Halloween was always my son’s favorite holiday. Our front yard would turn into a gruesome graveyard with bloody headstones and life size skeletons throughout the leaf-covered yard and gardens. Bloody handprints smeared on our front door greeted our trick or treaters as a talking skeleton dropped an eyeball and questioned their courage in a creepy voice. It was awesome!
Inside the foyer, I’d set up a 6-foot wide table with a miniature village including Dracula’s castle, a wicked playground and a haunted house. Eerie Jack-o-lanterns lit up, miniature skeletons jangled, a merry-go-round circled around with costumed children and ghost sounds oozed from Victorian windows. Every year we added something new and fitting.
The best part for all was Trick or Treating. The neighborhood kids would meet before sunset in the cul-de-sac around 5PM for Pizza and a Parade. A few parents would dress up, especially the ones who were part of a blood-chilling act when you knocked on their front door. Then there were the ones who were going to walk around with the kids. We showed up pulling semi-decorated wagons (we had to make it look like we were participating!) Some had jack-o- lanterns, some a bale of hay and fall leaves, others had skeletons riding in front, but, all had a container or two of their favorite brew.
I didn’t do much to dress up my bottle of wine, but I did drink it out of a festive cup. The wine was incognito in Halloween themed plastic cups (red-cup size). Different years were different cups. But, I remember jack-o-lantern jagged faces on an orange cup, or ghosts’ “boo” face on a white cup, or Frankenstein’s square-ish face on a green cup, all with a bonus of a lid and a straw. One year someone passed out fancy wine glasses, the stem was a bloody skeleton hand. Nice touch!
As we parents got more and more into celebrating the occasion, the kids grew older and older and didn't want us around. Sad that those days are over, but now that I have a couple of grandsons…
I started collecting “wine signs” about 15 years ago during our annual Nantucket vacation. My first sign was ACKaholic. (ACK being the three-letter airport code for Nantucket). Over the next couple of years, I found:
You had me at Merlot,
Whatever Chablis, Chablis,
Poor me… more wine and
Let’s Drink it over.
This past year, I decided to look for more signs but found most “wine philosophies” on T-shirts, napkins or memes, even coffee mugs (?). So, I started to collect wine sayings in my i-notes on my phone:
Wine a little, laugh a lot.
I am woman, hear me pour!
On cloud wine.
Then one day I met up with one of my writer friends for coffee. She told me about her 17-year-old daughter, Isabella, who for the past couple years had been teaching herself the art of hand-lettering at home as a means to be creative and make gifts for friends and family. She was now selling them through Instagram: WORDSOFJOY.DESIGNS, in pop up shops, and, also, in a downtown boutique.
As a positive sign of the times, this young woman not only gives a percentage of her earnings to LIGHTHOUSE FAMILY RETREAT, a program that helps families “feel like a family again” by offering beach side fun, family-centered activities for families living through childhood cancer, she has volunteer at the retreat for the last six summers! So, of course, I jumped right on in and ordered a bunch of signs:
Everything happens for a Riesling.
Stop and smell the Rosés.
Wine flies when you’re having fun
I am woman, hear me pour!
On cloud wine.
Stop and smell the Rosé
Hasta la vino, Baby
I also had a couple of signs made up in honor of my love of Music Theatre. I’m sure someone has said them before, but I’ve never seen them out there, so I claim them as mine:
Everything’s coming up Rosé!
Life is a Cabernet, old chum!
I still see wine quotes all over the place and will probably be calling Isabella again soon to add to my “Wall of Wine Wisdom.”
Isn’t life Grape?
Love the wine you’re with.
Partners in Wine.
Que Syrha, Syrah?
If you happen to have any sayings that I’ve missed, I’d love to hear from you so I can add them to my list of Sign of the Wines. And, if you need any signs made, Isabella is waiting for your call.
