the Gourmet Grape wine tasting Sunday. Good time; I suggest everyone check out a wine tasting sometime. While I was there, some of their great bar accessories caught my eye and I wondered what accessories my readers knew about.

For example, does everyone know about labels for wine glasses? They sell little construction paper rings that you can write your name on and drop on the stem of the wine glass so that you never forget which glass is yours. I recently did a private party where the host had the labels made before the guests arrived; it was very cute.

Other accessories that have caught my eye were wine backpacks, ice packs for white wine, ice buckets, cheese boards, and the variety of wine openers out there. If you are always bringing wine along to parties and picnics, they sell shoulder bags that are the proper height and divided to perfecting fit three or more bottles of wine. Not a bad idea if you are worried about breakage, especially for red wine.

Does anyone keep ice packs in their freezer? Well, now they make ones to wrap about that warm bottle of white wine and instantly chill it. There are a variety of ice buckets out there in a variety of prices. I personally don’t see ice buckets as a priority unless you are leaving it out for a long time or want to set it with the table as part of your presentation. If you are taking it out of the fridge and drinking it right away, it will stay chilled.

If you plan a lot of parties with wine, having a cheese and cracker board is something you should have out and that means having a nice cheese board at the ready.

Wine openers is a topic I cannot fully comment on. I travel from place to place and carry a simple wine key. It truly depends on how much you drink wine and what much you invest in your wine collection. If you are just picking up some wine with your groceries at Jewel, don’t get trapped into buying an expensive opener.

So readers, look around at the liquor stores and pick up a few accessories before you entertain again and wine starts to flow.