I can’t say that I’m a big boozer, but I love all of the “experience kits” that have been popping up on the shelves of local wine shops, such as Crushpad’s fusebox. To give you a little bit of a back story, Crushpad is a San Francisco-based (read “less than an hour from Napa/Sonoma”) winemaking facility that specializes in providing the experience of wine production to the people. Basically, if you’ve got $5,700+ to throw around, you can come to their space in the city and they’ll walk you through the entire process of producing a bottle of wine, from the very beginning to cracking the seal on a Saturday night on your back patio (the price includes a barrel of your wine). For those of us who don’t quite have that kind of cash saved up just yet, Crushpad also offers fusebox, a 15 pound kit that contains everything you + 3 friends need for a wine blending experience of your own. Retailing for $120, the kit contains:
-Six 375 mL bottles of blending wine (including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc)
-One 375 mL bottle of Mystery Wine
-One graduated cylinder and four pipettes
-Four wine evaluation cards
-Four tasting place mats
-Vinography aroma card
This sounds like it would be a great activity if you’re having a couple of best friends over for the evening, or even for a shower of some sort. This also might be a good learning activity for wine newbies in general – for example, I know very little about wines BEFORE they are blended, much less once they are (at least I’ve been told not to smell the cork).
Speaking of wine bottle corks, you can now send in your wine and champagne corks for recycling in the USA through Yemm & Hart, a company in Missouri dedicated to converting used wine cork stoppers into a useful, self-sustaining product that extends the useful life of cork for decades. To find out more or to get their mailing address (they request that you pay the shipping for them to be sent in), visit their website.