Tag Archives: Party

Tips for Collecting and Storing Wine

vine vera banner presents Tips for Collecting and Storing Wine

There seems to be a historical connection between the production of musical masterpieces and large amounts of wine. Maybe, then, it wouldn’t be a stretch to speculate that Dave Matthews’ introspective lyrics may have been inspired largely by the contents of his 17th century Vineyards, or that Sting’s reflections on Jung had to be the results of many a wine soaked evening in his 16th century Tuscan estate, but would you think Mike D of the Beastie Boys (RIP) may have been drinking a fine Burgundy when he wrote, “You’ve Got to Fight For Your Right To Party?” And what about Duran Duran who actually once toured with a full wine cellar and included Sassicaia on its contract rider? Would you guess that rocker Pink’s inspiration came from reds and whites?

If you are an aspiring wine collector, it is safe to say that you are certainly in good (or at least glamorous) company. Whether you are looking for inspiration for your next great book or album, big bucks, or just for some real good wine at hand, here are tips you may want to keep in mind.

Budget Yourself
One of the first things you may want to do as a novice collector is to establish a reasonable budget. Alder Yarrow, creator of venography.co says, “Aspiring collectors may be surprised to know that as little as $300 or $400 can be enough to buy some excellent bottles that will last the next 20 years.” While you may want to spend a little more on collectible bottles, wine writer Leslie Sbrocco says that there are a lot of good values in the range of $25 to $35 and with a budget of $1000, “you can do some nice things.

Professional Refrigeration
If you’re not looking for long term investments, you don’t really need a storage locker or expensive refrigeration. However, if you plan to sell your bottles down the line or do some long term storing, you should keep your wine at a constant 55 degrees. Joe Padulo, owner of Portland wine Storage says, “fifty-five degrees allows a wine to develop and age gracefully.” If you are in it for the long haul, small storage lockers start at about $40 per month, but your wine cravings will have to keep business hours, depending on the storage facility.

vine vera banner presents Tips for Collecting and Storing Wine

When it comes to storage, it’s a good idea to estimate the number of wine bottles you want to collect and multiply it by three. Basements are generally the best places for maintaining the temperature your wine will require, but you should read the thermostat at different times of the day to ensure constant optimal temperature. The kiss of death for wine? Storing wine on top of the refrigerator or over the laundry area and stove. Humid areas are also bad news and dryness will make the cork dry out, ruining the wine.

You can buy relatively inexpensive racks to hold your wine and there are also kits available if you are handy. You may also consider purchasing a small refrigeration unit for the bottles you want to keep on hand for entertaining.

Finding Deals
Prior to bottling wines, wineries sometimes offer “futures,” and sell their upcoming vintages at 10 or 20 percent below final cost. Keep apprised of such events by joining winery clubs and signing up for mailing lists. You never know where and when you will find tomorrow’s superstar.

Be wary of the Internet and wine auctions. There is no guarantee that the wine was handled properly. Yarrow says, “It’s just too easy to get ripped off.” He suggests getting the wine from the wine make directly or establishing relationships with reputable retailers. Sbrocco recommends looking for deals at large retailers such as BevMo or Costco.

Buy Wines You Like
Although the best wine collections are varied, you are best advised to start by buying what you like. Know that new World Wines are usually best when drunk within three to seven years, whereas Old World Wines are meant to be aged.

Decide whether you lean more towards reds or if you prefer whites, With a few exceptions, whites don’t age as long as reds, which can be stored for decades before reaching their peak. Think about whites for drinking and reds for storage.

So for all you budding wine collectors, good luck, and good drinking, and let us know all about your adventures. Bottoms up!

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Choosing Perfect Bridesmaids Gifts

Let’s hear it for the bridesmaids. They’re your besties. They’ve been with you through thick and thin. They’ve seen your bad hair days and your bad hair years. They know how your first boyfriend looked and they knew you before the nose job. That’s why you need to treat them well. Make sure they have sexy dresses, throw the bouquet in their general direction, and get them some really nice gifts to show how much you appreciate all they’ve done for you.

Bridesmaid kissing bride

Here are some ideas for choosing the perfect gifts for bridesmaids.

Play on Their Tastes
Are your girls total fitness buffs? How about some workout gear or a session with a personal trainer (make sure he’s cute)? Send them to an introductory ballroom or hip-hop dance class to show off their strong calf muscles. If they cook, get them the latest cookbook or a first edition classic by Julia Child. Include a subscription to a cooking magazine, or, if  they’re into horticulture, offer them a blossoming flower plant or a couple of useful gardening tools.

Entertain Them
Show them a good time! You can buy them tickets to a musical, film, dinner theater, or movie venue for a little night on the town.

Girls' night out

If they’re more the stay-at-home type, give them a movie-themed gift basket or a set of movies themed around their favorite actors. If reading is their thing, consider a magazine subscription or an e-reader. Include a bottle of bubbly and they’ll be set for the evening.