When I lived in New England, Autumn was my favorite time of year. Actually, the fall is my favorite time of year no matter where I live, but it’s especially nice in New England where the air is crisp, the County Fair is up and running and it’s apple picking time!
In honor of the season, I am going to post a few recipes
that may appeal to my readers:
Combine in shaker with ice and shake:
2 oz. Moscato wine
2 oz. Apple Juice
¼ oz. Honey
½ oz. clear cinnamon Schapps
Strain into cinnamon and sugar rimmed Cocktail Glass
Garnish with (cooled) apple slice dipped in carmel
1 Bottle Pinot Noir (but you can make your own choice here, red or white)
3 Cinnamon Sticks (plus more for Garnish if you wish)
2 Honeycrisp apples, chopped
1 Orange, thinly sliced
1 1/3 Cups apple cider
½ Cup brandy
¼ Cup orange juice (or juice from 2 oranges)
Juice from 1 lemon
Add all the above ingredients ( and a bit of honey or agave if you’d like it a bit sweeter) into large pitcher and refrigerate for 6-12 hours
Add club soda to taste, garnish with cinnamon sugar glass rim and cinnamon stick
Apple and Wine Cocktail
½ Cup Sauvignon Blanc
1 Tablespoon spiced or mulled apple cider
1 Sprig fresh thyme or rosemary, plus more for garnish
1/4 Honey crisp apple, very thinly sliced
Combine all above ingredients in shaker with ice and shake for 30 seconds
Arrange ¼ Honey crisp apple, very thinly sliced, fanned out in rock glass
Top with sprig of fresh rosemary or thyme, whichever was used above
If you have any wine recipes you'd like to share please share them on our Facebook page.
There’s a point in one’s life when you mature from storing wine in cardboard boxes in your basement or built in lattice shelving in your kitchen and finally buying a fancy wine fridge. Now that’s adult-ing. My husband and I bought our first wine cooler several years after we built our forever home. (It was our third home and that was five homes ago…but I digress.)
The night we installed our wine cooler into the outdated kitchen desk nook, we hauled two cases of our ‘good wine’ from the basement and spread them out on the kitchen counter. Deciding it was a night to celebrate, we opened a 1993 Opus One. We let it breathe as we dug out, and rinsed off, our finest wine glasses (hand blown glass with pewter bases, made in Germany). I lit some candles as Hubby poured the wine. Sitting at our kitchen table we clinked glasses and let the aroma of florals and black currant penetrate our nostrils. I quickly pulled my glass away from my face as I watched my hubby’s face slowly sour as he braved a sip.
With high hopes, we dumped the wine from our glasses and the rest of the Opus One down the kitchen drain, knowing that we had a ’92 Silver Oak cab waiting for us. This time we decanted the wine. The toasted oak and spicy aroma of the wine as it was poured it into our glasses was encouraging. We took a sip at the same time, and both of us ran straight to the kitchen sink and spit it out. Smelled ok, tasted like vinegar. Down the drain went bottle number two. Thank god it was just the two of us and we weren’t entertaining our wine drinking friends during our Wine Dump. We would have been voted off the island.
If you are an avid cabernet drinker and you aren’t crying yet, you will be soon. As the night grew later and later, Hubby and I ended up sitting on our counter, one of us on either side of the kitchen sink, taking turns opening bottles and pouring a glass to smell, or if we had the guts, to taste. The kitchen sink imbibed a lot of wine that night, more ’92 Silver Oak cab, a couple of bottles of ’94 Joseph Phelps Insignia, a bottle of ’93 Jordan Alexander Valley cab, and sad to say, a whole case of ’88 Franciscan Estate Magnificant. Cue the tears.
Let this be a lesson to you young’uns… invest in a wine cooler right after your 21st birthday. Even if you don’t drink wine. Wait… especially if you don’t drink wine. Your guests that do will appreciate it.
Kyle Ann Robertson
Chief Writing Officer at Ifcorkscouldtalk.com and BBWalsh.com