No Whining About Wining Today!

We’ve celebrated Zinfandel Day, Carmenere Day, Chardonnay Day and a dozen more dedicated wine days – and when the holiday-makers ran out of grapes they wanted to salute, I guess they just decided to drink.

Hence a wine lover’s favorite day: National Drink Wine Day, February 18, designed to help us “embrace the positive benefits” of vino (as if we weren’t good at that already).

Vinitaly med.

[Fans of the grape, tasting at Vinitaly 2017 in Verona, Italy.]

Alaska Airlines will mark the day in a big way: in addition to offering a free glass of wine on most flights Sunday, they’re expanding their super-cool “Wine Flies Free” program. If you haven’t taken advantage of the program, get familiar with it – on flights departing from a long list of cities in Oregon, Washington, California and Idaho, you can take home a case of wine as checked baggage, free of charge. You have to sign up for their mileage plan before you fly, and the offer is ongoing – not limited to Drink Wine Day – on Alaska and their partners Horizon Air and SkyWest.

You can find other special events and discounts Sunday, too, from Miami to Malibu, so Google your town and see what’s being offered. I started my celebration last night, when


The Niece And Nephew brought me this bottle of this 2013 Hiller Pulkau-Austria Zweigelt, one of my favorite Big Sexy Reds. It was plummy, a little dusty and went down beautifully with our chicken-pesto pasta.

This morning I saw a survey by National Today, an organization that tracks the “cultural calendar,” that said almost 75 percent of Americans believe two glasses of wine is enough for one day. That fits perfectly into my Weight Watchers plan. With zero carbs, zero fat, 125 calories and four “points,” I can drink two glasses without guilt. Fewer than 10 percent of people, National Today learned, drink five or more glasses in one sitting – and thank goodness, because if they pour that much down their gullets, they’re probably also foolish enough to drive in that condition.

More stats that fascinate me: 3 percent of people say they always cry when they drink wine. (Me, I cry when I finish that second glass because I have to cut myself off.) And a whopping 24 percent think a $15 bottle is a splurge. I believe it; there’s so much good wine on the shelves at bargain prices, winemakers and sellers are no doubt paying attention to that trend.

But here’s my favorite factoid: a 40-year study by Harvard researchers found that middle-aged men who drink red wine are less likely to experience erectile dysfunction than those who drink white, or none at all. (Yee-ha! Have another glass, gentlemen!)

National Drink Wine Day is always on February 18 – a Sunday this year, and for most of us, the next day is a work day. Will that keep us from over-indulging? Or will thousands of wine lovers call in sick Monday?

Here’s my suggestion; you’ve heard it before but it bears repeating: for each glass of wine you drink, sip a glass of water. You’ll slow down your drinking and avoid a hangover. I know, keeping that water glass going is a pain. But you’ll thank me in the morning.

Wine Lingo:  Anthocyanins = chemical compounds that give grapes their red, blue or purple color. They’re why red wine is red.

German Pinot Blanc small

Vino ‘View: Drink Wine Day doesn’t mean we should drink only reds! Since it’s winter, this crisp, spicy Dr. Heger Pinot Blanc 2015 (13 percent alcohol, $19.99) will warm you up a little. It’s a Qualitätswein (“quality wine from a designated region”) from the Kaiserstuhl district, reportedly one of the warmest areas of Germany. That accounts for its apple and citrus aromas, and the honeydew I tasted – but without sweetness. This is a light Weissburgunder (the German word for Pinot Blanc) with plenty of mineralogy and just enough alcohol to feel cozy.

[Dr. Heger Pinot Blanc 2015 was sent to Big Sexy Reds for review.]




National Drink Wine Day – Cheers!

Is there a better day to launch a wine blog than National Drink Wine Day?

Frasier, from the mega-popular TV show, knew how to celebrate wine. He was an expert, and he was such an absurd, out-to-lunch character that his snobbery didn’t put us off. My favorite example is a conversation between Frasier and his father in an episode titled, “Winespeak.”

         Frasier: “Dad, tell me if you think this is too subtle for my listening audience: ‘This delightful offering is infused with the brooding, almost dangerous, presence of vanilla.'”      

          Martin: “No, it’s not too subtle. Unless you want them to know what the hell you’re talking about.”                               

Hmmm…maybe a few reruns of Frasier will be on my National Drink Wine Day agenda.

Speaking of wine expertise, at the end of this post is a tiny info-nugget I’m calling Wine Lingo of the Day. It’s just a small takeaway – a bit of wine knowledge to share.

While we’re celebrating, I notice that February is International Expect Success Month. Is there a more successful global industry than wine? Sales in the US grew 3 percent ($1.3 billion) in 2015, says a new report by Wines Vines Analytics, and they’re projected at $38 billion this year.

You’re paying for that success, by the way. Volume grew more slowly than value – in other words, you paid more for the same amount of wine. Domestic bottle prices rose by 22 cents. Boutique wineries were the real winners: those producing 5,000-49,000 cases a year shipped 1.9 million cases, while those producing half a million cases or more shipped just over 234,000 cases. I buy as much wine from the big-big producers as from the little guys, but I can’t resist taking a moment to cheer – hooray for the entrepreneurs!

Apparently, wine is a good-news story across the country: Southern Oregon’s relatively new status as a wine destination, coupled with a growing list of awards, positions the region for an expected tourism boom. In Iowa, last winter’s disastrous weather cut the harvest by almost 50 percent but this year’s higher temps and early first frost will bring a winegrower’s dream – fewer but higher-quality grapes. The folks down in Lake Keowee, SC are building a wine-centric country club.

We’re loving our wine, and it loves us back. We’ve all read that drinking in moderation boosts our health: it helps protect against Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, heart disease, and it even (thank you!) slows the growth of fat cells. But that moderation thing is key; a new study (performed on rhesus monkeys) shows that a glass or two daily boosts our immune systems enough to help keep colds away, but going overboard won’t help at all.

So we raise our glasses. BigSexyReds will celebrate wine (usually) twice a week. If you don’t want to keep checking this site, please click on the little “Follow” tab in the lower right-hand corner of your screen, and the blog posts will come to you by email. (And thanks in advance for doing that – I adore subscribers, each and every one of you, and will hold subscriber-only contests and events in the coming months!)

Please leave comments – nicely, no bullies allowed! I welcome your questions, ideas, insights. I want to know what’s happening in your wine world, and I promise to respond.

And thanks for embarking on this journey with me! As David Letterman (a teetotaler) used to say, call the neighbors, wake the kids, and let’s get this party started!

Big thanks and hugs to two of my favorite BigSexyRed drinkers, the exceptionally talented Emily and Patrick Straffen, for their design and website help.

Wine Lingo of the Day: Must = unfermented grape juice.

Happy sipping!