Make Them Something
If you’re the artsy-craftsy type and have the time to invest, a homemade gift can be more precious than anything you can buy at a store. Make a necklace with their favorite gems, or knit a scarf in their favorite colors. Brighten their homes with a platter or vase, and accompany that with a scented candle. Let them explore their earthy side with all natural soaps or holistic beauty treatments or brighten their kitchen with some homemade jams and scones.

Pamper Them
Give your bridesmaids a taste of the good life. Dress them in silk pajamas or a Morrocan-inspired robe.

Spa friends

Give them the monogrammed set of bath towels they’ve always wanted for some upscale lavatory luxury. Treat them to designer wallets so they have somewhere to put their gift certificates for hair and makeover sessions at a salon. Offer them a luxury boudoir photo session.

Food and Drink
You can’t go wrong by giving your bridesmaids chocolate! Give them a decadent assortment or gift basket. Of course, they will need to complement that with some good wine or gourmet coffee. You can also leave the choosing to them by giving them gift certificates to a gourmet grocer. Help them set the table with some luxe table linens, napkin rings, and card holders and buy them some caviar to help break them in.

If you’re getting married, congratulations! Don’t forget to let us know what you’re doing to celebrate your bridesmaids!

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Fashion For Work, Play and Travel

The modern woman wears many hats, and for each hat, there should be a number of corresponding outfits to suit the situation. After all, it would be a fashion fans pas to wear your party dress when donning your work hat or your power suit when we are wearing your party hat: mistakes in line with wearing white after labor day or wearing black panties under white pants. That is why it is so important that we have separate outfits for work, play, and travel. Here are some ideas for outfits to go with each of your many dimensions.


Work outfit

For a tailored work look, you want to emphasize a strong silhouette, adding structured accessories. Consider an all white look with a Banana Republic top and matching tailored slacks. Add metal cuffs to the wrists with a matching statement ring. Add a classy neutral clutch with coordinating Manolo Blahnik pumps.

When it comes to suits, you can mismatch separates or keep your pieces together. Try Diane Furstenberg blazer with matching pants in a beautiful ochre tone. Layer it it with a silky button down blouse and some cat eye sun glasses for a power look. Finish with a geometrical Proenza Schouler Clutch, delicate choker and showstopping Calvin Klein sandals.


Woman in sequin dress

For women, the ultimate playtime clothing would have to be the party dress. You can’t go wrong with black sequins, and Ashish is the name in sequined dresses. Match with killer heels.

If you’re looking for a more demure classic approach, you may want to try a Lanvin. Try a one shoulder design with a structured ruffle and figure hugging pencil skirt in a neutral beige. Add a colorful clutch for a color contrast.

If you want to wear your yoga pants all day long, fashionistas say, “Go ahead!” Invest in pieces which combine fashion with function., like Vie Active’s compression tights with moisture wicking performance. Accessorize with a pair of sleek sunglasses and a structured leather jacket to keep things classy.


Woman in trench coat

Mixed Prints
Travel clothing can be tricky. You need to be comfortable and practical, yet you need to arrive ready to make a statement, and running through airports in stiletto heels may not be the best idea. One way of maintaining comfort and style while traveling is by sticking to soft fabrics and bold prints. Why not go for an Alberta Ferretti multicolored printed shirt with blue and white multi patterned pants? Add a panama hat for an add of mystery and keep the jewelry to a minimum. Complete your look with Robert Vivier patent flats and brightly colored Globe Trotter suitcases to complement your color scheme.

Add and air of intrigue with a gray transparent Maison Martin Margiela trench coat. Layer over a white shirt and tailored slacks and pack the rest of your fashions in a Bettega Venteta suitcase.

What are your go to looks for work travel and play? Let us know how you dress for all your adventures!

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Tips For Hosting A Valentine’s Day Party

Ok, so Valentine’s Day is usually one on one – just you and your significant other, some food, romantic candlelight, you know the rest. But if you think about it, Valentine’s Day could do just as well with a big blow-out party! Okay, a smaller one, if that’s more your thing – the kind of party where you get to invite your friends. Who knows? Your single friends might even get a chance to mingle and meet their special person!

So why not do something a little more inclusive on Valentine’s Day? If you feel like playing host or hostess this February 14th, Vine Vera brings you a few fun ideas.

Guest List
For this party, try to keep it down to family and a few close friends and don’t leave your single friends out. Make it clear that they are welcome to bring dates, or use the opportunity to play matchmaker. However, you may want to give them a little heads up to make sure they’re comfortable with the arrangement to avoid a whole lot of awkward.

Valentine's day dinner party

You always want to keep it classy, but it is a day for love, so don’t be afraid to get a little sensual when it comes to theme. Light a few unscented candles; a few elegant floral arrangements might be just the thing to help set the mood. Set up some intimate sitting areas in the entertaining room and consider place settings and name cards in the dining room. Place sachets, or some miniature bottles of bubble bath on each place for some bonus attraction.

Here’s where the real fun comes in. Emphasize eating as an erotic experience. Include finger food to encourage couples to feed one another. Serve fondue: cheese for the appetizer, chocolate with fruit for dessert. Make some heart shaped cupcakes or brownies. Throw in legendary aphrodisiacs like oysters, caviar, figs, and truffle mushroom. Don’t forget the cocktails. Mix up some Sex on the Beach and serve champagne and wine with dinner and dessert.


Keep your entertainment as sexy as your party. You can create a makeshift dance floor in space allows and crank the music after dessert. Have a couple’s dance contest or play a TV game like Newlywed Game, DVD edition. Try some “Truth or Dare.” or couples karaoke, with a sexy prize for the winning couple. And remember, if you can’t bear the thought of sharing your most intimate day with anyone other than your number one, you can always host your party a few days before or after.

Sounds like fun, huh? If you decide to have a party this Valentine’s Day, let us know how it went!

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Vine Vera’s Guide to Easy Fall Entertaining

Fall tablescape with candles and pumpkinIf you’re planning to throw a party this fall, throw a proper party. Don’t expect your guests to come and cook, work or help out. Make sure that you prepare everything beforehand and give yourself enough time to ensure that your party is a whopping success. With the right direction and guidance, you could end up boasting of throwing the best fall party in the neighborhood. This guide to easy fall entertaining helps you to understand what to do and what not to do to ensure that your fall party ranks among the very best this season.


Selecting the theme

Choosing a theme is one of the most important decisions for any fall party. The theme could be something as simple as selecting a color and using it all throughout. If you’re not sure on which theme to settle on, simply think of the fall season to shortlist a theme. Most people associate fall with golden brilliance, falling leaves, breathtaking sunsets and sheaves of wheat. Such themes can be easy to implement and they can also be used all through the year. Irrespective of what you choose, make sure that you thread the theme all through the event.


Doing the decor

Having a theme and creating the perfect tabletop is great, but don’t end up compromising on your decor. Personalize your dinnerware by painting small designs using edible paint on them. This helps you to add some flavor to the event and also give it a much needed personal touch. You can also add some color to your napkins and mix and match with alternating patterns.

Decor for fall entertaining - pumpkins and acorns

Finalizing the centerpiece

The centerpiece is one of the most important things for any fall party. While designing your centerpiece, you need to again look at the season for inspiration. Match your color palette with fall florals and add natural elements such as dried fall leaves, feathers and dried wheat. Candles and lanterns also add to the ambience of the area.


Focus on the food

You don’t need to spend a whole lot of time or money to get it right when it comes to food. Make sure that you keep it simple when it comes to the decors and the recipes so that you don’t have to spend too much of time in the kitchen and have time to entertain your guests. Plan for individual portion sizes while designing the menu. This makes things simple for you and your guests. There are a number of ways to display food items – you can  use sticks, serving spoons, towers and trays. Remember, the food item should come as one or two bites per item. Your main course should be simple and filling and some hearty sides are a must as well. Here is a small list of dishes that your guests would love to have at the ideal fall party.

  • Salad – Kale and Citrus Salad
  • Soup – Squash Soup
  • Appetizers – Fried Rice Balls with a Cheesy Center, Cheddar and Hard Cider Fondue, Rosemary Chips, Shrimp Puffs or Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Main Dishes – Beef Tenderloin or Pork Meatballs
  • Desserts – Apple Tart, Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream or Chocolade Fudge with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce.

 Foods for fall entertaining

Selecting the Drinks

Instead of serving your guests with a signature beverage, try and stick to the basics. A “Make Your Own Cocktail” theme also does wonders when it comes to drinks. It adds that element of fun and increases the social element of your party. Pick your favorite spirit as the base and inspire your guests to create cocktails around the base by adding elements such as fresh fruits, herbs, fruit juices and sodas. This is also known to be a great conversation starter for your guests. If you’re looking to keep things simple, simply go for the Pear Brandy Cocktail. It matches the mood, the decor as well as the season.


Things to Remember

Here are a few tips that you must remember while deciding on the perfect fall party for your guests.

  • Setting – The fall weather can be unpredictable. An outdoor party might be an amazing idea to celebrate the great outdoors for one last time before the chilly winters, but make sure that you have an indoor back-up in case of sudden changes in the weather.
  • Theme – Creating a theme for your fall party is extremely exciting. Irrespective of what you create, make sure that you use it as a guide for all your decisions – right from inviting your guest invitations to the party favors.
  • Centerpiece – You don’t have to spend a bomb to create the perfect centerpiece. Things like dried wheat, candles, lanterns, bouquet of roses and feathers can be used to create the perfect centerpiece.
  • Appetizers – Make sure that you welcome your guests with rustic appetizers when they arrive. Having the right kind of appetizers helps you to set the mood for the party. Don’t forget to pair your cocktails along with the appetizers.
  • Party Favors – Your party favors should always be something cost effective, consumable as well as useful. One of the best ideas for party favors are caramel apples. They don’t look cheap and go a long way in creating an impression as well.

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